Sweetly Divine Pastries & Sandwiches

1309 Main St. in Logan, UT - map it!
Sandwiched between Costa Vida and Shopko, Sweetly Divine is a hidden gem in Logan. The owner is Mark Grodkowski, a Polish chef who completed pastry school in Europe and served as a pastry chef at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Tetons National Park where he met his wife. He has sold his famous pastries to the restaurants and hotels along the Wasatch Front and finally opened Sweetly Divine in 2006 after visiting Logan and falling in love with the sweet, country feel. The owner is just as sweet as the desserts he makes, he is super friendly and obviously takes pride in his work! Dressed in his chef whites, he came over often and made sure that we were happy!

Menu - view menu!
Sweetly Divine offers sandwiches, soups, and salads, and numerous european and american pastries as well as his jalapeno jelly line that is available at a multitude of supermarkets and shops in Logan and Ogden. The sandwiches are pretty basic: Ham and Cheese, Pastrami, Turkey, Roast Beef, and Veggie. But they include interesting additions such as feta and a variety of jalapeno jelly. The jalapeno jelly is not something I would think to reach for when making a sandwich but it totally makes a delicious difference. The pastries are intricately prepared and they are to die for! They also have a variety of teas and hot drinks that you can prepare yourself with his Keurig machine.

Black Forest and Raspberry cupcakes. (I highly recommend the Black Forest! Best cupcake I've ever had.)
Price Range - $3 - 8
Everything is appropriately priced, especially when you remember that Mark graduated from pastry school in Europe. When you take a bit of anything he prepares, you know that you're not just tasting a dessert, you're tasting the years of culinary training he's received and the finesse he delivers in every creation. For just under ten dollars, you can get a sandwich + soup combo with a delicious pastry to top it all off.

As you can see, the Creme Brulee ramekins are bigger than soup bowls! Perfect for a date! Look at the cute swans!
We are obsessed with Jalapeno Jelly and think that this would make a great Thanksgiving turkey sauce!
Verdict - 5 stars
I do not have a huge sweet tooth, so I was pleasantly surprised by this pastry shoppe! The icing on the Black Forest cupcake had what I think was mascarpone because it tasted similar to tiramisu, not sticky sweet but delicate and mild. The cupcake itself was not dry or dense but just perfect! I was having withdrawals after just 5 minutes of finishing it! (I am kicking myself for not getting my wedding cupcakes made here!)
He also carries a variety of gluten-free pastas and flours that he makes himself.
Sweetly Divine on Urbanspoon


Pho Plus Noodle House

908 S State St. in Orem, UT - map it!
Tucked in a little business building's parking lot just north of Yamato, Pho Plus is a heartily-welcomed addition to the Utah County food scene. UC has seriously been lacking some authentic, soul-satisfying pho and Pho Plus delivers! When you walk in, your heart knows it's home. It could be the immaculate, tastefully-decorated and open interior, or the inviting aroma of anise, ginger, and cloves. (They are also building a new location in Provo, opening soon. Double the awesome!)

Every authentic pho joint should offer you bean sauce, sriracha sauce, basil, jalapenos, bean sprouts, and limes. These are all a MUST in pho dining. Also, the awesome soup spoons.
Menu - view menu!
Pho Plus offers a good range of authentic pho (tripe and tendon, anyone? yum!) and more for those who may not be satisfied with a hot bowl of broth and noodles (say, what?). They offer noodle dishes, to familiar orange-chicken-type dishes and a great range of drinks (boba tea!) If you are a pho novice, I recommend the steak pho- tantalizing pieces of paper-thin rare steak, dropped in your hot soup right before they bring the bowl to the table. The result is a succulent bite of fresh steak cooked in the beef broth. Or the brisket, a surprisingly tender and flavorful cut. The more adventurous types may opt for the #11, a mix of everything meat-topping-wise. As for me, I'll take the steak, tripe, and creamy bits of tendon every time. The only thing I didn't really care for were the meatballs. Not your traditional meatballs.

