Illustrations by Chloe Zola.


Try a Hatch green chile milkshake from the world-famous Sparky's Burgers.What’s better than a burger from a two-time winner of the New Mexico State Fair’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge? How about a frothy, fiery green chile milkshake to go with it? This simple concoction of vanilla soft-serve ice cream and diced Hatch green chile from the world-famous Sparky’s Burgers, Barbecue & Espresso, in Hatch, is worth a trip across the state, maybe even the country. “The sweet and spicy flavors hit all the notes on your taste buds simultaneously,” says Teako Nunn, who co-owns Sparky’s with his wife, Josie. Prefer chocolate? Try the Ozzy, the same green chile shake but with chocolate sauce. Nunn created it for heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne, who came to town in 2018. “I brought it to his table, and before I walked by again, he had finished it,” says Nunn. “We’ve been serving it ever since.” —Lynn Cline


Have a sopaipilla for breakfast stuffed with carne adovada, eggs, and papas at El Patio de Albuquerque.El Patio de Albuquerque serves its sopaipillas with just about everything on the menu. Have one for breakfast stuffed with carne adovada, eggs, and papas, blanketed in red or green chile or Christmas-style, topped with melted cheddar cheese. Order a stuffed sopaipilla for lunch or dinner and get a sopaipilla on the side. “People love our sopaipillas,” says owner Dave Sandoval. The secret sopaipilla recipe comes from Tom Baca, Sandoval’s father-in-law, who was El Patio’s cook for 35 years. Plus, El Patio uses sunflower oil rather than the traditional animal fat for frying. “They come out nice and fluffy,” says Sandoval, who isn’t shy about naming a favorite. “I like the stuffed sopaipilla with refried beans, onions, and red chile,” he says. “We make some good chile.” —Lynn Cline


Try the green chile stew from The Shed in Santa Fe. The steaming bowl of fire-alarm-worthy chile, cubed pork, and creamy potato chunks, sided with hearty slices of garlic bread, is as flavorful as it is spicy.Customers have been coming to The Shed, in Santa Fe, for extra-piquant chile since 1953. But, as general manager Frank Carroccino says, “The stew seems to hit people differently. It’s served quite hot, too, so it’s the whole package.” The steaming bowl of fire-alarm-worthy chile, cubed pork, and creamy potato chunks, sided with hearty slices of garlic bread, is as flavorful as it is spicy. Despite the heat level, staffers report that customers rarely leave a drop uneaten. Chef Josh Carswell, whose family has owned the restaurant for generations, says the recipe came from original chef Connie Carrillo, and the stew evolved from an employee in the 1970s who thought it needed meat and potatoes. “People use it as a cure for everything,” Carroccino reports. “Cold season, allergies, you name it.” After you’ve sopped up every bit, try a slice of the frozen mocha cake for a cooling refreshment. —Molly Boyle


Monte Carlo Steak House's green chile cheeseburger will make you feel right at home.

Part of Monte Carlo Steak House’s allure is in its unassuming environs, just behind a family-owned liquor store off Central Avenue in Albuquerque. Patrons must go around the back to enter the attached windowless, retro-tastic restaurant where posters of Marilyn and Elvis line the wood paneling. “What do you want to know about the green chile cheeseburger?” says owner Louis Katsaros. “Is it the best? Yes. Does everyone love it? Yes.” He inherited the place from his father, Michael, who opened it in 1970. The burger, made of an 80/20 blend of ground sirloin, sizzles on the old grill to the customer’s chosen temp, then is topped with a melty slice of American and served with hot Bueno green chile, shredded lettuce, tomato, and onion. The alchemy lies somewhere between the perfectly toasted crunch of a buttered sesame-seed bun and the robust flavor of the patty. Among the neon-lit semidarkness and comfy booths crowded with families, this GCCB is right at home. —Molly Boyle


Chile en nogada originates from the birthplace of chiles rellenos, the Mexican city of Puebla.

Chiles rellenos—poblano or green chile peppers stuffed with cheese or meat, then often battered and fried—are pervasive on menus throughout the state. In Taos, Antonio’s the Taste of Mexico serves up a truly special variant. After opening his place in 2002, chef Antonio Matus adapted the dish of chile en nogada—which originates from the birthplace of chiles rellenos, the Mexican city of Puebla—into an astonishing amalgam of sweet, creamy, and savory flavors. “It was the best thing I ever did,” he says of his signature dish, which elicited a visit from Guy Fieri last fall for a segment of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Matus stuffs a large poblano pepper with seasoned ground beef, apples, pears, raisins, tomatoes, and onions, then covers it in a pecan brandy cream sauce. Topped with pomegranate seeds (or dried cranberries in the off-season), cotija cheese, and sprigs of cilantro, it’s unexpected and memorable. “It’s hard to find that dish in Mexico today,” he says, “because the grandmas who cook it are not there anymore. Nobody wants to spend the time to make it.” Pilgrims who drive to Taos for the chile en nogada can have it six days a week. —Molly Boyle