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trying to become a green chile convert, denver

withalonge Mar 12, 2008 09:52 AM

Hi all

am bay area transplant.. when I think green sauce & mexican food, I thing of chile verde... a sauce (without meat) made primarily from tomatillos, onions.. maybe a little cilantro... having moved here, it seems all green sauce associated with mexican food is green chile. Being a chowhound, I of course was excited about a new source of delicious-ness... and then dug out my old copies of calvin trillan's books and remembered him waxing on about red & green chile... so now i'm trying to learn to love it.

so far I've had some very bad (corn-starchy & bland) green chile.. then had some home-made from a co-worker.. after a taste, I thought... ah ha! we're on to something good. for a while there I was starting to wonder what all the fuss was about... and then I had the green chile at los dos patrillos (centennial & littleton) location.. it was spicy, it had body without being overly viscous... quite tasty.

So, my dear friends.. where do you find your favorite green chile (after I have explored green chile... I'll switch to red). Also, i'm making a separate post on home cooking board for recipes, I'd love to make this myself too.. especially in the summer when I can get fresh tomatoes & roasted chilies.

Also, if anyone knows where i might find chile verde sauce... and some decent carnitas.. and mission style burritos... I will forever be in your debt.

thanks in advance,

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  1. n
    NMculinary RE: withalonge Mar 12, 2008 01:17 PM


    I don't know what they've been serving you in Denver area, but in New Mexico green chile is our national dish. It's not really considered a sauce but a type of stew. It is made with roasted green New Mexico or Anaheim chiles, not tomatillos or tomatoes, and may or may not contain meat, usually pork.

    I've had hundreds of variation on same, but the absolutely best I've ever eaten was at a little place called El Norteno in Las Vegas, New Mexico (not to be mistaken for Vegas, NV). It's owned by Ray and Jennifer Velasquez, and Ray is the chef. I can't remember his precise recipe, but I do recall his procedure is a bit different from the usual. I've got to get back up there some day and pry the recipe out of him.

    In the meantime, I might suggest you look up one of Jane Butel's cookbooks. She teaches cooking classes in Albuquerque, and she knows what she's doing. You also might check The Whole Chile Pepper Book by Dave DeWitte and Nancy Gerlach. Dave is our Mr. Chile, and he's the entrepreneur who brings the Fiery Foods Show to ABQ every year.

    1 Reply
    1. re: NMculinary
      withalonge RE: NMculinary Mar 12, 2008 01:47 PM

      well, i kind of figured that Colorado (in general) has put its own twist on a new mexico dish... the first time I ordered a burrito here I thought.. "what the hell, why is there all this sauce? I didn't order a enchilada"... but hey, it is all about enjoying and celebrating regional differences & interpretations. I appreciate the cookbook recs.

      I'm sure like everything else the debate of true authenticity... which always starts with "well, my grandmother always made it this way..." could roll on for eons.

    2. j
      jcattles RE: withalonge Mar 12, 2008 07:59 PM

      Try El Tejado on S. Broadway. Great flavor and just enough heat. The roasted pork smothered in green chile is very good. Up here in Wyoming, everyone has their own favorites. Personally, I have no problem driving 40 miles to Cheyenne to the Tortilla Factory on S. Greeley Hwy or 90 miles to Sinclair to Su Casa, (my favorite, pure heaven). Mezcal on Colfax is also a good place. (and a fun atmosphere) The green chile isn't my favorite, but the sopes are pretty darn good. I'm sure the many denverites will have more recs. In the meantime head to Federal near Invesco and drive until you see a bunch of cars at a local taco joint!

      1. alanstotle RE: withalonge Mar 13, 2008 11:10 AM

        In my fairly limited experience with New Mexican & Coloradoan green chile (3 or 4 trips to N. Mex. & a larger number of trips to Colo.) I tend to think of Colorado green chile as a Tex-Mex-influenced version of the New Mexican green chile. The green chile in N. Mex. is better than in Colo., but there are a few spots here & there in Colo. where you can find good green chile. The physical location of Colorado--with one foot planted firmly in the Rocky Mountain West & the other foot on the door-step of the Midwest--is mirrored by the food itself--a hybrid of western Mexican food from New Mexico & the kind of Mexican food I imagine is served in Midwestern cities like St. Louis, Oklahoma City, etc.

        Like you, I was pretty surprised the first time I ordered green chile in Colorado (iirc, it was at a cafe in Colorado Springs) & they brought me a bowl of stew that wasn't even green!--like what I'm used to in California. I've had similar bowls of green chile in cafes in southern Utah & in Page, Arizona.

