New Mexico's True Cuisine

No adventure in New Mexico is complete until you have experienced our cuisine. Unlike any other, it is a blend of flavors from Spanish and Native American cultures that has been perfected over the course of 400 years. At the center of it all is the New Mexican chile, in both red and green varieties, which is used in everything from enchiladas to ice cream. Whether you are looking for a dining experience that has received a James Beard award or an authentic dive off the beaten path, you will find it here.

Breakfast Burrito Byway Mornings can be chile

“...It should be no surprise that New Mexico claims the invention of the Breakfast Burrito. ”

In New Mexico almost no food, no meal is without the influence of the famous chile pepper. So it should be no surprise that New Mexico claims the invention of the Breakfast Burrito. It is the wrapped wonder that brings spice to the morning.

It is now a staple on menus across the Southwest, and showing up frequently on menus nationwide. Even fast food chains now offer versions.

Now, to celebrate this success and its New Mexico heritage, we have created the New Mexico True Breakfast Burrito Byway.

 

More Information

Visit the Interactive Breakfast Burrito Byway Map Here:

/trails/breakfast-burrito-byway/

The Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail

“...Many lay claim to its invention, but the fiery burger’s early popularization definitely was fueled by decades-old burger hotspots like The Owl Café in San Antonio, Burt’s Burger Bowl in Santa Fe, and Blake’s Lotaburger’s original Albuquerque location. ”

New Mexico didn’t invent the hamburger, but we’re the one who added green chile and made it hot! Sample this culinary treasure on your next trip, using our handy Trail map and guide.

No state is more passionate about its burger than New Mexico. A juicy thick patty grilled over an open flame or sizzled on a griddle, then blanketed in molten Cheddar or other cheese, and topped off with enough New Mexican green chile to tingle the tastebuds—what could be more glorious?

A True New Mexican Staple

Learn more about New Mexico’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail here:
/green-chile-cheeseburger/

Visit our Interactive Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail and Map here:
/trails/green-chile-cheeseburger-trail/

Download the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail map PDF here:
/brochure

More Chile Information:

Start eating your way through New Mexico.

New Mexico's Culinary Treasures

“...Here you have it, whether you’re ravenous for huevos rancheros, hungry for hash browns, or craving a plate of stacked red enchiladas. ”

In the restaurant world, “new” and “hot” always grabs attention, but it’s the older places that create the character of an area, and that provide the foundation on which more recent dining establishments can thrive. Here, we celebrate restaurants that have stood the test of time, independent spots that have become beloved in their neighborhoods and beyond. Many of these are operated by the founding family, or by someone handpicked by the founders to carry on their legacy. In all cases they are still family-owned and operated.

New Mexico's Culinary Treasures exist in abundance across the Land of Enchantment. We urge you to take some time, venture off the beaten path and discover some of our favorite eateries. Here is a list of all the cities where you can find these culinary delights. Indulge yourself; you will be happy you went on an unexpected adventure!

More Information

New Mexico's Culinary Treasures exist in abundance across the Land of Enchantment. We urge you to take some time, venture off the beaten path and discover some of our favorite eateries. Here is a list of all the cities where you can find these culinary delights. Indulge yourself; you will be happy you went on an unexpected adventure!

Click here to learn more about New Mexico’s Culinary Treasures: /nm-culinary-treasure/#article76621

New Mexico's Ale Trail

In New Mexico you can drink distinctive local beer almost anywhere you visit. About three dozen independent operations - microbreweries, brewpubs, brew houses, and taprooms - have sprung up from Artesia in the state’s southeast corner to Farmington in the northwest, with the biggest concentration in and around Albuquerque.

Learn more about New Mexico’s craft beer here:
/ale-trail/

Pie Town, NM The Town that Pie Built

“...35th Annual Pie Festival on Sept. 13th Offers a Tasty Slice of Small-Town America ”

There are multiple reasons to exit I-25 in Socorro and head west on U.S. Highway 60:   to hike or bike from the highest point on the Continental Divide Trail, ponder the vastness of the universe at the Very Large Array (VLA) observatory, or simply enjoy a less-hurried alternative to Highway 40.

Ask any pie lover, though, and they will tell you that “PieWay 60” is the road to Pie Town, a must-visit destination in the quest for America’s beloved dessert.

Settled by Dust Bowlers in the ‘20s and ‘30s, Pie Town legendarily owes its name to Norman Smith, an enterprising miner and general store owner who baked pies for westbound travelers.  Were it not for “Pie Lady” Kathy Knapp, however, Pie Town might have been left in the dust.

Kathy first visited Pie Town in 1995 on vacation from Dallas with her mother, Mary Munden.  After making the three-hour drive from Albuquerque to taste its namesake treat, they were met with disappointment.  The entire town consisted of a post office, a tax office, and the decrepit Thunderbird Trading Post.  A sign on its frontier-style porch said it all:  "There used to be pie in Pie Town, but there ain't no more — FOR SALE."

