Food: The beckoning of the highway |

Food: The beckoning of the highway

Lee Mathis
Free Press Food Columnist
Lee Mathis
Staff Photo |

Chicken Tacos with Chipotle Sour Cream


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped

2 teaspoons smoked sweet paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium tomato, chopped

2 cups shredded cooked chicken

6 (6-inch) flour tortillas

2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle peppers in adobo

1/2 cup sour cream

Shredded lettuce

3 scallions (white and green parts), chopped

Crumbled queso fresco (fresh, white Mexican cheese)


1. In a sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil and cook the onion, bell pepper, paprika, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt until the veggies are soft, 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the tomato and chicken, and cook until the filling is heated through, stirring, about 3 minutes.

2. Warm the tortillas in moistened paper towels in the microwave for 30 seconds, or for a few seconds in a dry skillet over high heat. Stir the chipotle into the sour cream.

3. Pile the filling into the tortillas, topping with chipotle sour cream, lettuce, scallions, and queso fresco.


After the holidays, our cheesecake business tends to slow down a little; people are on their New Year’s resolution diets, paying off their holidays bills and so on. I tend to hunker down here in Casa Mathis, watching the rest of the country go through what seems much harsher winters than we have here in valley.

But as much as I love living out here (and I really do), after a couple months, the road starts calling my name.

As it turns out, an old friend of mine who used to be the manager at the Palisade Brewery (predecessor of The Palisade Brewing Company) is getting married today in Sonoma County, Calif., and wants our cheesecakes for the wedding reception. Now I could have shipped them, but, again … the road, it be a callin’.

I used to live in California, spent almost 20 years up in northern California, and once you get out of the suburban sprawl, driving down 1-80 through Sacramento/Fairfield/Vacaville and such, hang a right and drive through Sonoma into Santa Rosa — it is really, really nice.

And as much as I love me my road trips, one of the things I always look forward to is the food! Sonoma has some great restaurants (some of which we can actually afford), but I still stick with some of the old favorites — of course, In & Out Burger, Togo’s, Johnny Garlic’s, along with my soon-to-be discovered new favs!

There are many websites where you can find neat places to try — diners, drive-ins and dives, road food and more — but what I have also found out is the locals know! Ask, seek and ye shall find.

To help you get ready for your next road trip, try our website of the week from our friends at The Splendid Table — Our recipe of the week is one that I saw on that page, and it just sounds tasty — chicken tacos with chipotle sour cream.

We would also like to thank everyone who has been coming out to our “pop-up” restaurants! We have had a blast doing something different and will continue to do so.

GJ Free Press food columnist Lee Mathis is the founder and owner of Decadence Gourmet Cheesecakes and Catering. He can be reached via email at, on the Web at, or by calling 970-256-4688. Also, find him on the Web by searching Facebook, Pinterest or by visiting Twitter (@decadenceGJ).

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