Plum Alley

I'm just now recovering from a nasty 72-hour bug.  The most annoying symptom was having the chills while simultaneously being drenched in sweat.  It came on so suddenly that when I woke up feeling horrible on Sunday morning I didn't have time to get a substitute teacher for the ladies' Relief Society class I teach at church so I blundered through my lesson with sweat running down my face and some pretty impressive pit stains on my sweater.  I am (obviously) all class.

But that's not what this post is supposed to be about; it's supposed to be about the delicious food pictured above.  On Saturday night N and I went on a date to see Moonrise Kingdom (loved it!) and to try out a new restaurant, Plum Alley. 

Plum Alley is a pan-Asian sister restaurant to The Copper Onion which is one of our favorite places to eat in Salt Lake.  It has the same owners and one of the same chefs. Since N and I both love all sorts of Asian food we were excited to try it out.

The restaurant itself is more casual than The Copper Onion, with several communal tables and seats available along a bar at the window and a bar facing the kitchen.  Strings of colorful lanterns cover the wood-paneled ceiling.

We parked ourselves at the window to people watch and studied the menu.  Everything sounded so good that we went a little overboard.  Happily, the prices are lower than at The Copper Onion so the damage wasn't that bad.  Most small plates were $5-8 and the large plates were $12-13.

We ordered (clockwise from left): beef rendang, two types of steamed buns: pork shoulder with pickled mustard greens and glazed pork belly), the "Angry Birds" noodle special with duck, and to lighten things up, the papaya salad and the red curry beans with crispy shallots.

Everything was very flavorful.  The server had warned us that the noodle special was spicy but I was still a bit taken a back.  I LOVE spicy food (I'm half-Korean, after all!) but I was still gulping down my water.  The pickle-y papaya salad was the perfect thing to take off some of the heat. 

Everything was good but my favorites were the long beans, which were surprisingly rich with red curry goodness and also perfectly slightly crisp, and the pork belly steamed buns (two for $7).  The bun itself was lovely and pillowy and the pork was succulent and perfect.  If I have any complaints, it might be that the rendang was a little too salty on its own, but eaten with rice ($1 for a small bowl) it was fine.

It can be next to impossible to get into The Copper Onion without a reservation on the weekend so we were kind of perplexed to see people standing outside waiting when you can walk fifty feet down the street and find yourself at the happy place that is Plum Alley.  My guess is that it's only because word hasn't gotten around yet.

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