The boxy, dimly lit dining room of El Zarape features distinctly coastal decor, despite exterior signs advertising specialties typical of Chihuahua, including Juarez-style burritos, tacos de barbacoa, and a general inclination toward flour tortillas and various preparations of beef. You'll do best to stick with items from the handwritten signs offering tortas de pierna (pork leg), posoles and gorditas de harina (wheat flour) instead of ordering from the seafood menu left over from the previous Mazatlan-themed restaurant. If you're feeling adventurous, opt for a deeply funky and spicy bowl of brick-red menudo, or stick with a traditional enchilada combo just to try out the kitchen's bright and complex sauces.
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In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-...