‘Tocabe’ brings its Native American cuisine to the road

Via:  kavika  •  6 months ago  •  37 comments

‘Tocabe’ brings its Native American cuisine to the road

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Native American foods and restaurants are becoming more popular every day. The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman, and his Indigenous kitchen have become a mainstay for those that what to experience what we call the ''Three Sisters''...Corn, beans, and squash. True ''succotash'' is one of the very bests foods one can imagine. 


In 2008, Ben Jacobs opened Tocabe, which would be distinct in that it would be the only American Indian owned and operated restaurant in Denver - now there’s a truck

As described on the   Tocabe website , Tocabe is a restaurant “setting in a clean, warm, open space with connections to American Indian cultural elements, infused with a contemporary atmosphere.”

The site also says Tocabe takes its origin from   Grayhorse: An American Indian Eatery , established in downtown Denver in 1989 by the Jacobs family. The Jacobs are tribal members of the Osage Nation. Tocabe uses some of the same recipes from Grayhorse and has expanded on Osage family recipes to create a new and unique take on American Indian cuisine. Tocabe is owned by Matt Chandra and Ben Jacobs.

Voiceover: Where do you go in the Mile-high city and need some home cooking? Tocabe. After nearly a decade of pioneering Native American cuisine, Tocabe takes its show on the road.

Ben Jacobs, Tocabe Co-Owner: So we have had our restaurants for almost 11 years now, this December. Two brick and mortars and the food truck now. The whole concept originated with my parents, who had a restaurant called "Grey Horse American Indian Eatery." So we always say they were the prototype for what we do today. Most people do food trucks first, then brick and mortars after, but we had the two brick and mortars, then we got the food truck.

Most of that was because we were doing a lot of on-site cooking, lots of event cooking and for years we piled equipment and coolers into a van. As most people do, finally we had enough events and enough reasoning that the food truck became a viable option for us. So there you go, now we are about 3yrs into the food truck!

Voiceover: The lines form when Tocabe is near, providing that taste of home in the heart of the big city.

Rod Velarde. Jicarilla Artist: The breakfast/lunch of champions. A Navajo or Indian taco and a coca-cola.

Tocabe customer: I got the frybread, I had a 2nd piece but I ate it already.

Tocabe customer: I got the fancy Indian taco and it was great.

Tocabe customer: I hear a rumor there is a secret off the menu vegetarian option with like double the beans green chile and hominy salsa and I've been thinking about it since this morning.

Ben Jacobs: I would describe our food as super flavorful, approachable for the general public, Super flavorful and well rounded, are kinda those buzz words. For us, the food is super meaningful, contemporary. It's pushing for progression, but remaining in its presence of where it comes from, what the story is, what the true recipes come from and the stories of the people is what is most important about our food.

It's huge for us, not only from the Native food standpoint, Culinary standpoint and just the restaurant community, it is important for us to continue to drive and tell the stories of our food and people mostly in a community, so you wanna make sure what you do is driven by where you come from, and now that food is hip and cool and interesting, we want to make sure our food is from our voice. That is incredibly important for us to be doing what we are doing, especially in Denver, a major metropolitan city and Denver, especially as a relocation city. We have a huge Native population for an urban center, we have people from the plains regions and beyond. So for us to have a space that can be shared communally for identity sharing, communication, and just food and friendship. That is incredibly important to us to have the support of the community for this long and to have built many many friendships through this process here and beyond. We couldn't be more grateful for the opportunities that have been given over the last 11 years.

Voiceover: So next time you're in Denver stop in and see the fine people of Tocabe at either of their two brick and mortar establishments or if you are lucky you can find the Tocabe truck at an event near you or parked downtown.

Eating Indian tacos and reporting on behalf of Indian Country Today, I'm Jonathan Sims.


jrDiscussion - desc
smarty_function_ntUser_is_admin: user_id parameter required
1  seeder  Kavika     6 months ago

Here is one of my favorite receipts passed down for centuries by the Woodland people, Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potowatomi of the upper midwest. 

Lake Superior Fish Chowder.

