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Green Chile Kitchen & Market
New Mexican-style Eats with a California Twist
by Chrissy Loader on Sep 28, 2006
It’s difficult to eek-out decent New Mexican food outside the state’s borders. Lucky for us, the folks at Green Chile Kitchen & Market, located in the Western Addition in a beautifully renovated Victorian on the corner of Baker and Fulton, work toward importing the culinary treats of New Mexico, offering casual, cafeteria-style service (as well as curbside take-out, where you can order by phone and drive up outside for sidewalk service), and a lovely rendition of New Mexico’s classic green chile.
Now, when we say green chile, we aren’t talking about beans and meat at a chili cookout. Instead, we’re describing a sort of pork stew made with New Mexico’s native green chile peppers, succulent pork (here from Niman Ranch), combined with celery, potatoes, and onions. It’s particularly delectable in the fall -- or Indian summer -- when the peppers are in harvest and abundant in New Mexico, and best served with a dollop of sour cream, fresh tortillas, and accompanied by an ice cold bottle of Mexican beer ($4). Green Chile Kitchen & Market offers excellent versions of green chile, made vegetarian, with pork, or with chicken (cup $4, bowl $7).
They also provide a pleasant dining atmosphere that’s both clean and bright with decorative touches reminiscent of the Southwest without getting overly kitschy. Heavy wooden furniture, decorative dried chile ristras, and boards heralding the famous town of Hatch, NM -- home of Hatch’s green chiles -- accompany the shelves of Spanish wine and Mexican beer, as well as cases holding organic and Mexican soft drinks, fresh salsas and New Mexican seasonings. The food itself is served on tasteful square earthenware; their table water is offered-up in funky glass jelly jars.
Yes, Green Chile Kitchen has style; it’s a step-up from a typical taqueria. This means at Green Chile Kitchen one shouldn’t expect to simply satisfy a craving for a burrito ($5-6), quesadilla ($3-5), or a taco ($2) -- steak, chicken, pork, chile or vegetarian options available, with either pinto or black beans -- though they do offer serviceable versions of all.
What makes Green Chile Kitchen really worthwhile is not only their green chile, but also their posole -- a delicious version of the Mexican soup made with New Mexican red chile, hominy, chicken, and spices, and garnished with fresh cilantro and white onion.
Other notables include the rotisserie chicken, quarter ($4), half ($7), or whole ($13), dressed with either an herb citrus or green chile rub, as well as the New Mexican home-style chicken enchilada plate ($10), made with layers of blue corn tortillas, chicken, and green chile.
This is also a place with distinctively New Mexican sides, like calabacitas, a savory vegetable dish made with sautéed zucchini, squash, corn, and green chiles, or blue corn tortilla chips, and, of course, Christmas salsa, a New Mexican favorite that blends both red and green chiles.
The food at Green Chile Kitchen & Market is actually quite healthy -- they also offer organic greens with housemade dressings ($4-8) and Dagoba organic hot chocolate ($4). In some ways, this healthy thing can be disconcerting to a New Mexican food aficionado used to queso made with Pace salsa and Velveeta -- here they make their queso with a roux and a combination of melted cheeses and green chiles. Nevertheless, Green Chile Kitchen & Market fills an interesting niche in the neighborhood, offering authentic renditions of New Mexico’s favorites using only the best quality ingredients -- thankfully revealing roots a little closer to Highway 1, than Route 66.
New Mexican inspired food
Reservations Essential? No
by Chrissy Loader on Sep 28, 2006
photo credit: Chrissy Loader