Kid-Friendly Global Cuisine in Utah

I think one of the very best ways to expose kids to culture is through food! We love taking our kids to traditional Indian restaurants, Vietnamese sandwich shops, Chinese noodle houses, and Middle Eastern shawarma places…you name it. We’ve found that almost every restaurant has something almost every kid will eat since they all have starches ranging from naan to rice to pita bread.

Utah has a surprisingly eclectic restaurant scene with so many great options! Here are a few of our family’s favorites and, as always, I’d absolutely love it if you’d share some of your favorite spots as well.


This little french place is as darling as it is delicious. It’s worth a visit if nothing else just to take a cute picture in front of that bright blue exterior!


The stuffed blueberry french toast was a favorite with my 18 month old who hogged the whole thing. I loved the avocado toast.


Emme was a fan of the raspberry macarons.

This is a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese noodle house where you build your own noodle bowls. There are a bunch of different noodle, meat, broth, and vegetable options and you can “choose your own” hence the name CY Noodle house.


It’s right on State Street in Salt Lake in “China Town” which we will loosely define as such. There’s a fun Asian Market next door that we like to explore too. I took my girls on a little scavenger hunt to find the most unique stuff they could find. Then they got to pick out their favorite Asian candy for dessert. IMG_2305

The bottom dish was my favorite–I think it was called the chow mein bowl with udon noodles, all of the veggies, and chicken. The chicken was so tasty!

There are two locations for this fun new restaurant in Provo. Basically they’re rethinking the taco and filling it with all sorts of global flavors from Korean BBQ to Buffalo Chicken to Thai to traditional carne asada. This place was fresh and such a bargain! Tacos are $2.50 a la cart or you can get a 12 pack that will feed the whole family for $25.


These little Portuguese donuts called malasadas were hot and sticky and fresh and the perfect way to end our taco feast. The chimichurri mac and cheese was another favorite, although my kids weren’t as into it as I was. My kids liked the steak asada tacos with nothing but meat and cheese. The Buffalo chicken tacos are a best seller for grown ups.

La Carreta 
This Peruvian restaurant in Orem was a favorite of mine in college and it’s been fun to take the kids back. The owners are a mother/daughter duo who opened the restaurant 24 years ago. I love supporting small businesses like this!


The Lomo Saltado is my personal favorite–it’s basically a steak dish mixed with veggies and french fries served with rice.


My kids loved the Salchipapas which is a traditional dish (seriously though!) of grilled, sliced hot dogs with french fries. (:


This fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant with locations in Murray, Sugarhouse, and Farmington Station. They serve fresh, healthy great quality food. My personal favorite is the Pesto Chicken with Artichokes over couscous with tons of grilled veggies added. The shawarma salad and the wraps are also delish!


Our kids loved the flat bread pizza and shawarma plate.


I’m saving the best for last here. We are obsessed with Oh Mai and eat at this Vietnamese sandwich shop way too often! They have fresh ingredients and bold flavor and it’s


The glazed honey pork rice bowl is our go-to for the kids–it’s basically just grilled pork, with rice and some cucumbers on the side.


My six-year-old loves the pho, but she’s definitely a more adventurous eater than my other kids.


It’s an order at the counter kind of casual place and the food is super cheap–less that $5 for the sandwhiches and $6.95 for the rice bowls and pho.


Dan loves the glazed honey pork bahn mi and my newest favorite is the garlic ribeye bahn mi. Mmm…it’s so flavorful!

I hope this restaurant round-up helps you find some new spots your family will love. Few things make me as happy as watching my kids experience new culture through food!



Kid-Friendly Global Cuisine in Utah

Thai Lettuce Wraps

The Thai lettuce wraps from the Cheesecake Factory are one of all-time favorites and this recipe is my take on them.

The peanut sauce is seriously so good you can dip just about anything in it and it will taste good. I love dinners like this because it’s healthy and the kids can customize their plate. My kids all like grilled meat, rice, and noodles, so this works great for our family. Hope you like them!

Cheesecake Factory Copycat Thai Lettuce Wraps


Peanut Sauce:

1 1/2 Tb sugar (increase to 2 Tb if using natural peanut butter)

1 Tb minced peeled fresh ginger

3 Tb fresh lime juice

1 Tb soy sauce

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground red pepper

1 clove garlic, crushed

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tb water


Puree in blender or food processor until smooth

For the chicken:


I don’t have a real recipe for this part. Sometimes I’ll just salt and pepper the chicken and grill it and that works just fine. This time I created a little marinade with the following:
*3/4 cup canola oil

*1/4 cup soy sauce

*1 tsp or so of sesame oil

*juice of 1 lime

*1 clove of garlic, chopped

*1/2 TB of lemongrass, chopped

*1/2 TB sesame seeds

Don’t hold the chicken marinade recipe to a science because I’m just guessing on those ingredients. You could put marinate the meat in a combination of any of the above ingredients and grill it and I’m sure it would turn out great.



