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New Mexican food

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Nashville, TN
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New Mexican food

We will be headed to New Mexico in 2 weeks. Ok - this is going to sound like a dumb question but keep in mind I have never ever been there! What is different about New Mexican food than just regular Mexican food? I had some of the best Mexican food I have ever eaten in San Antonio, TX. Authentic Mexican food here in Tennessee is a joke- probably a notch above Taco Bell. Does New Mexican cuisine have a difference in ingredients, how it's prepared, more/less spicy, etc? Thanks and I am looking so forward to the new experience

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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1. Re: New Mexican food

Northern New Mexican food uses a lot more green chili !! Traditionally corn, beans, squash and chile were mainstays for the Native Americans and early Spanish.

In Santa Fe eat at Tomasita's, Blue Corn, Maria's, The Shed, Tiny's, La Choza, Tia Sophia's.

Many restaurants have fresh flour tortillas, and offer either blue, yellow or white corn tortillas. Tacos can be either hard shell or soft shell. Salsa can range from mild to wild!! Small tastes at first and if you are unsure how hot the sauces will be, ask for it on the side. When at a restaurant and they ask you red or green (for the sauce on the food), say Christmas and you will get both!!

Here's some tasty options:

Carne Adovada: cubes of pork that have been marinated and cooked in red chile, garlic and oregano.

Chile Rellenos: roasted, peeled and stuffed (often with cheese) chiles, usually dipped in a batter and fried.

Enchiladas: corn tortillas filled with meat, beans or cheese, and either rolled, or stacked, and covered with chile sauce and cheese.

Pico de Gallo: salsa with chopped fresh chiles, tomatoes, onions and cilantro.

Posole: a thick stew made with hominy corn simmered for hours with red chile and pork.

Sopaipilla: a puffed, fried yeast bread, that's eaten split and filled with honey-butter.

Tamale: Red chile pork encased in fresh masa and wrapped in a corn shuck. Usually steamed and served with red chile sauce

Enjoy.... you have made me hungry for green chile!!!

Fredericksburg...
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2. Re: New Mexican food

Okay, if you could just eat NM food one time, which of those places has the very best FOOD. Leaving the ambience aside.... Just the food. Which place would you choose?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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3. Re: New Mexican food

Hard question to just pick one... I would have to say Tomasita's overall has great red and green chile!! Food is always good. And you get some decent atmosphere as well!!

If not Tomasitas, then Marias or The Shed are good runnerups! And for breakfast Tia Sophia ROCKS!!!

Have fun.

Fredericksburg...
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4. Re: New Mexican food

It has been six l-o-n-g years since we've been to Santa Fe :( , but we actually liked the food at Diego's Cafe better than at The Shed. The atmosphere was really tremendous at The Shed, and Diego's has no atmosphere; but at least at that time, Diego's had great NM food. I've been surprised that it's rarely mentioned on this forum. Is the food not as good as it used to be??

So, you definitely recommend Tia Sophia's for breakfast, huh? What would you recommend ordering (we are quasi-vegetarians)?

What about Anasazi Restaurant? Have you ever eaten breakfast there?

Thank you for all your input.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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5. Re: New Mexican food

I'm a local and have never eaten at Diego's but my husband says he has heard good things from others about it. I'm also not a big Shed fan either, I prefer Tomasitas and Blue Corn Cafe. We usually do not go out to eat much, just too expensive for my teacher budget!!! Lunch sometimes and dinner for anniversary and birthdays!!

I like Tia Sophia's for breakfast when we are downtown, and to take guests. I have never eaten at Anasazi.

Have fun.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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6. Re: New Mexican food

You got me thinking about where we actually go to eat: (just our NM type food. THere are also lots of others, italian, pizza, etc.

Breakfast: Tecolote Cafe, Tia Sophia's, Cafe Pasquals. Tortilla Flats, Horseman's Haven

Lunch/Dinner: Blue Corn, Tortilla Flats, Castro's, Horsemans, Zia Diner, Tiny's, Maria's,

Now I am really hungry!!

Edmond, OK
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7. Re: New Mexican food

I would agree with you: the best MEXICAN food I've had in the US was in San Antonio. We call it mexican food here in Oklahoma, some call it Tex-mex. You know, tortillas in various forms with lots of meat and cheese.

But, NEW Mexican is different. New Mexican food is based on chili, which is from the native chili peppers. It can take the form of a sauce, chopped or left whole. There are green and red chilis. It depends on your palate as to which you like better and which is hotter. I like both.

Compared to Tex-mex, New Mex is a little more spicy. Generally, New Mex does not have the chile style sauce with meat and they don't cover everything with lots of cheese. It may take a couple of meals to get used to the chili, but once you do, you're hooked.

Order the chili on the side at first, so you can control to amount of heat.

New Mex has the beans, but not as much rice. They usually have posole, which is hominy and very good. Try the blue corn tortillas, they are sweeter than the yellow. The sopapillas are usually served with the meal, not after.

Hope this explains the differences alittle and not scare you. My husband is from Kansas (need I say more?) and had never had decent mexican food, which he claimed he didn't like. Until we went to Santa Fe.

Atascadero...
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8. Re: New Mexican food

Not to be overlooked are Rancho de Chimayo in Chimayo and El Paragua in Espanola. Each in operation for over 50 years.

What sets Rancho de Chimayo apart is the beautiful drive to it and the fact that they exclusively use only the famed Chimayo red chile in their dishes. We've found no finer red chile anywhere in New Mexico.

Actually, nearly every joint in Epsanola will be cheaper, equally authentic and less crowded than any of the above mentioned Santa Fe institutions. Matilda's, La Cocina, Los Arcos, Angelina's and Jo'Anns just to name the most popular up there. Nothing fancy about any of these places, just darned good food.

The perception is that New Mexican food is really spicy but I find it more flavorful than purely hot like Thai, East Indian, Caribbean, etc....

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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9. Re: New Mexican food

Hey Tim... Next Sunday for early dinner (we are dropping the kid off at Boy Scout Camp!!! ) should we go to one of the Espanola places, Rancho de Chimayo or Gabriels?????

Also, which of the Espanola places good for lunch during the week?

We live se of Santa Fe, and don't get up north much!!

Thanks for the input.

Boston and...
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10. Re: New Mexican food

Just for fun, and not to hijack this, but to add "color" (in the sports sense) may I inject the argument about chili vs. chile?

A friend who lived in New Mexico spelled it "chile", and I - um - said, "I can't believe you lived there and you spelled it with an 'e'."

Mean face ensued. "THAT'S the way it's spelled!"

"No, that's the country... why, where I come from [California] NOBODY would ever confuse them." (Somewhere in the recesses of my memory, I think I remember being on the receiving end of this rule at one time, but couldn't summon the citation in time to win this one... as usual.)

"Well, that's the way WE spell it!!!" And, of course, when we went there, all the signs around the ristros in New Mexico spelled it the RIGHT way..... "CHILE".