Ruth’s Diner in SLC, Crazy-Great Biscuits, Red Iguana, and Radars

One of our favorite places to eat in Salt Lake City was a diner — Ruth’s Diner, which lists its address as SLC but the landscape is so much different from the city that it feels like it’s much further out. And I’m not even really into diners, though Waffle House does have a certain je ne sais quoi. But back to Ruth’s — so many good things.

Pink Mustang, Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

The inside is a converted trolley car — which seems perfectly brunchy, but it was such a pretty day that we chose to eat outside

Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

Here, we have a Mile High biscuit.

Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

It had just the right density and fluff-ity and…yeah. It was fab. I need this biscuit in my repertoire (see bottom of this post…)

Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

And here, country fried steak with gravy and hashbrowns

Chicken Fried Steak, Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

and who cares about carbs at a moment like this? Hiiiiiii cinnamon roll french toast:

Cinnamon Roll French Toast, Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

It’s described on the menu as cinnamon roll dipped in vanilla egg batter, grilled and served with orange cream cheese and warm maple syrup

Cinnamon Roll French Toast, Ruth's Diner, Salt Lake City UT

I mean every single thing we had was just beyond. Beyonnnnnddddddd.

Well, I didn’t see that the restaurant has ever published a cookbook, so I googled if they’d put any of their recipes online. Last night for supper, I made their macaroni & cheese (they gave the recipe to Food Network) minus the breadcrumb topping and using rotini for the pasta, and their mile high biscuits — apparently Ruth’s was featured on a FN show and did a video on how to make them.

For the biscuits, I found this site, whose owner posts what she says is the recipe for them with some little tweaks. Anyway, Shugie and I followed her recipe last night, except we scooped them into nice mounds rather than cutting them into squares, and we found that our cook time was closer to thirty minutes. In any case, they were truly fantastic, so much so that the leftover biscuits were requested again at breakfast this morning. I mean, they are great. Next time we have company, I’m making a pan no matter what.

Homemade Mile High Biscuits Homemade Mile High Biscuits

Homemade Mile High Biscuits

In SLC we also liked Crown Burger, the pastrami-topped hamburgers and their fry sauce.

And we l o v e d Red Iguana.
And maybe someone is thinking Mexican food in SLC? Naw. But yah.

Red Iguana, Salt Lake City UT Mole Coloradito, Red Iguana, Salt Lake City UT
Mole Colorodito

Mole, Red Iguana, Salt Lake City UT
several different moles to try

Carnitas, Red Iguana, Salt Lake City UT
Carnitas with pico, beans, and guac

The Red Iguana recipe for their salsa de una is here at Salt Lake Magazine.

Mango Margarita, Red Iguana, Salt Lake City UT
Mango Margarita. BTW, there was a part of me that wondered if I should be having an alcoholic drink in SLC (when in Rome…): will people think I’m LDS and sneaking a drink? which I know is absolutely crazy plus it was bolstered with my built-in prob very unhealthy guilt of having anything to drink in a restaurant since I grew up in a dry county however once a week and that means probably Friday night it usually magically evaporates with a glass of merlot and that’s partly because I read studies including ones about how a little alcohol is actually beneficial for one’s health but also partly because wheeeee I can. But you see which side of me won out, ha.

Anyway, sidenote on being perceived to be in one-or-another group, in my fam we sometimes jokingly call the ability to recognize other Jewish people in the wild as “Jewdar” — there are other -dars that other groups kid around about having. In the LDS community, it’s called “Modar” and a study by University of Toronto and Tufts University researchers entitled On the Perception of Religious Group Membership from Faces seemed to suggest it may actually be a thing. When RNS did a story about it, they pulled these highlights:

  • Mormons and non-Mormons who passively observed the faces of both ingroup and outgroup members showed significantly better recognition memory for individuals belonging to their ingroup than they did for individuals belonging to their outgroup, similar to ingroup memory advantage effects commonly found for age, race and gender.
  • Images of Mormon and non-Mormon men and women were obtained from online personal advertisements posted in various major cities across the United States. Search criteria were restricted to individuals 18–30 years of age who specifically indicated either active membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or membership in another non-Mormon religious organization.
  • Special attention was paid to variation in the faces so that no obvious markers of Mormon or non-Mormon identity were present.

