Tag Archives: restaurants I really like

Chunga’s: Good Mexican Food, Just Outside of Downtown

The great thing about finding good Mexican food off the beaten path is that you don’t have to wait in line. Walk right up, place your order, and find a seat. Five minutes later, you’re enjoying your enchiladas, heaps of beans and rice, washed down by your favorite soft drink.

You can worry about the calories later.

In the meantime, get off the beaten path and head over to Chunga’s and enjoy that good Mexican food.

Over in Rose Park on 900 West, Chunga’s doesn’t look like much. More than meets the eye, though, and it’s worth checking out. The menu is simple, but looks written for a mixed clientage of native Spanish speakers and local gringos. I ordered my standard enchiladas with rice and beans.

While we waited, we were treated to restaurant style chips and salsa, the kind that you can’t stop eating. At most Mexican restaurants, the chips are long gone, along with my appetite, before the food arrives. Today, though, my order arrived before I could down more than  three or for chips.

And how were the enchiladas? Let me put it this way: not only did I finish them, but I also finished the rice and black beans that came with, as well as the pre-meal chips. It wasn’t quite Red Iguana, but Chunga’s certainly proved itself worthy of a drive away from the usual haunts in Downtown.

Last point: if it’s warm enough, don’t miss the chance to sit outside. There’s a lot more room outside in the patio area on the north of the building than there is inside. Might as well take advantage of it.

Service: 9/10
Atmosphere: 6/10 (none, really. )
Food: 18/20
Parking: 6.5/10
Eat-ability Quotient (an average of scores):  7.9/10

Check out my other restaurant reviews here. If you have a restaurant you’d like me to try out, please contact me by sending an email to SLCWeekendReviews@gmail.com.

Chunga's on Urbanspoon

Tabasco’s Restaurant: The Best Mexican Food You’ve Never Heard About

Found in a hispanic shopping center called Se Rancho Markets on Redwood Road, hunting down Tabasco's is worth your time.

Maybe I better qualify this post’s title: I’ve only had one dish at Tabasco’s. It was unlike any dish I’ve had at any other place, so it may not be a completely fair comparison.

The dish, however, was amazing. Called “Molcajete,” which is a Mexican way of saying “a mortar and pestle,” the dish will knock your socks off. Continue reading

The Copper Onion: Upper Crust Yum

I can’t say enough about how much I enjoyed The Copper Onion. Recommended to me last year, I’ve put it off. With the excuse of a “birthday dinner,” though, we reserved a table and showed up hungry.

We were not disappointed.

Before I get much further, let me tell you my main problem with ordering food: it all looks good to me. Part of the reason I like the “In n’ Outs” of the world is the relatively sparse choice. Burger or cheeseburger. It’s easy, and I’m in and out…literally.

The Copper Onion, on the other hand, does not present me with those kinds of choices. Not only were the selections nearly all in a vocabulary that I just don’t use on a daily basis, they also look fantastically delicious. I would glance at an item, then at a table nearby and wonder: “Is that what they have? I want to try that.”

Repeated for almost every menu item.

Fortunately, with a party of four, there was ample opportunity to try multiple selections.

I ordered the lamb riblets. Crispy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside, I picked each bite off the ribs carefully and fully. It was sided by an arugula salad with some type of delicious milky dressing with a slight citrus tang and mixed with little fried potatoes. The combination was fantastic, and I had no problem finishing either my greens or my lamb.

My Better Half ordered the Clear Springs trout filet, browned in butter, fennel and lemon with baby beets and almonds. Although I’m generally not a fan of river fish, it was satisfying, and my wife enjoyed it.

We we’re lucky to have the In-laws along as our dinner partners this evening, and they chose excellent meals, as well. Mom-in-law ordered a medium rare Snake River Farms Wagyu  tri tip steak that ended up in pieces on everyone’s plate after she raved about how tender it was. It came with chimichurri, spring onions, fingerling potatoes, and crimini mushrooms.

Lest I forget, we also ordered sides of vegetables that were winners all on their own: cauliflower that was quick cooked on a griddle and topped with some creamy sauce, green beans, and shishito peppers that we cooked in olive oil and sea salt. Fantastic, each. The sauces on the cauliflower and the beans were succulent and the shishito peppers had just a tad bit of zing to them, without burning my mouth.

The last word from everyone? A good meal, and a great menu. One thing I like, in addition to just the culinary flavors, was the portion sizes. Each was just right for a meal, not a giant pile of food that leaves you feeling bloated and stuffed as you walk out. The presentation is delightful and attractive, and just looking at it makes you want to eat it.

As we walked out, I glanced over at another table (again) and saw the vaunted Copper Onion Burger piled with grilled onions and meat, and I started salivating, again. I can’t wait to go back and try it.

APROPOS: Dad-in-law was with us, but I honestly can’t remember what he ordered…chicken? At least I do remember his assessment: he like it.

The Copper Onion on Urbanspoon

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Pioneer Restaurant: Best. Fries. EVER. (or at least last week)

I hope I don’t exaggerate too much when I say that I may have found the best fries in Utah.

Ever.

Admittedly, it’s not the most accessible restaurant in town, unless that town happens to be Springdale, Utah at the gate of Zion National Park. I arrived by en route from Sand Hollow Reservoir, where I was staying,  by means of a road bike, so by the time I pulled up, the 40 miles I had traveled under pedal power had amply exercised my appetite up to a frenzy.

My Reuben was served warm (as it should be) and was delicious. The marbled rye was toasted, and there was just enough sauerkraut and pastrami filled in between the slices of warm bread to fill my stomach, but not too much to leave me filling stuffed. The meat was well cured and sliced just a tad above thin. It was among the best Reubens I’ve found. As I examined what was to be my last bite, I found myself looking at it longingly, wishing for more, not because I needed it–the portion was just right–but because I had enjoyed it.

Admittedly, not a great picture...and I'd already downed more than half the fries.

But enough about the sandwich. Let’s get back to those fries!!

They were crisp. So hot I almost burned my tongue.  Salted to perfection. Soft on the inside. They were delicious. Next time I am back in Springdale, I’m stopping for fries, I don’t care what time of day it is.

Pioneer Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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The Chocolate: How do I love thee?

The Chocolate: how many ways do I love thee? Let me count them…

Everyone once in a while, a place comes along that just blows away my expectations. The Chocolate is one such place.

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