Tuesday, August 20, 2013


My favorite place to visit within driving distance of L.A. is San Diego, or more specifically, Coronado Island.  My husband and I come down here at least once a year.  Thanks to my husband's Reserve status in the Air Force, we always stay on the North Island Naval Base.

On our first trip down here (many years ago), we didn't know where to go for dinner, so we ended up driving down the main drag towards the Hotel Del Coronado.  We found a parking spot a couple blocks away and started looking at restaurant menus as we walked.  We ended up at Miguel's, and our tradition ever since is that we eat at Miguel's the day we arrive on Coronado Island.

I love Miguel's.  They have indoor seating, but we always sit on the patio, no matter what time of year it is.  Gotta love Southern California's weather.  If it's chilly, they turn on the heat lamps.  We've been there many times for dinner on a weekend and had to wait for a table, but they have chips and salsa for you to snack on while you wait for your table.  We also enjoy peeking in the gift shops while we wait.

Today, we arrived on Coronado Island around 1pm, and we couldn't check into our room until 3pm.  It was perfect timing to have lunch at Miguel's!  A car was leaving a parking spot right next to the restaurant at just the right time for us to take their spot.  What luck!  I fed the meter a quarter, which gave us an hour.  Cheapest meter ever!  We gave it another 10 cents, which gave us 20some more minutes.  There wasn't a wait.  We were seated right away on the patio.

It had been a long car ride, so I headed over to the Ladies' room before looking at the menu.  I had never been inside their Ladies' room before, and it was nice and clean.  The sinks and faucets were pretty cool.  I don't have a picture, but I'd never seen a faucet like those before.  The door also opens out, which I always like.  Then you don't need to use a paper towel to keep your hands clean when exiting; just push it open with your foot.

By the time I returned to the table, chips and salsa were waiting for us, and the jalapeno white sauce arrived shortly thereafter.  I really can't say enough about this jalapeno white sauce.  It's the reason my husband and I love Miguel's so much.  I've never had anything like it anywhere else.  I'm sure it's filled with cream and butter, but it's so delicious.

While we looked over the menu, the waiter took our drink order.  My husband had Passion Fruit Iced Tea.  Ever since Maui, we've been a little obsessed with passion fruit.  The tea came in a glass with the passion fruit on the bottom and the tea on top.  There was a spoon inside to stir it together.  My husband drank his first glass without stirring.  He stirred the refill and announced that it was even better.  I tasted both.  It was really good.  I don't like tea.  I usually only drink tea when I'm sick, but I could drink this.  In fact, I actually liked it.  That's saying a lot.

I ordered Miguel's White Peach Sangria which consisted of white zinfandel with peach brandy, pineapple juice and a splash of soda.  It had a really nice, light peach flavor.  I'd order it again.  Miguel's had 3 types of sangria on their menu, and they all sounded really good.  I tend to like white wine more than red wine, and the other two sangrias contained red wine.  That's why I chose the white peach sangria.  I may have to try the others sometime soon.

Usually, my husband and I share a meal when we eat at Miguel's because we get pretty full from eating chips and white sauce, but today, we decided to order two meals.  Our hotel has a kitchen, so we could totally handle leftovers.

One of the specials caught my eye, the Seafood Fiesta Salad.  It's shrimp, swordfish and scallops sauteed with bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and tomatoes over Miguel's classic fiesta salad, which consists of mixed greens, black beans and roasted corn.  It's served in a crispy flour tortilla shell and topped with salsa fresca and guacamole.  It came with chipotle ranch dressing, which I requested on the side.

I loved the salad.  When visiting San Digeo, I usually want to eat seafood and Mexican food.  This meal accomplished both.  The seafood had a wonderful smokey flavor.  I tried eating it with the dressing, and I tried eating it with the white sauce, but in the end, I ate it without either one.  It's rare to find a salad that's so good it actually tastes better without dressing, and if you don't eat the dressing or the tortilla shell, it's actually healthy.  I didn't think I'd be able to finish it, but it was good to the last piece of lettuce.  I only ate one small piece of the shell and decided that I actually like the tortilla chips better.  The shell was pretty greasy, but if you like greasy shells, this is for you.  If not (like me), it's still worth ordering this salad.  It's so delicious! Unfortunately, it's not on their main menu (it was just a special), but I wish it were!  I'm sure their classic Fiesta Salad (which is on the menu) is really good as well.  It's topped with grilled pollo asada instead of seafood.  That's probably what I'll order when the seafood version isn't available.

My husband ordered the Carne Asada Burrito which consisted of grilled marinated steak sauteed with salsa fresca and rolled into a flour tortilla.  It was topped with enchilada sauce, cheese and guacamole.  It was served with rice and beans.  He ordered the burrito "chimi-style," which basically means the burrito is fried and crispy.  There's a chimichanga on the menu, so I asked my husband what the difference was between ordering the chimichanga or ordering the burrito chimi-style.  Basically, it has to do with fillings.  This burrito was filled with steak, but the chimichanga is filled with either shredded beef or chicken.  My husband didn't think it was the best burrito he'd ever had, but he did enjoy it and would order it again.  All I know is that I was only half-way finished eating my salad, my my husband's plate with practically licked clean.  I think he liked it.  Then he moved back to eating chips and white sauce.

We asked to see a dessert menu just to know what was available.  We were too full to be able to handle dessert.  If we did order dessert, I thought the Dulce Del Leche Mini Chimis sounded the most unique.  The menu description was: a crispy flour tortilla filled with ripe bananas and caramel sauce, rolled in cinnamon and sugar and topped with vanilla ice-cream.  Yum!  No picture, because, like I said, we weren't hungry enough to order dessert.  We may stop back and try it in the next couple days though.

When we were driving down to Coronado Island, I asked my husband what he wanted to do while we were here, and he said, "eat at Miguel's at least once."  I'm glad we ate their this afternoon, as is tradition.  It's been awhile since I had such an amazing meal at a restaurant.  I usually don't like to order things at restaurants that I think I can make (better/cheaper) at home.  Oh, the negative side of knowing how to cook.  Well, everything we had to eat (and drink) today was something we've never made at home, and it was all delicious.

Happy eating!

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