Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

What the Mexican ate while he was in Denver

Gustavo Arellano, author of Ask a Mexican, was in town this week to tout his new book, Orange County: A Personal History, and since he's a colleague, we wanted to take him out to eat. But since he's also the food editor of the OC Weekly (and the hardest-working man in journalism), we wanted to take him to just the right spot, a spot where he could taste how Colorado interpreted Mexican food.

As it turned out, though, Gustavo's plane was late and he barely made his Tattered Cover reading. And he was flying out again right after an appearance on Jay Marvin's show the next morning.

But still, the Mexican had to eat something while he was in Colorado, so rather than taking him out to eat, I took him something to eat, zooming down to the Tech Center yesterday morning with that quintessential Colorado meal: a breakfast burrito.

And not just any breakfast burrito. No, I picked up a Santiago's breakfast burrito -- Best Breakfast Burrito in the Best of Denver 2007 -- from the Sixth and Santa Fe outpost of this homegrown chain. (And yes, even after reading the post about the problem at the West 84th location.) It was Thursday, which meant the meat in the $1.75 burrito was chorizo, and I skipped the cheese and asked for the hot chile. Then I took the neatly wrapped package to Gustavo, who wolfed it down in the lobby of Clear Channel.

His assessment: "The breakfast burrito at Santiago's is everything I love about Denver--humble, not ostentatious, the perfect size and resolutely Mexican at its heart, even as the whiteys that were the eggs and potato tried to supersede the green chile and chorizo for taste, with each bite provoking desires for more. In other words: muy bueno." -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun