Category Archives: Mexican and Tex-Mex

Kachina Grill’s Seasonal Corn Cart

Westin Westminster restaurant’s fall feature.

Kachina-logoOlathe Sweet Corn (capitalized because it is a trademarked brand name) was a little late this year due to all the spring rain. Now it is finally back in a slightly delayed season, and Jeff Bolton, the Kachina Southwestern Grill’s executive chef, is featuring it in several dishes, including the Quinoa Corn Pudding that accompanies the Smoked Bison Meatloaf and in the Corn Salsa, served with both the Chipotle Shrimp + Waffles (blue corn, last time I looked) and the Ruby Red Trout.

Excessively glamorous corn cart girl, but the grilled sweet corn is definitely down-home. Photo: Kachina Grill publicity photo)
Excessively glamorous corn cart girl, but the grilled sweet corn is definitely down-home. (Photo: Kachina Southwestern Grill)

But the most distinctive part of the corn season at Kachina Grill, located immediately adjacent to the Westin Westminster, is the restaurant’s “Corn on the Cart.” A waitperson pilots the cart throughout the restaurant to deliver delicious grilled corn to each table.

Click to add a blog post for Kachina Southwestern Grill on Zomato

Chimayo’s Southwestern Charms

Durango restaurant’s style and sizzle.

012Chimayo Stone Fired Kitchen is a memorable contemporary restaurant in downtown Durango, replacing a most unmemorable Chinese one. Michael Lutfy, whose culinary career took him from Pennsylvania to California (including eight years as executive chef for the Andretti Green Racing Team) and his wife Birgitte, a chef and designer who was born in Denmark and shared chef duties with Andretti, run Chimayo, namesake of a northern New Mexico town where the Chimayo heirloom chile (another namesake) is cultivated. Chef Lutfy uses its chile powder in many wonderful dishes and condiments.

photo by Duffy Brook
The pair of ovens reflected in the restaurant’s full name. (Chimayo  photo by Duffy Brook)
A sharable appetizer of fresh mozzarella and prosciutto.
A sharable appetizer of fresh burrara mozzarella and prosciutto, oven-dried tomatoes and EVOO framed in a  lacy Balsamic vinegar reduction.
“Baseball cut” of top sirloin with herb butter and gorgeous asparagus and potato wedges.
Poblano chile stuffed with a mixture of zucchini, mushroom, corn and a tres quesos filling with a delicate pepita (pumpkin seed) crust. Ribbons of Chimayo red pepper sauce and crema decorate the top. On the side, black beans, saffron rice and cole slaw.
Poblano chile stuffed with a mixture of zucchini, mushroom, corn and a tres quesos filling with a delicate pepita (pumpkin seed) crust. Ribbons of Chimayo red pepper sauce and crema decorate the top. On the side, black beans, saffron rice and cole slaw.
Bacon, poblano and cheddar burger made with house-ground meat on a brioche bun. On the side, potato wedges.
Bacon, poblano and cheddar burger made with house-ground meat on a brioche bun with guajillo aioli, pickled jalapenos and onions. On the side, potato wedges.

Price check: At dinner, “smaller” plates, $8.50-$12 (plus optional add-ons, $1.50-$7); “larger” plates, $21.50-$26 (plus optional add-ons, $5.50-$7); stone-fired pizzas, $12.50-$19; small plates and sandwiches, $14-$16.50.

Click to add a blog post for Chimayo Stone Fired Kitchen on Zomato

Good Grub at Gazpacho

Mexican charmer in downtown Durango .

P1040228I took my son to Gazpacho’s Restaurant a number of years ago — perhaps when he was still a student at Fort Lewis College. He’s been out on his own for years but still living in Durango, and for some reason, it’s been a long time since I’ve eaten there. He my husband and I went for dinner on Friday when we arrived for a weekend visit to Durango.

The restaurant is a charming spot a block off Main Street  on the south end of downtown Durango — a combination of convenience and quiet. On a busy summer Friday evening, there was a wait for tables in the dining rooms, so we took a small table at the bar.

The margs were killer. Not surprising, because they buy Herradura tequila by the barrel. The food was good and filling, from chips and a thin, spicy salsa to puffy sopapillas with butter and honey at the end. I accidentally left my camera on its “sunset” setting, so my pix are all red and not worth posting. I will have to return.

Click to add a blog post for Gazpacho Restaurant on Zomato

Zocalito: Oaxaca in the Mountains

Bright & tasty Mexican regional fare in Aspen.

P1030770Turn from Aspen’s Hyman Avenue Mall into a small alley. Go down a flight of stairs into a corner of Mexico.  Atmospheric lighting recalls Mexico after dark rather than blinding sunshine. Sit back and contemplate the interesting and unusual menu. While waiting for the food to arrive, look around at the bright folk art.

Colorful folk art from Oaxaca occupies a prominant corner of Zocalito's front room.
Colorful folk art from Oaxaca occupies a prominant corner of Zocalito’s front room.

The food, which is flavorful and beautifully presented, echoes Oaxaca, the southern Mexico city known for culture and cuisine. It is the city where mole was born. What better Mexican food cred?

