Denver Part 1: Farming, Hiking, and Tacos.

Denver Part 1: Farming, Hiking, and Tacos.

For my last vacation week in 2018, I chose to take off the week of Thanksgiving.  For the longest time, I had no idea where I wanted to go or how I wanted to spend the week off.  It was not until the beginning of fall when I found my answer.  One of my favorite travel buddies, Carolyn, was planning on moving mid-September.  Carolyn and her husband, Tyler, always wanted to get out of Pittsburgh.  When Tyler’s work contract ended here in the Burgh, Carolyn and Tyler decided it was the time to make the move.  They chose to relocate to Denver.  Carolyn, like all of my other college friends now, has moved out of Pittsburgh.  At least all the cities my friends have migrated to are very desirable destinations. With that said, I figured I would spend my vacation in Denver.

Carolyn and Tyler were not the only friends I had lined up to see during the visit.  Almost exactly 7 years ago (thank you Facebook for keeping track), I met a group of guys from Denver when I was in Las Vegas.  I maintained contact with a few of the guys, especially my friend Nate, through social media.  Nate asked me a few times when I would be visiting his hometown, but the timing was always off.  I almost went this past June, but Ultimate Frisbee took over a majority of my free summer weekends.  Nate is a fourth generation farmer living about 1.5 hours northeast of Denver.  With 5,000 acres to maintain specifically focusing on wheat, millet, and cattle, Nate is a busy man.   We only met that one time 7 years ago in Vegas, but Nate always extended the offer for me to visit and I am excited to say I finally made it happen.

I arrived in Denver Monday afternoon.  On Tuesday morning, I took Carolyn to work and then she graciously lent me her Jeep Wrangler to take across the state to Raymer, Co where Nate lived.  The first day we worked on the farm from 9am-430pm spraying the fields to prevent weeds from popping up in the Spring.  Nate made me tacos that night from the Black Angus cattle he raised.  They were bomb! However, I am not going to blog about these tacos since it would be hard to replicate this recipe unless you visit Nate.

Taqueria San Miguel

On the second day we sprayed more fields and hiked the Pawnee Buttes located within the Pawnee National Grassland. (This is not Pawnee from Parks and Rec-I did not find Leslie Knope standing on top of the one butte we climbed.)

sunset and buttes
The Pawnee Buttes

After the gorgeous sunset hike, we made it back to Raymer so I could pack up and head back to Denver.  Nate suggested tacos for dinner again (of course I am going to say yes to that!)  His favorite place to get tacos when dining out is Taqueria San Miguel.  This taco truck is located in Fort Morgan which is about 20 minutes away, but on my route back to Denver.  The taco truck is located in an Auto Zone parking lot off one of the main drags in Fort Morgan.

Pro tip by Nate- Taqueria San Miguel has hours posted on Google but they are not accurate and their hours of operation are based on crowd according to Nate.  So Nate came up with a solid plan to call the Auto Zone and asked them if they could check to see if the taco truck was still up and running for the day.

taco truck

I am happy to say they were open so I packed up and I followed Nate’s mustang while driving Carolyn’s Wrangler.  Once we parked, Nate and I ordered our tacos at the truck.  There were some outdoor tables but it was way too cold to drink horchata and eat tacos outside, so we waited in the car for our order.  Taco options here included carne asada, al pastor, pollo, tripas (beef intestines), lengua (beef tongue), barbacoa (shredded beef), and chicharon (pork skin).  Nate only orders the carne asada because he does not believe any taco there could top it.  I ordered two of the carne asada, one al pastor, and one chicken taco to compare to the allegedly superior carne asada.

4 tacos

After trying all three tacos, I did have to agree with Nate. Out of 5 stars in my new notebook rating chart with 5 being a perfect taco, carne asada ranked 3, al pastor ranked 3, and the chicken ranked 2 on my new scale.

I thought the carne asada had the most flavor out of the three.  There were two salsas to chose from: mild salsa verde and a hotter salsa roja.  All the tacos had a great balance of cilantro and onions and were all placed on corn shells.  The corn shells helped to overall boost the quality of the taco.  My second favorite was the al pastor.  The meat did not seem fatty and was super thinly cut.  At times, the taco may have been too sweet from the pineapple, but overall I enjoyed the al pastor.  My third favorite was the chicken taco as it was a little too dry and I used more salsa to compensate for the dryness.

After I finished my tacos, I hugged Nate goodbye and thanked him for an amazing visit and feeding me excellent tacos.  I then made my way back to the suburbs of Denver while sipping on a giant horchata and driving my friend’s jeep.  I couldn’t ask for a better start to a vacation!

Price: 4 tacos and a horchata for $9 (score!)

Let's Taco Bout it below!

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