“My mom felt it was just wrong to have a place called Pie Town without pies,” says Kathy.  And so they moved to Pie Town to rectify the situation, turning the trading post into the Pie-O-Neer.  It didn’t take long for Mary’s traditional, home-style cooking and delicious pies to gain a loyal following.  But, just three years after opening, Mary became ill and Kathy was faced with the daunting task of running the Pie-O-Neer alone.

“I knew I couldn’t do what she did,” recalls Kathy, whose dream was to be a photographer and open her own gallery.  She left Pie Town for a few months of soul-searching, but soon realized she had already found her true destiny.  “I missed the Pie-O-Neer so much,” she says.  “But I knew I had to make some changes in order to make it work.”

Today, the Pie-O-Neer is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays, and, other than a vegetarian spinach quiche and green chile stew, pies are the only food you will find on the menu.

Like her grandmother and mother, Kathy uses lard and butter to yield a tasty, flaky pie crust.  “If someone’s a vegetarian and they call ahead, I can make a fruit or other kind of pie with Crisco, which is what I use for the spinach quiche,” she says.  She keeps an index-card file of more than 100 pie varieties, basing each day’s choices on whatever fresh ingredients are on hand or what strikes her fancy.  “Some days it’s coconut, some days it’s chocolate chess with chile and toasted almonds,” says Kathy.  Pie-O-Neer’s best-seller is an apple cranberry crumble – tart and sweet, topped with oats and brown sugar.  As fall approaches, people come from afar to taste her apple, green chile, and piñon pie.

To be sure your favorite kind of pie is available when you visit, it’s advisable to call ahead and Kathy will make it specially for you.  A day’s notice is best, she says, adding, “but if I am pressed, I can make one in an hour.”

Kathy is already baking and freezing some 100 pies for Pie Town’s 33rd Annual Pie Festival on September 14.  “I make pies ‘til the cows come home,” she says.  “Pie Fest is New Mexico’s best-kept secret, and represents small-town America at its best, with fun for the whole family.  People should come and experience it while they can, because it may not continue forever.”

More Information

Kathy Knapp -400

Kathy Knapp and the Pie-O-Neer will be featured on History Channel's H2, "All You Can Eat," 10 p.m. ET, August 4, and in an upcoming short documentary, “Pie Lady of Pie Town” by award-winning photographer Jane Rosemont (release date TBA).

33rd Annual Pie Festival

September 13, 2014

Held on the second Saturday in September, This yearly festival is the ultimate event for pie lovers.  It features a pie-baking contest, games and races, music, food, arts and crafts, entertainment, and plenty of pie.  Admission is free and parking is easy.   Jackson Park and nearby locations (once you get to Pie Town, you can’t miss it).

Pie Town Eateries

Pie-O-Neer Pies

U.S. Hwy 60

Wide selection of pies, plus spinach quiche & green chile stew

Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

(575) 772-2711, Web link to the right

Good Pie Café

U.S. Hwy 60 & Mile Marker 56

Lunch:  Burgers, BBQ, deli sandwiches, home-made soups. Friday night dinner: Steak, shrimp, chicken, fish.  Wide selection of pies.  No credit cards.  Monday thru Thursday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday lunch 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday dinner 4 p.m. – closing.  Closed Saturday and Sunday. (575) 772-2700. Web link to the right.

Pie Town Café/Bakery

14 miles north of US Hwy 60 off York Ranch Rd.

Hand-made pies by owner Cyndi Fowler. Order frozen or baked.

(575) 772-2919, Web link to the right.

Other Upcoming New Mexico Pie Events

Holiday Pie Mania, Nov. 9 (Santa Fe) and Dec. 7 (Albuquerque) Kathy Knapp of the Pie-O-Neer will join Santa Fe’s finest chefs for the 2nd Annual Holiday Pie Mania, 1 – 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 9th.   Enjoy delectable tastings while watching Santa Fe’s top chefs demonstrate how to make their signature holiday pies (recipes provided).  Bid on your favorites in a fun-filled auction, to be freshly baked in time for your holiday celebrations.  Auction and raffle proceeds will benefit The Food Depot.  Builders Source Appliance Gallery, 1608 Pacheco St.

Albuquerque’s first  Holiday Pie Mania will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7th, 1 – 5 p.m., when Duke City chefs roll out the dough. Proceeds will benefit Roadrunner Food Bank.  Builders Source Appliance Gallery, 308 Menaul Blvd. NE. For more information on both events, call (505) 847-3333.