        2 Replies
        1. re: alanstotle
          Debbie W RE: alanstotle Mar 14, 2008 03:24 PM

          Very interesting analysis. I had green chile in Avon, Colorado (Vail Valley) at Route 6 Cafe this past September, and the green chile was red. Not a deep red like chile colorado, but definitely red, not green. It had a small amount of pork in it, I think, but not bite-size pieces. I think it also, to my horror, had some chopped red bell pepper in it. I actually asked the owner of the restaurant about it (trying to confirm it was indeed intended to be green chile) but I forget exactly what he said other than yes it was. Granted, the restaurant isn't a Mexican or Tex-Mex or New Mexican restaurant, but it seemed from the menu description that they were aiming for New Mexico-style green chile.

          I've only been to New Mexico once and I had green chile along with some of the best chiles rellenos I've ever eaten before or since. That trip was at least 15 years ago but I'm fairly certain that the green chile was green, not reddish. In Colorado, I wasn't expecting chile verde like I'm used to here in Los Angeles, chunks of pork in a tomatillo-based sauce, because I knew the New Mexico-style green chile is a different beast. The chile verde I've had at two of the Michoacan restaurants in Las Vegas (NV) is pretty much the same as what I expect in Los Angeles.

          1. re: alanstotle
            tiquose RE: alanstotle Jun 16, 2008 07:18 PM

            Green chile in these parts isn't always green in color, as you've discovered. The "green" being referred to is the prime ingredient, green chiles. If cooked long enough, they tend to disappear, leaving only their flavor. If there's a bit of tomato involved, it will color the stew reddish or orangeish no matter what.

          2. z
            zonzon RE: withalonge Mar 13, 2008 12:37 PM

            I've been a long time fan of Tacos Jalisco's green chile but is has changed recently, more corn starch I think, but still good. They also have the chile verde salsa that you are accustomed to. located at 38th and Tennyson. I recently tried Taco Patzcuaro, excellent green chile, one of the best I've found. They're on W 32nd, east of Federal. My favorite though is El Taco De Mexico, their green is more of a sauce than a stew, you will not want to leave a drop on the plate. Very small space located on Sante Fe and 7th.

            1. p
              Pampatz RE: withalonge Mar 13, 2008 12:49 PM

              Little Anita's New Mexican food has New Mexico green chile. Be forwarned - it's really hot. It's in a strip center on the east side of Colorado Blvd. at Florida (I think)-about 3 blocks north of I-25.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Pampatz
                NMculinary RE: Pampatz Mar 14, 2008 07:33 AM

                Little Anita's is an Albuquerque firm. Didn't know they had expanded to CO, but they should have decent green. Good luck

              2. c
                chimay5 RE: withalonge Mar 14, 2008 03:01 PM

                As a Denver native and having eaten in many Mexican places many times there, my favorites in order are, La Cueva, Colfax and Dayton, La Loma, 26th and Bryant, La Casa de Manuel, Larimer and about 26th ( we refer to it as Dirty Manny's) and Las Delicious, 19th and Pennsylvania. All are family owned and operated.
                Wish I could find green chile like these in Phoenix.

                1. d
                  Denver08 RE: withalonge Mar 16, 2008 03:09 PM

                  I love spicy green chile. Santiago's has some good, very spicy, tear-inducing green chile that hits the spot for me. I also like the green chile plate at Taqueria Patzquaro on 32nd and Clay.

                  1. b
                    bongomama RE: withalonge Mar 26, 2008 09:39 AM

                    I'll second the recs for the green chile @ Santiagos, and Jack-n-Grill on Federal and 21st (ish) does a good job too. Some folks swear by the green chile at Brewery Bar, but I haven't been impressed.
                    The *best* green chile in town is at Tacos de Mexico on 7th. You could put their sauce on top of a .33 cent Little Juans frozen burrito and make it a thing of beauty.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bongomama
                      jcattles RE: bongomama Mar 26, 2008 12:54 PM

                      I wasn't very impressed with Brewery Bar either. Can't wait to try Tacos de Mexico.

                    2. c
                      calibretto RE: withalonge Jun 20, 2008 03:57 PM

                      I've been living in Denver for about 2 years now, and is still trying to find a green chili that can match what I had in Pueblo, CO. There is no place better in my mind than the Pantry restaurant in downtown Pueblo. Their Chili is made from home grown Pueblo chiles, with large chunks of pork scattered all around. The best way to have it is to have it smothered over a breakfast burrito. Better yet, just order a bowl of green chili and some tortillas on the side. Try it, you won't be disappointed.

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