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Don Miguel's, Cedar City, Utah

janetofreno Dec 26, 2010 08:32 PM

Our wanderings this Christmas weekend took us to Cedar City in southern Utah (we were treating our son to a few days in the mountains and snow, two things he doesn't encounter in his new hometown of New Orleans). Another thing he doesn't encounter there often is decent Mexican food, so that was our first choice in searching out restaurants.

My husband asked the hotel clerk for a recommendation. He suggested Don Miguel's on Main Street, just a few blocks south of "downtown" Cedar City. I was a little wary, after all, the clerk seemed a little, um, too white and clean cut to understand good Mexican. (Not to mention the fact that I always worry when a restaurant proclaims "authentic Mexican Cuisine" on its sign). I should have trusted the guy more. Heck, maybe he did a mission south of the border.

Anyway, it was a good call. This is a small and obviously family-run restaurant. I was heartened to hear all of the staff speaking Spanish when we entered. It was Christmas Eve, and they were teasing each other about presents (at one point a huge pile of gaily wrapped gifts emerged from the kitchen and was given to a visitor). Our waitress was friendly and knowledgeable. The only alcoholic beverages on the menu were beers, but that was fine with us. We settled in to reading the (long) menu while enjoying our Negro Modelos and some home-made chips and two excellent and very picante salsas., one a salsa fresca and the other a salsa verde. We also enjoyed a side order of guacamole. The guacamole was fresh and tasty, but the serving was a little small for three people. OTOH, it was only 2.50; we should have just ordered a second portion. Son decided on Camerones a la Diabla: DH had pollo asado, and I couldn't resist a bowl of Albondigas soup.

The food came out quickly and was all quite tasty. Son and hubby declared their dishes good, and finished the large portions. I was unable to finish my soup, but not for lack of trying. Six bucks or so bought me a HUGE bowl (there must have been eight or nine meatballs). The albondigas were mostly made from pork, which is different than many versions, but they were light, tasty, and had a nice flavor from the mint mixed in. The broth was also tasty, and was chock full of various vegetables (squash, carrots, onions, potatoes, and two small corn cobbettes). My soup came with a variety of condiments to sprinkle: raw chopped onions, cilantro, lime, oregano, arroz, and a special hot red salsa. It also came with white corn tortillas, which weren't homemade but did taste fresh. Yum!

It was an excellent meal for an even better price. As I mentioned earlier, portions are huge at Don Miguel's but prices are not. Dinner for three including tax, a generous Christmas Eve tip, and four beers was 60 bucks.

We enjoyed it so much that when we found ourselves starving after a morning of snow tubing at Brian Head on Sunday we all agreed to fortify ourselves with mochas and wait to eat until we beat the snowstorm down the hill in the hopes that Don Miguel's would be open. It was, and we enjoyed another excellent meal. I had huevos rancheros, and they were made exactly as I like them: with a not-too-thick sauce, runny yolks, and no cheese. My only quibble is that the sauce was a little bland, but that was easily remedied with a spoonful or two of that excellent salsa. Oh, and the accompanying black beans were a little too salty, but I was too full after eating the eggs to finish them anyway. Again, servings were huge; three eggs in the Huevos. Hubby had machaca which he greatly enjoyed, and son a lunch plate with a chicken taco and enchilada. All were very good. Again, a bargain: lunch for three (no beers this time) with tax and tip was 25 dollars. Hard to go wrong with that.

It isn't perfect, but the food at Don Miguel's is very good; service is friendly and efficient, and the place just feels right. I heartily recommend it if your wanderings should take you up that way. A stop in Cedar City on the way to Salt Lake from Vegas is a good idea anyway: gas there is 25 cents a gallon cheaper than in Vegas. It would also make a good place for a post-hike meal if you were headed up to Cedar Breaks or the Kolob Canyons, and as we learned its the perfect place to stop after a trip to Brian Head for snowplay or skiing!

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La Casa Don Miguel
453 S Main St, Cedar City, UT 84720