Andrew Zimmern says Den-Mex defines Denver

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for andreweltaco1.jpg
Courtesy of El Taco de Mexico
Andrew Zimmern with the grandmoms at El Taco de Mexico.
Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods, just published his list of the "Best Ethnic Food in the U.S." on the Food & Wine website, and Denver rates high for its "Den-Mex" -- a term coined, as far as we can tell, by Gustavo Arellano, the Ask a Mexican columnist who praised this city's Mexican food in Taco USA. That 2012 book lavished lots of praise on Chubby's, and Zimmern does, too; he also loves El Taco de Mexico.


See also:
- Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern eats his way through Denver
- Why Denver is home to the best Mexican dish in the United States
- Best Green Chile 2010: El Taco de Mexico

Here's Zimmern's section on Denver:


About a third of Denver residents listed themselves as Mexican American on the 2010 Census, so it's no surprise that nearly every local food writer you talk to says that if there's a food that defines Denver--it's Den-Mex. The signature of Den-Mex is green chile, a spicy bright orange sauce with the consistency of gravy, made from Colorado chiles, pork, lard and tomato. You can check out Chubby's for a late-night after-the-bar gut bomb commodity burrito, but for truly amazing flavors El Taco de Mexico is a must. Denver's quintessential taqueria, the authentic spot serves the best menudo and tacos in the city. I bet there isn't another restaurant in town that utilizes as many varied techniques of meat cookery as well as the grandmoms do behind the counter at ETM."The signature of Den-Mex is green chile, a spicy bright orange sauce with the consistency of gravy, made from Colorado chiles, pork, lard and tomato," he writes. "You can check out Chubby's for a late-night after-the-bar gut bomb commodity burrito, but for truly amazing flavors El Taco de Mexico is a must. Denver's quintessential taqueria, the authentic spot serves the best menudo and tacos in the city. I bet there isn't another restaurant in town that utilizes as many varied techniques of meat cookery as well as the grandmoms do behind the counter at ETM.

When he visited Denver last fall for Bizarre Foods, Zimmern not only feasted on tacos from El Taco de Mexico and what he then called "stoner food" at Chubby's, but also tried Rocky Mountain oysters at Euclid Hall, downed sausages at Biker Jim's and ate a multi-course meal hosted by the Denver Adventurous Eaters Club at Parallel Seventeen.

But can any adventure beat a meet-up with those cleaver-wielding grandmoms at El Taco?



Location Info

Chubby's

1231 W. 38th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant

El Taco De Mexico

714 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO

Category: Restaurant


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
23 comments
Thom Toomey
Thom Toomey

Wish we had El Taco de Mexico in Colo. Spgs. Love the relleno buritto.

Sarah Osborn
Sarah Osborn

Having moved to the north east, I dearly miss Den-Mex. Don't ever take it for granted!

Clayton Graham
Clayton Graham

Zimmern's palate has been tarnished by the likes of exotic peppers and undercooked testicles. Denver is an amazing farm to table city with progressive cultures inspired to eat "clean". The Sonoran southwest is undoubtedly America's best Mexican and South American food representation.

Morganne Foster
Morganne Foster

Well, Denver is the "Fittest City" in the "Fittest State." We're inherently less focused on food in this city it seems. If you want mouth-watering eats go to the obese areas of the country. Those people are obese for a REASON; their food is outstanding!

Lisa Linch Suydam
Lisa Linch Suydam

No. But it's hard enough to get into some of Denver's best restaurants so let's just let him believe that for now. What the hell is den mex anyway?

Virginia Lee
Virginia Lee

I wouldn't think Andrews opinion matters at all on edible food. Last show I watched of his, he was eating whale & cow 'private parts'. I don't think his taste buds are credible. Nasty!

Anthony Siraguse
Anthony Siraguse

Hey Ian: In 2002, chef and television host Anthony Bourdain visited Denver, and called it a place where he couldn't find anything to eat except zucchini sticks and chicken wings. He vowed never to return. However, in February 2010, Bourdain spoke at a Denver food convention and retracted his famous statement, telling Denver-ites, "You have awesome, awesome food." http://www.ehow.com/list_6307945_top-10-restaurants-denver.html

Matthew Denniston
Matthew Denniston

Plenty of places with good green chile but I can't remember ever being served that in Mexico. The only authentic Mexican food I've found is Tacos DF... I'm sure there are others hiding around town though.

Ian Errl
Ian Errl

I think our fresh/local/granola culinary scene is way more influential on our cuisine.

Ian Errl
Ian Errl

I want Denver to get put on the map, but we are half-ass at everything here. If you want real, good Mexican food, burritos, or tacos, San Diego has us smoked. And everyone knows Chubby's hasn't been good for 5+ years. Andrew Zimmern is a hack. Bourdain wouldn't even entertain the idea of doing a No Reservations here. Check the tape.

Stan Yan
Stan Yan

I argue the DISTINCTIONS between NM are the uses and prevalence of red vs. green chile in dishes as well as the prevalence of corn vs. flour tortillas (if you're given a choice at all). I prefer NM hatch, but food on either side of the border has its merits in my opinion.

Izzy Dominguez
Izzy Dominguez

i agree with you. NM chile is the best.. I also say they make the best carne seca (beef jerky) ever.. ever!

Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

What a half ass article! And the consistency of gravy is what ruins green chile in Colorado!

Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

Colorado green chile is not comparable to NM green chile! What's with all the flour?! And using cream of chicken soup? Are you kidding?! I am a native of CO, live here and love it, but grew up in NM and I can say for certain there is no place in CO with green chile on par with NM!

John Dalby
John Dalby

Denver is quite a cosmopolitan city, offering a broad range of cuisine to a restaurant savvy public. To narrow it down is doing the city and it's wonderfully varied eateries a bit of an injustice...

Ariel Livaudais
Ariel Livaudais

Denver has made green chile incredibly popular. But there are so many good choices, it is hard to narrow it down to one or two.

Matt Morava
Matt Morava

I argue that we're truly the only place in the country with green chili. New Mexico is second, but seriously I think it's the defining part of Den-Mex.

jaspergeh
jaspergeh

@Matthew Denniston True, because green chile actually originated in New Mexico.

eatlifeyum
eatlifeyum

@Ian Erlandson Chubby's has not changed.  Don't be fooled by all the "original chubby's" that pop up with the same logo font-- the only real Chubby's is on 38th at Lipan, serving the same tasty recipes, by the same people, for all these years.  Besides how yummy it is, a big benefit of Chubby's is how much food you get for the dollar, which is why you may have to wait behind 20 other people for your order, late night or weekends at brunch, and it's worth it.  I recommend the guac tostada, smothered beef & bean burrito, or egg and potato special burrito.  I try to limit my intake of smothered fries but when I'm really hungover I have to have them. Cheers!

eatlifeyum
eatlifeyum

When I've been in NM, in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, I've tried at least a dozen green chiles but everyone of them was listed as "green chile stew," and served like a bowl of soup.  In Denver I just see it called "green chile."  In Denver the green chile is usually served as a sauce, or dip.  But as a hangover remedy we order a pint or quart and drink it neat (hot of course), and then we call it "north denver coffee." And btw my personal fav green chile in Denver is from Tacos Jalisco on 38th at Tennyson, and they also have about 8 amazing fresh salsas to choose from.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...