I spent Saturday morning meandering around the Cherry Creek Fresh Market -- a market, frankly, that I've never been terribly fond of, mainly because much of the produce is unseasonal and trucked in from outside state lines, plus I was tired of seeing vendors pimping acres of dried pasta, soaps and candles and other overpriced fillers. I'm still not enamored with the market -- my favorites are the Boulder Farmers' Market, Denver Urban Homesteading and the Vail Farmers' Market -- but it wasn't a waste of an hour, either. And I definitely didn't leave hungry. Herewith, the best local food finds.
It's not chile season yet, but these growers of Colorado chiles were out in full force, perfuming the air with blistered char and smoke.
Waffle Cakes, which started in Longmont, just recently tapped into the Denver market, and the scratch-made waffles -- there are dozens of them -- come crowned with everything from fresh fruit to ham and bacon.
Banana and Nutella waffle, topped with whipped cream, from Waffle Cakes.
Waffle cake skyscraped with apples, crumbles of applewood smoked bacon and Gorgonzola.
Overseen by a team of Johnson & Wales University graduates, the crew from Cowboy Catering dishes up huge quesadillas and crepes.
The "Supreme" quesadilla, heaped with cheese, chicken and vegetables, from Cowboy Catering.
Mushrooms from Hazel Dell Mushrooms Farm in Fort Collins.
You'd think Le Central was going for a Guinness World Record with its paella, a cartoonishly large vat stocked with shrimp mussels, scallops, pork, chicken and chorizo.
Of all the food vendors, Tres Pupusas, which serves gluten-free pupusas, vegan or vegetarian pupusas and pupusas with pork, chicken or chorizo, had the longest line -- and with good reason. They're incredibly good.
Griddled pupusas from Tres Pupsuas.
Nicky's Quickie peddles Greek gyros -- and, yes, they're quick to get them out and into hungry mouths.
A gyro sandwich, topped with tzatziki sauce, mixed greens, kalamata olives, feta and peppers.
Tamale from Colorado's Best Tamale.
Multi-hued beets from Leffler Family Farms in Eaton, Colorado.
Empanadas from Route 40 Argentinean Grille, a new food truck that just hit the road a few weeks ago.
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Fries draped with an assertive chimichurri sauce from Route 40 Argentinean Grille.