Word of Mouth: March 5th 

Eaten anything especially tasty lately? Memorable? Weird? Bodacious? E-mail tscheffler@cityweekly.net

City Weekly staffers weigh in:

Marc Brancaccio: So, I’m an idiot. I’m always looking for something to bring home for dinner when no one feels like cooking. I’ve been passing by Gourmandie’s (250 S. 300 East) for more than three years since moving here, and never went in. When I finally asked one of the guys at the Wine Store across the street how it was, he gave me a five-minute review that was enticing enough to convince me to drop in. He mentioned that the salads were really good, so I got the Cobb for my wife and the Asian chicken for myself. Both were delicious and fresh, and also huge. The helpful wine-store clerk also mentioned that they have a special from time to time: a kind of a French pot pie. I tried the beef version with a friend for lunch, and we both agreed it was excellent. Very satisfying; very fresh. When you throw in its mouthwatering pastry case, this place definitely goes on the regular rotation.

Stephen Dark: After years of charring red peppers on the grill, I discovered that you can broil them in the oven with similar effect. After you’ve blackened them all over, drop them into a plastic or paper bag, seal them, and leave them for 20 minutes. Then, peel off the skin, make a hole in the bottom, and collect the juices. Mix the juices with a little sherry vinegar, chopped garlic and olive oil. Once you’ve cleaned out the pepper of seeds and sliced it up, drizzle the oil over the strips of fleshy red joy. Mix with some black olives and parsley and you have the perfect starter with some crusty French bread.

Paula Saltas: The tabouli from Cedars of Lebanon is simply the best I have ever tasted!

Jeff Reese: I recently ate at The Melting Pot (340 S. Main) and I must say that I was thoroughly impressed. My girlfriend and I ordered the four-course meal which included our choice of a cheese fondue with bread, veggies and apples to dip, an excellent salad, a souplike broth that was used to cook the raw meat we chose, plus a chocolate fondue to dip various fruits and pastries in. Not only is it delicious, it’s also a fun experience. Their servers were very polite, attentive and knowledgeable. The way the restaurant is laid out and the low lighting makes it feel very private, so it’s perfect for a nice date.

Jamie Gadette: I’m not a huge fan of white wine, but last summer I discovered the pleasures of Riff Pinot Grigio, from Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy. It’s crisp, not sweet, and holds up well in the fridge over several days (if you don’t drink it all yourself while writing up a storm). Plus, it sells for under $15. I alternate between Riff and pretty much anything in the Spanish red wine section of the State Wine Store. As food-and-wine critic Ted Scheffler is fully aware, quality and value are not mutually exclusive.

Scott Renshaw: Looking for simple but fancy-looking appetizers for an Oscars party, I combined a smoked salmon mousse recipe with cucumber cups. Combine a 4-ounce package of smoked salmon, 8 ounce softened cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and a teaspoon of lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Peel and cut the cucumber into 1 1/4-inch slices, hollowed out about halfway with a melon baller, then fill with the mousse. Garnish with some fresh baby dill.

Ted Scheffler: Mike Roberts, aka the No Name Gourmet, turned me on to a new place in Bountiful called Mo’ Bettah Steaks (273 W. 500 South). Now, the first thing you need to know about Mo’ Bettah Steaks is that it’s not a steak house. No ribeye, no filet mignon, no New York strip, no Porterhouse. This is Hawaiian-style “steak,” often called “lunch plates”—meaning grilled or roasted beef, chicken and pork, often marinated first in teriyaki sauce. The boneless meat (usually shredded) comes served on Styrofoam with sides such as brown or white rice and really delicious house-made macaroni salad. Typical combo plates run from about $5.50 to $8.50. I tried the lunch special kahlua pork, which was terrific.

The owners—brothers Kimo and Kalani Mack—hail from Kaneohe, Hawaii, and dish up Hawaiian-style good vibes and friendly service, along with surf movies and great Hawaiian tunes. Feel free to wear shorts and flip-flops.

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