Price Range - $6 - 12
Pho will be one of your cheapest and most buck-for-the-bang options, priced at around $7 for a regular bowl. I don't honestly know who could finish a large bowl (a dollar more) as the regular is enough to even have the hubs finish before the bowl's empty. (I foresee a pho food challenge in the future...) Some of the pricier options will be the orange-chicken type dishes, at $12/plate. But as you can see that plate comes with a salad, a heaping portion of rice, and a small bowl of soup (same soup as the pho but without noodles). It may seem a bit pricey at first, but upon trying it, the orange chicken is perfectly cooked and more authentic than you'll find anywhere else. Mm.. tastes like mom's cooking! Hubs did mention that this may have been the best orange chicken he's ever had.

Verdict - 5 stars
Utah County has been missing a good pho joint for so long, but Pho Plus has rightfully won the sole crown of pho king. (Have your laugh..) The staff is super nice and hard-working. Pho Plus is authentic, always crowded (but not in a bad way), and a soul-satisfying meal you'll come to crave in the not-so-distant future, or if you're like me, in the middle of the night. If only they could cater to my pho cravings 24/7.

Pho Plus Noodle House on Urbanspoon


The Elements

640 S 35 E at the Riverwoods - map it!
Self described as Contemporary American cuisine, Elements is a culinary powerhouse when it comes to beautifully crafted dishes, in terms of presentation and taste. It may seem like a big fish in a small pond, but the chefs that run the kitchen are truly talented and compete on the levels of any city's best restaurants. Elements is spacious and stunning on the inside with its modern, loft-like architecture and soft lighting. Surprisingly affordable and with its own pub-style bar addition, this restaurant will definitely change how you eat in Logan.

Menu - view menu!
Hubs and I have ordered several options from their menu and here is what we think:

Gaufrette Potato Chips - PASS.  We thought they meant 'chips' as in potato slices but they were literally fried waffle chips. Really heavy and not a great way to start a meal. Sauce was heavy and soaked through the center chips in minutes, leaving the other chips bare. We ate like 5 chips and called it quits. Great presentation though.

Firecracker - B  The standard hummus and chips (hummus not pictured, sorry! It was a decent serving but really unphotogenic). The chips and bread were great but the hummus was a bit lacking, like grocery store hummus. Unless you really have to have hummus, stick with the complimentary bread basket for your starch.

Thai Lettuce Wraps - A+  Always delicious and worth every penny. The bok choy salad is so good and the flavor profiles are spot on! Super impressed! The sauces are pretty good but the only one hubs and I keep reaching for is the chili garlic sauce as the curry one is a bit strong and the peanut sauce was just okay. Pretty messy but our waiter dropped off hot towels with the appetizer (so thoughtful of Elements!) Really filling so we think 3-4 people could share this and still be good to go for the entree course. After the complimentary bread basket and this, the hubs and I were pretty full.

Baby Spinach Salad - A-  We've only ever had this as a side and it's HUGE. The salad itself is amazing but it always has way too much dressing on it. Can easily share this side with another person (or two) due to the size. I definitely appreciate the chefs giving us more bang for our buck, but it doesn't let you savor your last few bites and longingly look at your now-empty plate. Size down the portion by half and scale back on the dressing and it'll soon become a crazy favorite.

Sorry! Hub's iPhone picture bc someone forgot her phone and her camera...
Shrimp Platter - A  Great variety and worth the money. Shrimp lovers rejoice!  (Cold Weather Special)
  • Chilled Prawn Cocktail - A  I love shrimp cocktail so this was awesome. Great sauce with a nice kick from the horseradish. Prawns were really fresh and chilled at the right temp.
  • BBQ Tiger Shrimp - B  Didn't love this compared to the other options. My least favorite as the BBQ sauce wasn't anything special.
  • Cajun Rock Shrimp - B+  It was pretty good, but definitely got out-staged by the coconut shrimp which I felt was too similar and got its butt kicked by coconut-y goodness.
  • Coconut Shrimp - A+  I feel sometimes a perfect coconut shrimp is the end-all of favorite foods lists. There is simply nothing better than a perfectly executed coconut shrimp. And admittedly, it's hard to perfect. The batter has to be perfectly cooked so as not to overcook the coconut and avoid fryer-taste, while thoroughly cooking the shrimp, but not overcooking it. And then the sauce as to be equal parts sweet and citrus-y. If you have been searching for said coconut shrimp, you have found it. At Elements. 

