Twenty-Something for Twenty-Somethings: Affordable Margs and Eats at Adelitas

Enjoy the award-winning house margarita for $5.
Enjoy the award-winning house margarita for $5. Kelsey Colt
With so many great restaurants to choose from, cash-strapped Denver newcomers — challenged with rising rents and skinny paychecks — are finding it hard to have a fun night out without blowing the bank. Twenty- Something for Twenty-Somethings will help you find hot destinations where you can enjoy cutting-edge cuisine in a stylish setting — all within a twenty-something budget (Less than $30 per person). And you don't need to be under thirty to take these recommendations; just be ready for a great eating adventure.

Adelitas Cocina y Cantina, the Mexican restaurant at 1294 South Broadway opened by Brian Rossi in 2013, is nearly always a packed joint. Whether you're going for taco Tuesday or any other day of the week, you need to come knowing you're not the first to discover the goodness of Adelitas. View your wait time as an opportunity to take advantage of a pre-dinner drink and inhale the contagious energy of the restaurant. Stand tall at the guest-filled bar in front of the wall of illuminated spirits ready to be chosen for a drink. You will need to tap into your "Help me, I’m thirsty" face to order your first drink: the award-winning house margarita. The margaritas are simple — Arette tequila, lime juice and sugar-beet simple syrup infused with whole oranges — but when chased with a lick of the salt rim, it quickly becomes obvious what all the hype is about.

With margarita in hand, head to your table and immediately put in an order for the queso fundido con chorizo to share with your dining partner. You must eat this dish hot. The way the Mexican cheese melts, you have a small window for perfection, but if you start as soon as it arrives, you will be consuming incredible queso. Delicious, stringy bites with subtle hints of chorizo spice and grease make the dish delightful.
click to enlarge This bowl of melted queso is the perfect start to dinner. - KELSEY COLT
This bowl of melted queso is the perfect start to dinner.
Kelsey Colt
With the scroll-like menu roll filled with options, it can be hard to focus and make a selection for a main. For an easy, rewarding choice, go in either of these directions: pork or chicken. For pollo lovers, you can’t go wrong with the pollo con crema, because it delivers all the flavors of the dark meat and delicious skin you get with chicken thighs, served with the bone in. Use your fork to pull the meat off the bone and make a taco with the sides. The sauce will overwhelm your tastebuds with smoke and spice, only to be cooled by the cream.

For a pork option, puerco con chile Colorado has an incredible, unique flavor from the guajillo chiles. The sauce poured over the tender pork is slightly acidic, but unveils a balancing sweetness with each bite. If you're really feeling like kicking up the heat a notch, you can add fried jalapeños as a side. And because of the inexpensive first drink, you'll have money left over for a heat-quenching bottle of Pacífico lager to go with your entree.

Both options are enough food to have leftovers for lunch, an afternoon snack, or even dinner.

click to enlarge The pollo is tender and smothered in sauce. - KELSEY COLT
The pollo is tender and smothered in sauce.
Kelsey Colt
To match the lively food options, the restaurant is loud and vibrant, as it should be — holding its own on an equally vibrant stretch of South Broadway. This is a stop you can make on any night; relax with your drink and let the margarita open you up for some good conversation. Adelitas is a spicy bargain for us twenty-somethings or for budget diners looking for a fun night out. And daily specials, listed on the restaurant's website, mean you won't need to stick with the same choices each time to stay within your budget.

click to enlarge The pork plate is great and large enough to take home for leftovers. - KELSEY COLT
The pork plate is great and large enough to take home for leftovers.
Kelsey Colt
The damage is just $27.17 or $25.17, depending on the entree you choose. Here's how it breaks down:

Option 1: $27.17
House margarita: $5
1/2 queso fundido con chorizo: $3.97
Pollo con crema: $13.95
Pacífico: $4.25

Option 2: $25.17
House margarita: $5
1/2 queso fundido con chorizo: $3.97
Puerco con chile Colorado: $11.95
Pacífico: $4.25
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