The List: Denver's top ten green chile spots
One of my first columns was about the way green chile changes on the way from southern New Mexico to Denver -- from the pure verde kick in Hatch to the thin, soupy sauce of Albuquerque, and the steady thickening as you travel north along the green chile trail until you reach the gelatinous goop of Denver, studded with pork, completely missing the original vegetable sweetness of the fruit and encompassing varying levels of heat, from granny-safe to scorching. At the time, I could not stand the Colorado version of green chile. I found it repugnant and horrible and wrong. Over the years, though, I have come to appreciate the place of Colorado verde in the pantheon of green chile preparations, recognizing that this unique green chile (with its infinite variations) is truly one of those tastes that will always be associated with Colorado.
And will also inspire more bar fights than almost any other subject. What's the best green chile in Denver? Here are our ten picks, in no particular order except for #1,
10. Taqueria Patzuaro, 2616 West 32nd Avenue
A classic Colorado green, sweet and hot, served in a classic northwest Denver spot.
9. Chubby's, 1231 West 38th Avenue
Although founder Stella Cordova passed away this year, her green chile lives on -- hot, salty, and just the thing to end a night on the town (or cure a hangover the next day). Fair warning: The original on 38th is the only real Chubby's.
8. El Taco de Mexico, 714 Santa Fe Drive
El Taco de Mexico is known for its organ meats, its cranky kitchen help -- but it also cooks up a good green chile, dark and peppery, the perfect think to drown a cheek-meat burrito.
7. Benny's, 301 East Seventh Avenue
Benny Armas has been cooking a classic Colorado green chile -- sweet, gravy-thick, full of pork and chunks of green chile -- since his days as a cook at the Oak Alley, and it remains a favorite at Benny's, almost as much of a draw as the free chips and salsa and big, potent margs.
6. El Tejado, 2651 South Broadway
Although much of El Tejado's fare, particularly the seafood, is authentically Mexican, the green chile is a pure Colorado product: gravylike and deeply flavorful.