Jamey Fader loves street tacos. As the chef/founder of Lola Coastal Mexican and culinary director of Big Red F, he spends lots of time planning intricate menus and meals. But he really loves street tacos, the oldest food on the face of the earth, he says. In fact, the basic dish — grilled meat wrapped in something — predates streets.
But despite their long lineage, street tacos continue to energize the modern restaurant scene.
“Street tacos are an adventure,” Fader wrote a few years ago, when Westword introduced Tacolandia as a corner of our annual Denver restaurant event. “If a brick-and-mortar restaurant is like an all-inclusive resort vacation free of any obstacles, a visit to your local taquero is more akin to a life-or-death trek through the Amazon. You never know what to expect, and at every turn there is some potential peril that could consume you — or at least so inconvenience you that, in any other setting, you would be vowing ‘never to return again’ — but you do, because there is something primal and freeing about eating on the side of the road.
“It is that freedom and nonchalance with food,” he continued, “that has many chefs, including myself, adopting this equation of unintentional culinary irreverence in our own kitchens: misshapen cuts, unapologetically bold flavors, ripping-hot heat, bare-minimum essentials and a total lack of focus on anything other than eating for hunger and fun.”
Other Denver restaurateurs definitely share Fader’s love of street tacos, whether they’re actually made on a street at a cart, in a taqueria off Federal Boulevard, or at a new, hip spot in RiNo. Eaters love them, too, which is why Westword decided to spin off…
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