Monday, December 5, 2011

Chinese Characters Queen

Another fascination of mine is Chinese characters. I'm toying with a game design idea to help teach beginning characters to people learning Chinese as a second language, and I recently completed a site that shows how the game would work. You can take a look here for now; I'll change that link to a more permanent one sometime closer to the New Year.

I'm particularly proud of the pixel-happy graphics that I used for the site. I've been a computer nerd for quite awhile now, but that was one facet of computers that I hadn't ever taken seriously before. Learning how to mock up quick graphics like the one below was a lot of fun for me.

A Great Slice

I recently ran across another gem in downtown SLC. I didn't expect to lose interest in The Pie so soon, but Pie Hole might have caught me.

Located on State Street just a couple of blocks from the SLC Library Trax station, Pie Hole serves up a more New York-styled slice than you're likely to find anywhere else in Utah. Every day, they offer several stalwarts (potato bacon is my personal favorite) and a few different selections from their massively varied menu. I've passed by on three separate days now, and I haven't seen a repeated special yet, and I've also seen several new flavors that aren't listed on the menu.

The pizza is prepared in advance and then reheated in the oven after you order, giving the crust a marvelous crisp texture. The slices are very thin, so you can fold them in half to finish off the slice.

Another great thing about the place is their hours. They stay open until 3AM, which isn't an option I need too often, but when I do, it's nice to have a choice other than Beto's.

If you're downtown and you need something hot and of dubious nutritional value, I heartily recommend giving Pie Hole a shot.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Moochie's Meatballs and More

I finally had the opportunity to try out a restaurant that's been recommended to me again and again, Moochie's Meatballs and More. I'm really glad I finally made the trip.
I had the traditional cheesesteak (American cheese, with onions) and fries. The sandwich was gooey and delicious; it might not technically fit the description of a proper Philly cheesesteak because of the way they add the cheese (see That's Not A Cheesesteak for details; briefly, they add the cheese too late in the cooking process, and it isn't as melted into the steak as much as it should be). The fries were alright, but not really my cup of tea. Still, the sandwich was more than enough to make me a fan of the place.

Typing in Korean

Just a quick introduction to a little side project of mine. Since learning Korean myself, I've become interested in teaching it to non-speakers. I created a resource for learners of Korean who need to type i Korean. You can view my page here for now; I'll create a permanent link in a few months when that address becomes unavailable.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


I recently spent a little time outside the country, and had the opportunity to use Salt Lake City International Airport as a departure point for the first time since I last left Utah back in 2002. Only in retrospect (and in comparison to the absolutely abhorrent LAX which was also part of my trip) did I realize what makes SLX a good airport; you don't really notice that you're in an airport.

At LAX, there is never any doubt that you're in an airport. You are constantly surrounded by abrasive noises that are unique to airports; announcements are constantly blaring over the PA system, construction sounds surround you practically everywhere you go, and noisy traffic if you are unfortunate enough to have to move from one terminal to another. It's crowded at all hours, and the lines to do anything are unbearable. There are uniformed officials everywhere you look, but it's still unclear where you should be moving next. Due to the construction in some terminals, many signs are misleading or blatantly incorrect. It all adds up to a complete nightmare that makes SLX seem like a dream in comparison.

There are several important factors in this. Wifi is free and easily accessible; there are also cafe-styled tables and chairs scattered around the terminals. If you clear security early, you're not stuck staring at a gate until your plane starts boarding. Also, in contrast to LAX, once you're past security, you're not confronted by too many more uniformed airport or TSA employees. Finally, the layout of the airport is considerably simpler than lesser airports, and there is sufficient (and sufficiently clear) signage to assist you in getting to the right place. This all adds up to a much more intuitive and invisible airport experience.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Kouing-aman

A little nibble this week from a bakery recommended to me from an overseas friend who has never visited Utah.

Apparently, Les Madeleines was featured on Food Network in a celebrity chef's "best thing I've ever tasted" segment. My friend saw that segment and compelled me to visit the bakery. I did not leave disappointed.
The Kouing-aman is a delectably buttery little pastry. It tastes delicious, but for me the real thrill was in the textural sensations when you're eating it; it's crispy and has a crunchy salt on the outer edges, and as you get closer to the middle it ever-so-gradually melts into a flakey and gooey caramel in the center. The cost is a little off-putting ($6!), but it's definitely an experience that I'd recommend to anyone at least once.

Les Madeleines is conveniently located just a block south of the Salt Lake City library.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Other things DO change

And thank god for that too.

Quick post tonight to build a little extension on last week's post. I mentioned that Hires' fries didn't measure up favorably to modern competition. This week, I'm briefly spotlighting some of that competition.

Bruges is located just north of Pioneer Park, and it makes a strong entry in the contest for best fries in the valley. Their menu is admirably focused; during the summer, you can only get waffles, fries, and a sandwich called The Machine Gun. This would likely be a foolish business plan, but everything they do is just *so* good. The waffles have vanilla or cinnamon crystals (your choice) inside that add amazing texture; the toppings, particularly the crème fraîche, are simple, fresh, and delicious. The frites are fried twice, and are offered with any of a number of homemade mayo-based sauces. They are as close to perfection as I believe I've encountered; I look forward to suggestions for other places to find perfection in the comments below.