Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thai Garden and Noodle House
Last weekend after viewing the lights at Temple Square with my family, we went to Thai Garden and Noodle House in the trendy 9th and 9th neighborhood of Salt Lake.  

Salt Lake Tribune

     The neighborhood is charming.  From the website:
     "Often described as funky or earthy, there are no strip malls in this neighborhood (the plumbing store is even in an old house!). An excellent walking district with a unique collection of shops, businesses and services."
     The restaurant itself was very good and the service was excellent.  I had my usual yellow curry, my husband had red curry, and the children had spicy rice with tofu, cashew chicken, and crispy chicken.  All loved their meals and reported them delicious.  

So how does this compare with my favorite restaurant, Thai Orchid? First, the location and ambiance win hands down for Thai Garden and Noodle House.  A strip mall in a parking lot just can't compare to this neighborhood with personality.  The plating was better at Thai Garden as well.  The cook drizzled hearts with an orange sauce on the side of the plate. We are easily impressed!
     In the end it all comes down to price.  If the food tastes the same, and it did, delicious, and the quality was the same, and it was with the exception of the cute little hearts, and both places have great service, which is the better value? Without question, Thai Orchid on Highland Drive in Holladay is a much better value.  By about 5 to 8 dollars per dish.  I loved the location of Thai Garden and Noodle House, but the location wasn't worth the extra 25 or more dollars it cost to feed my whole family for the same tasty meals.  My kids don't care that 9th and 9th is a trendy district.  Strip malls are fine for kids.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Adventures of Tin Tin

This charming adventure based on a well-loved comic series, is a delightful mix of Indiana Jones and Pirates of the Caribbean.  I took my 17-year old son to see it and based on our recommendations, the rest of the family is now going to see this action packed movie. I may even see it again.

Although I felt the movie got off to a slow start, I was amazed by the computer animation and had to wonder if it was a real set with human actors.  This film is also available in 3D.

Although there is some violence that might be disturbing to small children, this is a movie in which you can take your whole family.  

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ho Ho Homemade Holiday

Christmas is over, but here is a sampling of some of the homemade items that were a part of this season's creations.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle is one of my family's favorite holiday desserts.  You can find the recipe form Paula Deen on the Food Network here.

This project was a left over from a class I took about 10 years ago.  You can see that his was supposed to be a tree skirt, but I never finished the last few pieces because I didn't have the proper ruler.  

So instead, I turned it in to this holiday apron.  

I made these gift tags at a class I took at church.  This is about as close as I'm going to get to scrapbooking.

The patchwork hot pad was by far my favorite project for Christmas.  The best part is that my mother-in-law gave me most of the fabric so the hot pads were relatively inexpensive to make.  I pieced them at random and bound them with homemade bias tape.  I used insulated batting as well so they are also functional, not just pretty, if I do say so myself.

Finally, the dog on the Beatles Quilt. Can't say that I blame her!

Linky, linky: I Gotta' Create and Sew Country Chick

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Wild Grape Bistro

I love Groupon and Living Social Deals. They tempt me with coupons that inspire me to try new restaurants.  That is why on our anniversary, my husband and I were excited to try The Wild Grape Bistro in downtown Salt Lake City

Although I don't think our waitress was thrilled to see coupon carrying, non-drinking, suburbanites walk into the restaurant, she still gave us pleasant, on-the-spot service.

We had a creamy roasted pepper soup for an appetizer that had a nice zing to it.  I ordered the Potatoes Gnochi with beef and mushrooms and my husband had the scallops.  He was embarrassed to have me pull out my phone to take a picture of our beautifully plated food, and thus, no food pics for the blog.  

The menu had a variety of flavored lemonades.  I was tempted to ask what flavor went well with the beef, but held my tongue and chose the huckleberry.  

Wow, my dinner was wonderful.  The beef was tender and had a perfect flavor.  My husband loved his scallops as well.  They were tender, not chewy, and melted in your mouth.  Although, I do believe that mine was the better of the selections, especially when complimented by a lovely red wine, I mean, huckleberry lemonade!

The decor was clean, modern, and tasteful.  The prices were in the mid to high 20s for the entrees.  Our bill came to $60 minus our coupon.  So it was pricey for Salt Lake standards.  A definite special occasion place.  The only complaint I have was that it was loud, and I was quite cold seated by the window.

4.5 out of 5 stars.  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Beatles Quilt from Dare to be Square Quilting

When I go to the library for my kids, I always have to check out a few quilting books.  I try to get some books that are not really my style so I picked up Dare to Be Square Quilting by Boo Davis.

This is a book that is perfect for beginners and for the rest of us who are tired of half-square triangles and curved seams.  Some of the projects I could see myself completing, but most of the quilts pictured reminded me of a late 70's or early 80's mod style, and I didn't like those as much. Speaking of mod, this book has it's own YouTube.  How cool is that?

The quilt I chose to do was Chatterbox out of Beatles fabric as a gift for  my teen aged son on Christmas.  Yes, I can post a million pictures of his quilt on my blog because what teen aged child would ever lower themselves to look at their ultra-unhip mother's blog? 

The instructions were clear and uncomplicated.  The quilt went together so easily.  I backed it with minky fabric and didn't use batting.  The only complaint I have is not with the book, but with the minky.  This is the first time I've quilted with minky, and while quilting, the dark blue color of the minky came up through the front of the quilt.  Also, the Beatles fabric didn't appear to be of the highest quality.  

Nevertheless, the quilt was enjoyable and simple to complete.  I loved looking through the book, and because the book had a project  that I was actually inspire to complete, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Muppets: A great Family Movie

There aren't very many movies that come along that you can take your whole family to.  The current Muppet Movie definitely crosses generations.  My husband and I took our teenagers and our 10 year old, and we all laughed and enjoyed the charm.  Wished we had invited the grandparents.  The 40 somethings will enjoy the 80s references and the younger crowd will be entertained with the Muppets- having never known before who or what they are.  Welcome a new generation of Muppet lovers!  

My only criticism is that I wish Steve Martin would have made a cameo as did James Carville and Whoopie Goldberg, among others.  We don't have Bob Hope to entertain us with the Muppets anymore, at least Steve could have joined in for old time sake!  
4 out of 5 stars.