BBQ Chicken Woodfired Pizza - A-  Their woodfired pizzas are seriously amazing and a straight up deal at the $8-10 range offered. So good, hubs orders it every single time we're at Elements. Not the best BBQ Chicken pizza ever, but pretty dang close.

Lobster Ravioli - A  So, so good. I would have liked something to cut the lavishness of this dish (like chopped asparagus maybe? capers?) but on a winter night, it seriously hit the spot. Can't really distinguish the lobster as its ground into the filling and not lumps of lobster like I would have liked, but at $23 in Logan, I really can't complain. Beautifully crafted dish and the fragrant saffron risotto was everything I dreamed of and more. Plus, it comes with lots of little shrimp for an added seafood boost. Yum! Comfort food at its best!

Turkey Chop - A+  If you like turkey at all, you will love this dish! An unexpected gem in their vast menu, this dish is brilliant; the turkey is so perfectly cooked- juicy and tender and mind-blowing and goes well with the marmalade/reduction (peach and orange, I think?). The filet-mignon-like bacon wrapped turkey is finished with butter and does not have the weird gamey taste that it usually has. If you said this was hearty chicken, I would have believed you! The french beans are cooked with bacon and compliment the Thanksgiving theme perfectly. And as always, the sweet potatoes here are a must-have. So good you will want to wrap yourself up in it and give in to the food coma that will surely ensue.

Price Range - $8 - 29
Surprisingly affordable and worth every penny! There's something for everyone here in their smartly curated menu and full size salads and soups go for as cheap as $5! Whether it's a causal lunch (even cheaper prices) or a romantic night out, Elements will never disappoint!

Be sure to check out their Cold Weather Specials for their daily special offerings!

Verdict - 5 stars
Whenever the hubs and I want to have a nice night out or have a thoughtfully prepared meal, this restaurant is it. The chefs deserve medals for opening a place like this in Logan. Everything on the menu is so well put together and the effort really shows. From this happy foodie, please never change the quality!

Elements Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Apple Spice Bakery

1545 N. Main St - map it!
Apple Spice Bakery & Cafe is a cute new restaurant in Logan. They have multiple other locations throughout the US and offer cafe-style seating, delivery, and box lunches. There are in a convenient location but be wary of eating in their outside seating area, as it could get quite loud due to traffic.

Menu - view menu!
They have a great variety of soups, sandwiches (including paninis), and salads, as well as baked goods such as dessert items or freshly-baked bread. There is something for everyone, which is great because it's a healthy and delicious alternative to having lunch at common fast food places around, like Taco Bell or McDonalds (hey- I love those too, but sometimes a girl craves something healthy!). Apple Spice Bakery has an incredible selection of sandwiches and salads, so every visit there is something to discover!

Granny Apple Turkey on Honey Wheat Bread with (half-eaten) Pasta Salad
Price Range - $5-9
The cheaper items in the $5 range are breakfast items, which they serve until 10:30am. Other than the lone Mac n Cheese or the Garden Salad options at $5.99, all other menu options fall in the $6.99-8.99 range. A little pricey for lunch, but you pay for the creative options and unique variety you wouldn't find much else of in Logan. They do offer free delivery which is a great deal!

Freshly sliced turkey, havarti cheese, crisp apples, and lettuce on gloriously mouth-watering bread.
Verdict - 4.5 stars
The food was great and the atmosphere inviting, my only complaint is that it was a bit pricey for portion sizes (which is rightly justified by the creativeness and rarity of menu items but we were still kinda hungry after). But all the menu items seem thoughtfully crafted and delicious! I would definitely come back here again even without the "Buy one menu item, get one free" option from our Cache Valley Club Card.


