Second Helpings

Taqueria Patzcuaro

It had been too long since I last dropped by Taqueria Patzcuaro. I go into north Denver a lot these days, chasing after some new Chinese-Brazilian fusion restaurant or an intriguing-sounding soup, then end up drinking sake at Swimclub32 or eating at Duo, forgetting why I came up in the first place. It's a very distracting area.

Patzcuaro was one of my first stops after moving here from New Mexico more than four years ago. And after my meals at the nearby Los Carboncitos (see review, page 49) last week, I decided it was high time to stop by again. I'd forgotten how friendly owner Francisco Almanza and the guys who work the floor are, how forgiving they are of my abysmal Spanish, how generous the kitchen can be. I took full advantage of the relatively new liquor license, drinking buckets of margaritas and cold Tecates while watching two Latino middleweights pummel the crap out of each other on the big TV on the back wall. Besides the booze, nothing much has changed. The booths are still made of singularly uncomfortable slatted wood, and I ate under the same watchful eye of the Mexican revolutionaries depicted in photos on the walls.

And ate, and ate. Fresh-made chips with excellent, thin tomatillo salsa and rough guacamole; flautas and papas fritas, lightly fried and chewy. It's beyond me how I could have forgotten the flavor and raw heat of the tacos albandíl, with sliced steak, sweet onions, thin-sliced and fried potatoes and hot, roasted jalapeño chiles, or the perfect camarón al mojo de ajo in its deceptively simple lime and garlic sauce, or the plates of huge pork carnitas Michoacán -- served in chunks the size of a fist, par-cooked, then fried. But now that I've rediscovered Patzcuaro, I won't forget again.

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Jason Sheehan
Contact: Jason Sheehan