Thursday, October 18, 2012

Red Iguana in Rose Park, Utah


Chips with hot salsa.

We have friends and family in almost all areas of Utah, so if there happens to be a special occasion that catches us passing by Salt Lake City then Red Iguana is the first place that comes to mind. It has the easiest accessibility, right off the freeway without really having to go into the city, and it's familiar and busy enough to feel comfortable taking our children. Since we usually have our 2- and 4-yr-old with us we always plan to go during the slower hours, which is still pretty busy but not as long of a wait.

Pozole (special)
Pozole is a traditional soup made with hominy, pork, and plenty of herbs and spices. It was accompanied with a crisp tortilla, shredded cabbage, dried oregano, cilantro, and onions. It was very spicy hot. That good kind of spicy hot that comes steaming out of your ears and clears your sinuses. Most restaurants tone down the heat for Utahns, but I appreciate when they don't. I feel like it strengthens my bowels.

Horchata (w/ refill) $2.10
My usual horchata helps cool down the heat when needed.

Encurtidos $8.75 :: Pickled jalapenos filled with shrimp and queso fresco, dipped in egg batter, fried and topped w/ salsa española, served with guacamole.

I love pickled, vinegary food, so I had been wanting to try these encurtidos for awhile. Very tasty indeed. One of the peppers was particularly hot, so again, heat out the ears and could have been the hottest thing I've ever eaten. Don't hesitate though, the heat passes after a few minutes and creates an experience. Spicy heat can accompany and elevate flavors. It can leave you with the best aftertaste. If you don't eat spicy food very often (I don't even know you), but would like to start, have a glass of milk nearby or a side of sour cream to cool your palate.

The following dishes were featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, so we decided to try them. 
P.S.-This post consists of two separate visits...
Enmoladas $9.30 :: Three corn tortillas folded into triangles and filled with refried beans, topped with mole negro, sprinkled with a blend of queso fresco and cotija, topped w/ pickled onions.

Red Iguana specializes in several mole (MO-leh) sauces. Watch the DDD video below to truly appreciate what they do. We learned on the video that to get a good taste of the flavors of a mole, order the enmoladas. That's exactly what I ordered and I loved it. I had already tried the Mole Negro, so I requested the Mole Verde (made w/ avocados) and the Mole Pablano (made w/ bananas, sesame seeds, and ancho chiles). I was happy to see how beautiful the dish was with those two moles. You can see in the picture that they don't skimp on the sauce. Read more about the moles and other dishes on their menu HERE.

Puntas de Filete a la Norteña $15.85 :: Top sirloin tips sautéed with bacon, jalapeño strips, onions and fresh tomatoes, served atop the almond mole. Served w/ tortillas, beans, and rice.

Tacos Don Ramon $9.90 :: Three crisp corn tacos filled with top sirloin tips, grilled with pork chorizo, garnished with lettuce and queso cotija.
These were very good tacos. I mean, they grill the tortillas in chorizo fat, hel-lo.

Pan de Tres Leches $4.50

We, and many people we know, occasionally go on special dates to Salt Lake City, so this is a place we highly, highly recommend. We like to take our children here after doing something fun in the city. P.S. The "Taste of Red Iguana" at the City Creek Food Court just won't cut it. Stick with the full experience.

Red Iguana on Urbanspoon

Read more about Red Iguana's history HERE.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lone Star Taqueria in Holladay, Utah


It's kind of funny how we/I discovered Lone Star Taqueria.
In 2003, Mark and I had a few "breaks" in our dating relationship. This particular break was like fate for us. On a particular break I went on a blind lunch-date with another man. I remember he had a red car and he was balding. But more importantly I remember that he took me to Lone Star Taqueria. I'm pretty sure I ordered a tamale, and I'm pretty sure I hadn't expected to fall head over heels....for a restaurant. When I think back, I picture myself immersed in my eating experience, looking at my date, and not hearing a word he said because I was enjoying each and every bite--I was in my own little world. I may, or may not have, thought about Mark and how much I knew he'd love this place. Long story short, Mark and I soon got back together (thankfully) and we invited Lone Star to be part of our relationship (thankfully).

It had always been a fairly busy place with a steady flow of customers, but on this day, we discovered that it truly has attracted the masses. As you can see, the drive-thru line is out to Ft. Union Boulevard and the parking lot is packed. We had to park in the bank parking lot just East of Lone Star.

Check out that list of tacos. There's no wrong answer.

Their fresh chips are thick and crispy, so there's no going soggy with these nachos.

Oh how I love a good tamale. This particular beef tamale sets the high bar. I'm certain it's the best tamale in the state. I like to dip each bite in the little cup of jalapeno mayo. 

Lone Star Taqueria has incredible flavors, awesome service, and lots of charm. Try the tamale, or of course, try the tacos.......try everything!

Lone Star Taqueria on Urbanspoon