Tacos Junior deserves senior status on Federal

Categories: A Federal Case
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Maybe your tastes are simpler, or it's late and you only want a snack. The picaditas are just sopes with fewer toppings (that's not the case with this dish elsewhere). The namesake tacos are pure, simple, rewarding -- with double-layered tortillas and a little onion and cilantro to complement the savory meat selection -- and small enough that they disappear in a bite or two.

While there's no single item on the menu that I would claim is the best in town, the sheer variety of antojitos exhibited means that Tacos Junior is practically a one-stop shop for those little pleasures that purists will argue over until the late hours of the night, even as they inhale a torta, flauta or enchilada.

Yes, the shredded chicken buried in those enchiladas is a little dry and bland, but the mole makes up for it with a complex and spicy kick accented with a raisiny flavor. And the bolillo rolls on the tortas may not be as tender or lardy as the best around, but the fillings are plentiful and varied, so you can still get your cubano, for example, if that's what you crave.


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Those other places may offer enticing mounds of rice or noodles onto which they pile a few protein options (beef or chicken, and maybe tofu for the lucky vegetarian!), they may promise that those proteins enjoyed lives of the privileged livestock upper-crust, and they may surround you in minimalist elegance and the comfort of homogeneity. But do they offer floor-to-ceiling murals depicting lush tropical scenes? Are the colors bland, blond wood and steel, or are they riotous citrus greens and yellows? Do the windows look out onto stretches of parking lot, or can you pick out your favorite piñata hanging from the rafters of the attached grocery without ever leaving your seat?

I, for one, have no trouble making my decision. If I'm looking for a respite from the office but only have a few minutes before my next meeting, I'll opt for the nearest assembly line of food with its modern angles, point-and-shoot ordering, and simplicity of choices, leaving the part of my brain that makes decisions free for the minutia of the work day. But when I want my senses to be overwhelmed with colors, aromas and choices, I'll stumble over to Tacos Junior for a hangover cure, a solution to a late-night craving, or just an easy dinner that I know will put a quick end to any string of disappointments that plague a day.




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3 comments
maxplanck0
maxplanck0

T.J.'s rules. Thanks for this series Mark, and will look forward to more of your culinary tours of Denver's major east/west and north/south arterials. The food writing @ WW has taken a leap forward   since that self-absorbed bore Sheehan left.




missionimpossible
missionimpossible

This terrific and well-written article hits the perfect balance between information and entertainment while leaving the reader with a twinge in response to the authors’ undertones of the often underwhelming aspects of everyday life. It’s like a great alt-country song (see Uncle Tupelo’s Whiskey Bottle). Nicely done.

 

denveronaspit
denveronaspit

Agreed. TJ is a solid taqueria...and their impressive spit of pastor is consistetly very good--at least at the Colfax location, which has tacos arabes too.

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