Round two with Ignacio Leon, exec chef of Paxia and Los Carboncitos

Ignacio2.jpg
Lori Midson

Ignacio Leon
Los Carboncitos
3757 Pecos Street
303-458-0880
www.loscarboncitos.com

Paxia
4001 Tejon Street
720-583-6860
www.paxiadenver.com

Part one of my interview with Ignacio Leon, exec chef of Paxia and Los Carboncitos, ran yesterday; this is part two of our conversation.

Favorite food city in America: The nation's best chefs are in New York and Miami. Because both cities are such large population centers and tourist destinations, they tend to attract really great, creative talent.

See also:
- Ignacio Leon, exec chef of Paxia and Los Carboncitos, on the wild rabbit, helping the homeless and Mexican food

Favorite Denver/Boulder restaurant(s) other than your own: Sushi Den. There's a reason why it always lands on those best-restaurants-in-Denver lists. It's the best place in Denver for truly fresh, high-quality sushi.

Favorite cheap eat in Denver: This may sound like cheating, but I'd have to say Los Carboncitos. It's cheap, but we strive to provide good quality. The kitchen is open so you can see how the cooks are handling your food, and it's open late, so it's a great alternative to other fast late-night options.

If you could change one thing about the Denver dining scene, what would it be? I would love to see the higher-quality restaurants stay open later. If you want to have a nice dinner after 11, the only alternatives tend to be diners, fast-food joints and bars. In Mexico City, if you go clubbing or to the bars, you can still get good-quality food at three or four in the morning.

Describe the biggest challenges facing today's chefs: Meeting the demand for organic food and gluten-free diets. Consumers are becoming more and more savvy about ingredients and wanting to know how -- and where -- their food is sourced. We once got a call from someone who wanted to know what the cows we served were fed. Luckily, we get our beef from a small, locally owned supplier who keeps us very well informed about the meat they provide. But that isn't always the case. The masa we get isn't made completely from corn, and it's sometimes hard to track down all the ingredients, but we know answering those questions is essential for gluten-free diners. I don't think this is a trend that is simply going to fade away.

What's your biggest pet peeve? Stupid people. I have no patience for people who don't think and need things explained over and over again. If you can't multi-task, I don't have much use for you.

What do you enjoy most about cooking? Meeting our guests and hearing their feedback about our food. I really try to listen to both the good and bad and take all of the comments to the kitchen so we can make the food better.

What's never in your kitchen? Lazy people. I just don't like people who aren't enthusiastic about being there in the kitchen. I have no tolerance for people who cook because it's nothing more than a job. If you're just punching a clock, then you don't belong in my restaurant.

Location Info

Los Carboncitos

3757 Pecos St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

Paxia - Alta Cocina Mexicana

4001 Tejon St., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


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14 comments
chuckroast
chuckroast

I'm a fan of the tacos and the salsas at Los Carboncitos, but I've had poor service, at the 38th Ave location, on more than one occassion, so I pretty much avoid it now.

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

This interview was absolutely scary.  I won't patronize Paxia and Los Carboncitos.  No way.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@chuckroast I don't think they fold your napkin while you are away from your table.

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@steveville If you never go to Los Carboncitos, you are missing out on some of the best food in Denver. Why you would avoid it based on this interview is beyond me.

chuckroast
chuckroast

@Mantonat Piss off douchebag.  But honestly, I am glad to see you post a comment that isn't kissing up to the Westword staff. 

ScubaSteve
ScubaSteve topcommenter

@LoriMidsonCafeSociety @steveville 

Hi Lori  --  I should have explained more.  What I'll do in the future is take my weird non-Mexican gray-haired crazy ass elsewhere and enjoy habanero sauce and "really spicy food".   This "white people" Jew boy will make scotch bonnet pepper salsa right here at home.

chuckroast
chuckroast

@Mantonat  LOL!  The Al Pastor tacos good, but besides that please shed some light on what they do better than any place else in Denver. 

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@chuckroast @Mantonat Uh, I was thanking her for tipping me off to a place I'd never heard of. As much as I try, I can't drive past every hole in the wall in Denver, and even if I did, I probably never would have realized that a place called "Curtis Park Creamery" was serving Mexican food. But if you want to call that kissing up, you go right ahead. I'm just pleased you actually remembered. Thanks!

chuckroast
chuckroast

@Mantonat I laughed my ass off when I read your post about Cutis Park Creamery.  Apparently you hadn't heard of it, which is hard to believe since you're a connoisseur of Denvers mexican eateries.  "Maybe it's not sexy or innovative, but it's great hearing about places like this that have managed to survive for so long doing something so basic. It's also really cool to read about a place that's been in Denver this long that I have never even heard of. Thanks!"  Did you really end your post by thanking Gretchen Kurtz, with an exclamation point, for that review?

Mantonat
Mantonat topcommenter

@chuckroast @Mantonat 

Douchebag is so tired - I haven't gotten someone to call me a douchebag since about 2009. It's all "asshat" or "ass clown" or "douche nozzle" these days.

If I kiss up to the Westword staff, it's only because they all have purtier mouths than you.

matt
matt

this makes absolutely no sense at all.

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