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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 09, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 06Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Mormon Restauranteur Serves Cactus Soup for Lent

DENVER, COLORADO -- Mormon restaurant owner Rosa Linda Aguirre has found success caters to her customers, and that includes Catholic customers during Lent. Aguirre's unique recipes use prickly pear cactus in burritos, soup and tacos, and she has found that her specialty is especially popular with customers who abstain from eating meat on Fridays and on Ash Wednesday.

Rosa Linda says that she doesn't play favorites with her customers, "We are all brothers and sisters, and we all like to eat," she says. Her Mexican Cafe has been a fixture in Northwest Denver, near the intersection of West 33rd Avenue and Tejon Street, for 16 years. There, a large percentage of her customers are Roman Catholic, and attend one of three large congregations, all located within a few miles of the restaurant.

Aguirre says that getting ready is a chore. "It takes me three days of preparation just to get ready for Ash Wednesday. I do this every Lent because it is tradition." That preparation includes 15 gallons of cactus soup, served either with shrimp patties or plain. The cactus is imported from Mexico at $1.99 a pound and must be cleaned of its thorns by hand. In addition to the cactus, she also prepares lentil or black bean soup and bread pudding for Lent.

Other times of the year, the restaurant serves cactus at the customer's request. Dishes with cactus include cactus shakes with grapefruit or orange juice and cactus mixed with egg dishes. Aguirre has attracted new customers by setting up a booth at events like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival and Taste of Colorado. And sometimes customers that have the dishes for Lent end up bringing in more business, "One woman had my soup during Lent and asked if I could make it for a fund-raiser," Aguirre said. "I ended up serving over 200 bowls."


Cafes keep Catholics' plates full for Lent
Denver CO Post 5Mar01 B2
By Cindy Brovsky: Denver Post Staff Writer


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