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Green Chile Kitchen...good New Mexican cuisine. [San Francisco]

Yesterday my wife and I had lunch at the Green Chile Kitchen at McAllister and Baker. (We lived in Santa Fe for 5 years and have been back every year since 1996....we love our chile!!)

We started out with their salsa and chips...we were given small cups of four different salsa...all of them packing plenty of flavor and heat. The blue corn chips were also very goods.

I then had a cup of chicken posole with red chile and lime. Very good.

My wife had the chiles rellenos christmas (christmas = with red and green chile sauce ladled on top). She liked everything, but thought the red chile was not quite the real thing. The secret to making proper New Mexican red chile sauce is to use Chimayo chile powder. No other red chile powder will do. Chimayo red chile powder has a richer and unique flavor distinct from the usual Mexican chile powders. Their hot green chile sauce is the real deal! All in all, 4 stars.

I had the homestyle chicken enchiladas christmas. It was flavorful and very well prepared with authentic NM flavors. It was a tad light on the chile sauce, but that did not detract from the meal at all. the accompanying beans and rice were also very good. I'll give it a 4+.

We were both delighted to finally find a restaurant in the SF Bay Area that does a credible job of serving up genuine New Mexican cuisine. We are also very pleased that they use a lot of organic and high quality ingredients such as Fulton Valley chicken, and Niman ranch beef and pork.

We look forward to going back for dinner so we can have the sopapillas with honey, and then pop on down to Chile Pies & Ice Cream for dessert.

Green Chile Kitchen
1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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  1. I love New Mexican food. Do they have great sopapillas? These are sorely lacking in the Bay Area.

    3 Replies
    1. re: slipson

      I've not had them yet...they only serve them after 5pm. But they know enough to serve them with honey. My favorite trick is to fill sopapillas with honey and use it to mop up any excess red chile sauce. Nom-nom-nom!!

      Gauging by the rest of their food, I'd bet they do a decent sopapilla....will report back when confirmed.

      1. re: chilihead2006

        Please use your Santa Fe background to encourage them to also serve stuffed (savory, not sweet) sopapillas which are the ones I really liked in New Mexico.

      2. re: slipson

        NOPA usually has sopapillas on their dessert menu, excellent albeit not entirely authentic

      3. I really enjoyed my one meal there, especially the pozole. I was meeting a friend from the neighborhood for lunch and I had suggested we go to Nopalito. He insisted that Green Chili Kitchen was just as careful about sourcing local, fresh, organic ingredients and the food was better and cheaper. Not sure about all that, but my one meal has me wanting more.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BernalKC

          I can vouch for how well they execute on genuine NM cuisine. I'd rate them as better and healthier than your average NM restaurant in NM.

          Now if I can talk them into using Chimayo red chile powder, I might consider moving to the neighborhood. ;)

        2. This is indeed exciting news.

          One small quibble, please: I don't believe Niman Ranch carries the same promise of attention to sustainability or organics it did under Bill Niman, who I was happy to read is now producing under his own label (which I dont' remember--sorry; I think it's initials--someone will help, I'm sure).

          2 Replies
            1. re: Fine

              Niman Ranch was never organic. I don't think the products have changed much. I believe Paul Willis still manages the pork operation.

            2. We drove in from Marin tonight to check out Chile Pies & Ice Cream. The apple & green chile pie with cheddar crust is very good. The apple are sliced thin yet retain a bit of crunch, and is not too sweet. Very well executed. My wife had their mixed berry pie which was also excellent. We'd both rate their fruit pies up there with Crixa Cakes in terms of desirability.

              We walked by Green Chile Kitchen thinking we might stop for some takeaway and maybe some sopapillas, but were too stuffed after the pie.

              Crixa Cakes
              2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

              Green Chile Kitchen
              1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

              1. Oh yeah, we live just a few blocks away. I love the Frito Pie (from the pie/ice cream location down the block). It's actually served in the bag of fritos with Niman chili, lettuces and sour cream.

                The new place has a much better menu than the old location (the pie/ice cream place now). I'm very happy to have it in the neighborhood. Gets pretty crowded on the weekend mornings.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Sebby

                  Oddly enough, I can't recall seeing frito pie served in a restaurant in NM during the 5 years we lived in Santa Fe...and 12 years visiting there after moving. And we ate in a LOT of NM restaurants.

                  I see that it was served at the old Woolworths on the south side of the Plaza...but we never ate there. I wouldn't exactly describe it as a NM speciality.

                2. Finally got to try this place tonight. We ordered:

                  -green chili queso
                  -bacon, blue cheese, marinated artichoke heart, roasted beet, and grape tomato salad with chili buttermilk dressing
                  -green chili beef stew
                  -crispy NR ground beef tacos
                  -mashed potatoes with green chilies and cheddar cheese

                  Everything was really good and fresh, although my first taco exploded on my shirt. The surprise of the whole meal though was mixing the mashed potatoes with the stew. It will surely go on my top 10 tastes of 2010.

                  Add a couple of beers, tax & tip and we were out the door for $50. We'll be back to try the rest of the menu.

                  1. new on the Specials Board: savory sopapillas stuffed with meats; tamales; and my favorite carne adovada - a red chile stew.

                    23 Replies
                    1. re: Cynsa

                      >savory sopapillas stuffed with meats<

                      I've been looking for those for a long time. Do you know if the specials last a day or ??

                      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                        I've only been once, and they had them then (several months ago). They always have sopaipillas (just the fry bread) after 5 pm so even if it is a special you could recreate it yourself.

                      2. re: Cynsa

                        Wow. We've been twice over the last year and while we thought the food was good, it didn't seem like anything special. I have to say, though, they've done a lot of work on their website and it looks great. Additionally, it looks like they've really worked on their menu as well, and the current menu shows savory sopapillas as a meal choice available after 12pm: http://greenchilekitchen.com/greenchi...

                        There was a Blackboard Eats special not very long ago. I think we'll be making a trip back very soon!

                        1. re: Cynsa

                          Their web menu shows the stuffed sopapillas "smothered in chile & cheese". I never encountered them that way in New Mexico, instead always as a stand-alone item excellent in its simplicity. But that was many years ago. Is "smothered in chile & cheese" the way you find stuffed sopapillas in NM now?

                          1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                            I lived in Albuquerque for 8 years, ate at NM restaurants frequently but never encountered this concoction.

                            The restaurants I frequented, from mom-and-pop hole-in-the-wall to bigger establishments, all served sopapillas plain with honey on the side.

                            The sopapillas at NOPA aren't very good. I was ecstatic to find them on the menu and especially when I heard the chef is from NM. But it's a little on the heavy side, almost like a beignet. I haven't been back to NOPA in 2 years so maybe it's changed.

                            1. re: PootieTang

                              I'm confused - NOPA is a restaurant in our neighborhood http://www.nopasf.com/
                              Green Chile Kitchen is located in what current realtors are listing as the NOPA area - although historically we are in the Western Addition in San Francisco.

                              Are you referring to the menu at Nopalito? It's not the "New Mexico" fare of Green Chile Kitchen. http://nopalitosf.com/menu/

                              1. re: Cynsa

                                Nopa, the restaurant, does not have New Mexican cuisine. However, the chef is supposedly from NM and offers sopaipilla on the dessert menu.


                                Since people are discussing sopaipilla on this thread, I thought I'd offer my take.

                                1. re: PootieTang

                                  thanks for the update - I haven't had NOPA's sopaipillas but will try them next. :D
                                  Cardamom makes me happy.

                              2. re: PootieTang

                                I'm no sopapilla expert, nor am I much familiar with NM cuisine, but I can say that my old roommate and I used to live right by NOPA and we went there regularly, and she ordered the sopapillas nearly every time. She LOVES those things. (I don't have any strong opinions about them.)

                                They weren't savory, though, they were desserts.

                                1. re: dunstable

                                  Yes, sopaipillas are served as desserts at NOPA. That is pretty standard when I was in NM.

                                  On reviewing the menus at 2 of my favorite New Mexican joints, looks like they have a single entree of stuffed sopaipilla...otherwise these are all served with honey as dessert. So I stand corrected. These things exist, just not common at the places I frequented.

                                2. re: PootieTang

                                  So last night I was channel surfing and stopped at "Diners Drivins and Dives" they were at a place called "Cecelia's Cafe" in Albuquerque..talking sopapillas, making them from scratch! flour... yeast... frying them...so I thought would these be savory or sweet or both?..but soon they were making the meat and veg filling for them (ques .answered!)
                                  Hot stuff! Too hot for my mouth and Guy Fieris' as well! but it definitely mirrored your memories...did you ever go to Cecelia's?

                                3. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                                  I filed two reports that included descriptions and photos of stuffed sopapillas at traditional places from a NM trip in 2010.

                                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                                    Thanks for the photo of that red and green sopapilla. Makes my mouth water.

                                    I emailed Green Chile Kitchen praising them for having stuffed sopapillas and also inquiring about a stand-alone variety. They responded with "We can surely make the stuffed sopapillas for you without any cheese or chile on top. You can choose to stuff your sopapillas with the following items. Marinated steak / Roasted chicken / Roasted pork / Ground beef / Roasted veggies or Tofu. Please let me know if interested."

                                    I emailed back asking if I could just stop by any time and ask for that (instead of asking ahead as their email implied). I haven't heard back, but next time I'm close to Green Chili I'll stop in and try. Actually, chile & cheese on top sounds good :-)

                                    1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                                      Green Chili Kitchen replied and said they should be able to accommodate a request for stand-alone stuffed sopapillas at any time without prior notice.

                                      1. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                                        Stuffed Sopapillas for breakfast at GCK this morning with side of black beans and a green salad $11 - absolutely delicious filled with fluffy scrambled eggs, thick rashers of crisp bacon, and a generous topping of a spicy Chile Verde. It's simply a great morning starter for a Super Bowl Sunday.

                                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                                      I think, except for Albuquerque and Santa Fe, in most of NM with attachment to Navajo or Pueblo traditions the usual frybread loaded meal is different. I was introduced to this dish as a Navajo taco and later found it also called Indian taco. In this preparation, the frybread is more solid (less cloud-like) than a sopaipilla. It is normally served laid flat and topped with beans, veggies, and (less historic but still common) cheese and meat -- all topped with pico de gallo. Perhaps, alongside will be red and green salsa or bottled hot sauces. One then rolls the frybread and eats like a handheld taco. A full meal. Sopaipillas served with honey or cinnamon-sugar for sweet treats.

                                      1. re: anyhow


                                        When I lived near an Indian reservation for a summer, I went to various Native gatherings and they sold frybread loaded with meat and veggies.

                                        My favorite NM eateries in Albuquerque described these things as stuffed sopaipillas but called them Indian tacos. Very different from the fluffy sopaipillas served with honey at the end of meals.

                                        1. re: PootieTang

                                          The stuffed sopaipillas I remember form New Mexico were really sopaipillas, same as the "pour in honey" ones, except they had been stuffed with a mixture of meat, etc.

                                        2. re: anyhow

                                          While I'm doing "show and tell" a few more posts with photo links:

                                          Indian taco in Ukiah (Mendocino County) on Navajo-style fry bread

                                          Indian taco at Pueblo Harvest Cafe in ABQ on Tewa-style fry bread

                                          Tohono O'odham style fry bread with honey in Phoenix

                                          Tohono O'odham style fry bread with green chile stew on the side in Mesa, AZ

                                          The folks on the Southwest board and Phoenix board were careful to specify different tribal styles when I inquired before my visits. And I think this is now every example of fry bread I have archived.

                                      2. re: Malcolm Ruthven

                                        Always smothered in chile and cheese..this is the absolute norm in New Mexico...cannot imagine you lived in NM and they didn't come that way.....so odd......

                                        1. re: ChileMonster

                                          I didn't live in New Mexico. I went there (Grants) for business a few times back in the late 70s and spent a week in Santa Fe in the early 90s. I remember having stand-alone (no chili and cheese on top) stuffed sopapillas both times and loving them. But if you say that smothered in chile and cheese is the norm, who am I to argue :-)

                                    3. Have heard the Green Chile Kitchen is excellent from many people! Happy to read your post!