Word of Mouth

A pretty damn good white trash margarita and chips and salsa in Lakewood

Much as I like the real thing, I am in no way above the white trash margarita. In fact, a slushified version of the drink is among my top guilty pleasures, especially when I'm sucking them down on a patio paired with bottomless rounds of chips and salsa. So when my plans to check out a Mexican joint in the western suburbs were foiled earlier this week, I wasn't exactly sad about going with plan B: a stop at El Tapatio Mexican Restaurant for a patio dinner of that very combination.

El Tapatio offers the first round of chips and salsa on the house, but since the hot tortilla triangles and tangy salsa, packed with back-palate heat, were totally addictive, there was no way we weren't going to pick up a second basket.

It helped, too, that we were washing them down with exactly the kind of margarita I'd been craving. I'd gone for the classic version, which tasted like lemonade and, deceptively, nothing like alcohol. It was certainly spiked, though: By the time I'd sucked down my fishbowl-sized drink, I was riding a buzz. My partner in crime had opted for a frozen strawberry version complete with a sugared rim. It was as sweet as dessert, but it made for a good patio drink while we watched a first date and strange interaction with a homeless man transpire as the night unfolded.

It's no Federal Boulevard taqueria, but sometimes a little white-washed Mexican food on a deck is exactly what you want.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk