Archive | July, 2012
26 Jul

It would be no exaggeration to say that I come from the least sporty family in the world. We never watched the Super Bowl, generally avoided all things spandex, and failed miserably at obtaining the green slice of pie in Trivial Pursuit. One of my brothers and I played badminton in high school, but that’s about as athletic as we got.

Knowing all this, you might understand my surprise when not one but both of my brothers signed up for the Spartan Race late last year. At the time, I struggled to understand why someone would want to run 13 miles and go through 25 obstacles, let alone why they would pay upwards of $100 to do it. But I was eager to see how my youngest brother would fare. He has not been, how do I put this?, the most fit of young men. Henry once wondered if he would sweat potato chips once he started training. Lovely imagery, I know.

Six months later he was running through mud, throwing javelins, scaling walls, and ducking under barbed wire. I couldn’t have been more proud.

So while I still don’t really get sports, I do understand the power of setting a goal and following through. I’ve never seen my littlest brother so happy as when he crossed the finish line, you know, moments after fighting gladiators wielding those giant Q-tip things.

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Flossie’s Guide to Provo

13 Jul

When I left Provo in August–tires screeching, radio on full blast–I had no idea how much I would miss about it. I knew I would miss the people, but I didn’t know how much I would miss my favorite places. So here’s a quick list of my favorite things in Provo!

Food

Spicy Corea*
Why: Delicious food, favorite with Korean expats (so I hear), good prices, sweet location, and nice (but reserved) owners.
What to order: Bibimbap (ask for it with spicy pork, even though it’s not listed on the menu), Gojujang Sangipsal (if you like things spicy), or kimchi jiggai (if you like kimchi, obv). The side dishes they bring out before the meal are awesome. (Image source)

*No, I don’t know why Korea is spelled with a “C.” Also, isn’t their website bizarre?

Saigon Cafe
Why: Cheap prices, good food, generous portions, hilariously surly wait staff.
What to order: General Tso’s chicken, orange chicken, pork lo mein, pho, cashew chicken. I have to say that I’ve had a few things there that weren’t great, so once I found the items on this list, I didn’t branch out much (nor did I feel the need to).

Rancheritos
Why: Open 24/7, cheap prices, amazing tortillas
What to order: Texano burrito, California burrito, horchata, quesadilla supreme (this isn’t on the menu anymore but they’ll make it if you ask. And you should really ask). I’ve also had some missteps here. I don’t recommend anything with chicken (it’s a bit dry).

Cafe Rio
Why: If you have to ask, you must be new to the area.
What to order: Pork barbacoa salad. Once you’ve had that about 10 times, you may be ready to branch out.   May I suggest pork tacos, coconut shrimp tacos (only on Tuesdays), and the berry flan.

Osaka
Why: Authentic Japanese (apparently), great prices, magical salad dressing. (Ignore the creepy candy mannequin in the lobby.)
What to order: Salmon don burri was my go to. It comes with a salad. The dressing is magical. It just is. (Photo from Yelp.)

Happy Sumo
Why: Great sushi, swanky (for Provo) location, sweet VIP deals (sign up here. no, really, sign up right now).
What to order: I like simple sushi for the most part, so I go with the spicy tuna, philly, and avocado rolls. For appetizers, I like the seared tuna tataki, dragon scales, and edamame. I also want to marry the turtle shell appetizer.

Pon Pon House
Why: Boba, boba, boba.
What to order: Boba smoothie. My favorite is the honeydew. The strawberry and pineapple are good too. Avoid the avocado. You might think it sounds like a good idea (actually, you probably don’t), but it’s not. Also, the food is apparently not great. I just stuck with the boba.

Provo Bakery
Why: Quaint, delicious, surprising
What to order: The bran muffins. I know! Who gets excited about bran muffins? But these are indescribably delicious, and I don’t even love bran muffins. They’re baked, flipped on their little muffin heads, and drenched in this honey syrup/magic potion. Go early because they sell out most days, especially Saturdays. (photo source)

Terra Mia
Why: Authentic pizza, sweet gelato bar, located next to the mall and movie theater.
What to order: Margherita pizza with arugula. This is my favorite pizza in the area. (Image source)

The Cocoa Bean
Why: Creative drinks, extended hours
What to order: Frappes. The chocolate ones taste like an icy chocolate milk. Mexican chocolate is my fave. The cupcakes are good, not great.

Shopping: Groceries (oh the glamour!)

Sunflower
Go here for high-quality, low-priced produce. Check the ads for at least one great deal each week. And Wednesday is double sale day, so everything from the previous week and the next week’s ads is on sale. They also have quite a bit of health food stuff, organic, etc.

Buy Low
Groceries here are the cheapest of the cheap. Quality isn’t always great, but prices are ridiculously low.

Bollywood
If you like Indian food, you need to go here. They have all of the ingredients you need to make most Indian dishes, and the owners will even give you their recipes! Their fresh yogurt (in tall, clear cups in the refrigerator case) is great in smoothies and as a garnish with curries. On Saturday morning, they sell fresh, hot samosas. Also, in the adjoining shop they sell Indian street food a la carte. Most of it’s fried, so I don’t recommend making a whole meal of it (lesson learned), but definitely stop in for a snack (the little doughnut hole things in honey syrup are delicious).

Shopping: Thrifting

Deseret Industries (Thrift shop associated with the Mormon church).
Provo’s DI gets a bad wrap as being picked over, but I’ve found some great stuff there. Go often, put on your ipod, and don’t be afraid to dig!

This isn’t Provo-specific, but the Centerville DI (about an hour north) is my very favorite thrift store. It has the thrifting trifecta: affluent area, older demographic (lots of vintage), and large location.

Misc.

BYU work out classes
You can pay about $50 for an entire semester of workout classes if you’re a student, employee, or spouse of either one–or if you know someone who is and will sign up for you… They have a good offering of classes and fun instructors. The intervals class (embarassingly called Ripped) is one of the best classes I’ve even been to.

Aveda Beauty School
For about $10 you can get a cut and style from one of the more advanced students. They also offer manicures, pedicures, and facials. I’ve never been disappointed with a haircut from here. Prices are cheaper than some of the other schools in the area, and the salon has comfy chairs and a professional feel. Also, the first time you go, you get a gift card for services totaling the amount you spend on products. Try the Aveda volumizing serum if you have baby fine hair like I do! (image source)

Skweez deals
Sign up for daily coupons that arrive via text. They can sometimes be repetitive or lame, but often they’re pretty decent.

Overrated
Chances are if you live in Provo for any amount of time, someone will drag you to these Provo institutions. They’re ridiculously popular, but I don’t see what the big fuss is.

Brick Oven
They do give you free root beer, but I’ve just never seen the big deal about the average pizzeria-type food.

Los Hermanos
The only thing I’ve ever had here is bland, not-at-all-authentic Mexican food.