Don’t Try At Home

Four bargain dishes better left to the pros
Photos by Josh Scheuerman

Chefs cook so that those who enjoy eating their cuisine don’t have to. Chefs stock their kitchens with unique items, create intricate menus and carefully prepare their specialties so that we can dig in without a thought of burning the soufflé. And even for those who enjoy spending time in the kitchen, there are dishes too expensive, complicated or time-consuming to fuss with at home. Here are a handful of inexpensive dishes that are better off left to the pros:

Why make tamales when Tamales Tita exists? Making masa, the filling, the wrapping and then cooking them? No, thanks. The folks at this modest, family-owned restaurant spend hours in the kitchen, so you don’t have to. Tamales Tita sells meaty, traditional tamales, as well as vegan versions and even dessert tamales, to eat in or take out. They’re priced so low, they’re fun to experiment with, and they come in unique flavors like pineapple or the more traditional jalapeño and cheese.

Tamales Tita
7760 S. 3200 West, West Jordan

SandyDac Biet
A few years ago, the words “báhn mi” were foreign to most Salt Lakers. Now, the flavorful Vietnamese sandwiches are a staple, thanks largely to Oh Mai and the fact that our kitchens aren’t stocked with delicacies like pork pâté and head cheese. The dac biet (Oh Mai’s original sandwich) is loaded with a four-pork combination of ham roll, smooth pate, head cheese and jambon ham slathered with garlic butter and mayo, and topped with cucumbers, pickled carrots and daikon. The cool, astringent flavors cut right through the pork’s fattiness, while the baguette that holds it all together is delightfully crisp, yet soft inside.

Oh Mai
3425 S. State, SLC

6093 S. Highland Drive, Holladay

ChickenChicken & Waffles
I’ve heard of people making fried chicken at home, and most folks are handy with a waffle iron, but making fried chicken and waffles at the same time? A simpler solution is to visit the Ogden or Salt Lake location of Pig & A Jelly Jar to savor the ultimate comfort food: a Belgian waffle topped with a crispy fried chicken breast and drizzled with sweet maple syrup. It’s a triumph of flavors and textures—sweet and savory; crispy and fluffy.

Pig & A Jelly Jar
401 E. 900 South, Suite A, SLC

227 25th St., Ogden

I’m pretty sure it takes days to make ramen, but then again, I’ve never tried. When I crave the savory, soupy stuff, I visit Japan Sage Market where I can buy a bowl for less than what a sandwich typically costs. With four flavors of ramen flavor to choose from, you’re sure to find something you’ll love. Shio (sea salt) is the most traditional flavor, while shoyu is flavored with fermented soy sauce. For miso, full-flavored miso paste is used, and tonkatsu is hearty ramen flavored with pork. It’s rockin’ ramen.

Japan Sage Market
1515 S. Main, SLC

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