Tamales smothered in green sauce at the Denver airport

Last year when I was leaving Denver, I did not remember my food options to be that exciting. I got a so-so sandwich on my night flight back to New York, and I was not at all enthused by it. This time, though, I found a spot called La Casita that had a sign for tamales, and I can never say no to a tamale. I don’t eat nearly enough of them, so when I see that they are available, I definitely go for them.

I had the option of red chile pork or green chile cheese. The description said they would be smothered in red or green chile sauce with my choice of beans. I guess I ignored the second part of that description because when the server took the fresh tamales out of the steamer, I was a bit surprised when I realized he was taking them out of the husks for me. Then, he asked me about my choice of sauce (I chose green), and he proceeded to douse the tamales in the green chile sauce, then added my requested black beans to the side.

I was a little sad that he did this because I felt like it would take away from the flavor of the tamales themselves. Their flavor would be masked by the green chile sauce. In California, New York, and Mexico, where I have enjoyed tamales, tamales are usually served in their corn husks with sauces on the side. But I found out subsequently that this is Colorado-style Mexican food: everything is covered in a green chile or red chile sauce, and that’s the way they eat Mexican food here. So, in the end, if that’s what they do in Colorado, and I am eating this food in Colorado, then I will go with it.

I will say: the quality of the tamales was really high. The fillings were delicious. The green chile cheese filling was HOT. The masa was very soft, tender, and well seasoned. The green sauce was good, though I am still a purist and would have preferred the sauce on the side for dipping. And this was cheap airport food: two tamales with sauce and beans didn’t even break $10! I will definitely be back here at La Casita in Concourse C the next time I am going through Denver and flying American.

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