Valdes said he once promised himself hed never go into
the restaurant business. Its a lucky break for Moab
that Miguel changed his mind.
Miguel has been in the restaurant business most of his life
with family in Baja, Mexico. Hes also an avid boatman.
His earlier promise to avoid the restaurant business was more
a thing of been there, done that. But after cooking
for friends in Moab, and guiding on local waterways for a
few years, Miguel and his wife Carea opted for a Cinco de
Mayo, 2001 grand opening that brought authentic Baja cuisine
to downtown Moab.
It was my friends who asked me to open a restaurant,
Miguel admits. When we came to Moab three summers ago
I was a river guide. Now I do winter guiding in Baja.
And March through November he and Carea run Miguels
Baja Grill, where Miguel says diners wont find Southwestern
or Mexican American food, only authentic Baja cuisine made
from recipes passed down by his own parents.
|Miguels Baja Grill
51 North Main Street
Moab UT 84532
Open daily for lunch and dinner 11:30 to 9 p.m.
breakfast Friday, Saturday and Sunday 7 to 11:30 a.m.
There are some dishes we fix that
you cant even find in Mexico, Miguel said. Baja
cuisine is very simple to prepare. There arent as
many different kinds of chili peppers or spices as Southwestern
cuisine. Our food is very simple.
And very fresh. Everything but the chips and tortillas are
prepared on site. Nothing frozen, according
This freshness extends to the decor. Miguel, and his partner,
Mitch, put a lot of thought into the colors, music and ambience
of both indoor and semi-outdoor seating. The restaurant,
which seats 62, includes a patio with window doorways, with
light spilling in from the glass roofed walk-way. Picturesque
steps lead into a dining room with authentic Mexican decorations.
Miguels aspiration to prepare the best and most authentic
Mexican food north of the border, and his desire to provide
comfortable dining for his patrons was handsomely rewarded
with a mention in the May 2002 issue of Outsdie Magazine.
A travel publication that featured Canyonlands National
Park in this months issue, Outside included a sidebar
of Moab features: average temperature, visitation, and the
now World famous fish tacos at Miguels
Our Baja fish tacos are one of the best things on the menu,
Miguel said. Made with Maji Maji or red snapper, this popular
entrée sells more than any other.
popular items include the Nopolo style Ceviche, a blend
of raw fish, onion, cilantro and tomatoes marinated in lime
juice; stuffed jalapenos, and Carmens chile relleno.
New this year is a breakfast menu including chilaquiles,chorizo,
machaca and for the sweet tooth, churros and cinnamon rolls.
Although cerveza (beer) has always been served at Miguels,
this year the restaurant will have a liquor license allowing
Miguel to show off his talent for making fresh margueritas,
using no mixes and offering three grades of tequila: good,
better and best, he says. I recommend them on
the rocks, he adds.
I think we do a good job, Miguel said. Im
Mexican. I know my country and I know what Im cooking.
This is a little window into my country.
Chicken Tamale Recipe
Makes a dozen tamales
1/2 Kilogram (approx 1 pound) Corn
250 Grams (approx. 9 ounces) Lard
3 Grams (approx. 1 teaspoon) Salt
50 Grams (approx. 2 ounces) cooked, shredded
3 Grams (approx. 1 teaspoon) Sugar
1 liter (approx. 1 quart) Warm Water
300 Grams (approx. 11 ounces) Tomatoes
2 Cloves Garlic
50 Grams (approx. 2 ounces) Onion
3 Chile Serranos
30 Milliliters (approx. 1/2 cup) Canola Oil
12 Corn Husks
Soak the corn husks in room
temperature water for 45 minutes. Pat dry.
Stir together flour, sugar, and salt. Slowly
add to the warm water. Hand mix until dough becomes
stiff. Divide dough into 12 balls.
In blender, blend tomatoes, garlic, onions
Sautee sauce in the canola oil over medium
Add chicken to sauce and simmer until heated
Shape each dough ball into a boat shape and
place on husk. Fill boat with mix. Pinch
closed and then wrap completely in husk. Repeat
for all twelve husks.
Steam for 45 minutes.