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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Miguel's To Go - Review #1

Miguels California Mexican
26592 Towne Centre Dr
Foothill Ranch, CA 92610
(949) 597-1079

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Working in a new locale now I decided earlier today to do a little exploring and see if I might run into a Mexican restaurant I'd never seen before. Pulling into the Foothill Ranch Town Centre I found Miguels California Mexican as an oasis in the large parking lot. Knowing that for this particular lunch break I wouldn't have time for a full sit down meal I trepidatiously walked into the large building that looks like it's inviting customers to come in and sit down for a lengthy meal and asked the hostess as I walked in if they did take out. She said, "Sure, it's right there." I turned to my right and embarassingly saw a large "Miguel's To Go" sign and a takeout counter that I'd practically brushed against on the way in:


So I turned around to the takeout counter and began perusing the menu. Scanning quickly for something unique I spotted the "Mole De Maria" and ordered that and a soda. The employee at the takeout counter asked if I wanted my entree with corn or flour tortillas. Trying to lean the more authentic way I requested corn. I asked why and was told that Miguel's corn tortillas are store bought but that the flour tortillas are made on the premises so I switched to flour and then found out that not only are the flour tortillas made on site but they are made when you place your order. How's that for service? I was then brought my soda and was told that if I drank it before my food came I could get it refilled. Now that was something I was wondering about but the fact that they brought it up without me asking earns them some bonus points (and I did utilize the refill).

The worker at the takeout had heard me asking the hostess how long this restaurant had been here and while she didn't know the answer right off the bat he answered that they had been there for about four years now in the spot formerly occupied by Tortilla Beach. He also explained that they are part of the same chain as Miguel's Jr. in Corona which we reviewed quite some time ago (one of our few out-of-county reviews).


Back at work now I opened up the spread and found some moist, tender, falling-off-the-bone chicken in a full-bodied mole sauce (the menu mentions it contains peanuts as one of its 24 ingredients—so be warned in case you have a peanut allergy). The pinto beans and Spanish rice were sincere if not stupendous and made great filling for the three chicken mole tacos I assembled for myself.

An hour or two later I retrieved my Miguel's flan from my work refrigerator. Extra silky with a hint of fluffiness to it and extra caramely caramel:


In the few brief minutes I was at Miguel's I felt like I was at a high end hotel where every employee seems able to anticipate, meet and exceed every customer's needs; not only did the couple employees I encountered seem very helpful but they also seemed intrinsically motivated to be helpful. I'll be back for a sit down meal sometime, but for now I have no hesitancy giving Miguel's To Go a 4.25 Speedy Gonzales rating:

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Captain said...

I do that too... unless someone hits me over the head with a sign, I seldom see it. Especially the ones that say "Wait here to be seated".

There's a Miguel's Jr here in Fontana now.... good stuff. I approve.

JBT said...

This particular Miguel's is right down the hill from us, and being a Mex food lover, I'm thankful that it is!

We eat regularly at the bar (which is terrific) and do takeout (I highly recommend the Tacos For Two). Miguel's carnitas are the best I've ever had - anywhere. The chile rellenos, carne asada, and machaca-and-eggs are also favorites of mine.

JBT said...

As an update to my last post, my wife noticed this past week that I've always proclaimed carnitas - in all forms - to be my favorite Mexican dish, but that I rarely order it anywhere other than Miguel's in Foothill Ranch. My immediate thought was "that's because all others are disappointing by comparison"...

I've eaten at many of the restaurants reviewed on this board, and am a regular at the better ones, including Gabbi's, Javier's Taleo, Taco Rosa and Taco Mesa. None do carnitas as well as Miguels. I'd love to hear other opinions or recommendations of other restaurants that match up...

ChristianZ said...

Thanks for the comment. So far I consider Taleo to have the best carnitas but I haven't had the carnitas at Miguel's yet and it's also supposed to be really good at Carnitas Los Reyes. That's why I'm still on this quest of mine.