Cafe Society

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

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The Porker 303-945-5975 Monday through Friday at Seventeenth and California Streets, weather permitting; private party catering Twitter: @ThePorker

The pig-centric street food that's slung from the Porker, swine sultan Chad Clevenger's humble stainless-steel cart on the corner of 17th and California, is, it must be said, some of the most insanely good grub that's being rustled from Denver's asphalt. Clevenger dispatches pig in all guises: pork belly; pork cheeks; pulled pork slathered with barbecue sauce and heaped with slaw; grilled macaroni and cheese punctuated with pig; and, on occasion, posole, a flavor-bombed bowl of New Mexican warmth, studded with hominy, aromatic with onions, Mexican oregano, garlic and a whisper of orange, tinted a ruddy complexion from the red chile, which is full of deep flavor rather than sear, and packed with stewed pork. In the spring of this year, Clevenger, too, will become part of the city's thriving truck culture, when he rolls out one of his own.

Paseo 719-232-5576 Various location around Denver, including Great Divide Brewing Co and Tooey's Off Colfax Twitter: @paseodenver

After years of managing restaurants, Scott Skiba wanted one of his own, but building a brick-and-mortar isn't cheap, so Skiba, a former manager of Waterloo, a bar/restaurant in Louisville, went the way that several other chefs and restaurateurs have gone: curbside, with the added bonus of late-night hours. His gleaming silver airstream trailer, named Paseo, subsidizes fans with a short board of tacos, the meats of which are tucked into fresh flour or corn tortillas, plus chilaquiles, hand-smashed guacamole, empanadas and Mexican biscuits and gravy -- a house-baked flour tortilla biscuit, deep-fried, stuffed with Mexican cheeses and crowned with chorizo gravy, a fried egg and salsa. You can nosh like the devil for less than ten bucks -- which, after a night of pick-up prowling, is a cheap date of seduction.

Steuben's Food Truck 303-475-9636 Civic Center Eats, Justice League of Street Food parties and various other locations throughout Denver Twitter: @SteubensTruck

The Steuben's food truck, affectionately known as Pearl, made its debut appearance in June last year, pulling up directly outside the front door of Vesta Dipping Grill, where the crew behind the wheel turned out pork sliders, skinny fries liberally peppered with salt, cheeseburgers stacked with green chile, and sugar-smacked fried pork bites that someone should turn into intravenous drugs. Pearl has been instrumental in pioneering Denver's street-food revolution, rallying other vendors to participate in pods and parties while proving that a $20 lobster roll isn't too highbrow for the sidewalk.

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Lori Midson
Contact: Lori Midson