I almost spit out my refried beans when I read Gustavo Arellano's line about Tom Tancredo not liking Mexicans — but liking Mexican food. Hilarious!
I don't dig the Mexican hamburger the way Gustavo does. But he did a damn good job trying to understand Denver's culture over the course of a few short visits. And the love he expressed for Denver-Mexican food is close to what I feel as a native. This piece gives far more depth and insight into Denver's food than anything Anthony Bourdain and his crew have managed here.
The only thing wrong with this article is that Gustavo hasn't tasted the best green chile in town! We all start with the restaurants that boast they are the best and most authentic Mexican restaurants in town; Denver has a lot of them. I have tried all the restaurants mentioned here except El Noa Noa. And I do enjoy a breakfast burrito from Santiago's! But the very best "smothered" Mexican food in town is La Casa Del Rey in Commerce City. I even do the hot green chile! I have heard people at tables next to me say "This is the first place I come when I get out of the airport," and Dog the Bounty Hunter never misses the place when he comes into town from Hawaii. The thing is, once you have learned to love Denver's green chile and you move away, it's always on your mind!
Also, I don't agree with the comments about Tom Tancredo, but Westword is known for being a bleeding-heart liberal!
Gloria Storey Jones Talbott
I'm curious about whether Illegal Pete's predates Chipotle. I recall eating there in the summer of 1995, I think, and it seemed to already be a staple of the college dining scene in Boulder. Maybe I'm misremembering my dates, but that would seem to put it pretty close to the opening of the first Chipotle. Anyone know?
Not sure if I'd say Illegal Pete's is always better than Chipotle — less consistent, anyway — but its big potato and big fish burritos are an excellent change from Chipotle's limited menu.
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Congratulations on another Best of Denver issue for 2012 — we appreciate the multiple vegan and vegetarian categories! But your Best 18 Things Peyton Manning Should Know About Denver mentions that the Denver Mint prints money.
I believe the mint only produces coins and not paper money, so in the context of the advice you were giving Manning, he'd need a few wheelbarrows to haul away his salary in nickels and dimes.