Friday, September 18, 2009

Denver's Best Taco Truck

It's Friday afternoon. I just got done with a long week of work, and I'm hungry and tired. I need tacos. I'm excited that it's Friday of course, and to put an end to this busy, taco-less week, but what has me running out the door down the four flights of stairs out of my weekday confines is returning to La Lonchera Dos Hermanos. 

In my taco truck (AKA La Lonchera) introduction I mentioned that a lot of taco trucks have specialties. Nowhere is that more true and delicious than La Lonchera Dos Hermanos. These two brothers from Zacatecas, Mexico, specialize in two tacos, and make them as good as I've ever had. Memo (short for Guillermo) mans the window and does the talking. He looks tired this afternoon, and he should be. He works all week washing windows and then, either for fun or necessity or both, sets up shop on the weekend selling what is a masterpiece of a taco. His brother Lasaro is off to the side cooking and preparing the tacos. It's a beautiful thing really. These two brothers, part of the faceless and thankless workforce that keeps our city running, are also quietly and faithfully making some of the best food Denver has to offer.

And Memo and Lasaro make a mean taco. The absolute specialty is Tacos al Vapor, a traditional dish from the brothers' home state of Zacatecas. Tacos al vapor literally means "steamed taco". It is steamed beef, shredded and served in a steam-warmed corn tortilla. It is topped with the usual suspects of onion and cilantro, and finished with a light and spicy red salsa. It is soft, tender, virtually grease-free and it is so good it is addicting. The other taco they do to perfection is lengua. Lengua is tongue. Tongue scares off a lot of Americans but is a tender, richly flavored meat. It is worth trying for the first time here, and if you don't like it here, then you just don't like tongue. And while I think it's great, I come for the Vapor, and I recommend a 5:1 Vapor to Lengua ratio. 

From their lonely location in a relatively empty lot on the Northwest corner of Colfax and Xanthia, it is understandable why so many unknowing people pass it by. The parking lot is usually empty. The truck stands alone in a lot belonging to a night club that isn't even open by the time the brothers have to leave at 7 PM. The hand-lettered sign they put out facing Colfax is makeshift at best, and doesn't exactly grab one's attention. To make things worse, there is another taco truck two blocks away with fresh detailing, flashy painted lettering and a prime location on a busy intersection. 


Memo and Lasaro used to have a piece of prime real estate: the bustling corner of Montview and Clinton between two predominantly Mexican strip malls. This year they were kicked out of the Montview location and had to scramble to find this one in front of an empty night club. The politics and the licensing requirements for the "mobile food trucks", as the city refers to them, is complicated, but the first need is a property owner willing to play host. The old owner complained that Memo and Lasaro's truck was crowding the parking lot, but I would venture to say that what really happened was that the brothers' tacos were so much better than the two restaurants in the strip mall that they were threatening business. Because seriously, if you've ever been to Montview and Clinton on a Friday afternoon, you didn't turn around and go home because there wasn't a parking space. 


So that brings us back to the sad and scrumptious corner of Colfax and Xanthia. My wife and I stand at the truck's counter and eat one after another of these incredible tacos. We watch the busy afternoon traffic race by and I think of how many people would like this place if only they would stop. I see in Memo's bloodshot, swollen and fatigued eyes that he is thinking the same thing. He is powerless to change his situation currently, but is hopeful that more business will come soon. And there is hope, because these tacos are so damn good. While we are there chatting a guy walks up and skeptically decides to order two tacos. He takes a bite, his eyes light up and he nods his head while he chews. He quickly finishes them off then flashes two fingers up towards Memo with his mouth still full. Two more. Memo and Lasaro only need the people to come. The tacos will do the rest. 

Los Hermanos Lasaro and Memo only serve tacos Friday and Saturday afternoons until about 7 PM on the Northwest corner of 8700 East Colfax and Xanthia (2 blocks west of Yosemite). The tacos are $1. Call Memo if you want to be sure he is there: 720-621-8686

2 comments:

  1. I'll check out and report back after the weekend. Thanks for posting! I've been bemoaning the horrible tacos in Denver.

    Michael

    ReplyDelete
  2. awesome. i'll check this place out. happen to know of any taco carts that participate in rentals. trying to find one for a party.