Dinner and a Show, New Mexico-Style

“...From elegant picnics at the Santa Fe Opera to an authentic chuckwagon supper followed by cowboy music, New Mexico delivers ‘dinner and a show’ like no place on earth”

It’s summer in the Land of Enchantment, and entertainment choices abound. Whether you crave world-class culture, a sing-along around the piano, a dose of “down-and-dirty” blues, or some pure-camp family fun, you’ll find that and more within just a few hours’ drive. And, this being New Mexico, a great meal is naturally included. Here is just a sampling:

Music under the Stars

From now through August 23, don’t miss the ultimate dinner and a show while watching the spectacular sunset at the Santa Fe Opera. Their Preview Buffet features dinner, including wine and dessert, at their open-air cantina on the beautifully landscaped rehearsal grounds, while you listen to a guest speaker speak about the evening's upcoming opera during the dessert course. Or join your fellow well-dressed patrons in a fancy tailgate picnic: bring your own or pre-order one of Bon Appétit Catering’s offers Sampler and Full-Dinner Tailgate Boxes for $17 and $25. Give them 48 hours’ notice. 301 Opera Drive; 800-280-4654; www.santafeopera.org.

Wednesday nights through July 23, head to the campus of St. John’s College for its outdoor Music on the Hill series. For a no-fuss picnic, pack up your favorite adult beverage and purchase dinner onsite from Walter Burke Catering. Their menu features Ancho-Maple-Glazed Salmon with a pineapple spear and orzo salad, Green Chile Chicken Stew with a tortilla, burgers and hot dogs, and a variety of salads and sandwiches – plus desserts like Choco Taco ice cream. 1160 Camino Cruz Blanca; 505-984-6000; www.sjc.edu/events-and-programs/santa-fe/music-on-the-hill-2014/.

Places to Visit

Taos

Adobe Bar at the Historic Taos Inn - Dr. Thomas Paul (Doc) Martin came to Taos in the 1890s as the county's first and only physician, setting up his office in what is now Doc Martin's Restaurant in the Historic Taos Inn. Today, its adjoining Adobe Bar suggests that music is the best medicine, with live entertainment seven nights a week. Order one of their famous margaritas while you listen to flamenco, jazz, bluegrass, Americana, alt-country, gospel, Celtic, world, and native folk music. Doc Martin’s fresh, local cuisine features a splash of the Southwest, incorporating chiles and produce sourced from regional farms and gardens. Doc's Chile Relleno with salsa fresca, pumpkin seeds, and a goat cheese cream is a favorite. 125 Paseo Pueblo del Norte; 575-758-2233; www.taosinn.com.

Santa Fe

El Meson - Dance the tango (or marvel at others) and dine on delicious tapas at El Meson, where Owner/Chef David Huertas pays homage to Santa Fe’s Spanish Colonial heritage with authentic cuisine and live flamenco, tango, and Latin music (along with jazz and blues), Tuesday through Saturday nights. Chef Huertas, who was raised in Spain and trained at the Culinary Institute of America, specializes in sharable plates like Alcachofas Rellenas de Queso con Romesco (hearts of artichoke, stuffed with fresh herbed Spanish goat cheese that’s flash-fried and served over Romesco sauce) and Gambas al Ajillo (shrimp sautéed with sliced garlic and pequin chile flakes, served in a sizzling hot cazuela), as well as imported imported Iberian and Serrano hams. 213 Washington Avenue; 505-983-6756; www.elmeson-santafe.com.

Vanessie’s - A grand piano dominates Vanessie’s Lounge, a Santa Fe landmark that has hosted local and visiting singer-songwriters, world-class pianists, cabaret singers, and R&B, blues, and jazz bands for 30 years. As you sing along, you can snack on casual fare like BBQ pulled pork sliders or order from their full continental menu that boasts fancier dishes like elk tenderloin, rib-eye steak, or butter-poached lobster tail. You can also spend the night in Vanessie’s charming 18-room inn. 427 West Water Street; 505-984-1193; www.vanessiesantafe.com.

Albuquerque

Foul Play Café - Doesn’t everyone love a good mystery? You can play Super Sleuth and immerse yourself in a comedic mystery at the Foul Play Café while enjoying a four-course dinner. On Friday and Saturday nights through August 30, it’s “Divorcing the Mob,” in which Jerry Moyer finds out what happens when you marry into the mob and decide to get a divorce. He's being pursued by a hit-man hired by his father-in-law, the boss of a rival Family, and even his own wife. F.B.I. Agent John O'Toole knows the best place to hide Jerry: The G & T nightclub. Unfortunately for Agent O'Toole, the others seem to have the same idea. Dine on such dishes as Parmesan Chicken, Grilled Sirloin Steak with Mushroom Demi-glace, and Portobello Stack with Grilled Veggies and a Red Pepper Cream Sauce while you decide whodunit and why. Sheraton Uptown, 2600 Louisiana Blvd NE, 505-881-0000; www.foulplaycafe.com.

Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro - One of the Duke City’s signature fine-dining restaurants for more a decade, this Nob Hill gem hides its more casual, intimate Cellar Bar down a flight of stairs. It offers the same extensive wine list, premium martinis, and ice-cold beers, along with a more casual menu heavy in appetizers, like Crispy Duck Eggrolls with a balsamic-mustard and chile-lime dipping sauces and Mediterranean Falafel and Keftedes Kabob – Talus Wind lamb meatballs and chickpea fritters skewered with peppers and onions, served with warm pita, Tucumcari feta and Greek dill dipping sauce. The Cellar Bar’s live music varies from solo artists and blues duos to larger bands. 3009 Central Ave., NE; 505-254-9462; www.zingabq.com.

Madrid

The Mine Shaft Tavern - If you haven’t rolled into Madrid (preferably on your Harley, though it’s not mandatory) and downed a brew while listening to the blues or some old-timey bluegrass at the iconic Mine Shaft Tavern, you haven’t truly visited New Mexico. Trace Madrid's rich mining history in paintings by renowned Tinker Town artist Ross Ward above the original bar and behind the stage; or get the whole story at the Mine Shaft’s Old Coal Town Museum and Engine House Theater, open on weekends. A diverse clientele of bikers, locals, artists, musicians, and travelers are all part of the show. Try the Wagyu beef burger (this “kobe” is raised at the Lone Mountain Ranch a few miles away) or The Shaft Burger with fire-roasted green chile, caramelized onions, and aged cheddar. 2846 Highway 14; 505-473-0743; www.themineshafttavern.com.

Ruidoso

Flying J Ranch - There’s nothing like a gunfight to whet your appetite for a hearty chuckwagon supper of brisket, BBQ chicken, cowboy beans, and biscuits. But don’t worry – no blood is shed at the Flying J Ranch, where founding “Wranglers” James and Cindy Hobbs have been taking audiences back to the Old West for more than 30 years. Arrive early (and bring the young-uns) to experience all the attractions and exhibits, like gold panning, cattle roping, and deputy training school. Around 6:45, be on the lookout: trouble has been known to erupt on “Main Street” between Sheriff Greg and the Flying J Gunfighters. After supper, stomp your feet to the Flying J Western Music Show, filled with fantastic fiddling, banjo plunking, guitar picking, world-champion yodeling, harmonizing, and storytelling about the great American cowboys of old. If you go home hungry, it's yer own fault. 1028 State Hwy 48, Alto; (888) 458-3595; www.flyingjranch.com.

Las Cruces

De La Vega’s Pecan Grill and Brewery - Named for Las Cruces’ famous local crop, this one-of-a-kind restaurant is bound to have a few pecans on the menu, the most unusual of which is their Pecan Beer, one of a dozen house brews. De La Vega’s is also a great place to catch live music several nights a week. The music starts around 9 p.m., but D’s Late Night Porch Menu is available all evening. Try the Lava Burger: an 8 oz. ground rib eye beef stuffed with American and white cheddar cheeses, served on a brioche bun with charred Hatch green chile and garlic aioli, with fries. 500 S. Telshor Blvd.; (575) 521-1099; www.pecangrill.com.

New Mexico’s Iconic Chile Guest Stars in Global Cuisine Adept at finding creative uses for the local crop, NM chefs prove that this spice is the variety of life

“...Chile is your passport to a world of exciting flavors, without ever leaving the state of New Mexico.”

When New Mexico’s official state question (“Red or green?”) is asked in local restaurants, it is usually in connection with our unique style of Southwestern fare.  Here, it’s “Christmas” (a combination of red and green) every day of the year – and enchiladas , burritos, and tacos provide a perfect canvas for savoring the subtleties between red and green, fiery and mild, and Hatch versus Chimayo chiles.

But no visit to the Land of Enchantment is complete without sampling the rich variety of other cuisines embraced by our creative chefs.  Fortunately, your tastebuds can take a virtual trip around the globe and still get their chile fix.  Craving sushi in Santa Fe?  Irish pub fare in Farmington?  Pasta in Truth or Consequences?  You may be surprised to discover that our local chile shows up in places – and dishes -- you would least suspect.

Chile is your passport to a world of exciting flavors, without ever leaving the state of New Mexico.  Let’s explore a few of the options:

Albuquerque

Unless you’re Persian, you may have trouble pronouncing some of the dishes at Pars Cuisine (parscuisine.com), like Chelo Kabab Koobideh or Ghimeh Bademjoon, but don’t let that stop you – this  restaurant, with its Samovar and Hookah bar, is an authentic cultural immersion.  Accompany your kabob, shank, or stew with a side of green chile and discover the tasty intersection of Middle East and Southwest.