Chips and an unusual salsa makes a shareable starter. It is called pico de gallo on the menu, but is unlike any I've had before. Smoky chipotle sauce with the addition of corn kernels, chopped tomatoes and intriguing flavors topped with sou cream and guac.
Chips and an unusual salsa makes a shareable starter. It is called pico de gallo on the menu, but is unlike any I’ve had before. Smoky chipotle sauce with the addition of corn kernels, chopped tomatoes and intriguing flavors topped with sou cream and guac.
Steamed mussels in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, red onion and a Guatemalan-inspired achiote sauce
Steamed mussels in a spicy sauce of tomatoes, red onion and a Guatemalan-inspired achiote sauce.

Continue reading Zocalito: Oaxaca in the Mountains

Mexican Dinner Buffet & Fresh Tortillas

Calvillo’s in Alamosa popular with locals and convenient for visitors.

CalvillosSignI understand that there’s one white-tablecloth Italian restaurant in Alamosa. Just about everyplace else appears to be either a fast food chain or Mexican. A group of 10 of us met for Saturday dinner at this large edge-of-downtown eatery.  A couple played and sang Mexican melodies, servers bustled about and people ate and chatted and laughed. It was a merry scene, and it all but ended by 8:30 on a Saturday. This is ironic, because the southern part of the enormous San Luis Valley is the most Spanish/Mexican part of Colorado. But it is also a rural and agricultural area, and farmers and farm workers keep early hours.

This couple with the guitars and good voices is stationed near the bar and plays Mexican songs -- at least on Saturday evenings.
This couple with the guitars and good voices is stationed near the bar and plays Mexican songs — at least on Saturday evenings.
A rainbow of margarita flavors is available.
A rainbow of margarita flavors is available.
The menu is large, but I opted for the grande buffet with its constantly restocked hot and cold items -- and its small complement of desserts.
The menu is large, but I opted for the grande buffet with its constantly restocked hot and cold items — and its small complement of desserts. Shown here, a portion f the cold table.
Tortillas are hand-made at Calvillo's, and here's the maker.
Tortillas are hand-made at Calvillo’s, and here’s the maker.

Click to add a blog post for Calvillos Restaurants on Zomato

Lunada in Lafayette a Tasty Surprise

001Southwestern restaurant  next to a mall that is becoming a mega-church.

Lafayette’s Flatirons Community Church has been making headlines for its huge congregation (10,000 members) and its expansion into the Lafayette Marketplace, which used to have several restaurants. The church bought the mall from Jim Quinlan,  owner of Jax Mercantile, which anchors the mall.  On Saturday, we were scheduled to do volunteer  tree planting at the Wild Animal Sanctuary, and we were told to expect mud. It was indirectly because of Jax Ranch Supply, where I went to buy rubber boots, so we discovered A) the location of the headline-making church and B) Lunada. It is one of the few remaining restaurants there.

The space was once an Indian restaurant, and the wall colors translate well o Southwestern style.
The space was once an Indian restaurant, and the wall colors translate well o Southwestern style.
Lunada usually referrs to the crescent moon, but the restaurant's dramatic art depicts the full moon.
Lunada usually referrs to the crescent moon, but the restaurant’s dramatic art depicts the full moon.
A good marg in a cactus-steam glass are a good start.
A good marg in a cactus-stem glass is a good start to any Mexican meal.
Nachos, natch.
Nachos, natch.
A trio of sliders on mini-brioche bread are sided with thin, skin-on fries. The burgers are topped with cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo and crunchy
A trio of sliders on mini-brioche bread are sided with thin, skin-on fries. The burgers are topped with cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo and crunchy “tumble weed onions.”
Signs of the times at the former mall.
Signs of the times at the former mall.

Price check: Soups, Salads and Stew, $4-$8.99; Para la Mesa (shareable food “for the table”), $2.99-$7.50; Char-Grllled Burgers, $8.50-$10.99; Los Tacos, $8.49-$12/49 (incl ranchero beans and rice); Las Enchiladas, $9.50-$12.

Click to add a blog post for Lunada Eatery & Cantina on Zomato

Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?

The capitals of Colorado and New Mexico lay claim the best of this Southwestern fave.

SantaFe-logoAsk a Coloradan which city makes the best green chile cheeseburger, and the instant answer is Denver, The Mile High City. Ask a New Mexican, and the reply is Santa Fe, The City Different. There are plenty of reasons to visit beautiful, artistic San Fe, and its Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is one of them.

Here’s what Santa Fe claims: Santa Fe, NM is a burger lover’s paradise, and ‘The City Different’ spends 365 days celebrating the Green Chile Cheeseburger. Santa Fe’s indigenous cuisine dates back to the area’s Native American roots and their staples of beans, corn and squash. With the introduction of foods brought by the Spanish like onions, tomatoes and of course, chile, the table was set for what became the distinctive New Mexican fare with its enduring emphasis on the use of chile in and on almost everything.  The green chile cheeseburger has been a staple on menus around the state of New Mexico since at least the middle of the 1900s.

Continue reading Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?