While some people count out-of-state license plates on their road trips, we look for out-of-place green chile offerings. It's not hard to find Denver's favorite dish if you're staying in-state; just about every town in Colorado has a Mexican restaurant that offers its own version of green chile. And if you're heading south into New Mexico, you can sample the brew in its purest form, as nothing more than fresh, stewed green chiles.
But drive west, east or north, and when you ask for "green chile" you'll be lucky to get anything more than a side dish of diced Ortega chiles -- if that. Which made our recent find in Rock Springs, Wyoming, at the Tetakawi Cafe, quite the surprise. For that matter, the Tetakawi was a surprise, too: It still has the country calico look of its previous tenant, JB's, even if this brand-spanking new joint is named for a geological oddity by the Sea of Cortez whose name translates to "Goat's Tits" -- as Tetawkawi's menu notes. "It means something to the owners," our perplexed server told us.
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Otherwise, the menu is all-American: homemade pies, lots of fried items, burgers and breakfasts all day, which is where the green chile comes in, as an optional topping for omelettes. What it lacked in heat this green chile more than made up for in pork chunks. And the simple element of surprise, to find such an exotic concoction in the arid, lunar culinary landscape of Rock Springs.
Which got us wondering: Where's the strangest place you've ever found green chile?