*I love the thick chow mein type noodles, but if you can’t find those spaghetti or angel hair pasta work fine

*Butter leaf or Boston lettuce

*purple cabbage


*bell peppers

*snow peas

*bean sprouts


*chopped peanuts



Thai Lettuce Wraps

Grandma’s Orange Rolls

Today was a very good day. The sun was shining; we were uplifted and inspired listening to the messages of LDS General Conference; and the girls and I baked a big batch of hot, gooey orange rolls.

Orange rolls will always remind me of my Grandma Neda. We used to make the 13 hour drive from California to her home in Logan, Utah every summer. She would always welcome us with straight-outta-the-oven orange rolls and nothing ever tasted quite as good.

Now orange rolls are memory food and I swear they taste just like childhood to me.04-03-2016-23

04-03-2016-8I LOVE that my girls are becoming quite the little cooks. Working alongside of them in the kitchen is my favorite.
04-03-2016-22Baby Girl does NOT like being left out! She joined us for the first time up on the barstools alongside her big sisters today and you could just tell that she felt like a big girl.
04-03-2016-2My hope of hopes is that these little ladies will always want to join me in the kitchen.


½ cup sugar
½ cup butter
rind from 1 orange.For the rolls:

Dissolve 1 Tablespoon yeast in ¼ cup warm water

2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 cup warm milk (the temperature of bath water)

Stir until combined

2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon salt

Stir until combined

1 beaten egg

Stir until well combined

½ to cup to 1 cup flour

Mix until all ingredients are completely combined (about a minute or 2) and allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Roll into large rectangle, about half an inch thick and spread with filling. Roll it up and cut about 1 1/2 inches thick using dental floss. Place in well-buttered muffin tins.

Allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place. Bake about 12 minutes in a 350 degree oven (do not over bake) Makes approximately 2 dozen rolls

I hope you love them as much as we do!



Grandma’s Orange Rolls

Bakery Birthday Party

Emme celebrated her fourth birthday with a bakery birthday party. As if four year old girls weren’t already cute enough, throw a chef hat and an apron on them and they’ve reached all new levels of adorableness.

Emme and I had so much fun planning all of the details of this party together from the chef hats to the aprons to the cupcake wrapper garlands. Her excitement level was through-the-roof when the long-awaited day of her bake shop birthday finally arrived.


Each guest got their own chef hat. I got these hats from Amazon. They were good quality for the price and had velcro closures so they were adjustable, still a little big for a few of the girls, but they worked. Emme and I decorated them with ‘flowers’ made from cupcake liners, coffee filters, and hot glue. We wrote each guest’s name on the hat with gold stickers. (I think gold puff paint my work better.)


Emme helped me string cupcake liners and coffee filters on embroidery floss to create decorative garlands. (One of my favorite little details.)02-24-2016-21

Each guest had their own place setting with these cookie trays acting as a placemat and ‘catch all’ for the sprinkles. (2 for $1 at the Dollar Store.) The paint palettes worked great for the cupcake decorating and sprinkle/candy organization. ($1.50 each from Michael’s)


One of the many things I love about little girls is their attention to detail when it comes to this kind of thing. The girls spent at least 30 minutes frosting and carefully decorating their cupcakes. They could have spent even more time it I hadn’t run out of cupcakes


Emme and I made each of her friends an apron out of fabric scraps we had laying around.


I love four year olds decorating style so much. Just look at that masterpiece!02-24-2016-3302-24-2016-17

 I had grand plans to make homemade playdough they could roll out and use cookie cutters to shape. I also had plans for a pin-the-candle-on-the-cupcake-game, but a fussy baby helped me decide that simplifying was the best decision. In the end, the party was a success and the birthday girl was thrilled about every last detail, so I will consider that a win!

Bakery Birthday Party

Hi, I’m Jamie

Mary Claire Photography (2)-2

Hi you guys! Just a quick introduction: My name is Jamie and I’m the mom to four kids, ages 9, 6, 4, and 17 months. My husband Dan and I have raised our family in San Francisco, Boston, and most recently Salt Lake City. We’ve loved exploring each of these beautiful cities with our kids. Exposing my children to beauty and culture is one of my very favorite things about motherhood. We like to wander and explore the great outdoors while scouting out the best parks, hiking trails, events, vacation spots and seasonal activities with kids. I’ll be sharing some of our favorite discoveries here. I hope you’ll join me on our adventures!

Hi, I’m Jamie