Denver's ten best green chiles

5. El Taco de Mexico

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Lori Midson
If you have the audacity to disparage the green chile at El Taco de Mexico -- which we've heard a lot of bullying gringos do -- then you deserve whatever bad karma creeps into your tortilla. The iconic dive's verde is an incredible food high that's full of invigorating spices, deposits of pork and a slew of hot chiles for maximum twang. It embodies everything that you expect from a killer green chile, and a whole lot more.

4. Bonnie Brae Tavern

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There are people who swear by Bonnie Brae Tavern's pizza -- and there are those who would rather wear a bra of pepperoni before sinking their teeth into one of the joint's pies -- but this isn't about the tavern's pizza: It's about its green chile, which might be the last thing you'd think to eat in a restaurant that doesn't have a Mexican bone in its brick. But then you'd miss out on some really freaking good green stuff that's an immersion of chiles -- wickedly hot chiles -- and pork that's long-simmered and admirably deep-flavored.

3. Blake Street Tavern

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Lori Midson
Right. We know. Blake Street Tavern is a sports bar, which is typically personified by a board that wallows in all things fried. And while Blake Street's menu certainly pimps its share of grease bombs -- cheese sticks! Onion rings! Egg rolls! -- it also happens to turn out a mighty fine green, the kind that's thick and stew-y, suggestive of burnt spice, bombarded with nubs of pork and fragments of chiles and specked with black pepper. It's a commanding performance that's rich, searingly hot and strongly addictive.

2. Little Anita's

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Lori Midson
There seems to be a bit of -- how shall we say it? -- perplexity over whether the green chile at Little Anita's, a prolific New Mexican chain, is made with a vegetarian stock, or a beef stock. Last we heard it was beef. Anyway, suffice it to say, that vegetarian or not, the deeply scented New Mexican-style verde, abundant with onions and tomatoes, sings with spice and coaxes flavor from just about everything it drapes.

1.

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Lori Midson
When we were putting together our 2011 Best of Denver issue, there were many spirited discussions about which chile made us the greenest with envy -- and while there were several viable contenders, none was more worthy than Los Farolitos, where the green chile, tarted up with tomatillos and gobsmacked with heat, is simply terrific.

We know you have your own green chile obsessions; tell us about them in the comments.


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18 comments
West Guest
West Guest

Santiago's Extra Hot is sooooooo much better than anything on this list.Mexico City Lounge is also awesome.

Matt
Matt

Senior Pepe's is my absolute favorite. I go there like at least once or twice a month since I was born. There green is so good! 

Dawn Bennett
Dawn Bennett

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Mantonat
Mantonat

While Little Anita's may have good green chile (haven't tried it), the rest of their food is downright revolting. One of the few times I've actually left food on the plate at a Mexican restaurant.

Chiappetta7
Chiappetta7

I'm shocked that Brewery Bar II didn't make it...boo!

dan5280
dan5280

El Tejado on S Broadway is my go-to.....

Dan
Dan

Having eaten my weight in El Taco De Mexico Green Chile thrice over I have yet to spy a deposit of pork within.  

Erica Grossman
Erica Grossman

Thank you for the great recommendations, Lori!

As a fellow writer (and lover of green chili and green chiles), I wanted to point out the distinction in spelling. It appears that the incorrect choice of "green chile" has been used throughout this article. Green chiles (with an 'e') are the actual chile peppers (think Hatch goodness roasting in a Federal parking lot). Green chili (with an 'i') is the stew-like sauce we eat with tortillas or douse on our burritos. Chili is short for Chili con Carne.

As a fellow writer, and lover of both chiles and chili, I felt obligated to pass this along.

Thanks again!

Cornellram53
Cornellram53

I guess since we are technically in Aurora I can't complain too much, but I will put my green chille up against any challengers.  Big City Burrito on Parker and Peoria.  There is a reason we are voted best burrito on Channel 7's A-List 2 years running (and it ain't cause we bribed the editors).

T. Henderson
T. Henderson

Yep, don't you hate it when you feel obligated to pass something along to someone?  So....I feel obligated to let you know - no one cares how you want to spell green chile.  Bottom line, it's damn good - that's what matters.

Jim Rome
Jim Rome

Looks like Dave Barnes is using a new pseudonym.  Well played sir.

Lori Midson
Lori Midson

Actually, it appears that both spellings are acceptable, Erica.

I Googled "green chile" vs "green chili" and found several links that support the use of both spellings, including this one:

"Chile with an "e" at the end is the correct spelling in Spanish. Chili with an "i" at the end is the Americanized version. The "i" version began with the name of the dish "Carne con Chili," meaning "Meat with Chile." It evolved into "Chili con Carne" and then shortened to just "Chili." The term ending with an "i" is widely accepted and is often used as the name for "Chili Powder." The term "Chile" with an "e" is the more correct way to spell it, although many forms are accepted."

At Westword, we use "chile." Epicurious agrees with that spelling, as well.

Jeff
Jeff

Aurora isn't a disqualifier.  Their number one choice is in Aurora too. 

Big City Burrito is a multi-state chain, right?  Do you make the chile in house, or does it come to your store pre-made from a corporate kitchen?  That's not necessarily a disqualifier either, I believe Little Anita's does the same.

I'm always skeptical of those "A-List" winners because businesses can just get their pals to vote and they end up with some really dubious choices (Red Robin one best burger this year).  I hadn't tried Big City, because it looked like another Chipotle clone, but if you're making green chile, I'll give it a shot.

TheFatLion
TheFatLion

Lori,

 

I'm glad Patricia let's you google things at work.  However, using "about.com" as a serious source could be problematic for your career.  Check with New Mexico State Univ. (NMSU), the worlds leading chile research institute, and any of Paul Bosland's writings, and Erica is correct. "Chile" is a country, "chile" is a class of nightshade plants, and "chili" is made with "chile"s.  

 

Leo

 

lola jefe
lola jefe

chile is chili.  always has been and always will be.  when writing a menu description one can write "green chile" as an item, or "green chile" as a sauce.  as in, pork green chile.  like you said mama, just backin' ya up.  

SINFRONTERAS
SINFRONTERAS

no chili to me is green chile...i never even consider the con carne unless mentioned as such!

no
no

 maybe it is a technical misuse that is now common vernacular (such as co-conspirator), but chili in these parts is that meat stuff, sometimes with beans.  No one around here ever refers to green chile as chili.  If you did, people would think you meant the other stuff.

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