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Hatch Chile Festival at Taqueria del Sol

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This past Sunday, I paid an unplanned visit to the Second Annual Hatch Chile Festival held at the Howell Mill location of Taqueria del Sol. Chef/Owner Eddie Hernandez initially launched this festival around the same time last year when these long green chiles that hail from Hatch, N.M. are in season.

Hernandez and co. took over a large area of the parking lot right in front of his restaurant, and set up food stations offering various dishes incorporating the chiles. The event plays off as a block party also inclusive with a live band and cash bars (serving cold beer and wine) stationed throughout.

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Most of the recipes served that day required the chiles to be roasted and skinned of its char first, which I observed go down in the parking lot by a couple of restaurant employees. One man roasted a generous batch of chiles in a large gas-powered roaster, which he would constantly rotate for about five minutes. Then he would dump the finished chiles into a box where a second employee would skin them of their char one by one.

Left: chile relleno; Right: green chile chicken stew

Left: chile relleno; Right: green chile chicken stew

The chiles were then taken into the restaurant’s kitchen and transformed into recipes that were delivered to the food stations for serving. My favorites were the chile rellenos and a thick, hearty green chile chicken stew topped on rice. The crunchy relleno is a whole roasted pepper stuffed with cheese, then breaded, fried and served with a tomato-jalapeno salsa. It’s a popular dish that appears on the restaurant’s menu this time of year, so go get it while it lasts.

There were some other fusion-inspired dishes such as a mini hot dog and a cheeseburger taco (which I also hear makes an appearance on the restaurant’s menu) both topped with Hatch chile relish. But I especially liked a creamy serving of vanilla gelato fused with the roasted chiles.

I enjoyed the festival and array of dishes incorporating the New Mexican chiles. As far as the “heat factor” was concerned, most dishes were tame but the chile rellenos made me reach for water the most.

by Gene Lee, Food and More blog

11 comments Add your comment

Reds

September 14th, 2011
8:16 am

Sounds tasty! That chicken stew looks to die for.

Typical Redneck

September 14th, 2011
2:21 pm

That relleno looks delicious.

Not Alton Brown

September 14th, 2011
2:58 pm

Regarding the food your review is on the money, but you left out a very important fact.. all the proceeds for the event go to a different charity each year and the TDS management team volunteer their time to staff the event.
As a addicted regular, kudos to Eddie, Mike and the TDS entire staff for a unique even, great food and for their generosity

Taqueria

September 14th, 2011
3:18 pm

Thanks to everyone that came out. We we’ll be serving the New Mexico Chile Rellenos at dinner service in all of our locations for a few more weeks- while supplies last!

Steven A.

September 15th, 2011
12:02 pm

Hey Gene. Wish I’d known you were there. Would have said hi.

Your stew looks VASTLY superior to what we got, which was watery and had no chicken in it whatsoever. I actually assumed it was vegetarian. Must have improved as they dipped lower in the pot!

The ribs were the standout at our table, though variety GREATLY from order to order.

Gene Lee

September 15th, 2011
2:21 pm

@Steven A. – Booo!

zulucanibal

September 15th, 2011
10:53 pm

Im from Georgia and just moved to New Mexico this year. Hatch chile are great!!!

Blanche

September 16th, 2011
4:13 pm

The green chile stew did not contain chicken for the 5:00 “seating.” The chile relleno—though tasty—was very difficult to eat, since no knives were provided, and the chilies were quite fibrous. As noted by Steven A., the ribs varied considerably from moment-to-moment. The best of them were terrific, the lesser examples were dry and under-flavored. Still, a totally enjoyable event, the pleasure heightened by the respite from the usual heat.

PapaDoc

September 19th, 2011
12:19 am

I am a relleno freak. So sorry I missed the say. I am going to be there on Tuesday. You guys do a great job.

PapaDoc

September 19th, 2011
12:20 am

Is there a local place to purchase the Hatch peppers?

Gene Lee

September 19th, 2011
10:31 am

@PapaDoc – The 285 Foodies board claims Fresh Market in Alpharetta is currently carrying.

http://285foodies.com/forum/ingredients-recipes-suppliers-techniques-and-other-non-restaurant-food-chatter/hatch-chiles/15/

I would call to confirm it before heading out there though.