Tag Archives: food-stands

Taking it to the Streets: Mexican-style outdoor food stands in Denver

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Mariscos D Mazatlan
Mariscos D Mazatlan

Mariscos D Mazatlan at 1063 Federal Blvd. specializes in seafood. In the evenings they prepare and serve tacos at this little stand in front of the restaurant. The current price for a taco here is $.99.

When I lived in Mexico I fell in love with the little outdoor Taco-stands that dot the streets all over Mexico. It wasn’t just about the food. It was also about the ritual. The ritual is about open-air (after dark the ritual sweetens.) It’s about camaraderie – people gathering around hot-food (under lights.) There’s something about being in close proximity to bare light-bulbs at night. Afternoons also work, but then something’s missing. Strangers and friends congregating around food at night, in the open-air, can be a mystic experience – at least dining al-Fresco in Mexico can be a mystic expierience.

There’s magic surrounding these little oases of refreshment. I’m thinking, maybe, they’re a throwback to a more primitive time. Or a bit later – gathering around the campfire with coffee and beans on the prairie after sundown. Different meats, usually carne asada (beef) or puerco (pork), but also more esoteric meats such as cabeza (head) parts such as: ojo (eye), oreja (ear), cachete (cheek), lengua (tongue), or labios (lips) are cooked on a flat-grill or sometimes in a wok-like, stir-fry pan. Then the little (usually 4-6″ in diameter) tortillas are warmed and topped with the meat. Salsas and extras such as: avocado or guacamole, cilantro, tomatoes, onions and lettuce are usually available, on the counter. Making the salsas and extras available for the customer to access is another facet that makes this form of dining so desirable. The customer can participate, not only in the ritual but in the gustational-balance. Huh? Sometimes, at other street locations or at restaurants, one can find Tacos Al Pastor: “Pork is marinated over one or two days in a combination of dried chiles and then slowly cooked with a gas flame on a vertical rotisserie”. A huge hunk of pork is flame-roasted on a vertical rotisserie then sliced and placed on a tortilla and served as above. I haven’t seen these tacos on Federal yet, but I’m thinking they will be available. Al Pastor is definitely my favorite taco, if it isn’t Baja fish-tacos. [Some information is from the pages of WIKI]

I’m betting you’re going to see more of these taco/food stands around Denver. Similar food stands like this in Mexico were the inspiration for Baja Fresh-type restaurants. Depending on the outlet, food is served from lunchtime into the night.


Federal Boulevard in Denver – West Evans north to Colfax Avenue particularly has recently sprouted a dozen of these little food-stands. Tacos, tortas, puppusas, hot dogs and more are served hot. Beverages and chips are often available. Probably because of Denver’s limited season these outlets are mostly mobile kitchen-trucks and trailers. My recollection of Mexico is that many of the taco-stands were more permanent structures. Especially in Ensenada, Baja California where the favored taco was a fish-taco. The stands were wood-framed, palapa-style.

Tacos Marlene
Tacos Marlene

This little trailer/stand sells hot tacos in front of the Tacos Marlene restaurant at 677 S. Federal Blvd. Tacos go for about $3.50, for two. The salsas and extras are on the table (right front.)

Tortas Truck in front of Avanza Food Market

This catering truck in front of The Avanza Food Market at 1320 S Federal Blvd. sells tortas, beverages, chips etc.


Marcelino's Tortas
Marcelino’s Tortas

This is Marcelino from Mexico City standing defiantly in front of his Tortas Truck. Marcelino strongly emphasized that he only sells tortas, no tacos. His tortas sell from $5.99 to $8.99.

Tacos on Federal Blvd.
Tacos on Federal Blvd.

Here’s another little trailer/stand on Federal selling fresh tacos.


Pupusas on Federal

Pupusas are a traditional Salvadoran dish made of a thick, hand-made corn tortilla that is usually filled with a blend of cheese, cooked pork (ground) and re-fried beans. This stand is near 4th & Federal.


Patas off Federal
Pigs Feet and Hot dogs just off Federal

How about some Pigs Feet or a Hot Dog from this stand beside a store on 8th & Federal.

So what’s the verdict? My opinion is that it’s a good thing for foodies. I’ll patronize the stands from time to time – if the food is decent. It’s the original fast-food outlet. Undoubtedly there are going to be naysayers who will complain about the encroachment of Mexican society on the city, or that the nearby restaurants will loose business. And then there will be those who say that the Mexicans are just taking back what originally belonged to them. Still others will say “face it, war is war.” I say food is food, though the point about the nearby heavily-invested restaurants loosing revenue is a germane consideration (of course this is not applicable to those restaurants parking a trailer on their own premises.) To a street person who’s gleaned sustenance from cans d’ garbage for survival, this is fine dining.

The disclaimer here is: if you’re a food-snob, if you leave a restaurant where there’s dust on the window-sill, if you demand spotless Sterling-silverware, or if you become queasy at the sight of a stained restaurant carpet you might want to go elsewhere. If you dine with the Natives whenever possible, and the food in these stands prove worthy of your time and cash (still to be determined) this may be a food destination for you.

In the immortal words of LA’s infamous Rodney King “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?”

Some information is from the pages of WIKI.
Visit the main pages of LasVegasBuffetClub.Com/