We have a guest blogger… my wife Kerri! With our recent trip back to Kerri’s home state, New Mexico, she wanted to be the one to blog about it. I think she thought that I would make fun of it, as I always comment that the adobe houses in New Mexico look like they belong in the cartoon, The Flintstone’s. Oops, did I just make fun of New Mexico? – Jason
New Mexico: Land of enchantment
Frequently when we think about traveling the world, we forget about the gems in our own backyard. Northern New Mexico is one of those gems, though I may be a little biased given I was born and raised in Los Alamos, New Mexico. New Mexico’s state motto is Land of Enchantment. Although the saying is a little cheesy, it is truly the land of enchantment, especially northern New Mexico. Northern New Mexico has a blend of pueblo and Spanish influence not seen typically in other states. This sense of culture is one thing I greatly miss since moving to the Pacific Northwest.
We recently traveled back to Los Alamos, NM for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. I was excited to show Sydney all of my old childhood haunts/favorite places and to share the food. The last time we were in New Mexico she was too little to remember. During our visit, I did take Sydney to some of my favorite places and she seemed to have fun. Hopefully she too will have fond memories of what makes northern New Mexico unique. We also enjoyed seeing family and celebrating my parent’s 50th. No small accomplishment. Over the next couple of blogs, I will share with you some of my favorite places and things I miss.
Food: Red or Green Chile?
Just to be clear, I am not talking about the chili that has beans in it or the country of Chile, but the beautiful chile pepper. One of the many things that I truly miss about living in New Mexico is the food. I love the distinct blend of chile peppers and spices that cannot be found elsewhere including Texas or Arizona. When you walk into a restaurant, it is not about whether you want chile peppers on your food, but whether you want red or green chile. As if there is any other option. Nationwide restaurant chains in New Mexico offer their regular menus but also with the option of chile. McDonalds offers green chiles on hamburgers and you can even have green chiles added on your pizza at Pizza Hut.
One of my favorite times in New Mexico is late summer/early fall. This is when hatch chiles are roasted outside. There are roasters set up outside grocery stores, restaurants and along the road. You can buy a box and have it roasted while you wait. There is nothing like the smell of chile peppers being roasted. While visiting, my sister Alison and I bought a box of roasted chile peppers. I brought my share home in a zip lock bag in my luggage. I am sure the TSA were scratching their heads about that one.
There are so many New Mexican dishes that are delicious, but nothing compares to a warm sopapilla for dessert. It is kind of like indian fry bread, but puffed up and hollow in the middle. Typically it is broken open and honey drizzled inside of it. It can also be stuffed with beans, cheese, or meat. If you are looking for a yummy simple dessert, sopapillas are it.
In search of good New Mexican dishes with humongous servings, Sadie’s in Albuquerque would be it. If you can’t go, the next best thing is having family or friend live in New Mexico. Every so often we get a care package stuffed with good food from New Mexico. For Jason’s birthday, my sister Erin and brother-in-law Ralph sent him chile flavored beef jerkey and chile flavored peanut brittle. It was delicious. Thanks Erin and Ralph!