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Denver vs. New Mexico. The Great Green Chili Battle

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

New Mexico is known for it's green chili. At every restaurant in New Mexico, there is a green chili add-on option. There is a chili on their license plate. "Hatch" chilis are the basis in which all roasted chilis are compared, like some sort of unit of measurement.


I have always argued that Brighton chilis are better. Pueblo chilis are even better than that. Green chili is such a delicious and ethnically bastardized dish that, it's really hard to say.....


When I was a kid, my mom's friend Vida used to babysit me. She would make THE BEST Spaghetti Bolognese in the world. I've worked in a dozen fine dining restaurants, two of these restaurants were owned by TOP CHEFS. The best chefs in Denver. Yet, I find myself craving Vida's spaghetti from time to time. Maybe I should call her...


I think sometimes that it really has more to do with food memory. When I was in my early 20's I played in rock bands, and we would visit New Mexico pretty often. They would say "Sadie's, it's the best." or "that place off of blah blah and blah blah is the best," and I would go there. Every time I would be disappointed.


However, I have tried some GREAT Spaghetti Bolognese, recipes developed over months, years, and decades, by TOP CHEFS. Even still, Vida's spaghetti is still better.


Now if I could only get her Banana bread recipe......


One thing I have noticed is the way in which they are thickened. In Denver it seems to be more roux based, where the pork fat is used as the shortening. New Mexico seems to be more of a corn starch place. If I was a commercial restaurant owner, I would probably do corn starch mainly because of cost, and the ability to make batches consistent. That was Ray Crock's whole thing.....


I'm not going to give you my green chili recipe, but I am going to tell you that my green chili is THE BEST. In New Mexico green chili isn't an up charge like it is in most places in Denver. How could they possibly charge for that? If a burrito is $2.50 how could you charge $.50 for some sauce, that every restaurant is going to have anyways?


Perhaps it is as simple as that.



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