Have you noticed the latest change in Midtown? Hint: it’s big, blue and comes with a vintage Volkswagen. Don’t know what I’m getting at because you haven’t been to Midtown since Turtle Races last fall? (Same.) WELL….Cook and Collins is gone and has been reincarnated as Stoked Tacos & Tequila!
Stoked is taking Mexican street food and bringing it to the Midtown Streets. And we’re not talking the tamales that they sell on the Woodrow’s patio with salsa poured out of a Gatorade bottle (tamales tamales TAMALES)–although they are supposed to have a taco window opening up soon on Bremond…We’re talking a slightly more elevated version of street food with tasty elements like radishes in the guac, kale on mushrooms, and organic ingredients from locally sourced vendors.
I had the honor of checking out the vibes of the new place this past Thursday for its soft opening. They were turning people away at the door, so looks like they’re off to a good start! We took a seat at the bar, ordered a Stoked Rita, and took in the busy scene. We saw giant pitchers of the house drink “Cantarito” made and chatted with a bartender who also works at Stone’s Throw in Montrose, so you know his cocktail game is strong. The invite to the soft opening asked us to bring a “house warming” gift to the party — aka a record that they could play at the restaurant from here on out! What a clever idea, no?
While we were there, we ordered two appetizers, the house made fresh guacamole and the mashed potato taquitos. Hard to choose favorite between the two because you really can’t go wrong with such a beautiful staple of chips and guac–especially when the guac is topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, queso fresco and radishes (whaaaattt- I KNOW). The taquitos were fried and stuffed with smooth mashed potatoes and topped with red cabbage, pickled veggies and queso fresco. It made for an interesting bite, especially when you mixed in the many Yellowbird hot sauce flavors they had on hand.
For tacos, we sampled the Taco de Queso and Mushroom Tostada. The queso taco was gone in a few bites and filled with grilled queso asadero (YUM), avocado and salsa. The tostada required a bit of thinking before going in for the first bite. It was towered with mushrooms, kale and goat cheese. Every bite I took, I feared having the shell crumble sending tostada topping all over my new white skirt. Stoked napkins are hard to come by so I really yolo’d it with every chew.
The interior of Stoked is pretty cute. I see some similarities with the layout of Cook and Collins and the vibe kind of reminds me of Velvet Taco–all modern and neon. Overall pretty fun! Also, if you’re wondering! The former upstairs balcony of Cook & Collins has been transformed to a new cocktail lounge called Spare Key. The both the bar and the restaurant are catering to the Midtown crowd by staying open to midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends, ensuring that you can elevate your drunk food to include goat cheese and organic salsa.
Stoked officially opens to the public on Thursday, April 14….so #getstoked for some serious tacos and tequila post Turtle Races.