    ReplyDelete

Labels

11N (1) A Federal Case (1) A Taste of the Philippines (1) Acapulco Tacos (1) Ace Eat Serve (1) adobo (1) Adrian Miller (1) aguas frescas (2) Al Lado (1) Al's Beef (1) alambre (4) Ali Baba Grill (1) All-V's (1) arepas (4) Argentina (2) art (1) asada (2) Aurora (5) authentic (1) Award (1) bacon (1) bagel (1) Bailey (1) bakery (1) baklava (1) baleadas (2) Ban Thai (1) barbacoa (3) baseball (5) Basil Doc's (1) BBQ (2) beer (2) bibimbob (1) Biker Jim (1) birria (1) biscuit (2) Bistro Vendome (1) Bonnie Brae Tavern (1) books (1) Boulder (3) Boulder International Film Festival (1) Bourdain (1) breakfast (3) breakfast for dinner (1) breakfast tacos (1) brunch (2) Brussels sprouts (1) Buffalo wings (2) buffet (1) Bun Hanoi (1) burger (3) burrito (7) Bánh mì (2) cabeza (2) Cafe de Tacuba (1) Cafe La Habana (1) Cafe San Juan (1) camping (1) Canada (1) Carl Sandburg (1) carne en su jugo (2) carne seca (1) carnitas (2) Cava (1) cecina (1) ceviche (1) change (1) charal (1) chica morada (1) Chicago (9) Chicago Louie's (1) Chicago Style (1) chicarron (3) chicharron (2) chicken skin (1) chilaquiles (4) Chile (3) chiles en nogada (1) Chili Verde (1) chimbolo (1) Chinese (2) Chinese New Year (1) chorizo (4) chorrillana (1) Christmas (1) churros (2) cinco de mayo (2) CLOSED (6) coffee (3) Colorado Springs (1) Colt and Grey (1) Coney Island (1) contest (8) crab (1) crawfish (1) crispchon (1) Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria (1) Cuban sandwich (7) cupcakes (1) curry (1) Cypress Hill (1) Dancing Noodle (1) deep dish (1) deli (1) Deluxe (4) Denveater (7) Denver Biscuit Company (1) Denver County Fair (2) dessert (2) Dim Sum (1) diner (1) DINR (7) discada (1) dolmades (1) Domo (1) donuts (1) dreams (1) duck curry (1) dumplings (2) durian (1) EatDenver (2) El Boricua (1) El Camaron Loco (1) El Costeno (1) El Diablo (2) El Divino (1) El Fogon (1) el guero tortero (1) El Olvido (2) El Paisa (3) El Pariaso (1) El Rico Dicho (1) El Salvador (2) El Taco Rey (1) El Tamarindo (1) El Tizoncito (1) elote (1) Emapanda Express Grill (1) Empanada Express Grill (1) empanadas (7) enchiladas (1) enchiladas mineras (1) Encore (1) epicurious (1) Ernie's Bar (1) Euclid Hall (1) event (1) Evergreen (1) falafel (1) Filipino (7) film (6) fire (1) First Friday (1) fish tacos (2) flan (1) flyfishing (1) food truck (7) food cart (6) football (2) French (2) fried chicken (2) fried tacos (1) frijoles charros (1) Frijoles Colorado (1) Fritangas (1) frito pie (5) frybread (1) G6 (1) gallo pinto (1) garnachas (1) Gastro Cart (1) Gaudalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet (1) Globeville (1) Golden (1) good Mexican food (10) good signs (5) gorditas (1) Grandma's Korean BBQ (2) Greek (1) Greek Town (1) green chile (12) gyro (4) Halo-Halo (1) Harvest Week (1) Hi Rise (1) Honduran food (1) hot dog (5) huarache (4) Huerfano Cafe (1) Hush (1) Hutch and Spoon (1) Ian Kleinman (3) ice cream (1) Indian taco (1) itacates (1) Italian beef (5) Italian-American (2) Jabo's (1) Jack-n-Grill (1) James Mazzio (2) Japanese (1) Jax (1) Jiutepec (1) Jollibee (1) Jonsey's Eat Bar (1) kabob (1) Kaladi (1) Kavkaz Bakery (1) kids (2) King's Land (1) Korean BBQ (3) La Cascada (1) La Chapina (1) La Flor de Michoacan (1) La Loncheria Mexicana (1) La Mexicana Taqueria (1) lamb (2) Lao Wang Noodle House (1) Las