The sweet, deceptively strong café con leche that Sunnyside’s nine-year-old Buchi Cafe Cubano dishes out by the demitasse tastes like melted espresso ice cream. Pair the raw-sugar-sweetened caffeine boost with any pressed sandwich; we’re partial to the ham, Swiss, and scrambled egg breakfast version on soft Cuban bread. 2651 W. 38th Ave., 303-458-1328

El Salvador

Pupusas are to El Salvador as tacos are to Mexico; El Chalate on East Colfax makes some of the best we’ve tasted. The thick corn masa discs, amply filled with creamy white cheese, “ayote” (squash), or chicharrón—or a combo—are crisp in places on the outside, tender and chewy within. Served with oregano-flecked “curtido” (pickled cabbage and carrots) and mild red salsa, it’s a perfect taste of El Salvador. 8119 E. Colfax Ave., 303-333-0818


Glendale’s Antojitos Colombianos is difficult to find (look for its sign next to a real estate office and a dispensary), but it’s worth seeking out for its aborrajados. The sweet plantain fritters hide a melty, mild cheese and guava paste filling and, even better, cost less than $5. 6625 Leetsdale Drive, Unit B, 303-379-9520


Jalea is the Peruvian seafood dish we crave during the colder months. At LoHi’s seven-month-old Candela Latin Kitchen, chef Jesse Vega serves a gluten-free version: deep-fried, masa-battered soft-shell crab, shrimp, and calamari topped with lime-macerated onions and a creamy Peruvian green chile sauce. 1691 Central St., 303-477-4582


Argentina is known for “asado,” or barbecue, so it’s no surprise the cuisine’s grilled sausage sandwiches put most American frank-on-a-bun offerings to shame. The choripán sandwich at Boulder’s Rincon Argentino is simple scrumptiousness: a golden baguette filled with sliced Argentine sausage, leaf lettuce, tomato, and a bright chimichurri that soaks into the bread for a garlicky, herbal pop. 2525 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, 303-442-4133


Got a sweet tooth? At Wheat Ridge’s Little Brazil, you can indulge in authentic Brazilian desserts, such as melt-in-your-mouth “brigadeiros” (cocoa-and-condensed-milk truffles), or fresh-from-the-fryer pastries stuffed with the likes of bananas and Nutella. While you’re there, stock up on Brazilian goods like Bis biscuits and Amandita wafers from the minimarket. 10081 W. 26th Ave., Wheat Ridge, 303-427-2270


With so many dining options at LoHi’s Avanti Food & Beverage—Pizza! Poke! Fried chicken!—it’s a testament to the deliciousness of Quiero Arepas’ reina pepiada that we order it so often. The puffy, griddled corn cake (whose name translates to “curvy queen”) comes filled with an avocado-dressed chicken salad that is always satisfying. Avanti Food & Beverage, 3200 N. Pecos St.,720-432-4205

Puerto Rico

Keigh Crespo, the daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants and chef-owner of the Dos Abuelas food truck, makes masterful “rellenos de papa”—fried potato croquettes filled with “picadillo” (spiced ground beef)—that are fluffy, gluten-free specimens of the crisp-tender fried-potato-ball genre. Finn’s Manor, 2927 Larimer St., 720-634-6952

The Caribbean

Señor Bear’s executive chef and partner Blake Edmunds is a master of mashups, combining ingredients and cooking techniques like a collage artist. Case in point: his unctuous, sticky, salty-sweet pig tails lacquered in a tamarind-onion glaze. Served with a bright slaw of jicama, cabbage, and sliced red chiles, lettuce leaves for wrapping, and fried pig ears on top for even more crunchy texture, it’s a contemporary ode to Latin and Caribbean flavors that showcases the best of both. 3301 Tejon St., 720-572-5997

Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin
Callie Sumlin is a writer living in Westminster, and has been covering food and sustainability in the Centennial State for more than five years.
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen
Denise Mickelsen is 5280’s former food editor. She oversaw all of 5280’s food-related coverage from October 2016 to March 2021.