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100 Favorite Dishes: Sobrebarriga from La Cocina de Paula

100 Favorite Dishes: Sobrebarriga from La Cocina de Paula
Lori Midson

No. 43: Sobrebarriga from La Cocina de Paula

When Paula Contreras comes to your table, she'll likely encourage you to order a Colombian dish. "You can get Mexican food all over Denver," she says, but "Colombian food...that's not nearly as common." Contreras, the chef/owner of La Cocina de Paula, 3325 W. Alameda Avenue, hustles a menu of both Mexican and Colombian cuisines, and while her green chile, tart with tomatillos and jolted with hot green chiles, convinced me that lapping the bowl dry was a good idea, it's her sobrebarriga that really grabbed my attention. "Sobrebarriga" simply refers to the cut of beef, typically flank steak, and here, in her cocina, the result is love at first bite. The beef, which mimics pot roast, is extremely tender, and the sauce, an earthy snarl of stewed tomatoes, onions and peppers that breathes with cumin, has the kind of irresistible pull that compels you to order a second round...for the road. It's accompanied by the most amazing pea-studded rice I've ever had.

Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:

No. 100: Italian wedding soup from the Squeaky Bean No. 99: American Classic Burger (and fries) from Tarbell's No. 98: E's clam linguini from Mangiamo Pronto No. 97: Queso a la plancha taco from the Pinche Tacos wagon No. 96: Prosciutto-wrapped jalapeño poppers from Tony's Market No. 95: Fried chicken from the Pinyon No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro No. 93: Posole from The Porker No. 92: Breakfast Burrito from the Taco Wagon in Lafayette No. 91: Hummus from Shish Kabob Grill No. 90: Albondigas meatballs from Solera No. 89: Lemon-ricotta doughnuts from Olivéa No. 88: Döner kabob from Shondiz No. 87: Roasted cauliflower salad from Euclid Hall No. 86: Beef cheek enchiladas from El Diablo No. 85: Fried Brussels sprouts from Panzano No. 84: Pork osso buco from Osteria Marco No. 83: Cazuela Colombiana from Cafe Brazil No. 82: Chicken potpie from Devil's Food No. 81: Sichuan braised beef noodle soup from Zoe Ma Ma No. 80: Larb nua from Taste of Thailand No. 79: Pork shank from Argyll No. 78: Truffo panino from Shangri-La Cafe No. 77: Pig-snout tacos from Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet No. 76: Speck and maple ice cream from Pizzeria Basta No. 75: Tom yum goong from Thai Flavor No. 74: South African black ruff from TAG No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One No. 72: New England clam chowder from Bittersweet No. 71: Celery and lime popsicle from Spuntino No. 70: Curried split pea soup from Modmarket No. 69: Mais pizza from Pizzeria Locale No. 68: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola No. 67: Frico caldo from Frasca Food & Wine No. 66: Sea scallop and rock shrimp noodle bowl from Bones No. 65: Luther Burger from Crave No. 64: Chongqing Chicken from East Asia Garden No. 63: Bouillabaisse from Deluxe No. 62: Crue fries from D Bar Desserts No. 61: Chili gobi from Jai Ho No. 60: New Mexican eggs Benedict from DJ's Berkley Cafe No. 59: Lamb vindaloo from Cuisine of the Himalayas No. 58: Gazpacho verde from Zolo Grill No. 57: Hama Hama oyster from Jax Fish House-Denver No. 56: Mixiote de borrego from El Trompito Taqueria No. 55: Samosas from the British Bulldog No. 54: Mole verde with carnitas from Tarasco's No. 53: Pork chop from Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar No. 52: Santa Fe skillet from Hits the Spot Diner No. 51: Pork tenderloin with bread pudding and green split peas from the Wooden Table No. 50: Noodle jelly salad from Thai Street Food No. 49: Telluride jalapeno poppers from Encore No. 48: Carnitas from Araujo's No. 47: Croque Madame from Pierre Michel Organic French Bakery Cafe No. 46 Xiao Long Bao from Lao Wang Noodle House No. 45: Pasta puttanesca from Sketch No. 44: Chimayo-chile flank steak and posole at Village Cork

In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up...before Best of Denver® 2012. If there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at lori.midson@westword.com.


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