Sunday, June 21, 2015

Shopping Mall Snacks: The Sweet Shop and it's "Dorilocos"

Shopping mall food. It's bad. I don't exaggerate (much) when I say that it is never, ever good. Even the standard fast casual chains you otherwise don't mind most of the time somehow taste worse in the middle of those evenly lit, beige-tiled, echoing hallways of consumerism. Then there is The Sweet Shop in Colorado Mills. It looks like just another run-of-the-mill candy store that even with its insanely bright colors fails to stand out much among the chaos of Colorado Mills on a weekend afternoon.  But it is much more. A couple ofweekends ago, among those marching ants ready to always buy more was my family of four, who after sating our shopping needs headed over to The Sweet Shop-- straight through the distracting displays up front to the back counter where the good stuff is.

The Sweet Shop, as much of Colorado Mills, does things Mexican style. The front half is full of antojitos that make my wife's mouth water: chile covered dried fruit and hard candy of all kinds. Above, from the ceiling, hang piñatas of all your favorite cartoon characters. But at the back counter is where it gets really good. The first thing that stands out is a display fridge with rows and rows of fresh fruit in cups, ready to be sprinkled with chile and lime.

My Kid. In a Candy Store

There are also things like this:

And this:

That is, food in a shopping mall unlike anything you have ever seen in this town, though variants on food you find on any street corner in Mexico (OK, maybe not the over-the-top pineapple concoctions pictured above). The Sweet Shop also has Dorilocos, one of the latest food-fads from the streets of Mexico. Making Dorilocos involves cutting open a bag of Doritos and dumping ungodly amounts of seemingly random food items - from candied peanuts to fruit to pickled pig skins-- then dousing it all in chile and lime, and serving it right in the bag. Appropriately, for a food store located in a discount outlet mall, the Colorado Mills "Dorilocos" is a knock-off version that uses Tostitos and is therefore cleverly called "Tostilocos". But even a taste of Tostilocos will give you an idea of why a) it's actually rather good, b) you may only choose eat this once in your life, c) thank goodness that fads, by definition, don't last.

The picture above was from months ago. This time around I did not dare sample a Tostiloco again, but pretty much had the same toppings on a bag of plain potato chips. It was called, you guessed it: Papas Locas.

This snack, not being a bunch of nasty Xtreme nacho cheese knock-off Doritos but rather tried and true plain ol' potato chips was, well, amazing.

Instead of trying to describe how it tastes, let me just list the ingredients and let your imagination and mental taste buds run with it. The base is simply plain potato chips. The rest is not simple at all: sliced jicama, mango, and cucumber; Japanese peanuts (candied peanuts found everywhere in Mexico), cueritos (pickled pig skin), chile-covered raisins, and copious amounts of runny, vinegar-forward hot sauce similar to Salsa Valentina. Flavor, it does not lack. This is modern Mexican taste condensed and served up in a convenient plastic bag: salt, spice, sweet, and sour. Chewy, crunchy, juicy all at once. Let's take a closer look:

My wife wasn't so sure after our last Dorilocos experience here, so she got a simple mango cup. When I tapped out about halfway through my battle with the enormous bag of Papas Locas, she was happy to take over. Meanwhile, I devoured the mango cup, which was chock-full of perfectly ripe mango:

I am still waiting for chile-covered fruit stands to take off in Denver. I am not surprised to see it at Colorado Mills, though I am surprised there isn't more of it all over town. True, it is an acquired taste to many of us, but there is something particularly satisfying (and incredibly addicting) about spicy fruit even after the novelty wears off. The Dorilocos thing, however, will absolutely not last. It can't. It is too horrible on too may levels. And even though some variant of it will (the Papas Locas, for example), you should -- wait, I never, ever thought I would write these words and not mean the exact opposite of what I was saying: do yourself a favor and get on over to Colorado Mills now.

The Sweet Shop can also be found on the internet. Seriously, do yourself a favor and pay them a visit.  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Joy of Ballpark Food: A Book Report and Reader Contest

Recently someone was nice enough to send me a book. It was flattering that after pursuing my blog that this publicist thought me literate enough to both read and then summarize a grouping of words longer than a tweet-- or a blog post. But of course book reports are also a staple of most elementary education programs, so I guess she might have figured anyone could really do it. And unlike books of English classes past, I actually read this one.

"Part of this D-minus belongs to God."

The book that I was sent was called: The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine by Bennett Jacobstein. Baseball and food. With pictures. I haven't had such a bonding experience with a book since someone sent me a recipe for al pastor years back.

