Taqueria del Sol's Green Chile Festival 2010
Taqueria del Sol in
Atlanta hosted a Green Chile Festival Sunday the 12th of
September at its Howell Mill Road location. The original
location of a now small, locally-owned chain of restaurants,
Taqueria del Sol (http://www.taqueriadelsol.com/)
hit the mark with this fun, festive event that spilled out into
the parking lot, and pretty much any other space someone could
sit down and partake. A $12 wristband entitled you to
all-you-can-eat dishes created with just-roasted Green Chile
brought in from Hatch, New Mexico for the occasion. For those of
you who love chili
recipes, it doesn't get much better than fresh
roasted green chile. Of course, traditional chili powder comes
from the ripened-to-red dried versions of the same varieties of
chile can be as easy as using your grill or broiling them in
your oven. For a case at a time however, the best way to roast
is to have an industrial chile roaster that's attached to a
propane tank. It looks vaguely like a lottery ball spinner, only
A case goes in, the fire cranks up, and almost
immediately, you hear the popping of the skins of the chiles.
The chiles tumble in the basket and cook very quickly. At this
particular event, someone sat off to the side with rubber gloves
on, peeling the skins off and sending the roasted chiles
directly to the kitchen. I must also note that the chiles were,
for the most part, quite mild. I saw a number of the boxes by
the roaster and none were marked "Hot." Darn.
Taqueria del Sol's
kitchen has a way with the chiles! We had our choice of several
different stations. Of course, Chile Rellenos were a big hit.
Theirs were served with a roasted tomato sauce underneath.
Stuffed with cheese, breaded, fried, and nothing else, the
Rellenos, while incredibly filling, are one of the best
showcases of the chile.
Green Chile topped sliders were a tasty
treat. In New Mexico, and other locations throughout the West,
restaurants that serve hamburgers serve green chile as a
topping. These sliders were very (black) peppery with a dab of
cheese and chopped green chile on top. One of the best green
chile burgers I've ever had was at Blake's Lottaburger in Cuba,
New Mexico. These were equally delicious.
We were offered two
types of tacos, including the restaurant's famous South by
Southwest Brisket tacos. So, in a little basket, side by side
were two tasty tacos: one pork and one brisket. Both delicious,
but I really loved the South by Southwest Brisket. It had a
stronger sauce to stand up to the green chile.
Chicken Green Chile
Enchilada casserole is a winter favorite in our house. I had my
reservations about seeing it in the lineup of dishes at the
festival. I must say that it was far tastier than my own, and
had a lot of subtle flavors.
I stood in line for
tacos in front of a group of ladies that were, for Atlanta,
quite hard core about their chiles. One mentioned she'd had
10 pounds of fresh chile sent and was done with most of it. My
husband is from Albuquerque, so I've spent a fair amount of time
there, enjoying the local cuisine. My introduction into food
heaven occurred when I was 12 and we made a family trip out to
Santa Fe to see the opera. We drove down with cousins from
Denver, and hit some of the high points of New Mexico's cuisine.
Now that I have a brother in law in Albuquerque, that connection
to the food remains strong. Some people buy souvenirs, I buy
wicked hot salsa and pack it in my suitcase. Ditto chili powder.
I digress. One of the things the ladies in line mentioned was
the Green Chile Brownies that were for dessert. The brownies
were outstanding. One thing that green chile adds to brownies is
a great level of moisture. They're dense and they're moist and
oh so delicious.
Towards the end,
I'd caught up with my friend Deborah and her friend Charlotte.
We laughed and ate and watched a spectacle of sorts unfold. A
very young couple came into the crowd, dressed in wedding gown
and tuxedo. I asked later; they'd gotten married up in Athens,
GA that afternoon, and drove down afterwards, just to attend the
chile festival. Now that's dedication!