Getting a hit of history at La Loma

Sitting in the comfortable, Colonial dining room at La Loma on a Saturday night and watching as the waitress floats through the milling crowds, bringing me a big order of mesquite-grilled shrimp fajitas, served atop a veritable mountain of steaming, soft white onions, that real first date comes back whole: the Tex-Mex restaurant on East Ridge Road in Rochester, the sickly-sweet aftertaste of the margarita mix on my tongue, the onion-scented air and bespectacled alligator and the pretty blonde Irish girl with the blood-red lips sitting across from me, having absolutely no intention of coming any closer no matter how many drinks she poured down her neck. It's the smell that gets me, the powerful food-memory juju of cooking onions that triggers this cascade of recall.

This week's Cafe section is all about the history of Colorado's cuisine -- mostly Mexican, mostly centering on green chile and margaritas. The review is of La Loma, a long-time, family-owned institution that's been serving up the verde and enormous margs since 1973.

In Second Helping, I head cross town to drop in on the Nunez family at La Cueva, who've been around just about as long.

And this week's column is all about the taste of Colorado and how sometimes, when looking for the unique flavor of a time and a place, everything can go terribly, terribly wrong.

All this and more coming up this week, folks. And you can check it all out right here at westword.com, or be all old school about it and pick up an actual newspaper from the stands tomorrow.

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