24 May, 2009

Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives-Red Iguana & Ruth's Diner

Apparently Salt Lake City is a home style cooking hot spot because it is home to five restaurants that have been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. We weighed our options and given my dietary restrictions decided to skip the barbecue joints and instead went to the Red Iguana for dinner. As we drove up it was difficult to overlook the crowd of people standing outside. We ended up waiting for about 35 minutes before a table became available and others were waiting even longer. I got the feeling that this wasn't unusual.

The vibrant colors and bold artwork contributed to the fun and lively atmosphere. The inside was quite small with one square dining area and another rectangular shaped dining area that led to the kitchen. There were actually stuffed roosters mounted on the wall which I recall as being a little eerie. Unlike most Americanized Mexican restaurants, the Red Iguana is a truly authentic Mexican restaurant with the largest menu of traditional Mexican dishes I have ever seen. We had vegetarian nachos as an appetizer whith refried beans, guacamole, sour cream, olives, and cheddar and jack cheeses. They are the only nachos I have ever had at a restaurant that were worthy of being called delicious. For our meals I had a veggie chimichanga, Andy had mole verde with chicken, and Sean had mole with apple stuffed pork. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera so I don't have any images of the Red Iguana, only memories.

For breakfast we decided to go to Ruth's Diner. The shell of the diner was an original rail car from 1938. The inside was beautifully redone with hardwood floors, elegant wooden booths, and pictures of Ruth herself and the original diner hung from the walls. There was a great sense of history and tradition. What now serves as the kitchen was originally Ruth's apartment that she built onto the back of the rail car. The diner stands alone surrounded by a series of rolling hills. We sat out on the patio among sprawling oaks and maples and beautifully landscaped flowers and bushes. It was incredibly peaceful and welcoming, the type of place I would love to go every Sunday.

We each had one of Ruth's Mile High Biscuits in addition to our meals. I had two fried eggs, wheat toast, half a grapefruit, and a cafe latte. Sean had pecan cinnamon roll french toast and Andy had a western omelette. At the time I recall that we were all incredibly satisfied and impressed not only by the food, but the time and care that went into creating the entire dining experience. Ruth's Diner will definitely be difficult if not impossible to top.

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