The beats of lean cuts of meat sizzling on the grill and ladles clanking against trays of zesty vegetables fill Qdoba Mexican Grill during construction of made-to-order Mexican fare. As healthy-eating devotees, Qdoba's staff stocks its kitchen with nutritious ingredients, seasonal flavors, and 100% cotton candy–free tortillas.
Inside India Tavern, a large bay window casts a natural glow on grape and lime-green walls and plates of homestyle Indian fare. Named 5280 Magazine's Editors' Choice of their Top of the Town feature, diners can cozy up to a table beside the stone fireplace as they partake of clay-oven tandoori dishes made with chicken, lamb, or goa fish. After sopping up a ginger or saffron curry entree with fresh-baked naan bread, they can also question a knowledgeable server on the difference between mild, medium, and hot spice or why humans drive on parkways and park on driveways.
The year was 1967, and Stella Cordova was working in a restaurant called Chubby's Burger Drive In. One day, the owner made approached her with a curious offer?would she like to buy the place? Stella said yes, and today she keeps locals well-fed by managing the eatery she once worked in. Since then, The Original Chubby's has changed locations, altered its name, and sprouted a second spot in the arts district?now in the hands of Stella's grandson Julian. This time, though, the menu's fare features a Mexican twist. Stella's own favorite is the green chile-topped Mexican burger served with a side of cheese fries, but dozens of burgers, tacos, and burritos fly across the counter at Chubby's until midnight.
Authenticity is at the heart of Las Fuentes Mexican Restaurant. The menu consists of secret family recipes known only to the chefs and the kitchen's most discrete pots and pans, and every dish is made using only the freshest ingredients. Breakfast kicks off with eggs scrambled with pico de gallo and green chile sauce before chefs start building classic burritos, tacos, and enchiladas for the lunch and dinner crowds. Beyond the classics, specialty dishes include tamales smothered in homemade green chile, and a carnitas plate featuring tender bites of pork tossed with grilled onions and guacamole. Daily happy hours, meanwhile, offer deals on Mexican beer and margaritas available in an array of flavors including peach, mango, and strawberry.
7 Leguas not only celebrates its Mexican heritage with its cuisine, but also with its name. The restaurant was named after Pancho Villa’s horse, which the famed general rode in several battles during the Mexican Revolution. Guests will find a photograph of Pancho Villa riding 7 Leguas on the front of the menu, and a candid shot of them high-fiving in midair on the back. Some of the menu’s most alluring items are the tacos, which chefs stuff with carnitas, beef tongue, or chorizo before adding a handful of cilantro and chopped onions. But there are plenty of other palate-pleasing options, including sizzling fajitas, enchilada plates, and chicken mole.
Throughout the summer months, el Camino's rooftop garden blossoms with organic cilantro and mint leaves, providing ultra-fresh accouterments for the eatery's Mexican feasts. And though the small garden doesn’t cultivate all of el Camino’s ingredients, the rest of the bounty originates not too far from Highland. For example, the eatery's chefs stuff housemade tamales, tacos, and other lunch and dinner specialties with all-natural chicken, beef, and pork from local vendor Anderson Meats. They create guacamole, salsa, and each and every dessert completely from scratch, using produce supplied by two Colorado companies, Red Hat Foods and Arroyo Produce. Beyond supporting the local economy, el Camino tries to preserve the entire ecosystem by operating on 100% wind power and recycling all of its cans, bottles, and cardboard cutouts of Al Gore.
While satisfying hunger with decadent, locally sourced food, including a daily brunch, el Camino sates rippling thirsts for both beer and entertainment. The bar pours drafts from the likes of Del Norte, Avery, and Great Divide breweries, and mixes up potent bloody marys, mimosas, and sangria. Every night of the week brings a different treat, such as $1 street tacos on Tuesday and the Tito Del Barrio Malaga flamenco band every Saturday.