Nibbles: Leave it to cleavers to make taste buds feel at home

New Commerce City eatery will “give... Taco Bell an upscale image”

By JOHN LEHNDORFF Colorado Table Editor

From out of the kitchen came one of my favorite sounds in the world, the polyrhythmic “chop- chop- chop- chop” only a sharp, rapidly cutting cleaver can make. That, and the teriyaki perfume wafting into the parking lot, was my welcome when I wandered into Teriyaki Chicken No. 6, tucked in a strip mall at 2271 S. Peoria St. in Aurora.

This is my kind of affordable, clean, well-lighted ma-and-pa place serving the vast non-sushi tradition of Japanese fast food including chicken and beef teriyaki, sesame chicken, yakisoba, ramen, fried rice, gyoza, and katsu (deep-fried cutlets).

I started with a good cup of hot soup with murky swirls of miso, minced green onion and tiny tofu cubes and moved on to a combo plate that was really two meals. The nicely char-grilled teriyaki chicken sat atop wok-fried green cabbage with steamed rice. A wonderful tempura cornucopia boasted asparagus, broccoli, sweet potato, onion, mushroom and winter squash with soy dipping sauce. Next time I’m going to get brave and try the fresh kimchi.

How under-the-radar is Teriyaki Chicken No. 6? It is celebrating its tenth anniversary modestly without fanfare.

As I leave I’m saluted with that international signal I’ve heard at cool joints ranging from Lao Wang Noodle House to Rico Pollo: chop-chop-chop-chop.

READER MAIL

“Red chili, green chile,” the headline on my Sept. 13 profile of Sam’s No. 3, perturbed some readers. One reader laughed and asked me if the newspaper still employed proofreaders. Another e-mailed a complaint that “everybody knows it’s spelled chili.” It’s deja vu all over again as this spelling conflict has arisen regularly in my 30 years of writing about chili (chill-EE) and chile (chill-AY) in Colorado. After much noisy debate the food journalism community has come to something like a consensus: “chili” refers to specific prepared dishes with or without beans like Texas chili and Coney Island chili that have always used that spelling. That’s why we now refer to Texas “chili” and Coney Island “chili” (pronounced “chill-ee). The green (or red) pointy hot pepper is called a “chile” (pronounced chill-ay). The plural is “chiles.” “Green chile” is the name also given to the Southwestern stew or sauce made from the roasted peppers that smothers burritos. Now I need a really chilly beer.

EATERY UPDATE

Can a Taco Bell really be “upscale?” Taco Bell’s newest restaurant opens this week at 15450 E. 104th Ave. in Commerce City, reports the Denver Business Journal. “This is going to give the brand of Taco Bell an upscale image,” said Jeff Geller, an owner of Colorado Taco Bell restaurants: “we’re showcasing what the future of Taco Bell looks like.” The new store will have new LED lighting, aluminum-slot walls and a super-bright dining area with white table tops. However, the new Taco Bell will serve the the same menu as at other Taco Bell outlets.

DRESSING FOR SUCCESS

Arvada’s Kitchen Gourmet catering company shared this recipe for a vinaigrette with the power to awaken your same old chopped salad.

Jalapeno Agave Dressing

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)

1/4 cup water

2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons agave nectar

1 fresh jalapeno, stemmed and seeded

Salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl or jar, cover and store in the refrigerator. If you don’t have any agave, substitute honey. Heat level can be tweaked by adding more or less jalapeno. The pepper can also be roasted and peeled before blending.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
“Fake food – I mean those patented substances chemically flavored and mechanically bulked out to kill the appetite and deceive the gut – is unnatural, almost immoral, a bane to good eating and good cooking.” – Julia Child

Read Nibbles and Colorado Table features at aurorasentinel.com/colorado-table. See the Grade A Food & Drink award winners at: aurorasentinel.com/gradea/grade-a-2012-food-and-drink. Send comments and questions to: jlehndorff@aurorasentinel.com. Be tasteful and like the Nibbles Facebook page. John Lehndorff hosts Radio Nibbles at 8:25 a.m. Thursdays on KGNU (88.5 FM, 1390 AM, and kgnu.org).

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