Torgtugas (2) Las Tortas (1) Laughing Ladies (1) LDP (2) Le Trompeau (1) Leandro Cristobal (1) lechón (5) lengua (1) Leobardo's (1) LoHi (1) lonchera (7) longaniza (2) Los Angeles (1) Los Carboncitos (1) Los Farolitos (2) Los Gallitos (1) Los Toritos (1) Lou Malnati's (1) lox (1) lumpia (2) lunch (2) machaca (1) Mama D's (1) Mama Tere (1) mango (1) Map (1) Marco's Coal Fired Pizzeria (1) mariachi (1) Martin Rios (1) Masterpiece Deli (1) Maxwell Street (1) mayonnaise (1) Mexican Canoli (1) Mexican hot dog (1) Mexico City (8) Mexico City Restaurant and Lounge (1) michelada (2) Middle Eastern (6) Mile High Vienna Beef (1) molcajete (1) mole (8) Monte Vista (1) Motulenos (1) Mulli (1) Museo de las Americas (2) mushrooms (1) mussels (1) Navajo taco (1) New Mexican (3) New Siagon (1) Nicaragua (2) nitrogen (1) Nonna's (1) NOT CLOSED (1) old school (1) Ondo's (1) Operation Front Line (2) Orange Crunch (1) Oscar's (1) Osteria Marco (1) oysters (1) paleta (1) pan dulce (5) Panaderia Rosales (1) pancit (2) Parallel 17 (1) Park Burger (1) pastries (1) Patricia Quintana (1) Patriotic Independence Gathering (1) pepper and egg (1) Peruvian (1) Philippines (3) pho (3) Pho 77 (1) Pho Duy II (1) Phoenician Kabob (2) Piccolo's (1) Pinche Tacos (2) Pinche Taqueria (1) pizza (9) Planet Barbecue (1) poblano (1) pollo a las brasas (2) Pomfreet (1) pork (3) poutine (2) pozole (1) pronunciation (1) Puebla (1) Puerto Rico (1) pupusa (5) quesillo (1) recipe (6) Recovery Room (1) Red Tango (1) rice and beans (3) Richard Sandoval (1) Riki Takaoka (1) Rise and Shine (1) roast pig (2) Rosca de Reyes (1) Route 40 (1) Russia (1) Sabor de Mexico (1) Salida (3) salty lemonade (1) Santa Fe (1) sausage (5) seafood (4) Seattle (1) shawarma (2) shrimp cocktail (1) Silla (1) Simpsons (1) smothered (7) sope (1) South American (1) southern colorado (8) Starz Denver Film Festival (3) Steven Raichlen (1) Stevo's (1) street food (9) strip malls (1) Studio F (2) stuffed (1) suadero (1) Sub sandwich (1) Sue of Siam (1) summer food truck boom (3) Sunburst Grill (1) sushi (1) sweets (2) Table 6 (3) taco al pastor list (2) taco arabe (1) taco truck (8) taco vampiro (1) Taco Veloz (2) TacoMex (1) tacos al pastor (34) tacos al vapor (4) Tacos Copacabana (1) tacos de canasta (1) tacos de trompa (1) tacos dorados (1) Tacos el Chorizo (1) Tacos El Gordo (2) Tacos El Sampa (1) Tacos Junior (2) Tacos Tijuana (1) Tacos y Salsas (2) Taiwanese (1) tamales (3) Tambien (3) tapas (2) Taqueria el Valle Aurora (1) Taqueria el Valle Denver (1) tarta (1) Taste of Chicago (1) Taste of the Nation (2) Teleras (1) Telluride (1) Tepotzlan (1) teriyaki (1) Thai (5) Thai Avenue (1) Thai Flavor (1) The Bagel Deli (1) The Berkshire (1) The Biscuit Bus (1) The Corner Office (1) The Inventing Room (1) The Red Claw (1) Thornton (1) Ticorito (1) Tin Star Cafe Donut Haus (1) Tocabe (1) Toluca (1) Toluca Mexican Restaurant (3) tongue (1) torta (5) torta ahogada (2) torta Cubana (1) torta de tamal (1) Torta Grill (2) torta poblana (1) tortilla (1) Tortisimas (1) travel (14) Tres Pupusas (1) truffle fries (1) Turtux (1) Udi's (2) US Thai (1) Utah scones (1) Venezuelan (2) Victoria (1) Vietnamese (3) vietnamese sandwich (1) vigaron (1) Walsenburg (1) Westword Best Food Blog (1) whiskey (2) Willy's Buffalo Style Hot Wings (1) Xiao Long Bao (2) yuca (1) zombies (1) Zorbas (1)