With its own sizable  farm and a seasonally driven menu influenced by both haute cuisine and foods indigenous to the Rio Grande River Valley, La Merienda at Los Poblanos is definitely not your typical New Mexican restaurant.  It showcases a variety of local growers and producers, like Shepherd’s Lamb from Northern New Mexico, their farm’s own lavender honey, and 16-year-old Balsamic vinegar from Old Monticello Farms.  Naturally, local chile appears in daily specials and regular dishes, such as the the green chile mustard that accompanies the Pollo Confit Rillette, and the honey red chile glaze on their larded and brined Los Poblanos Pork Loin with coriander roasted root vegetables.

Carlsbad

Inside Carlsbad’s historic old City Hall, The Stock Exchange (thestockexchangenm.com) Chef Kevin Zinc gives a local twist to an American steakhouse favorite:  Reserve Tenderloin Tips topped with sautéed mushrooms, roasted green chile, and aged cheddar.  Side dishes include green chile cheese grits, two whole grilled green chiles, and a palate-cleansing wedge of watermelon with pink sea salt.

Farmington

If you wander into Clancy’s Pub – an Irish Cantina (clancys.net) looking for an Irish stew and a pint, you may be a wee bit surprised to discover the New Mexico green chile in your bowl alongside the pork and potatoes.  (This Irish cantina also has a sushi bar, but that’s another story.)  It’s all part of the eclectic culinary experience at Clancy’s, where you’ll find more than a wee bit o’ the green (chile, that is) in all kinds of delicious dishes.

Gallup

At Fratelli’s Pizza Bistro & Ice Creamery’s (fratellisbistro.com), Italian cuisine and frozen delights provide a welcome stop for Interstate 40 travelers.  Their New Mexico Roadrunner pizza with pepperoni, sausage, and green chile is the perfect entree to the Land of Enchantment.  For a trip back to the glory days of the “Mother Road,” as locals called the old Route 66, check out the historical charm of the Badlands Grill (badlandsgrill.com).  Start with the Green Chile Wontons filled with ground beef and green chile, served with a green chile marmalade; and then surrender to the Bandito, a 16-oz., bad-boy New York strip steak topped with green chile, mozzarella and cheddar cheese.

Hatch

Hatch is where the bulk of the state’s chiles are grown, so you would be hard-pressed to find a restaurant that doesn’t feature them.  But for a change of pace from New Mexico-style cuisine, follow the smoke to Sparky’s (sparkysburgers.com) – and if that fails you, just look for the 10-ft.  A&W Root Beer Mama on the roof.  This is serious, wood-fired barbeque featuring brisket, pulled pork, ribs and sausage, accompanied by a side of green chile creamed sweet corn.  Sparky’s West Texas-style green chile cheeseburger and green chile chicken sandwich are also great ways to enjoy the local crop.

Las Cruces

A name like Aqua Reef (aquareefrestaurants.com) sounds incongruous in southern New Mexico, but you can satisfy your Asian/sushi and green chile cravings with their New Mexico Pecan Green Chile Roll – a pecan-breaded, stuffed green chile topped with sriracha sauce.  Also try their Aqua Reef Roll, featuring Saku tuna, green chile, cucumber, and scallion with dynamite sauce.

At the Si Italian Bistro (sibistro.com), definitely say “yes” to Dave's Favorite Pizza, a wood-fired pie with homemade sauce, pepperoni, salami, Cremini mushrooms, black olives, oven roasted tomatoes, and – last but not least – hot green chile.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe encompasses an entire globe of dining options, and New Mexico chile has sprouted up in almost all of them.  The flavors explode at Babaluu’s Cocina Cubana (babaluuscocina.com), a Cuban gem along Highway 14, the Old Turquoise Trail heading toward Madrid, where pig roasts are a regular event.  Havana native Chef Amaury uses Hatch green chile to spice up his Caribbean Crawfish Creole Green Chile Boil and Sautéed Littleneck Clams, and uses Chimayo red chile to kick his mango sauce up a notch, and even subtly flavor his ice cream, which he serves in edible bowls of spun sugar.

Feeling nostalgic for the Left Bank?  Mais oui! Stroll over to Bouche Bistro (bouchebistro.com), where French-born and -trained Chef Charles Dale will have you convinced the Eiffel Tower is twinkling outside your window.  Red chile adds a nice local touch to his Black Mussels in White Wine.   At the aptly named Ristra (ristrarestaurant.com), native French Chef Xavier Grenet showcases New Mexico green chile in his Poblano Relleno, accompanied by wild rice, spaghetti squash, sundried tomatoes, and a piquillo pepper coulis.

When it’s time for the Three S’s (Sushi, Sashimi, and Sake), head to Shohko Café (shohkocafe.com), where the fresh fish rivals any of its coastal counterparts.  But be sure one of your dishes includes their signature green chile tempura, invented in the mountains of La Madera and inspired by New Mexico’s chile relleno.  It also shines in several other original Shohko creations, including the Santa Fe Roll, which teams green chile with shrimp tempura and avocado.

