Today’s spicy Groupon invites you to a sultry south-of-the-border rendezvous at a hotel made out of Chihuahua cheese. For $25, you’ll get $50 worth of traditional Mexican tastes at La Sandía, an ethnic eatery from famed restaurateur and Denver magazine’s 2009 Person of Power Richard Sandoval.
In addition to classic Mexican food staples like sizzling fajitas and tacos al carbon, chefs at Lime incorporate international influences into their Central American cuisine. Steamed edamame and chipotle crema dipping sauce, as well as the scorpion plate’s shrimp flash-fried in a wonton wrapper, mingle Mexican cooking methods and ingredients from Asian traditions. And American fair makes its mark with the Lime's Mexican burger which wraps a flour tortilla around a beef burger patty, served with fries. The restaurant creates a festive atmosphere with margaritas, mojitos, and board games that double as giant maracas.
The cooks at each of El Parral Mexican Restaurant's locations follow traditional recipes to yield a menu of Mexican fare. Armed with fresh ingredients, they plate tender steak and seafood dishes and reintroduce taste buds to south-of-the-border favorites, such as tortas and burritos. Behind the bar, bartenders concoct signature margaritas and pour them into glasses rimmed with salt, like the eyelids of a sad teenage poet.
Tortillas and salsas are handmade in each Cost Vida store, and the executive chef has designed a menu around ingredients that have never seen the inside of a factory or a dehydrated astronaut snack pack, including fresh cilantro, mangos, tomatillos, and all-natural proteins such as sweet pork and baja shrimp made fresh daily. Dishes consist of Mexican staples such as burritos and tacos filled with cheese, meats, and beans, and lighter fare includes salads packed with veggies, salsas, and guacamole. Traditional Mexican desserts end meals on a dulcet chord with flan, key-lime pie, or sweet cinnamon tortilla.
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.