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Green chile blues

September 24, 2009 |  2:49 pm


Who knew there were so many expat New Mexicans living in Southern California? Wednesday’s California Cook column on cooking with green chile drew almost 50 e-mails and that was just before lunch. Many of them were sharing memories of the Land of Enchantment, and many were sharing cooking tips, but I have to say that most of them were asking for recommendations for restaurants where they could find good New Mexican food around here.

And for that question, I’m afraid I had no good answer. In fact, this is something that makes me crazy: Why is it that every Southwest Airlines flight between here and Albuquerque is jammed to the rafters, yet there isn’t a single place in Southern California where you can get decent green chile? I know someone’s going to bring up that place in Fullerton and the only thing I can say is: Don’t bother. I’m not sure how you can do such simple food so badly, but you’d have to be really hungry for a sopapilla to go there. And I’m writing as someone who, on more than one occasion over the last 20 years, has been just that desperate.

So here’s a deal for some hungry Southern California cook: Open a good New Mexican restaurant and you can have my green chile enchilada recipe; you can have my calabacitas recipe; you can have my posole and green chile stew. And you can have my business on a regular basis. Just open the danged thing.

And judging from the amount of mail I got Wednesday, I probably won’t be the only customer you get.

-- Russ Parsons

Photo: Green chile enchiladas. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times