Interesting, right? Circling back to Jewdar, one day several years ago, Leslie and I were out shopping and we ran into a really old lady she knew. Here, I’m talking about the kind of really old where people sometimes completely lose their filter and say anything they think. I knew this lady just very vaguely from our synagogue, but didn’t know her name or anything. When Leslie introduced me to her, she mentioned who I was married to so the lady would make the connection. The lady said, “oh you’re married to HIM? You look like such a shiksa! I had no idea!” We laughed and laughed. Apparently I wasn’t even a blip on her Jewdar. 🙂

Matthew Mazzotta’s Morphing Open House

York, Alabama

Looking straight on, it appears to be a little house.

Open House Theater, York AL Then, one sees the ‘arms’ to each side Open House Theater, York AL

This is artist Matthew Mazzotta‘s Open House, 2013 in York, Alabama

Open House Theater, York AL

It unfolds to make a space with built-in seating area. From the press release:

The metamorphosis of Open House is designed to require cooperation. It takes four people one and a half hours to unfold the structure. The foundation is made of used railroad ties which anchor the custom fabricated industrial hinges to five rows of stadium seating. The rows of seats fold down with the aid of a hand winch and enough manpower to counter balance the hefty, but agile structure.

Critical Impact
Through the project, the artist hopes to directly address the lack of public space in York, AL by providing a physical location that becomes a common ground for community dialogue and activities. The new structure carries the weight of the past through the materials that were salvaged and repurposed from the old structure,most visibly the original pink siding. When Open House is fully unfolded, it provides an opportunity for people to come together and experience the community from a new perspective. When it folds back up, it resembles the original abandoned house, reminding people of the history of what was there before.


Similarly, his Storefront Theater in Lyons, Nebraska

Interesting: Cloud House

Sleep in a Wigwam

Loved getting sunset pics of the Wigwam Village Inn #2 in Cave City, Kentucky

Wigwam Village No. 2, Cave City KY Wigwam Village No. 2, Cave City KY

Wigwam Village No. 2, Cave City KY Wigwam Village No. 2, Cave City KY

Wigwam Village No. 2, Cave City KY

Seven wigwam villages have been built; it was a chain from the 1930s and 40s. Only three of seven are left, and they’re all on the National Register. Two of them are on Route 66 — Holbrook, AR and San Bernardino-ish, CA. This one in Cave City, Kentucky is the only other one in existence.


Lotus of Siam (and how that actually inspires us on Matzah Ball Monday)

I’ve been to Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas twice now — it’s the Northern Thai restaurant there that’s gotten so, so, so many accolades. The original location is in a scruffy shopping center away from the strip. Their new restaurant is really pretty, on E Flamingo.

The seating at the first location can get pretty close. Once, I had my purse looped on my chair, and I reached in to get something, and ::eek:: the lady behind me had done the same thing and I actually had my hand inside her bag. I was thinking huuuuuhhhhh this doesn’t feel like my things and looked back to see I wasn’t inside my Louis Vuitton, I was in HER Louis Vuitton. I was so apologetic but she understood, thankfully. Can we just talk one more time about how genius it is that restaurants have little tuffets for bags, like Restaurant R’evolution in New Orleans and Wing Lei in Las Vegas?

Lotus of Siam has even changed how we do Matzah Ball Monday here at home — more about that at the bottom of this post.

Anyway, this time, we started with garlic prawns. They’re fried with their shells, in a garlic sauce. Crazy delicious.

Garlic Prawns, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas Garlic Prawns, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

Duck Khao Soi — egg noodles in curry, with duck atop. Oh, and those crispy crunchies. Yes.

Crispy Duck Khao Soi, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

Stuffed chicken wings. So delicious.

Stuffed Chicken Wings, Lotus of Siam, Las Vegas

Now, at our home, we have three specially-themed supper nights: Taco Tuesdays, Whatever Wednesdays (whatever I want to try super new, you’re gonna be surprised), and Matzah Ball Monday. That’s Shug’s favorite food, so he’s super happy. For Shugie, because he’s not a matzah ball person, I cook pasta in the matzah ball pot, drain those noodles of whatever shape we’re doing that week, and top it with either alfredo or marinara — so he’s happy too. Because I’m not big on either of those, I follow Lotus of Siam’s recipe for Chicken Panang Curry that Saveur published. I take stock from the matzah ball soup, add curry paste, fish sauce, and coconut milk, and voila. We’ve got three dishes coming from one pot, and takes maybe ten minutes extra time. Fab.