Osteria d’Assisi’s (osteriadassisi.com) cuisine is inspired by Italy’s Lombardy region on the north side of Lake Como, but their Lombardy native Executive Chef Cristian Pontiggia never hesitates to feature local green and red chile in a variety of dishes, from his Buffalo Lasagne to pizza toppings at Osteria’s sister restaurant, Pizzeria da Lino (pizzeriadalino.com).  Red chile takes a final bow in Chef Pontiggia’s unique dessert, Tartufo al Cioccolato con Peperoncino Rosso e Pancella in Salsa Cappucino, which translates to a delectable chocolate truffle crusted with red chile bacon in cappuccino sauce.

And, speaking of sweet endings, chocolate lovers must order Chef Andrew Cooper’s Dark Chocolate Souffle with Green Chile Cream, one of the most-popular desserts at Terra at the Four Seasons Encantado Resort (fourseasons.com/santafe/dining/restaurants/terra).  This decadent treat is designed for two, but nobody will tattle on you if you savor it all by yourself.

Pie Town

Who first figured out that green chile belonged in that quintessential American dessert, apple pie?  We aren’t sure, but we agree it is a match made in heaven.  You can find the combination all around the state during the September chile harvest, but you might want to make the pilgrimage to Pie Town, where they take pie making seriously.  It might seem like there’s a rivalry between the Good Pie Café (goodpie.com), whose New Mexican Apple Pie incorporates two ounces of spicy green chile, and the Pie-O-Neer’s (pie-o-neer.com) apple, green chile, and piñon pie, but they peacefully co-exist by being open on different days of the week.

Silver City

Once an old mining town, Silver City is now home to a thriving, diverse restaurant community, including The Curious Kumquat (curiouskumquat.com), where Chef Rob Connoley recently earned a spot in Saveur magazine’s “Top 100” for what it termed the “most far-flung modernist cuisine.”   A devotee of molecular gastronomy, the chef incorporates hydrocolloids (a fancy name for gums, such as gelatins and pectins) and other techniques into globally influenced dishes, like Thai red curry duck and Korean-spiced elk shank.  Chef Connoley’s cuisine is equally inspired by locally sourced ingredients, such as crayfish harvested from the nearby Gila River and, of course, Hatch green chile.  His Green Chile Corn Chowder males a great starter or light lunch.

Taos

Chef Lesley Fay of Graham’s Grille (grahamstaos.com) describes her Green Chile Cioppino as “Taos, New Mexico meets North Beach, San Francisco.” The fragrant fish stew originated in the Italian American neighborhood of the City by the Bay.   Chef Fay’s unique New Mexican take combines shrimp, mussels, Italian sausage, and New Mexico green chile in a smoky tomato, white wine, and garlic sauce.

When thirst strikes, you’re in good hands – Taos and its environs are home to a handful of microbreweries.   But you won’t want to miss the award-winning Taos Green Chili Beer at Eske’s Brew Pub & Eatery, located in the historic district of Taos, one-half block southeast of Taos Plaza.  Their brewers use local green chile during fermentation make an aromatic, dry, delicious beer that was recently featured online in a recent ABC News article highlighting the country’s best brews:  “Latest Craft Brews Inspired by Far More than Hops.”  If you can’t make it to Eske’s, you can also find this specialty brew elsewhere around the state, including the Albuquerque airport.

Truth or Consequences

After a nice, long soak in the T or C hot springs, it’s time for dinner in Italy!  Actually, it’s not much of a stretch when you’re dining at Bella Luca Café Italiano (cafebellaluca.com), home of hearty Italian cuisine.  Since Hatch’s famous chile is grown just 40 miles away, don’t miss their Calabasitas Fettuccini, featuring local organic summer squash, fire-roasted corn, Hatch green chile, and crispy pancetta in a white wine cream sauce.  Add some grilled chicken, tiger shrimp, or wild salmon if you need a little protein to recover from your strenuous day of bone-soaking.

About the Author

Michele Ostrove is a Santa Fe-based writer and president of the PR/marketing firm Wings Media Network, which organizes New Mexico Restaurant Week, Holiday Pie Mania, and other events.  She specializes in food, wine, travel and tourism, and founded Wine Adventure magazine, the first wine magazine for women.

Hand-Made in New Mexico, Inspired by the World Artisanal Goodies You Will Want to Taste and Take Home

“... Since New Mexico is a melting pot of people and cultures, many of our local food and spirits artisans draw inspiration (and, in some cases, actually source ingredients) from around the globe.”

Does your mouth water just thinking about a visit to New Mexico? As you ponder the many dining choices, consider this: restaurants are only part of the state’s exciting and diverse culinary landscape. A rapidly growing number of local artisans are producing tasty products you can pack in your suitcase and enjoy at home – and, in most cases, order online when you run out.

