Cafe Society

Denver street food: The best meals-on-wheels of 2010

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Pinche Tacos 303-898-2905 Seasonally at Cherry Creek Fresh Market and Stapleton Farmers' Market; catering, too. Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Pinche-Tacos/114537258571358?ref=ts

Kevin Morrison, who ruffled a few conservative feathers earlier this year when he rolled out the Pinche Tacos wagon (pinche is Spanish slang for "fucking") has spent the past year smartly thumbing his nose at the ridiculous controversy in lieu of dispensing his godly street tacos at local farmers' markets, the Justice League of Street Food parties and Civic Center Eats. The tortillas -- made locally -- are slapped on the griddle and surfaced with everything from carnitas, braised chicken and skirt steak to caramelized onions and queso, the latter of which is the star of the la plancha taco, a lacy orb of salty cotija, griddled until golden and topped with avocado and a lob of tart tomatillo salsa, with limes on the side. And since Morrison also turns out terrific tacos pummeled with scrambled eggs, chorizo and potatoes, there exists a rare opportunity for breakfast hangover relief that doesn't subject your throbbing brain to fluorescent lights or the clang and clamor of a dining room.

Liang's Thai Food Monday through Friday at 16th and Tremont

The waits can be ridiculously, unnervingly long at this Thai wagon on the 16th Street Mall, especially when the loud-mouthed, relentless douchebag who hustles knock-off handbags immediately next to Liang and her cart, wafting with the smoke of the wok, decides to jump the queue and bark orders for himself and his minions through the sliding glass window. But the soft-spoken Liang, who's as tiny as her cart, does her best to appease the patient lingerers, turning out delicious Thai curries fragrant with kaffir lime leaves, greaseless egg rolls swelled with vegetables, and a chile-specked papaya salad that sings with citrus.

El Caribe Arepas 720-432-4205 Seasonally at the Cherry Creek Farmers' Market and the City Park Esplanade Farmers' Market, and year-round on Friday and Saturday at Denver Urban Homesteading, 200 Santa Fe Drive Twitter: @quieroarepas

Every Wednesday and Saturday at the Cherry Creek farmers' market, again on Sunday at the City Park Esplanade farmers' market and throughout the year on Friday and Saturday at Denver Urban Homesteading, Igor and Beckie Panasewicz feed Venezuelan arepas to the masses from their vendor booth littered with bags of Harina P.A.N. white corn meal, plates of plantains, vats of earthy black beans and heavy pans harboring aromatic stewed meats scenting the open air. The arepas -- freshly made, thick, griddled corn cakes, split and packed tight with everything from ham and locally smoked salmon to marinated chicken, avocado and mozzarella -- are crisp-edged (almost crackly), smoldering, messy and obscenely good. There's good news on the horizon, too, for Igor and Beckie: They're just about ready to launch a food truck.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson