Green Chile, It’s Practically a Religion Around Here
“How is the chile green?” I asked the server after he told me their special and house favorite is the Green Chile Cheeseburger. “Where are you from?” the server asks me with a smirk on his face. Apparently I had already committed some sort of New Mexico society faux pas on my first day in town. I had just moved into my new apartment. Not having anything in the fridge or any utensils to eat and cook with no less, I opted for going to a restaurant close by. At the time, I had not yet been indoctrinated into the green chile culture around here, though it wouldn’t take long.
And don’t get it wrong. That’s not a spelling error. It is “chile” not “chili”. People take offense to that around here. They literally put the stuff in EVERYTHING. Cheeseburgers, quesadillas, grilled cheese, eggs, I’ve even seen it in ice cream and cheesecake. To an outsider it seems they are even fanatical about their green chile. The New Mexico State University has an entire program dedicated to breeding different species and variations of green chiles so I have been told. Honestly though, I can’t blame them. For someone who likes spicy food, I love the stuff. Now I too am putting it on everything. All the things I used to put salsa on… the salsa has been replaced by green chile. In general it has slightly more kick than most salsa. Though, like salsa it does come in different levels of spice. Only it’s bite and spice is more concentrated. Whereas salsa has tomatoes, onion, and any range of things depending on the salsa you buy diluting it, green chile is just straight up chile. You get more bang for your buck as it were. Does that mean it has more capsaicin and thus is more addictive to those of us that like spice? That would explain the cult like fanaticism of the locals.
They even have some sort f patent on green chile. For it to be sold in stores it must be officially verified that the chiles were grown in either New Mexico or Arizona. Nowhere else in the United States can legally grow and market green chile. I may just not have ever noticed it in the Hispanic foods isle of the local grocery store next to my salsa over the past years. But I certainly never heard of green chile before moving here. I won’t forget it though, that’s for sure.
Have you heard of green chile, without having lived in New Mexico or Arizona? Have you had it? What is your opinion on it over salsa?