Recently, I took a trip to New Mexico. I anticipated four days for business and, hopefully, as much fun and exploration (focused on the local cuisine) as I could manage. After getting settled into the hotel, it was time to meet my colleagues for a little business prior to heading to dinner.
As an ice breaker, we introduced ourselves and by answering the following question, “when it comes to chile, are you red, green or Christmas?”
My first thought was I had found some good folks who loved food as much as I. Woo hoo! My next thought led me to remember how important food is in all cultures. Of course, New Mexico, with its rich Mexican, Spanish and Native American cultures (among others), was no exception.
Here I was in the great southwest and I was about to really get a taste of southwest cuisine. True and unadulterated flavors from Mexico, Baja California, and the American Desert. And of course, much of that involved chiles.
I became fixated on the many different ways for me to experience chiles.In my mind, I had embarked upon the Chow Hound’s Great Southwestern U.S. Chile Tour (antacids not included).
My menu over the four days included:
1. fried and stuffed hatch chiles
2. roasted green chile beer ( I drank this too quickly to take a picture)
3. chicken green chile lasagna
4. seafood stuffed chile rellenos (shrimp, clams, white fish and lots ‘o cheese)
5. jalapeno margaritas (the winner!!!!)
6. duck breast with raspberry chile reduction (not a great shot but it was a good dish)
7. breakfast burrito with fresh red chile salsa
8. fried wontons w/pineapple and green chile salsa
Though short, it was a divine chile tour. I only wish I had time to break from the guided meal tour and do some exploring on my own. There had to be some tantalizing chile creations scattered around town. But as business will inevitable dictate, I’ll be back to New Mexico in due time.
Oh, and in case you haven’t guessed, in the chile world, “Christmas” is the combination of red and green chiles. It’s offered on restaurant menus that way. By the way, most of the group favored the relatively milder green chile. My answer was, if you put it in front of me, I’ll eat it.