Federal Boulevard Taco Trade Carries on Despite Meth Bust

Categories: A Federal Case

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http://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced yesterday that numerous law enforncement agencies had coordinated to swoop in and seize over 55 pounds of methamphetamine, netting 17 indictments in the process. Of those, Maria Arellano is accused of selling meth out of her taco trailer, El Paisa Mexican Food, from a parking lot at Eighth Avenue and Federal Boulevard. Although she was just a minor player in the operation (kingpin honors go to Juan Carlos Gonzalez, leader of the aptly named Gonzalez Drug Trafficking Organization), Arellano and her taco truck drew particular ire from the Attorney General, who noted: "The brazenness of this ring was astounding. For example, customers could literally walk up to a food truck and order a side of meth with their taco."

See also:Does Federal Boulevard Have an Identity Crisis? A Trio of Name Changes

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Flautas and pho: Federal Boulevard update

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Mark Antonation
Pho Market, we hardly knew you...
Federal Boulevard is filled with constantly evolving views of construction, commerce and change. No sooner does a Vietnamese restaurant close up shop than a new pho joint opens in its place. There's a little less churn with Mexican eateries, but new spots occasionally pop up. Driving up Federal this week, I was excited to see signs of a new place at 925 South Federal -- bolted down fiberglass picnic tables on the street-facing patio -- until my appetite was killed by the discovery that it will just be another KFC outlet. Still, it's not the only recent change on the boulevard.

See also: Triple header: The three newest restaurants on Federal Boulevard

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Construction at Santiago's foils breakfast burrito plans

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Mark Antonation
Denverites love their breakfast burritos, so it's always a concern when supply-side issues threaten the morning ritual of a steaming torpedo of green chile and eggs wolfed down while fighting rush-hour traffic or toted by the dozen to the office to share with co-workers. That's why construction at the Santiago's at 2505 Federal Boulevard may have commuters scrambling for alternatives.

See also: At Santiago's, even green is orange on Broncos Sunday


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Ethniche: Eating my way around the globe one month at a time

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So long, Federal. Hello, Hawaii!
When I decided to start writing A Federal Case, I did so out of sheer curiosity. I live in a neighborhood that borders Federal Boulevard, a street that has served as an occasional dining destination but also as a conduit to other areas of the city. At the time, I was driving Federal more than just about any other street in Denver and as I passed the same restaurants over and over, I wondered why some became popular while others languished in obsurity. It seemed too daunting to sample my way through them based on anything other than a strict geographical order, and so a blog was born.

See also: The twelve days of Christmas on Federal Boulevard

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Toasting Federal Boulevard with a Pay Day Loan at the Federal

Categories: A Federal Case

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Mark Antonation
The scene of the shakedown.
Unusual, earthy, minty: that's how Chris Mohaupt, owner of the Federal Bar and Grill, described the bouquet of purple shiso I'd brought into his bar. He and bartender Jeremy Johnson rubbed the thick, fuzzy leaves between their fingers, sniffed, bit off bitter nibbles in their attempts to pinpoint the complex flavor and aroma of the herb, also known as perilla in some parts of the world and tía tô in Vietnam, where it perfumes steaming bowls of noodle soups and adds raw bite to salads and lettuce wraps. "Definitely cinnamon and anise," Amy added. So what were we doing with a grocery bag of shiso, Vietnamese mint and a fist-sized knob of fresh ginger at an American bar and grill better known for burgers and beers than anything approaching Asian cuisine?

See also: The twelve days of Christmas on Federal Boulevard

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Triple header: The three newest restaurants on Federal Boulevard

Categories: A Federal Case

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Mark Antonation
In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard - south to north - within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

Last week I ate at the northernmost restaurant on Federal Boulevard within Denver city limits, thus completing my stated mission of eating my way from south to north at every restaurant on the street. New restaurants opened in my wake, though, and as I glanced at their signs in my rearview mirror I realized it wouldn't feel right unless I went back and covered those, too. Plus, I was still hungry. So, like the snake eating its tail, I circled back to the beginning -- the less-than-auspicious moment where I couldn't even get a burrito at the long-gone Bubba Chinos at 3000 South Federal. The newest member of the neighborhood club, Boost Burger, has taken the place of the garish and graffitied green chile garage with a cool blue color scheme and a gearhead theme to attract a new customer base. This, along with the now popular Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant and the up-and-coming Pho Market, would punctuate the final sentence in my year-and-half-long West Side story.

