El Camino leads customers to flavortown

Photo: Bobby Jones · CU Denver Sentry

Latin flare from brunch to burritos

Photo: Bobby Jones · CU Denver Sentry

In a city where brunch—the most sacred of weekend ceremonies—has been targeted with inflated prices and unapproachable long lines, it is refreshing to see some restaurants keep prices low. El Camino Community Tavern, located on 32nd and Lowell, has mastered the balance between reasonable prices and enticing the local community to come on in for a mimosa or two.

The exceptional ambiance of El Camino is a result of the rare culmination of interesting flavors and a unique location. The Highlands boasts one of Denver’s treasured gems: 32nd Avenue.

Cutting through the heart of the quaint Highlands neighborhood, 32nd has been the home of intriguing local restaurants and vendors for the past decade. As the rest of Denver has experienced rapid development, these shops have managed to maintain the old flavor of Denver while also managing to respond to the needs of Denver’s new population. There is perhaps no better example of this phenomenon than El Camino.

Catering to the demands of Denver brunch culture, El Camino  opens up at 10 a.m. on weekends. While competing brunch places in Denver will strive to offer up an artsy take on the occasion, like a meal designed for Instagram, El Camino offers a delightful melody of traditional Latin flavors with American brunch favorites.

The Camino Hash ($11) blends standard ingredients of a hash dish, like potatoes and eggs, with a punch of chorizo and a dash of plantain. The combination makes every bite a tasty battle between the zippy spiciness of the sausage and the candy sweetness of the fruit. The contrast between these flavors generates a sort of richness that is rare in brunch dishes. When this dish is paired with a $2 mimosa, the richness is only amplified.

As the day goes on into the evening and the brunch community begins to enter a mimosa or bloody mary-induced coma, the El Camino kitchen begins to fire up.

With a kitchen working until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, the Latin spot again offers up some wonderfully unique takes on American standards. In seemingly all modern American upbringings, mac and cheese played a central role in the development of younger generations. El Camino is well aware of this and in response has developed the glorious mac and queso. This dish, contains nothing less than house queso, a Mexican three-cheese blend,  large shells, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, cotija cheese, fried pickled jalapeños, pico de gallo, cilantro, and choice of carnitas, chicken, chorizo, or portobello, steak, or shrimp.

El Camino is the perfect spot in the Highlands to enjoy something different while staying within usual comfort food zones, and it doesn’t break the bank. Whether it’s brunch or date night, El Camino is the best choice for unique Latin fusion.

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