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How to Eat Like a Mexican-Born Chef in Denver

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After more than a decade honing his skills in fine dining establishments such as Panzano, cattivellaand more recently Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Zuri Resendiz returned to his roots. Earlier this month, the Mexico City native debuted Mexican Food Luchador, a truck that serves specialties infused with the flavors of its homeland and refined with culinary prowess. “All the techniques that I learn in all the restaurants have an influence [on the dishes]— but my origins are Mexican, so that’s where my flavors come from,” says Resendiz, who moved to the United States in 2002 and runs the truck with the support of his wife, Cristina Bazan.

Tacos and the Luchador platter with asada from the Luchador food truck. Photo by Patricia Kaowthumrong

The result is the small but mighty line of tacos, meat and potato platters and other dishes worthy of Luchador’s envy. Standout bites we’ve tasted so far include the meaty asada, made with Resendiz’s mix of ground chuck roll and skirt steak. You can get it on a taco, in a baked potato, or in a bowl (called a menu platter) with crispy potato chunks brushed with chipotle butter, fried in pork lard, and spiced with oregano, paprika and salt. Finished off with gooey Oaxaca cheese and zesty jalapeño black beans, it’s a dish worth seeking out on the food truck.

Resendiz’s tacos are also delicious, especially the al pastor. The pork is seasoned with sweet and peppery achiote sauce and served with pineapple and onions, which are caramelized to order separately (instead of cooked on the dish with the protein). “By doing this, you get both flavors, like the sweetness and sugar of the pineapple, plus the pastor’s savory,” he says.

Another dish that will soon be appearing on Resendiz’s rotating menu is a tlayuda. On the streets of cities like Oaxaca, the tostadalike hybrid traditionally features a giant tortilla warmed over coals and coated in refried black beans and cheese. Resendiz plans to serve his rendition with cricket aioli (for real) and flambé avocado.

When Luchador isn’t throwing al pastor, asada, and birria in the Denver metro area (look for the food truck schedule at instagram stories), Resendiz enjoys cooking at home and dining at taco stands and Mexican restaurants. “What I like to do on my days off is getting up early and going taco hunting,” he says. “I’m a taco and sandwich guy. For example, I can cook whatever you want all day, but in the end, my comfort food will be a taco or a good sandwich.

Here, we’ve rounded up four of his must-see spots and his tips for becoming a better patron.

Resendiz’s 4 Favorite Mexican Restaurants

Tacos El Cacheton taco stand
2110 S. Peoria St., Aurora
What is Resendiz recommended: The Vampiro, a mixture of chorizo, carne asada, pico de gallo and guacamole topped with spicy sauce. “It even looks like a small volcano, like when everything is piled up,” he says. ” It’s so good. But arrive before 6pm, when they finish.

Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina
12994 S. Broadway
What Resendiz recommends: Chili rellenos stuffed with portobello mushrooms, topped with creamy chipotle sauce and served with refried beans, rice, lettuce, pico and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. “It reminds me of when I came home from middle school and my mom was like, ‘Hey, the food’s ready. Come here,” he said. “And then you sit down and it’s that chili relleno smell. That’s where it takes me.”

Calle Taqueria y Carnitas
1565 W. Alameda Ave.
What Resendiz recommends: The birria de chivo con tortillas, braised goat stew with tortillas and avocado and roja sauces from the salsa bar. “I like to eat birria with avocado salsa because it’s so oily and greasy and rich, so the sourness and vinegar in this salsa just adds more flavor,” he says. “It’s like a [fresh] a mouthwash after finishing it that makes you want to keep eating it… I also do a little roja just for the spiciness.

Carnitas California
1470 S. Santa Fe Dr.
What Resendiz recommends: Pozole with all the fixings including sliced ​​radishes, shredded lettuce, Mexican oregano and lime. “You just mix it all up, and you have to have some nice tostadas on the side,” he says. “They also have authentic carnitas.”

Taco Shop Label 101

Here’s how to command iconic handhelds like a pro, according to Resendiz.

Try to speak Spanish, even if it’s bad. “You just have to learn the basic keywords,” he says. “They love it. And I’ll try to help you more, I think, because you respect and try the culture.

Order all your tacos at once. “Especially at a busy taco stand,” he says. “It’s going to look like you’re eating a lot, but you always want to come back for more.”

Don’t ask for cheddar cheese, sour cream, or other Tex-Mex taco components. “These are not common Mexican ingredients,” he says. “Don’t ask for hard shell tacos, okay?” Don’t say, ‘Can I have a chalupa?’ »

Express yourself if you are not a fan of onions and cilantro. “If you don’t like these toppings, be sure to tell them. Because most of the time, tacos come with onions and cilantro right off the bat.

Enjoy the salsa bar. “Don’t think everything is topped with pico de gallo,” he says. “When you put a different salsa on your taco, the flavor changes. It’s like magic in a tortilla. [For example], in Mexico City, we usually eat al pastor with a chile de arbol chipotle salsa because everything is red. But then they came up with the idea of ​​making an avocado salsa…then you put it on the al pastor and all the favors are even better.

Don’t be afraid to try something new. “Some people are intimidated by ingredients like tripe and intestines. he says. “It’s like pho [noodle soup]. Some people just get it with chest and they miss the best part. Don’t think about what it is, just bite into it and eat it.