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After over a decade of honing his chops at fine-dining establishments such as Panzano, Cattivella, and most recently Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Zuri Resendiz has returned to his roots. Earlier this month, the Mexico City native debuted Luchador Mexican Food, a truck that serves specialites infused with the flavors of his homeland and refined with culinary prowess. “All the techniques that I’ve been learning in all the restaurants have an influence [on the dishes]—but my background is Mexican, so that’s where my flavors come from,” says Resendiz, who moved to the United States in 2002 and runs the truck with support of his wife, Cristina Bazan.
The result is Luchador’s small-yet-mighty lineup of tacos, meat and potato platters, and other crave-worthy dishes. Standout bites we’ve tasted so far include the meaty asada, made with Resendiz’s mix of chopped chuck roll and skirt steak. You can get it on a taco, in a baked potato—or in a bowl (called a platter on the menu) with chunks of crispy potato basted with chipotle butter, fried in pork lard, and spiced with oregano, paprika, and salt. Finished with gooey Oaxaca cheese and jalapeño-zinged black beans, it’s a dish worth tracking down the food truck for.
Resendiz’s tacos are also delicious, particularly the al pastor. The pork is seasoned with sweet, peppery achiote sauce and served with pineapple and onions, which are caramelized to order separately (instead of cooked on the flattop with the protein). “By doing that, you get both flavors, like the sweetness and the sugar of the pineapple, plus the savory of the pastor,” he says.
Another dish that will make an appearance on Resendiz’s rotating menu soon is a tlayuda. On the streets of cities like Oaxaca, the tostadalike hybrid traditionally features a giant tortilla warmed on coals and coated with refried black beans and cheese. Resendiz plans to serve his rendition with a cricket aïoli (for real) and torched avocado.
When Luchador isn’t slinging al pastor, asada, and birria across the Denver metro area (look for the food truck schedule on Instagram stories), Resendiz enjoys cooking at home—and dining at taco stands and Mexican restaurants. “What I like to do on my days off, I wake up early and I go taco hunting,” he says. “I’m a taco and sandwich guy. Like, I can cook anything you like all day, but at the end, my comfort food will be a taco or like a nice sandwich.”
Here, we’ve rounded up four of his go-to spots—and his tips for how to be a better patron.
Resendiz’s 4 Favorite Mexican Restaurants
Tacos El Cacheton Taco Stand
2110 S. Peoria St., Aurora
What Resendiz recommends: The Vampiro, a mixture of chorizo, carne asada, pico de gallo, and guacamole crowned with hot sauce. “It even looks like a little volcano, like when it is all piled up,” he says. “It’s so, so good. But get there before 6 p.m., when they finish.”
Adelitas Cocina Y Cantina
12994 S. Broadway
What Resendiz recommends: The chile rellenos stuffed with portobello mushrooms, smothered with creamy chipotle sauce, and served with refried beans, rice, lettuce, pico, and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. “It reminds me of back when I’d get home from middle school and my mom would be like, ‘Hey, the food is ready. Come over here,’” he says. “And then you sit down and it’s that smell of the chile relleno. That is where it takes me.”
La Calle Taqueria Y Carnitas
1565 W. Alameda Ave.
What Resendiz recommends: The birria de chivo con tortillas, braised goat stew with tortillas and avocado and roja sauces from the salsa bar. “I like to eat birria with avocado salsa because it’s so fatty and greasy and rich, then the acidity and vinegar of that salsa just brings more flavor in,” he says. “It’s like a [fresh] mouthwash after you finish it that makes you want to keep eating it…I also do a little bit of roja just for spiciness.”
1470 S. Santa Fe Dr.
What Resendiz recommends: Pozole with all of the fixings, including thinly sliced radishes, shredded lettuce, Mexican oregano, and lime. “You just mix it all together, and you have to have some nice tostadas next to it,” he says. “They also have authentic carnitas.”
Taco Shop Etiquette 101
According to Resendiz, here’s how to order the iconic handhelds like a pro.
Try to speak Spanish, even if it’s poorly. “Just learn the basic keywords,” he says. “They love that. And will try to help you more, I think—because you are respecting and trying the culture.”
Order all of your tacos at once. “Especially at a busy taco stand,” he says. “It’s going to look like you’re eating a lot, but you always want to come back for more.”
Don’t ask for cheddar cheese, sour cream, or other Tex-Mex taco components. “Those aren’t common Mexican ingredients,” he says. “Don’t ask for hard-shell tacos, OK? Don’t be like, ‘Can I get a chalupa?’”
Speak up if you aren’t a fan of onions and cilantro. “If you don’t like those toppings, make sure you tell them. Because most of the time, tacos come with onions and cilantro from the get go.”
Take advantage of the salsa bar. “Don’t think everything is topped with pico de gallo,” he says. “When you put a different salsa on top of your taco, the flavor changes. It’s like magic in a tortilla. [For example], in Mexico City, you usually eat al pastor with a chipotle chile de arbol salsa because everything is red. But then they came up with this idea of doing an avocado salsa…then you put it on top of the al pastor and all the favors come out even better.”
Don’t be afraid to try something new. “ Some people are intimidated by ingredients such as tripe and intestine.” he says. “It’s like pho [noodle soup]. Some people just get it with brisket and they’re missing the best part. Don’t think about what it is—just bite into it and eat it.”