Every four years since the year 2000, news anchors and analysts have depicted America’s voting preferences on colored maps. States which tend to vote for the Democratic party are colored blue while states which tend to vote for the Republican party are colored red. What the maps don’t show–but the political pundits certainly discuss ad nauseum–is the increasingly acrimonious political and ideological divide between red and blue states. The talking heads would have you believe the answer to Rodney King’s lament “can’t we all just get along” is a resounding “no.”
There are 49 chromatically quarrelsome states which could learn a thing or two from the Land of Enchantment. In New Mexico, the colors red and green have lived together in perfect harmony for centuries. Perhaps to keep it that way, our sagacious state legislature passed a resolution approving the official state answer of “Christmas” to the state’s official state question “red or green.” Christmas signifies a diner’s preference is to have both red and green chile on their entree.
Certainly there are avid proponents of both red and green chile–some even quite vocal about their preference–but New Mexico is a land of tolerance. Though most of us have a stated preference, we also love the other color of chile, only not as much.
In its second annual “Best Eats” issue, New Mexico Magazine celebrates New Mexico’s official state vegetable by publishing two different covers. The cover of the magazine sent to subscribers adulates green chile while the cover of New Mexico Magazine which hit the newsstands in mid-May, 2011 salutes red chile. If your preference is Christmas, collect both versions. The magazine also invites readers to state their preference for red, green or Christmas by casting your vote for your favorite way to enjoy New Mexico chile.
The Magazine introduces readers to ten of “New Mexico’s Best Eats,” several of which utilize chile in their composition. The dishes showcased range from fine-dining to New Mexican “soul food.” They come from some of New Mexico’s most popular restaurants as well as from tiny, off-the-beaten path gems which have become dining destinations in their own right. Seven culinary experts weigh in on New Mexico’s best green chile cheeseburger, New Mexican soul food, fine-dining meal, enchiladas, vegetarian New Mexican food, road food, local seasonal ingredients, contemporary Native American food, chocolate and carne adovada.
To whet your appetite, the Magazine shares New Mexico’s best green chile cheeseburger and best New Mexican soul food on its Web site. If you didn’t buy the magazine, here are the other dishes were selected as New Mexico’s best eats (the links will take you to my reviews, not the articles on the magazine):
- Best Green-Chile Cheeseburger: Sparky’s Burgers, Barbecue & Espresso, Hatch
- Best New Mexican Soul Food: Stuffed Sopaipilla from Tia Sophia’s, Santa Fe
- Best Fine Dining Meal: Seared Diver Scallops and Pork Belly, Terra at Encantado Resort, Tesuque
- Best Enchiladas: Chope’s Bar & Café, La Mesa
- Best Vegetarian New Mexican Food: Plato Vegetariano, Rancho de Chimayó, Chimayó
- Best Road Food: Hatch Benedict, Diane’s Restaurant and Bakery, Silver City
- Best Local, Seasonal Ingredients: Roast Leg of Lamb Burrito, Atrisco Café & Bar, Santa Fe
- Best Contemporary Native American Food: Pecan-Crusted Rabbit Loin, Pueblo Harvest Café & Bakery at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Albuquerque
- Best Chocolate: Todos Santos, Santa Fe
- Best Carne Adovada: Mary & Tito’s Café, Albuquerque
The Best Eats edition also announced the winner of the magazine’s second-annual salsa contest. Competition for “best salsa” accolades was hotly contested in more ways than one with more than twenty contest entrants. All salsas vying for top honors are made in New Mexico and are available in stores or online. The judges (four-time James Beard award-winning author Cheryl Jamison, co-owner of Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen Al Lucero and New Mexico Magazine’s own Tricia Ware) selected, via blind taste test, the salsa which best exemplified strong New Mexican flavors with a good texture for dipping.
The food-centric magazine also features creative salsa recipes you’ll want in your repertoire as well as a host of other articles which just might inspire involuntary salivation (another reason to buy two copies).