Now here’s the part that might surprise you:  since New Mexico is a melting pot of people and cultures, many of our local food and spirits artisans draw inspiration (and, in some cases, actually source ingredients) from around the globe. Columbian coffee, South African tea, balsamic vinegar, Laos chile paste, Mexican paletas, single-malt whiskey, and Moroccan bitters are all passionately made here in the Land of Enchantment. We also have traditional New Mexico products, like green chile sauce, that derive their one-of-a-kind taste from the local soil – and some marry cultures to create truly magical flavors.

Ready to discover some distinctive and delicious New Mexico souvenirs? Here’s just a sampling:


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It’s Definitely Chile Here

“...Now, grocery stores from Socorro to Santa Fe carry Eddie’s Savory BBQ Sauce, Green Chile BBQ Sauce, and Green Chile Sauce (available in only two flavors: hot and extra hot).”

Albuquerque attorney Eddie Meintzer went to law school in his 40s – perhaps because he was so busy until then perfecting his barbeque sauce. The sauce came out so good, in fact, that his friends encouraged him to sell it commercially, and Eddie’s Savory Food Products was born. Now, grocery stores from Socorro to Santa Fe carry Eddie’s Savory BBQ Sauce, Green Chile BBQ Sauce, and Green Chile Sauce (available in only two flavors: hot and extra hot). “Our chiles are sourced from Rosales Farm in Lemitar, and they are very high quality – grown with no insecticides,” says Eddie, who, together with wife Diana, makes his sauces using a “proprietary process.” He says it’s the only green chile BBQ sauce on the market (although others have tried), and it goes well on just about anything, from your favorite meats to rice and beans.  Your ham and cheese sandwiches and cheeseburgers may never be the same again.  www.eddiessavoryfoodproducts.com; to order, call (505) 865-9702.

Laos and Albuquerque are far apart, but Kinna Perez of Kinna’s Kitchen has bridged the gap with her Laos Chile Paste (regular and vegan), a recipe that has been in her family for four generations. Her husband, Manuel, grasped the paste’s uniqueness and market potential after eating it on sticky rice at his in-laws’ house in Albuquerque almost daily. “I was addicted to it,” he says. Manuel finally decided to try making it himself, buying all the ingredients in a local international market. “My wife tasted it, and said it came out good,” says Manuel. Within a short time, the two were in business. What makes this paste so good?  Its fiery heat is balanced with just the right amount of organic cane juice and a subtle smokiness. Kinna’s Kitchen’s equally versatile Tamarind Chile Sauce and Mango Salsa (both vegan) can be used to flavor stir-fries, tamales, pesto sauces, ketchup, mayonnaise, and much more. Order them online or find them at local stores like Whole Foods, La Montanita Co-op, Keller’s Meat Market, and Talin Market. www.kinnas.net; (505) 228-7345.

“Indulge, Repent, Repeat.” That’s the order given for Albuquerque-based Lusty Monk Mustards, so named because medieval monks were forbidden to eat mustard (believed to be an aphrodisiac), lest they call prey to carnal desires. Owners Steve and Kris Monteith’s belief that condiments should never be boring led them to create “the pretzel’s best friend, the cook’s secret weapon, and the perfect companion for lovers of spice and heat.” They expanded from North Carolina to Albuquerque four years ago, and now produce their fresh-ground, hand-crafted, small-batch mustard at the South Valley Economic Development Center, a commercial kitchen shared by many small local producers. Lusty Monk mustards are as fiery as they are flavorful; their Lusty Monk Original Sin and Burn in Hell Chipotle both took top Scovie Awards at the Fiery Foods and Barbeque Show in 2013 and 2014. Their mustards are sold at La Montanita Co-op, Whole Foods, and other stores in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, or you can order them online. www.lustymonk.com; (505) 975-6498.

What happens when South African rooibos tea meets Hatch, NM red chile? Bill Zunkel pondered that two years ago when he created Tea Chileño, a unique beverage containing health properties indigenous to both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. When Bill went to work in South African in 1970, he discovered rooibos, or “bush tea,” grown in the Western Cape, which has been drunk by native Bushmen since early times. It has no caffeine; is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; and has anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, and anti-viral properties. The chile kicks it up a notch – adding even more health benefits. Santa Fe visitors can find the tea in Kaune’s Neighborhood Market, The Chile Shop, the Santa Fe School of Cooking, and Hillside; it’s also available online at www.loschileros.com (look for Bush Fire Tea) and may soon be marketed across the U.S. and South Africa. www.teachileno.com; (505) 310-0920.

First, You Start with Local Fruit

“...When Colin, a fancier of good Scotch and brandy, closed his architectural business in 2009, an idea fermented: why not build a distillery?”