Pecan Pie

Pecan Pies
Makes 3 pies

16 oz. pecans (Stone Mountain Pecan Company)
2 sticks margarine (Parkay)
16 oz. package light brown sugar (Domino or Dixie Crystals)
1 heaping tablespoon (serving tablespoon, not measuring spoon) self-rising flour (White Lily)
16 oz. bottle light corn syrup (Karo)
1 tablespoon (serving tablespoon, not measuring spoon) imitation vanilla
6 eggs
3 regular size (not deep dish) frozen pie crusts (Pet-Ritz)

Melt margarine in the microwave for about 2 minutes or until melted and set aside.
Prepare your pecans. Remove any unwanted brown pieces from the pecan crevices and shake out pecan crumbs in a colander.
Place brown sugar in a large bowl. Work out any lumps with the back of a spoon. If the brown sugar is too hard, you can loosen it up in the microwave. Heat it for a few seconds and it will be fine.
Add a heaping serving tablespoon of self-rising flour and stir until the flour disappears into the brown sugar.
Add a bottle of light corn syrup. Then add 1 serving tablespoon of vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.
Add melted margarine. Fold carefully into the mixture so it doesn’t splatter. Fold until the margarine is thoroughly worked in and disappears.
In a separate bowl, crack open six eggs. Remove the “roosters” and loosely beat the eggs with your spoon.
Fold the eggs into the pie mixture until they disappear.
Add pecans and stir until completely coated.
Remove three pie shells from the freezer at this point and check for cracks. If you do have a crack, thaw and knead the crack together and refreeze.
Pour the mixture evenly into the three shells. You’ll probably have a little bit leftover in the bowl. Tap tops with a spoon to check consistency and make sure there is the same amount in each pie. Redistribute pecans if necessary to make equal.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour at 350. Cook pies until they swell and then fall. At that point they are done.
Remove and cool for about three hours. Store on the counter or in the refrigerator depending on how you like your pie.


Garlicky Cream of Broccoli Soup

Excellent for beginners, great for people who are on a time crunch to savor that lusciously rich, slow-cooked taste with only 15 minutes of work. Serves 2-4.

1 cup small broccoli florets
2 cups chopped broccoli stalk and bigger florets
1/2 small onion, quartered - optional
4 giant cloves of garlic
1 pint half and half (or whole milk, but it's only 99 cents and well worth it!)
1 can (10 oz) condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup grated extra sharp cheddar (or really, any cheese)
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of nutmeg (seriously)

To start, bring a well salted pot of water to a boil and toss in the 2 cups of roughly chopped broccoli, the chopped onion, and 2 cloves of garlic. Boil on high until the stalk pieces are fork tender and scoop out and blend in a food processor until smooth. Save 2 cups of the pot water and dump the rest.

In the same pot, mix the can of cream of celery and the carton of half and half. Add the blended vegetables and stir on medium heat. Mince (don't food processor it- no matter how tempted you are) the other two cloves of garlic and toss in. Add in the cheese and stir. As it bubbles away, periodically add the saved pot water to keep it from getting too thick. I used about a cup and saved the other cup to add when I boiled the soup again later for leftovers.

Remember to keep tasting as you stir so you can flavor it with salt and pepper accordingly. I did add quite a bit of salt and pepper, but I find broccoli usually requires more salt than most veggies do and I just plain old love pepper. Add the nutmeg and cover and let simmer on very low heat for however long you want. I let mine sit on low for 45 minutes since we were in no hurry and it was amazing. Serve with crusty sourdough bread!

Look Paula Deen, no butter! I love butter, but why add it when you can't even taste it in the end? This soup is plenty rich and flavorful without any. The nutmeg saves the soup from tasting too vegetable-y and gives it the right amount of fall spice. You can't taste the nutmeg too much, but it definitely makes a difference.


Call of the Wild

There's no question that I live for food. If food was taken away from me, I would seriously reconsider living. What about your significant other, you say. Food is my significant other (no offense, B). It is the reason I breathe, the reason I get out of bed in the morning, the reason I live. And this meal, is what I dream of.

No, not this salad, however yummy and oriental.
No, not this drink which deceives you into thinking it's beer (it's rootbeer, mom, chill out)
THIS. All you can eat, freshly caught off the shore, dungeness crab. Where's my portion? I ATE IT ALL before everyone else could pick up theirs and I'm impatiently waiting for the server to bring me my next victim.
Homemade daily, topped with a sauce made from wild Alaskan blueberries. Yet it still wasn't the best part.

That is one happy girl. And if she could, she would throw it all up so she could fill her stomach with juicy bites of buttery crab all over again.

I don't wanna brag, but crabs scuttled for their lives away from us for weeks.