The beautiful topography of Southern Utah captures the nuances of nature in the form of multi-colored rock formations that dance across canyons sculpted by rivers, streams, and creeks. As the alpine glow transmits different brush strokes of color, the time and the direction of the sun wave a magicians wand to play with the optics transmitted by seasonal change.
Driving north of Las Vegas to this land of enchanted vistas you pass through the Virgin River Gorge located between St. George, Utah, and Beaver Dam Arizona. This long canyon is carved by the Virgin River in Northwest Arizona. The Virgin River rises on the Colorado Plateau creating both the Zion National Park and the Virgin River Gorge.
Each mile brings me closer to my favorite restaurant destination located in St. George Utah. This town was named in honor of Mormon apostle George A. Smith also known as the "potato saint" because he urged early settlers to eat raw, unpeeled potatoes to cure scurvy. Smith didn't participate in the town's settlement but chose the first pioneers to enhabit this area.
Besides the natural beauty there is one restaurant that stands far above the rest in consistent food quality high-lighted by spot on service. This restaurant,"The Painted Pony", is a text book example of caring owners finding a formula and staying within the boundaries of their expertise.
A warm greeting begins the experience expedited by prompt service. Then, the server questions the direction the guest wishes to be taken through the land of culinary delights. For me, one of the menu items that stands above the rest (in the appetizer category) is the organic beet napoleon. Organic beets topped with julienne crispy beets with a layer of goat cheese in between to create the desired napoleon affect. This dish is served with a balsamic dressing garnished with beet leaves and fresh herbs. This dish should be paired with a Sancerre (sauvignon blanc) from France.
The entree course is a Hawaiian fish called "ONO" which means "delicious" in Hawaiian. Place the "ONO" (a delicate white fish) onto the PAZAZ™ baking mat inside the PAZAZ™ cookie sheet in the oven at 350 degrees. The slow cooked fish should be in the oven no longer than 6 minutes to create the desired med-rare composition. The rest of the formula to compliment this fish that melts in your mouth consists of couscous with roasted Brussel sprouts in a citrus beurre blanc. The fish is then topped with an apricot chutney to complete this flavor explosion. I love to pair this dish with an Argentinian white wine varietal called Torrontes.
Completing this meal is a classic bread pudding in a creme anglaise paired with an ice wine from Niagara-on-the-lake in south eastern Canada called Inniskillin.
When you find yourself in Southern Utah don't forget to stop at this amazing destination restaurant, "The Painted Pony", fueled by the expectation of a meal produced by chefs that care, expedited by professional servers in an environment that calms the spirit and enhances the experience.
This post is sponsored by PAZAZ™ "The Magic of Cooking" kitchen tools for the discerning chef. Please go to pazazshop.com to purchase the amazing Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat, Heavy Duty Aluminum Cookie Sheet, and the Steel Mesh Cooling Rack. Bring PAZAZ™ into your life!!!