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Oct 6, 2006 06:53 PM

La Choza - Santa Fe

Stopped in here for lunch during our stay....away from the plaza. Apparently owned by the same folks as the Shed, which we did not visit on our trip so can't compare.

Very casual and comfortable inside. Full of lots of locals on their lunch hours(the business suits of the folks that must work for the state government gave us this idea).

Ordered some herbal tea...a reddish color brew that tasted of some sort of tropical or passion fruit. Refreshing. Nibbled on the crisp, fresh chips and reviewed the menu.

Hard to pick something....we did a lot of eating on this trip! Didn't want to stuff ourselves again so an enchilada plate or burrito seemed like too much.

We decided to try the tamales and ordered one each a la carte, christmas style. These were great....we don't go out for a lot of mexican food at home so admittedly aren't true connossieurs...but these were among the best we'd ever had. moist flavorful masa and generous amount of marinated pork inside. Both the red and green chiles were tasty, this time we prefered the red. A little less hot and lots of great flavor.

We also split a bowl of green chile stew. Hot and steaming...full of big chunks of pork and fresh cut potatoe. Surprisingly lemony but this was a nice accent to the chile.

As we ordered a la carte didn't get to try a sopapilla...we nearly ordered one but found ourselves stuffed. They definitely looked good on the other tables.

This was another place we really liked. Would definitely visit again and eat our way through more of hte menu...the little we tried gave good promise.

Again, inexpensive....I believe with tip it was right around $20.

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  1. Just ate at La Choza. I don't know if it was like this when you had it (and it probably wasn't judging by your review), but I found everything to be wildly over-spiced to the point that I couldn't actually taste anything other than the peppers. I ordered the Burrito with pork and ate all of three bites before wanting to gag. I found the same issue with the green chile and the enchilada plate - both of which were ordered by people I was with. From the faint undertones of flavor that could be discerned, it would have been good had there not been a true excess of spice. I'm not usually one to find things too spicy - I will happily eat both vindaloo and sichuan cuisines, but this was just way over the top. I'm now hungry, pissed off, and 70 bucks down the tubes.

    2 Replies
    1. re: nkatz

      This is funny -- my boyfriend and I recently found just the opposite! We ate here on vacation last January and absolutely loved it. It was wonderfully spicy and flavourful. When we moved to Santa Fe a couple months ago, we were excited to see that our new house was just a few blocks away from La Choza. Went there for lunch about a week ago and were somewhat underwhelmed. We both love really spicy food and had appreciated on our first visit that the restaurant hadn't toned it down (they even have a warning on the menu, if I remember correctly), but this time it seemed that the food was only medium spicy and much less flavourful. We thought that maybe we had become accustomed to eating really really spicy NM style food since we started buying our own hot chiles and learning to cook it ourselves at home, but now I'm starting to wonder if maybe this restaurant just gives inconsistent results. Or perhaps their lunch menu is toned down and their dinner menu is served at full spice? Does anyone else have any experiences with this? If it is, indeed, over the top spicy at dinner, I would love to go back. And I imagine that nkatz might prefer to eat there at lunch, if it really is a lunch/dinner thing and not an inconsistency thing.

      1. re: BananaBirkLarsen

        Based on my experience, I think it's somewhat unlikely to be a "lunch/dinner thing" and more likely to be a function of batch variation in their chile supply. This is actually fairly common at restaurants all over Santa Fe, especially with green chile and "especially" during the fresh chile season. If you're not too hung up on consistency it can actually be kind of fun, especially when you run into one of those "blow your face out" batches at a place that normally runs toward the milder side. I've even see restaurants post warnings on their doors when they were serving a particularly spicy batch.

        For nkatz, remember that people respond to different kinds of spicing differently. My wife is pretty fearless when it comes to NM chile, but she tends to be much more of a tenderfoot with Sichuan or Thai spicing. You may be especially sensitive to New Mexico green and red (although, in all honesty, the sauces do frequently end up being the dominant component of the dish in much northern New Mexico cooking)