Sunday, December 23, 2007

Chilanga Banda

As much as I like living on Capitol Hill, it has it's disadvantages. On the one hand, we have a great selection of high-end restaurants that serve up amazing food, on the other hand, we have very few ethnic eateries worth mentioning.

There are places in strip-malls in the 'burbs that have the best Mexican, Vietnamese or Chinese food imaginable. But I'm so flojo that I rarely rouse myself to make the "trek". Really, it's not that far, but it feels like another country.

Last weekend we finally had an excuse to be out east and decided that it was "now or never" if we wanted to try a place I'd heard good things about: Tacos D.F. (2020 S. Parker Rd. Denver, CO 80231, 303-671-2986). The beauty of "Mexican" food lies in its diversity. There is just SO much to try. It varies from region to region and city to city. Mexico City (el DF) is it's own universe. 20 million people, from all over the country and the world converge on this ancient city and add their recipes and traditions. Wow, that's a rich broth!

Tacos DF is very different from the places you'll find on Federal. They tend to be predominantly NorteƱo establishments, mostly from Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila. You'll find a few from Michoacan or Guanajuato, not many. Chilango (from Mexico City) food is harder to find. When you drop into Tacos DF, you'll notice that even the look of the customers is different. Not so many vaqueros around here. Ok enough with the anthropology, the food is amazing. This is a taqueria so nothing fancy: tacos, tortas, quesadillas, sopes and sopas. We had the tacos, sopes, and quesadillas. The tacos de lengua (tongue) were flavorful and tender; tacos de cabeza (beef cheeks) were my favorites, not greasy, perfectly seasoned; tacos de asada (grilled steak with onions and tomato) were good. The tacos are $1.75, served plain, generous amount of meat, on a corn (store bought) tortilla; troca style.

The quesadillas are not your TacoBell variety. These are hand-made elongated corn tortillas, a wee bit o'cheese, your choice of filling, and then cooked on the comal (griddle). I chose the tinga filling, which is chopped chicken, cooked with onions, tomato and some bacon or chorizo. Wow, these are awesome! I had one of these in Morelia a couple months ago and I'm so glad I found a local source.

You'll find that the menus features sopas, basically soups. Pozole, I assume you know about. Consome and Pancita are less common up here. Down south, you can't properly start a meal unless you've had your little bowl of one of these. Consome is a clear lamb broth with garbanzo beans; Pancita is a beef broth, kind of like pho without the other stuff.

Tacos DF is basically a lunch truck with a small dinning room. Don't come for the ambiente, there isn't any. Just come for outstanding food from Mexico City and don't forget a big Styrofoam cup of tepache!

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