Within seconds of ringing the bell at Chickee’s Lil Kitchen take-out window, which is next to a barber shop on 44th Avenue and Zuni Street, owner Harriett Sanchez slides open the window. She hands you a laminated menu and waits patiently as you scan the offerings: a collection of Mexican eats (tamales, burritos, tacos) and Louisiana-style cuisine (gumbo, red beans and rice).

Order what you fancy, and then ask about the unusual intersection of cuisines. Sanchez will explain she’s from Louisiana, while her husband has Latin roots. But make no mistake: There’s no fusion food here, just hot, spicy dishes from two different worlds.

Case in point: The tamale lunch (two smothered pork tamales, Spanish rice, and refried beans) is spot on for flavor and texture—and fire. Sanchez makes her green chile using dynamite chiles from Brighton, and they’ve got enough kick to make you thankful for the fresh, homemade tortilla and the refried beans that help dull the flames.

I can hardly wait to go back for the breakfast burritos (Chickee’s opens at 6 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. on Sunday) and the gumbo.

Bonus: Harriett learned to cook Mexican food, including gorditas (small, fat, home-style tortillas) from her husband’s family. Order one with your meal, or take home a dozen (call 24 hours ahead) for $3.

4340 Zuni St., 720-329-3980

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.