Cafe Society

Reader: Green chile is central to Denver's culinary culture

It's green chile season. In her advice for new Cafe critic Gretchen Kurtz, former restaurant reviewer Laura Shunk said that it was important to have a favorite green chile...and then served up her own: Chubby's.

And while one commenter dissed the mean green, far more readers are fans of Colorado's unofficial dish:

Says dishpublicity:

I think green chile is central to the culinary culture of Denver.

In 1980, my mom got the idea to roast her own chiles. We dug pits in our Bryant Street backyard and had the "Hatches" sent up from New Mexico. We cut open the burlap bags and laid the chiles down on the smoldering coals. The air was rich and smoky and i remember a person or two peeking over the fence to remark on the beautiful smell. Later that day, we peeled and canned hundreds of chiles, marking each jar with "mild" "medium" "hot" and "oh my god." Later we went up and down the block passing out jars of green chiles to all the neighbors. Everyone was delighted and exuberantly shared how they would use them. Some said burgers, others said pork green chile, and many said huevos rancheros and posole. Though magician Joseph Dunninger was talking about his craft, i think his quote could be applied to green chile: "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, no explanation will suffice."

What's your favorite green chile memory? Your favorite green in town? Post your thoughts below.

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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