Cafe Society

A Stink and a Smile

Mark Schlereth isn’t a green chile expert. He doesn’t know how to make it, he doesn’t have any favorite places around Denver that make it, and he certainly wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Colorado-style chile and New Mexico-style. Until recently, he admits, “I’d never had green chile. Now I’m hooked.”

But his lack of knowledge doesn’t seem to matter, because Schlereth certainly knows how to eat green chile — and sell it.

The former Denver Bronco and current ESPN football analyst — nicknamed Stink, either for his pre-football days in an Alaska fishing town or because he used to urinate in his pants during Broncos games, depending on whom you ask — unveiled Mark Schlereth’s Stinkin’ Good Green Chili Sauce last week at the King Soopers on South University in Highlands Ranch, close to his home. (It’s now available for $4.99 a tub at 120 King Soopers and City Market stores in Colorado.)

He was joined by a bevy of chile girls in matching polo shirts who gave away stinkin’ samples, as well as Irv Brown, Joe Williams and Jim Armstrong from Sports Radio 104.3/The Fan, and friend David Bloom, who concocted the stinkin’ recipe.

Making green chile is risky in Colorado, since it’s one of this state’s signature dishes. Joints like Chubby’s, Santiago’s, Mexico City Lounge, CityGrille, Phil’s Place and Jack-n-Grill (Westword’s 2008 Best of Denver winner) all produce delicious variations. Still, the chile Schlereth is touting is pretty good — even if Schlereth himself is lacking as a green chile pitchman.

“David would make batches of it every two or three months,” he told me when I stopped by the store, mouthing the words as if he were reading a script — which he was, since most of the canned comments came straight from a press release. “I was his human guinea pig, and I kept telling him, ‘Dude, you need to sell this.’”

Thankfully, the green chile is a lot fresher than Schlereth’s comments — packing a lot of flavor and a spicy punch.

Heat: This was the medium (Schlereth plans hot and mild versions as well) and it was comfortably uncomfortable -- like a Broncos fourth-quarter lead.

Vegetable Content: Can you call vegetables meaty? Chiles, tomatoes, onions.

Meat Quotient: Big chunks of pork make this one a meal in itself. -- Jonathan Shikes

For other Green with Gluttony entries, click here.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun