Down the street from Duo, and across from the brand-new location of An’s Lemongrass Grille, sits a three-table restaurant called La Loncheria. It would be easy to overlook this barebones Mexican spot but the authentic eats are worth seeking out. The tiny menu is posted on the wall and you order at the counter—we visited for the cheesy gorditas, tacos al carbon with avocado and lime, and the chile rojo con nopales (cactus). Our favorite was the deeply flavorful, almost mole-like chile rojo con nopales. Order the dish with rice and refried beans and wrap all the goodies in a warm homemade tortilla. Bonus: Order a glass of the horchata, an iced chai-like drink made of rice, cinnamon, and sugar. 32nd Avenue and Clay Street.

Fall is in the air, which means chefs are rolling out their autumn menus—look for items such as pumpkin, root veggies, and apples to appear in dishes all over town. At Strings, you can taste fall in all its glory with the restaurant’s Autumn Organic Harvest dinner on Thursday, October 25. The four-course dinner ($50 a person—a steal in our book) includes pear-infused martinis made with Boulder’s Vodka 14 and organic wines paired with dishes such as Somali Bantu farms butternut squash gnocchi with cranberry brown butter, 17th Avenue herb garden sage, and toasted pumpkin seeds. The real kicker may be the upside-down tarte tartin made with apples from restaurant owner Noel Cunningham‘s tree. 1700 Humbolt St., 303-831-7310,

In celebration of National Seafood Month executive chef Stephen Vice at McCormick’s Fish House & Bar in LoDo shares his recipe for the popular seared rare ahi appetizer. When making this heart-healthy app, Vice recommends using extremely fresh, high-quality yellowfin (ahi) tuna. 1659 WazeeSt., 303-825-1107,

Seared Rare Ahi
(2 servings)

  • 1 (5-ounce) yellowfin tuna steak
  • Cajun spice, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ounces soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons wasabi
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger
  • 1/2 cup Asian cucumber salad (recipe below)

Dust tuna lightly with Cajun spice. Quickly sear (5–10 seconds only on all sides) the fish in a very hot pan coated with oil. Allow tuna to cool for a minute, then carefully slice the steak into 10 to 12 pieces.

Asian Cucumber Salad

  • 1 average-size cucumber, peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons sweet Thai chile sauce
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

If desired, a small amount of chopped seaweed, like wakame, may be added.

Toss all salad ingredients. Lay the ahi slices decoratively on two plates and garnish with the remaining ingredients.

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