5 cup stock

2 cups cubed yellow potatoes, skin on

1/2 cup minced butternut squash

2 tablespoons butter

1 small red onion, minced

1 stalk celery, minced

8 ounces lake trout, salmon or Superior fish, cut into bite-size pieces. (Lake Superior White Fish is my recommendation)

1 cup cooked manoomin (wild rice)

3/4 cup half and half or light cream

salt and white pepper

file' powder to thicken

fresh dill for garnish in a large stockpot set over medium-high heat, bring stock to a boil and cook potatoes for 5 minutes. Add butternut squash and boil until just tender; reduce heat to simmer. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat and cook onion and celery until just softening. Add mixture to stock. Add white fish (or the fish of your choice) and cook until done, about 5 minutes Stir in Manoomin (wild rice) and half and half and continue to cook for just a minute. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Turn off the heat before adding file' powder, a quarter teaspoon at a time, until the stock begins to thicken. Stir gently to avoid breaking up the fish. Serve immediately with fresh dill to garnish.

Use only real manoomin (wild rice) not the stuff called wild rice in the stores. It can be purchased from a number of Ojibwe tribes. All are on the internet. 


Raven Wing
1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @1    6 months ago

Great recipe, Kavika. I have to try it. I'm not one for fish chowder, but, the ingredients in this recipe sound like it would be a really good combination. 


1.2  Enoch  replied to  Kavika @1    6 months ago

Dear Brother Kavika: At the Long House celebrating the Confederacy they sport the Native American Cuisines from the five nation coalition, plus the non-voting Tuscarora.  

People come from far and wide at the annul event.  

Everyone enjoys the food, music, crafts, nature and history walking tours, dancing, and special activities for children.

I like the above recipe.

I will have to try it with local lake fish (Lake Inferior Fish Chowder).

Long a fan, we have three sisters stew when crops are in season.

Good eating.

Pleased to hear your culinary traditions are catching on.

As your were here for thousands of years a lot of American menu items were learned from your traditions.

Finally getting your props.

Good deal.



1.2.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Enoch @1.2    6 months ago

Soon to open is the new and improved, Jay's Diner serving Kosher Jewish/Ojibwe foods...

Remember the Kosher Winnebagel.

1.2.2  Enoch  replied to  Kavika @1.2.1    6 months ago

Dear Brother Kavika: Indeed I do.

The Rez Jay's Diner is proud to serve the Winnebagel.

Under the guidance of Chef Boiling Water Goldstein the vehicle shaped morning baked good with a shmear cream cheese and a bissel Nova belly lox (smoked salmon) is among the most fun one can have while still dressed.

Enoch, Toasting a WB at the Rez Jay's.    

1.3.1  sandy-2021492  replied to  epistte @1.3    6 months ago

Yay, epistte is back!  You gotta stop disappearing like that.

1.3.2  Tessylo  replied to  sandy-2021492 @1.3.1    6 months ago

When I was looking at my friends' list the other day I was thinking about epistte also realizing I hadn't seen her(?) around in a while.  Welcome back!

Shame there are some who I don't think we'll see anymore like Atheist, Lenny Lynx, Studiusbagus, Shrek.   I miss them.  

1.3.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  epistte @1.3    6 months ago

Great video, thanks epistte.

Raven Wing
1.3.4  Raven Wing  replied to  Tessylo @1.3.2    6 months ago
 I miss them.  

Same here, Tessy. They helped make the site more interesting and fun. 

The People's Fish
2  The People's Fish    6 months ago

Can you substitute something for the fish that maybe doesn't have to die?  Maybe just chowder...minus the murder?

Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  The People's Fish @2    6 months ago

Are you a chowder fish?

The People's Fish
2.1.1  The People's Fish  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @2.1    6 months ago

Is that recipe kosher?

Perrie Halpern R.A.
2.1.2  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  The People's Fish @2.1.1    6 months ago

I don't know yet. Are you a shellfish or a scale fish?

2.1.3  Enoch  replied to  The People's Fish @2.1.1    6 months ago

Dear People's Entree (Er, Fish): Kavika's recipe is Kosher Le' Osher; Mehedrin ha Mehedrin. Recognized pure Kosher to the most zealous of the zealous. 

Withe fish and Salmon are fins and scales fish. No meat.

Peace and Abundant Blessings.


2.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  The People's Fish @2    6 months ago

This is me spear fishing....Beware.


Raven Wing
2.2.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @2.2    6 months ago

Oh wow!  Look at those abs. You can float my boat any day! Ehh......with Red's permission of course. jrSmiley_91_smiley_image.gif

2.2.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  MUVA @2.2.2    6 months ago

Yup, that photo was taken by Roland Reed on the Red Lake reservation in northern MN. and is the cover of his book, ''Alone with the Past''...

