La Estrellita has been serving up mouth-watering Mexican fare to area residents for more than 20 years. Start with an order of the mexi rolls ($7.50–$8.50), a family creation of ground beef and pico de gallo wrapped in an egg roll and deep fried, or share a plate of spicy chicken wings ($8–$8.50) coated in the family’s award-winning sauce. Main courses such as crab and spinach enchiladas ($9–$10) or spicy fish tacos (jalapeño-marinated tilapia grilled with caramelized onions, $10) are sure to please aquaphiles, while a combination plate such as the costillas adobadas (country-style ribs served with rice and beans, $10–$11) will satisfy even the most insatiable talking plant. Most of La Estrellita’s entrees can be served vegetarian upon request, much to the delight of vegetarians and those who derive energy through photosynthesis. Conclude any meal as sweetly as a Marlon Brando after-school special with an order of the dessert nachos ($6–$6.29) or one of La Estrellita’s 15+ margarita flavors (starting at $5.50).
According to lore that has been passed down through the Lucio clan, one of the family progenitors was kidnapped from her native Chihuahua after Pancho Villa tasted her food and decided he needed her as his chef. That distant matron’s culinary wizardry trickled down the family tree and currently informs the cooking of her great-great-grandchildren at Armadillo Restaurants. Chefs at the restaurants use those generations-old recipes while gently patting cornhusks into place around meal and shredded pork or simmering red-chili sauce for enchiladas. Since the Lucios converted the first Armadillo Restaurant from a tough-guy bar into a restaurant in 1972, they’ve opened six additional locations in the Front Range.
Since its inception as a single Fort Collins eatery almost 20 years ago, Big City Burrito has spread its wings across Colorado and Nebraska, presenting a menu of create-your-own burritos, tacos, and the like composed of fresh fillings and made-from-scratch tortillas. Just as all buildings start with a steady foundation of flour and water, all burritos begin with a good tortilla. And Big City offers half a dozen options, such as tomato-chili and jalapeño-cheddar. After picking a tortilla, customers can start relaying their order to the kitchen crew, be it for a burrito packed with chicken mole and topped with mild pico de gallo or a carne asada taco with a dollop of salsa de lupe—the restaurant’s special blended hot salsa. Customers also can choose to have the decadent fillings and salsas served simply atop a plate of rice and beans or stuffed inside a fresh-made quesadilla. Besides crafting meals day and night, Big City also serves breakfast burritos for both adults and kids and offers catering services, which include burrito bars and boxed lunches for large groups or corporate events.