Denver's ten best green chiles
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.