George's Gyros & Burgers
3008 S. Academy Blvd., 391-8111, georgescolorado.com
The blue-roofed building sharing a parking lot with Victory World Outreach's big, neon Jesus sign looks pretty quiet — possibly closed — when we hit the drive-thru. But employees are chattering about how busy yesterday's lunch rush was, so apparently business is decent. Considering George's product, that's no surprise — though nothing worth hunting down, it's serviceable.
In no dish is that better exemplified than the cheeseburgeropoulos ($5.49), a two-patty mass of meat, feta, tomato and red onion, topped with plenty of mayo-thick, garlicky tzatziki. Overcooked beef aside, this "son of a cheeseburger" changes up the American standard to passable effect. The generous meat in the chicken gyro ($5.49) gets marinated and skewered in-house to juicy results, though it suffers from inconsistent seasoning, jumping from bland to salt-bomb by piece. The tzatziki helps with the former but can't tame the latter. — GS
642 S. Academy Blvd., 550-1213, satelliteplaza.com
As we pull away from La Sinaloense's bountiful bakery, a dozen panes dulces ($0.85 to $1 each) in hand, my friend remarks that the 12-year-old eatery could easily flip its huge baked goods for two or three bucks a pop at any farmers market in town. The jaw-droppingly expansive pastry case shells out killer sweets on the cheap.
We're fond of the vanilla custard crossing the top of a soft pan de muerto or filling an empanada or peineta, but the pineapple empanada satisfies too. Try a butter cuerno for a croissant analog, or get a sugar cuerno for a coffee dipper. The same dough forms a yoyo — think a raspberry Snowball without the marshmallow. If a crispy shingle of glazed puff pastry tempts, go campechana. A marranito tastes of darker piloncillo — unrefined sugar. Shortbread-like cacahuates melt in your mouth, and despite the name, it's only shaped like a peanut. And it's hard to beat a pillowy concha or a simple rebanada — a slice of bread with butter and sugar. — GS
La Flor de Jalisco
5520 S. U.S. Hwy. 85-87, #103, 392-4571
Six years ago, my colleague and I set out on a punishing mission to dine from eight area Mexican food trucks in a matter of days, ultimately crowning a favorite, while also unloading a bounty of taste and texture descriptors for everything from pig stomach and skin to beef tongue and head. Buenos tiempos!
La Flor de Jalisco, based out of Security, earned a win as a close runner-up (to El Poblano Mobile), and they still park near Lelaray Street and Union Boulevard. This many years later, quality appears unchanged too, with the ceviche shrimp tostada ($4) fresh with citrus and onion bite, lightened by shredded carrot and creamed by avocado wedges. Tacos ($1.50 to $2) perform beautifully overall, the juicy carnitas still the king, followed by the chewy, salty tripe. The pastor's perky with spice and the asada delivers the most char character. A kids bean-and-cheese burrito ($3) bests nothing made at home, but gets the job done. — MS