I have always been somewhat of a ballpark food purist-- although traditionalist is the better word, as "pure" cannot be used to describe anything I normally eat at a ballgame. When I take my toddlers to a game I give them a steady diet of peanuts in a shell, hot dogs with mustard, and a box of Cracker Jack. This to me is as fundamentally important to baseball as good defense and base running. My kids may never grow up to be three-tool ball players, but they will know the three essential foods of the best baseball fans.

Mr. Jacobstein starts out his master work by underscoring these important traditions as well. He does a great job of presenting a good bit of baseball food history, including a fascinating look back at the origins of the hot dog. Then he gets into the meat of the book: an exhausting list of unique ballpark foods from every single stadium in the country.

Over the years I have taken advantage of the fact that Coors Field allows its fans to walk in with just about anything that isn't in a glass bottle. I have strolled through the Blake St. gates with Cuban sandwiches, empanadas, tacos, burritos, and even a full pizza in a box. But that has also kept me from experiencing some items that I didn't know were even available to me that Mr. Jacobstein so kindly highlights in his book, such as chocolate bacon.

Other highlights and obscurities were Koren tacos in Baltimore's Camden Yards, or a bloody Mary that comes garnished with a full-sized bratwurst in the Twin Cities. Indeed, Mr. Jacobstein has done some enviable research and presents it all in a easily digestible format (pun absolutely intended). It is certainly worth checking out, and has already become a staple on my coffee table. He was kind enough to offer a free e-copy of his work, which I will pass along to the best answer to one of the following questions:

What is your favorite baseball food? 
What food brings you the best baseball memory?  

Just send me an email or leave a comment below (though I will need an email at some point to get you the book) and my favorite answer will become the lucky owner of a virtual copy of Ballpark Food. 


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) Araujo's (1) arepas (4) Argentina (2) art (1) asada (2) Aurora (5) authentic (1) Award (1) Azul (1) bacon (1) bagel (1) Bailey (1) bakery (1) baklava (1) baleadas (2) Ban Thai (1) Bánh mì (2) barbacoa (4) baseball (6) Basil Doc's (1) BBQ (2) beer (3) bibimbob (2) Biker Jim (1) birria (1) biscuit (2) Bistro Vendome (1) Bonnie Brae Tavern (1) books (2) 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 (2) Bun Hanoi (1) burger (3) burrito (8) 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 (2) change (1) charal (1) chica morada (1) Chicago (10) Chicago Louie's (1) Chicago Style (1) chicarron (3) chicharron (4) chicken skin (1) chilaquiles (5) 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 (4) Colorado Springs (1) Colt and Grey (1) Coney Island (1) contest (9) crab (1) crawfish (1) crispchon (1) Cuba Cuba Sandwicheria (1) Cuban sandwich (7) cupcakes (1) curry (1) Cypress Hill (1) Dae Gee (1) Dancing Noodle (1) deep dish (1) deli (1) Deluxe (4) Denveater (7) Denver Biscuit Company (1) Denver Botanic Garden (1) Denver County Fair (2) dessert (2) Dim Sum (1) diner (1) DINR (7) discada (1) dolmades (1) Domo (1) donuts (1) Dorilocos (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) El Trompito (1) elote (1) Emapanda Express Grill (1) Empanada Express Grill (1) empanadas (8) enchiladas (1) enchiladas mineras (1) Encore (1) epicurious (1) Ernie's Bar (1) Euclid Hall (1) event (1) Evergreen (1) falafel (1) Fantasy Island (1) Filipino (7) film (7) fire (1) First Friday (1) fish tacos (3) flan (1) flautas (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) fruit (1) 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) Guadalajara Authentic Mexican Buffet (1) 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 (6) 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 (4) La Cascada (1) La Chapina (1) La Flor de Michoacan (1) La Loncheria Mexicana (1) La Mexicana Taqueria (1) lamb (3) Lao Wang Noodle House (1) Las Torgtugas (2) Las Tortas (1) Laughing Ladies (2) LDP (2) Le Trompeau (2) 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 Pastes (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 (9) 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) mystery meat (1) Navajo taco (1) New Mexican (3) New Siagon (1) Nicaragua (2) nitrogen (1) Nonna's (1) North County (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) Papas Locas (1) Parallel 17 (1) Park Burger (1) Paste (1) pastries (1) Pasty (1) Patricia Quintana (1) Patriotic Independence Gathering (1) pepper and egg (1) Peruvian (2) Philippines (3) pho (3) Pho 77 (1) Pho Duy II (1) Phoenician Kabob (2) Piccolo's (1) Pig Out (1) Pikka'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 (4) 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) Sustainable Food Film Series (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 (2) tacos al pastor (37) tacos al vapor (4) Tacos Copacabana (2) 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 Pasty Republic (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 (15) 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) Work & Class (1) Xiao Long Bao (2) yuca (1) zombies (1) Zorbas (1)