First and foremost, I have got to give it up for the woman that was holding this ship together when I went in for lunch. She was the cashier, menu advisor, food deliverer (sure, it’s a word), bar tender, cleaning crew – the only thing I didn’t see her do was cooking, but I’m sure she could have stepped in for that as well. I’m sorry I didn’t get her name, because she is a rock star and deserves some recognition. Thank you for such great service, you were a pleasure and didn’t even break a sweat.
Moving on — La Luz, a self-proclaimed tacos & tequila joint, has an excellent location just off College Ave. on Walnut and Pine and has all the potential for my patio weather campout spot. Their menu boasts various “handheld” selections including street tacos, nachos, quesadillas and burritos, as well as the typical Mexican fare like enchilada plates, fajitas, chille rellenos, and more. On top of that, they serve breakfast on the weekends starting at 8:30am, and I heard through the grapevine that their breakfast burritos are some of the best in town.
I’d like to go ahead and get the bad out of the way so that I can move on to the good, because the latter is certainly much more enjoyable to talk about. I ordered their chips and salsa (free thanks to a check-in on the La Luz Yelp), their 100% avocado guacamole, two pescado/fish tacos (their house specialty), one pastor taco, and an El Jefe margarita. Hey — it was #TequilaTuesdays, I figured I should jump on board.
I’m honestly glad I didn’t pay for the salsa, I would have been asking for my money back. They have a salsa bar with five salsas, and I sampled their mild salsa as well as their corn salsa. The mild salsa tasted exactly like SpaghettiOs, and if that turns out to be a food that never quite made it to Colorado so you have no idea what I’m talking about, imagine ordering salsa and getting a can of tomato sauce. The corn salsa was cold and almost devoid of flavor, but I think a good roasted corn and changing the presentation to a warmer could remedy that real quick. Those being the first two items I tasted made me start rethinking my decision to walk through their doors, but that was where the disappointment ended.
The guacamole was spicy, creamy, and had the slightest bits of fresh cracked pepper that really made the flavors pop. My El Jefe Margarita was very good, with fresh lime juice that was as refreshing as it was delicious. The pastor taco was a little bit of a disappointment considering that’s one of my all-time favorite tacos (I know, I’ve got “white girl” written all over me) and it was lacking in the flavor department. That said, I did appreciate that they combined warm pineapple with their pastor meat, and the meat itself was neither dry nor greasy, which is the usual downfall of most taco joints. The pescado tacos were the star of my visit, once I got past the heavy handed cabbage. The fish was grilled and tasted like it could have been caught that morning, with a light seasoning that mingled well with the salsa blanca.
La Luz gets extra brownie points from me for having warm corn tortillas that didn’t fall apart at the first bite, and I think a lot of that had to do with their healthier take on traditional Mexican food. Nothing I had was greasy or “heavy”, and I could see that the other plates coming out of the kitchen looked as fresh and simple as mine.
I give five stars to La Lu for freshness, atmosphere (they were playing acoustic/bluegrass Christmas music, which I’m a sucker for), and KICK ASS service, but an overall four stars for lack of flavor and the need to step up their salsa game. I will definitely be back for breakfast in the near future and some patio people watching.
BONUS ROUND: I also stopped by The Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop just around the corner from La Luz on Pine Street and picked up some Colorado cheddar, goat cheese, and brie for snacking later on (I promise I didn’t eat them in the car on the way home). The shop was super cute and the guy behind the counter was very knowledgable about his cheeses, ready with a sample of anything I was interested in. I can’t wait to try out their Bistro on Walnut and (hopefully) give them a great review.
For now I’ll just have to be content eating my Welsh Rabbit cheese at home on Melba toast while watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and drinking wine out of the box. Stop. Judging. Me.