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