Since moving way out into Aurora years ago, the University Hospital left hanging a bar with the best-conceived name ever: the Recovery Room. For years the sweet irony of The Recovery Room bar, across the street from the old hospital on Colorado Ave, gave respite (as well as return visits I'm sure) to many a hospital patients, all the while quietly giving it the finger. It always, always made me smile as I drove past, and now it sits alone, completely un-ironic and naked; like a fish out of water. (Sadly for them but proudly for me, it is even being upstaged by its namesake bar in the Philippines while it wallows in its symbolically outdated My Space page.)
In the vein of unhealthiness wherein lies the Recovery Room is La Chapina. Though the area around the new hospital (Colfax and Peoria in Aurora) is certainly full of other, more worthy trip-to-the-hospital-inducing vices, this taco truck stood out to me as an approachable way to undo some healthy habits while hurrying back into Denver from a doctor's appointment.
Taco trucks are, of course, often great places to eat. This one, like so many others offers a variety of meats (asada, barbacoa, tongue, chicken, etc.) in various vessels (taco, burrito, torta, gordita, etc.). I find that the taco is the best way to test a new taco truck, and I asked the nice señora behind the screen what she would recommend for me.
Chapinas are apparently girls from Guatemala
She recommended the steak (asada) and the barbacoa. I ordered both and sat down on a stool on the counter below to wait. Shepes's Rincon was getting ready for the afternoon traffic, I suppose, as several large and shiny pickups were already parked out front, and a couple of scantily clad, bucksome women (chapinas?) slipped in a side door after being dropped off (by a really big pickup).
The tacos came and I ate them. They were quite good. The asada was tender and the red salsa was flaming hot. The barbacoa was bathed in a chipolte-type sauce, almost like a tinga (pulled chicken) would be, and went well with the more mild green salsa. They came with double tortillas (con copia) but the amount of meat was a little disappointing, more like a 99 cent taco versus the $1.25 these guys charge. This was a little disappointing, given that I had three dollars in my wallet and thus only could have two tacos.
With my very limited sampling of this taco truck, I would say that it is worth trying again and certainly worth your while if you a) render the services of University Hospital, b) work or attend school at said hospital or c) love taco trucks and want to try something new. Or, finally, if you are Lauren Beard, communications consultant, who apparently has, to my great surprise, ventured into Shepes's Rincon, popped quarters into the jukebox, "shook it" and wrote a great little blurb about it on Metromix. According to Lauren, there is free pool on Mondays and Tuesdays along with dollar beer. Go Lauren! You'll be happy to know that you can now soak up those dollar beers with the grease from a dollar-twenty-five taco!
La Chapina is on the Northwest corner of 17th and Peoria in lovely Aurora, CO. If you would like to call ahead to confirm if they are open, dial 720-447-3929.