Colin Keegan and his wife Suzette moved to Santa Fe in 1992, building their home on a mature apple orchard in Tesuque that produced more heirloom apples – and gallons of cider – than they could possibly use. When Colin, a fancier of good Scotch and brandy, closed his architectural business in 2009, an idea fermented: why not build a distillery? Santa Fe Spirits was the solution to both his career and what to do with all those apples. Four years later, the company produces a bar-stocking variety of artisanal spirits, each imparting the subtle flavors of the Southwest:  Apple Brandy, Silver Coyote Malt Whiskey, Expedition Vodka, Wheeler’s Gin, and Colkegan Single Malt Whiskey. If the spirits moves you, you can tour the distillery off Airport Road and sample them in drinks like the “Whiskeyrita” in their new tasting room in downtown Santa Fe. They also are sold in local liquor and grocery stores and online. www.santafespirits.com; (505) 467-8892.

Nearly 80 percent of all traditional, authentic balsamic vinegar comes from some 70 producers in Modena, Italy (a far cry from the inexpensive, fake imitations). Just a small percentage of artisanal New World producers make the real thing using traditional Italian methods. Steve and Jane Darland of rustic Monticello, NM, are part of an even more select group who grow their own organic grapes. Their Aceto Balsamico Traditionale of Monticello is dark, viscous, organic vinegar that has been lovingly hand-made, step-by-step – growing, pruning, picking, and blending the grapes; aging the vinegar in casks or barrels for a minimum of 12 years; bottling, and labeling. Their vinegar is considered by many to be the best outside of Italy. You’ll pay $150 for 4.5-oz. bottle, but when you taste it, you’ll understand why. Available online and at the Farm Shop at Los Poblanos in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. www.organicbalsamic.com; info@organicbalsamic.com.

Beans, Bitters, and Bees

“...David and Juan Certain grew up in Columbia, spending much of their time in the fields of their grandfather’s coffee plantation, Villa Myriam.”

David and Juan Certain grew up in Columbia, spending much of their time in the fields of their grandfather’s coffee plantation, Villa Myriam. Their grandfather imparted the love and care that goes into making great coffee, treating employees fairly, and taking care of the land that sustains them. “When we moved to Albuquerque in 1999,” says David, “we looked for a way to bring that coffee over here. We ended up importing it directly from the plantation, and roasting here.” Their Villa Myriam Specialty Coffee maintains those high standards: it is Rainforest Alliance-certified and is made without pesticides or chemicals. You can enjoy a cup as you watch David roasting thebeans at 2420 Midtown Place NE and meet Juan at The Brew, their new coffee shop at 311 Gold St. The beans also are sold in many local stores and online, and a monthly subscription service is planned so you never have to run out of that good Columbian caffeine. www.villamyriam.com; (800) 609-0250.

While tending bar in Santa Fe, newbie bartender Bill York became intrigued with using bitters to flavor his cocktails. “I started playing around and developing my own recipes, and discovered a formula that was different than anything out there,” he says. Super-concentrated, intensely flavored, The Bitter End bitters come in unconventional flavors, each with a kick: Chesapeake Bay, Curry, Jamaican Jerk, Memphis BBQ, Mexican Mole, Moroccan, and Thai. Bill uses ingredients such as fresh and dried spices, herbs, fruits, chiles, and other aromatic botanicals, and each batch is mixed, infused, and dispensed by hand. The Bitter End bitters are sold worldwide and online (where you can also find recipes); locally, you can find them at Susan’s Fine Wine & Spirits in Santa Fe. www.bitterendbitters.com; info@bitterendbitters.com.

Taos beekeeper Jason Goodhue feels called to his profession as “a steward of the bees and the land.” The owner of Taos Valley Honey is dedicated to the community, sustainability, and the maintenance of happy, healthy, genetically diverse bees to pollinate crops. His delicious honey reflects his understanding of his bees’ well-being: “I can tell by the smell of the hive how they are doing,” he says. “It’s different at different times of the year.” You can find the by-product of Jason’s contented bees at Cid’s Food Market, the Taos Pharmacy, and the Taos Farmers’ Market. www.taosvalleyhoney.com; taosvalleyhoney@inbox.com; (575) 770-5953.
For information on additional New Mexico-made products, visit www.deliciousnm.com, an organization that supports family food businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the state.

More New Mexico Cuisine

“...For more information about New Mexico's unique cuisine click on the link to read Michele Ostrove's articles”

Michele Ostrove is a Santa Fe-based writer and president of the PR/marketing firm Wings Media Network, which organizes New Mexico Restaurant Week, Holiday Pie Mania, and other events.  She specializes in food, wine, travel and tourism, and founded Wine Adventure magazine, the first wine magazine for women.

For even more information about New Mexico's unique cuisine click here.