New Mexico Magazine Celebrates the Land of Enchantment’s “Best Eats” for 2011


New Mexico Magazine’s Second Annual “Best Eats” Issue

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.

Red and Green Chile Covers for the June, 2011 edition of New Mexico Magazine

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
Don’t like the results of this poll thus far? Click on the poll to express your chile preference.

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).

8 thoughts on “New Mexico Magazine Celebrates the Land of Enchantment’s “Best Eats” for 2011

  1. All,
    I generally can’t make the decision on Red or Green so the best I can come up with is to have what ever food that requires chile, I split in half between Green and Red with some overlap in the middle. Growing up in Los Angeles, chile there was this spicy stuff that had beans that they may slop over or inside a hamburger. I have been in New Mexico for 17 years and now am addicted to New Mexico’s #1 staple. And since everyone is reading my blog at this moment, let me give extreme thanks to our Blog Master Gil for all the work he has done to bring clarity, justice and truth to our palates in our fair state!!!

  2. Why doesn’t the poll include a category for cumin-flavored chile? Isn’t that your favorite?

  3. A few comments by a relative newbie to “Red or Green”.
    Red, strictly by color, looks hotter, Green looks much more benign.
    And as I’ve learned each can be very hot, hot, somewhat hot, and not very hot.
    I now have had red that is hotter than green that is hotter than red, and vice versa.
    The argument over Red V. Green is reminiscent of the arguments that occurred in every schoolyard in every borough of NYC and its immediate outskirts . Who was better Mickey, Willie or the Duke.
    Growing up in Brooklyn I was a Duke fan, a Dodger fan and a Yankee and Giant hater.
    Back to Red V. Green, I have found they’re both “better” depending………
    Living in New Mexico has made a chileophile and now I haver another cheeseburger to taste, one with the Garduno seal of approval.
    Sparky’s is now on my list of GCCBs I must try.
    After I get to the Buckhorn.
    I still prefer the outstanding GCCB at Blade’s Bistro in Placitas, Medium rare, thank you.

  4. Red or Green? I agree with Bob it depends on the dish…also whether it is Lemitar Green or Chimayo Red. Lemitar Green is better than anything, and Chimayo Red is better than anything (except Lemitar Green ;-)). But here is a good rule of thumb…if it has chicken, then go GREEN, if it has beef, then go RED, if it has pork then go either or go CHRISTMAS.

  5. Haven’t read the edition yet, but in the meantime was compelled to send A-Letter-to-the Editor re Red or Green!:
    Sorry Dudes n Dudettes…Good try, but the survey for Chili (sic) preference may produce dubious results, IMHO! Maybe its just me, but I exclusively have Green on a Chimichanga or Huevos and Red on a Breakfast Burrito or Stuffed Sopa(i)pilla (con chicharones and beans) or a Dog House’s Foot Long Chili-Cheese Dog, let alone never having anything a la mode (and trying to be PC) El Dia de Fiesta Sin un Nombre ! Kinda like being ambidextrous? Ambigustatorial perhaps????

  6. Hello Gil,

    Wonderful post, as always. I love your concept of red and green as emblematic of how we New Mexicans get along. We do in the way a family does, with our differences ever present, but we love each other anyway. Many blessings.

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