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La Cantina: Tex-Mex in Steamboat

24 December 2009

La Cantina, 818 Lincoln St., Steamboat Springs, CO

The proper antidote for an Arctic blast (-1F at 9pm tonite) is, naturally, Tex-Mex or New Mexican food.  The latter is hard to come by outside the blessed confines of the Land of Enchantment, and one might be forgiven for doubting the availability of decent Tex-Mex in a state like Colorado.  But there is, and its name is La Cantina.

Most tamales consist of pulverized pork in a thick blanket of masa such that each bite is more corn and less carne.  At La Cantina, however, the hand-rolled tamales are plumper, have a far thinner masa shell, and feature a roasted pork filling with all of its lean musculature intact.  They are topped with a generous ladleful of carne con chile verde – a pretty good rendition, though not terribly spicy – and genuine cheese.  The sodas are mixed just right (Pepsi products plus Dr. Pepper, but no DDP *sigh*) with plenty of refreshing carbonation.  The estimable salsa appears homemade, with a deep red tomato base, adequate jalapeno, and green onion; chips are likewise homemade, sturdy, and crispy.

Samuel had the grilled shrimp wrapped in bacon, served on an herbed drawn (real) butter; he was in ecstasy, and there’s not much more to say about that.  He left me his vegetables, which consisted of an Oriental-style green bean almost the size and nuttiness of a soybean, grilled and touched with the drawn butter.

Everybody else was happy with their selections, as well.  So we have to conclude that La Cantina is a good choice in an Arctic blast.  Now, all qb needs is some Aleve for those quads, and maybe about 10 hours of sleep.

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Merry Christmas, all of you!

qb

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