There was a time when I patronized Chez Jose, the now-defunct, quick-service Mexican spot at the corner of Second and St. Paul, weekly. I’d order burritos or tacos, or whatever, just to load up on the half-dozen freshly made salsas. Chez Jose is no longer, but owner Dan Ohlson has opened Machete Tequila & Tacos at Third and Detroit. The salsa selection is slimmer but still impressive: basic red, mild tomatillo, hot jalapeño, and my favorite, the fiery Fresno. These four come with the basket of chips but they’re equally good on the street tacos ($2.50 to $2.75 each). I drizzle them on the pollo pibil ahumado tacos—earthy Yucatan-style smoked chicken with pickled onions—served on house-made corn tortillas.
The best deal comes in the form of the oblong huarache (fried masa smeared with beans, Oaxaca cheese, and toppings). Consider it a chewy tostada that serves two. I order the Xel Ha (pronounced shell-ha) version, with smoky pork, pickled red onion, and sliced avocado. Toss it all back with a margarita or a Mexican draft—all the better if you dine during happy hour (10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Friday). 2817 E. Third Ave., 303-333-1567, machetedenver.com
Pollo Pibil Ahumado Taco $2.75; Pastor Taco $2.50; Papas con Chorizo Tostada $3.50; Xel Ha Huarache $10; Huitlacoche Quesadilla $6.50