Los Chingones's wild taco of the week: antelope
Last week, we told you about Los Chingones's wild and wacky Wednesday taco -- a taco that chef de cuisine Lou Ortiz says is centered around the "weirdest shit we can get."
He did a camel meat taco last Wednesday, and on Wednesday of this week, he rolled out the cantaloupe-antelope taco, which will be on the menu until next Tuesday, or until the kitchen runs out.
The meat, admits Ortiz, who intercepted a twenty-pound block of ground antelope from Shamrock, was much easier to work with than the camel meat. "The camel clumped when we braised it, which made it hard to separate, but the antelope meat broke up really well, making it much easier to braise," he adds.
He braises the antelope in the rondo with red onions, cilantro, serrano chiles and red chile flakes, and then tops the taco with a citrus-spiked cabbage slaw, a cube of tempura-fried cantaloupe glistening with a juniper berry-and-lemongrass glaze and rings of fire-red Fresno chiles.
"The meat is extremely lean and guilt-free, and it doesn't require you to blindside it with a bunch of seasonings, so it's mostly seasoned with just vegetables," says Ortiz, who recommends pairing the taco with the pasilla chile salsa. "That salsa, in particular, cuts through the sweetness of the other flavors by adding a smoky x-factor," he explains.
Verdict: Antelope tastes similar to venison, but it's slightly sweeter and not quite as gamey. I love the addition of the tempura-fried cantaloupe, which gives the dish some texture, and the spicy notes from the serrano and Fresno chiles definitely give the meat a jolt. If I had to choose between the camel and the antelope, I'd go with the antelope.
Up next week: alligator.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.