Reed lived on the Ojibwe Red Lake rez for a couple of years and this book with the accompanying stories is an excellent read. 

BTW, the Red Lake Rez is my rez. Another excellent book about it is the ''Warrior Nation'' by Anton Treuer. 

This is another of his photos taken on the Red Lake rez and is entitled, ''Changing Wind''.  I have this photo hanging on my den wall and of course, I also have his book. 


2.2.4  MUVA  replied to  Kavika @2.2.3    6 months ago

Very cool picture.

Raven Wing
2.2.5  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @2.2.3    6 months ago

A great picture Kavika, as is the one above. Thank you for sharing them with us. 

3  JohnRussell    6 months ago

Nice article. 

Raven Wing
4  Raven Wing    6 months ago

Kavika....would like to add this recipe to our Newtalkers Cookbook group? That way we can add it to the Recipe Article Index in that group so that if it gets pushed off the FP here Members can still find it listed in the Cookbook Index.

Just post a comment in the Cookbook group and you will be automatically a member, then you can post your recipe article there as well for long term access.

If not, that is OK. (smile)

4.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @4    6 months ago

Ok, let me give it a try to see if it works. 

Raven Wing
4.1.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.1    6 months ago

Let me know if you need help. It's pretty much the same as what you did here to post the article.

4.1.2  seeder  Kavika   replied to  Raven Wing @4.1.1    6 months ago

Ok, it's posted in the Cookbook group.

Raven Wing
4.1.3  Raven Wing  replied to  Kavika @4.1.2    6 months ago

Thanks Kavika! jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

Perrie Halpern R.A.
5  Perrie Halpern R.A.    6 months ago

I want to know where I can find one of these in NYS. I'm hungry

Paula Bartholomew
5.1  Paula Bartholomew  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @5    6 months ago

I wish one was near me.

6  dave-2693993    6 months ago

Very good article.

BTW, next time you (in general) are at the Smithsonian in DC visit Mitsitam Cafe. Found at the Smithsonian Museum of the Native American. Voted the best cafe in DC.


6.1  seeder  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @6    6 months ago

I've not eaten there, but have heard that it is excellent.

6.1.1  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6.1    6 months ago

Hopefully I can make time to have a late lunch there tomorrow.

First I have a site walk through for a potential project at the Capitol tomorrow.

Afterwards getting time to walk over to the cafe before returning to the shop would be a real treat.

I want a bowl of this:


6.1.2  dave-2693993  replied to  Kavika @6.1    6 months ago

Well I had a late lunch there today after leaving the Capitol Building.

No photos allowed inside The Capitol, but I hope this one looks good from the outside as I walk on the way to The Native American Museum at Smithsonian and  and the Mitsitam Cafe.


Amazing what I came across, the first thing I entered the museum and began walking towards the cafe.


Unfortunately the writing is not legible. IIRC, the wood pipe is Anishinaabe, Ojibwe.

Finally the food. Too much to choose from. I couldn't find the red dish above, so I found a green one. Green chili and chicken stew. The white "things" are hominy and the dish is Mexican and called pozole (Hominy). The dish included  mix of herbs and spices resulting in a delicious meal. The wrapped object in the background is a piece if fry bread I brought home and will be part of my dinner tonight.


Bon Appétit

6.1.3  seeder  Kavika   replied to  dave-2693993 @6.1.2    6 months ago

Thanks dave...Now I'm hungry again. 

BTW, the top warclub is called ''The Eastern Woodland Ball Head Warclub'' and yes it is Anisinaabe. 

7  sandy-2021492    6 months ago

Mmmm, Navajo tacos.

Raven Wing, could you please post your fry bread recipe in the Food group?  I know it's in Herding Cats, but that way, everyone can try fry bread.

Raven Wing
7.1  Raven Wing  replied to  sandy-2021492 @7    6 months ago

It's up Sandy. And thank you for asking. 

Buzz of the Orient
8  Buzz of the Orient    6 months ago

Fish soup is my favourite soup that my wife makes.  Where were the Indian restaurants when I was in Toronto? - I had to be satisfied with EAST Indian restaurants.


Who is online

The Magic Eight Ball

38 visitors