I recently noticed my social media feeds blowing up with hilarious memes about our sacred New Mexico green chile.
Apparently, the governor of Colorado had a Facebook post where he made a claim that Colorado green chile is superior to New Mexico. ‘Round here, them are fightin’ words!
I became highly entertained by the humorous ways people lashed out, and it made my heart pitter patter over the intense love and pride that my New Mexico has in the things we claim as uniquely ours.
Chile is definitely #1. The common slogan heard only within the borders of New Mexico is, “Red or Green?”. Upon your first experience ordering a breakfast burrito, enchiladas, huevos rancheros, carne adovada, or any other signature New Mexican dish, guaranteed you’ll be asked that question. It refers to the choice of having the plate gloriously smothered in either red chile sauce, green chile, or my personal favorite: “Christmas” (BOTH!). You can always spot a newbie by the look of confusion when asked “Red or Green?” the first time. But, it only takes one bite to fall in love and realize this whole chile thing is pretty special. It’s like you can taste the love of a grandmita going straight to your soul. It’s beyond taste; in fact, I’d venture to say it may be one of the most powerful comfort foods I’ve ever experienced.
#2: Hot Air Balloons. I’ve had people from other states tell me nonchalantly, “Oh, we have a balloon fiesta!” Unless you’ve been up at 5:00 am the first Saturday of October, breakfast burrito and a steaming cup of coffee in hand, sitting in a line of traffic streaming toward the Balloon Fiesta Park, Honey, you ain’t seen nothing yet! Get a taste here. For 9 days, 650 hot air balloon pilots from around the world with hundreds and hundreds of balloons in all shapes and sizes turn our town into one of the most magical places I’ve ever been (yes, I’ve been to Disney…doesn’t hold a candle!). Over 886,000 people came to see this brilliant spectacle in 2018, and it grows every year. Whether you are right there on the field during an early morning mass ascension, witnessing a delightful “Balloon Glow” and fireworks show in the evening, or just happen to be witnessing the sky brightly dotted with hundreds of balloons as you drive to work…it NEVER gets old. Turns me into a giddy little girl every time!
And to wrap up my top 3: Vistas. We dwell in an expanse so huge, so brilliant with sunsets, with forever blue skies, rain that falls in curtains across the desert land, and majestic mountains that turn the color of watermelons just about every night (hence, the name “Sandia (Watermelon) Mountains”). At first, many people feel impacted by the barren landscape of our high desert. But stick around for sunset, and you’ll find your jaw dropping and your breath catching at the sight. Watch the sky literally fall when the storms roll in. (See this blog post ) Revel in the beauty of the lush Bosque that marks the path of our beloved Rio Grande river.
There really is nothing like it, and you’ll understand pretty quick why we’re called The Land of Enchantment.
So, circling back to #1: Colorado…you’ve got so much going for you! You don’t need to try to stake a claim on green chile. Think of it like New Mexico suddenly claiming we have the best Rocky Mountains. Sure, New Mexico has mountains. But you have MOUNTAINS! You may have green chile as an option on a few of your menus, but we have a little thing called HATCH, NM (aka the Chile Capital of the World). It’s a little tiny spot on the map, but it is a force to be reckoned with!