642 S. Academy Blvd., 550-1213
La Sinaloense has been around for a decade, and I'm just now exploring it, which makes me sad. But it's hard to remain mopey for long next to three gorgeous pastry-display cases jammed with colorful, classic Mexican sweets. With mom Delia cooking and her brother Fernando baking, the extended Ramirez family, originally from coastal Sinaloa, keeps an eye on authenticity and freshness, Delia says.
As easily noticed on the enchilada plate ($9.99), that freshness includes house-made corn tortillas that resist turning to mush under the saucing, unlike so many inferior versions elsewhere. For my trio, next to standard rice and beans and garnished with pretty crema Mexicana, I choose chile verde and a mix of one each: beef, chicken and cheese. The sauce bears mild-to-medium jalapeño heat, but peppery and flavorful bite, while the shredded beef bests the bunch. — Matthew Schniper
127 W. Second St., Eagle, 970/306-7113, bonfirebrewing.com
Western Distributing rep Theo Jasper, the guy who first inserted Bonfire Brewing cans (around $10/16-ounce four pack, $9/12-ounce six pack) into our marketplace last November, calls it a "sought-after brand in ski towns — a mountain staple" that's a "rare commodity" in C-Springs. He's strategically only stocked four local liquor stores thus far (buzz us if you care to know which ones).
I nab the 6.1-ABV Tent Pole Vanilla Porter, which boasts of Madagascar vanilla beans used in the boil and two fermentation cycles, plus chocolate and black patent malts, and a multi-hop Falconer's Flight blend. The real-ingredient flavor-base produces a beautifully balanced and subtle vanilla finish without the synthetic leanings that deflate some other breweries' brands. Otherwise, expect strong roasted coffee undertones, bitter chocolate hints, a micro-tinge of nuttiness and a pretty carbonated but fairly heavy, smooth body. — Matthew Schniper
252 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-5223, hatchcover.biz
The Hatch Cover employs an enthusiastically bawdy social-media strategy whose élan vital is only matched by the restaurant's fire wings. At 10 for $5, not only are they cheap, but the sauce — accompanied on the menu with, "Fire means FIRE! No Refunds!" — is a brutally noticeable suicide soup of habañero, Bhut Jolokia peppers and whatever else the kitchen feels like fooling around with. (Our server confided that some assholes get the rougher side of its creativity.) The burnt orange liquid is angry and mean, approaching the tongue with an iron edge before spreading out to occupy hostile territory and suppress all opposition.
Drummettes are juicy and typically sized, while the wings are fatty little folks. One must have been a solid 2.5 inches with the heft of a small candy bar. (And to think that it only cost 50 cents.) — Bryce Crawford