So summer is starting, which means conference season for my work. This means I get to travel a bit and eat food at exotic locales. This week I had the pleasure of heading to Salt Lake City, Utah. That’s right – when I think exotic, I think Salt Lake City, home of the LDS (Mormon Church), trollies, hardworking pioneers, and lots and lots of white people. Well, one thing we know about white people – they love their mexican food.
This is evident at Salt Lake City’s Red Iguana restaurant, a hip, continuously packed mexican joint across the highway from downtown Salt Lake. After being seated, we were brought delicious, tangy salsa, home-made chips, and tasty margaritas made from your choice of around 8 different tequilas (all under $6.50). The Red Iguana seems to be known for their creative and playful interpretation of mexican Mole sauces (pronounced MOH-lay), which they make from dried and fresh chiles, nuts, spices, herbs, fruits, and vegetables. Upon opening the menu, I was seduced by this little number:
“PUNTAS DE FILETE A LA NORTEÑA: Top sirloin tips sautéed with bacon, jalapeños strips, onions and fresh tomatoes, served on top the almond mole. Refried beans and tortillas complete this much loved dish.”
Mother of God. Word? Serious? An almond mole? While I’ve never actually been brought to the point of licking a plate at a restaurant, I dare say that I came close on this particular occasion. Perhaps the best (and most lacking) description that I can come up with right now (its 5:30 AM after a red-eye flight) is this: almond mole sauce tastes to be the mexican equivalent of a hearty, smoother, vodka pasta sauce. Er, except without the cream. And the tomato. And it has almonds in it.
The menu presents a ridiculous number of other delicious possibilities, including the more traditional (or at least more common) Mole Negro, a mole composed of dried chile mulato, negro pasilla, Mexican chocolate, raisins, peanuts, walnuts & bananas that can be tossed with chicken or turkey, sprinkled with a blend of queso ranchero and cotija, and then topped pickled red onions. If you’re into chocolate-based Mole, this one will surely knock your fucking socks off. If you’re into that kind of thing.
736 West North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84116