See also:
The twelve days of Christmas on Federal Boulevard


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Viva Burrito and Rico Pollo: You already know how this will end

Categories: A Federal Case

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Mark Antonation
In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

I mentioned early on in my trek up Federal Boulevard that I'm not a restaurant critic; my goal is not to objectively judge or critique the finer points of dining at any establishment. Rather, I'm simply looking for good food -- food that I like -- while learning and sharing what I've found at each stop along the way. It's easy when every item on the menu beckons with quality ingredients, expert preparation and a proud staff that stands behind its food. Even many of the less-than-polished grottos and pit stops somewhere in the back of a poorly paved shoppette usually have one or two items worth risking a flat tire for. Sometimes I'll stick with the house special to ensure a good meal; other times I'll order the kind of food I know I'll like, even if it's buried in a list of more popular dishes. Rarely am I left in the position of choosing from the lesser of evils.

So at the end of the line, with the Adams County frontier within tamale-tossing distance, I stood in the parking lot withViva Burrito to my left and Rico Pollo to my right and some tough decisions to make about exactly what to eat.

See also: Rico Pollo won't fly on Federal, but San Antonio Mexican Bakery rises above the fray

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Pigging out at La Torteria

Categories: A Federal Case

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Mark Antonation
In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

When expectations are low, one of two things can happen: You can either get sucked into a vortex of disappointment or you can be buoyed on a wave of surprise at the simple pleasures found in the least likely of places. I certainly wasn't expecting much from La Torteria, wedged as it was among a row of shabby storefronts cluttered with abandoned shopping carts, weathered tables that were never intended for outdoor use, and dusty windows obscured by hand-lettered signs. Still, Thai Bao just a few doors down had provided a delightful lunch in a well-run and friendly atmosphere, so I wasn't in a hurry to cast a quick judgment on this little Mexican sandwich shop.

See also: Carnitas Estilo Michoacan: Take the chilaquiles and run

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Don't be fooled: Thai Bao is pure Vietnamese

Categories: A Federal Case

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Mark Antonation
In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

I may have previously commented on the generally run-down condition of strip malls and shopping centers along Federal Boulevard. I may have even pointed out what I considered, at the time, the most derelict and depressing. Even Brentwood Plaza at Evans and Federal, one of the more spiffed-up rows, currently features a children's dental clinic with a fractured façade propped up by two-by-fours, on the verge of collapse with a jagged crevice in the stucco awning, as if after a low-grade temblor. So it is not without careful consideration that I state that the Regis Square plaza is definitely the gloomiest, loneliest, most sad-sack and abandoned row of storefronts along the entire nine-mile drag that spans Denver city limits. What better place, then, to find a hidden gem like Thai Bao Vietnamese Restaurant? Because, after all, I'm not searching for the best parking lots or the most dazzling architecture; I'm just looking for some good food.

See also:Golden Pho & Grill is a newcomer, but fits right in on Federal

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Flavor revolves around carne al pastor at El Taco Veloz

Categories: A Federal Case

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Mark Antonation
Blue skies mean a take-out order.
In A Federal Case, I'll be eating my way up Federal Boulevard -- south to north -- within Denver city limits. I'll be skipping the national chains and per-scoop Chinese joints, but otherwise I'll report from every vinyl booth, walk-up window and bar stool where food is served. Here's the report on this week's stop...

This week found me at the second El Taco Veloz on Federal (or I suppose it could be the first, for anyone eating their way down the boulevard from north to south) in what was a purely accidental stop. My plan was to take friends to another nearby restaurant, which happened to be closed. Taco Veloz was the nearest appealing alternative and one I knew wouldn't disappoint, so we found ourselves circling the parking lot to avoid a tow truck removing an abandoned vehicle, dodging epic potholes, and finally parking in what seemed somewhat like a parking space, considering the lack of painted stripes.

See also: Pay attention to the signs at El Taco Veloz


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