>> The Green Chile | Eat the World Los Angeles

Sunday 14 March 2021

The Green Chile


COVID-19 UPDATE: The interior is still closed, but they have a pleasant parking lot setup with some tables under a tent.

New Mexican cuisine has many facets and origins, but often conversations begin with the chiles it is famous for, red and green varieties of Hatch that were first grown by indigenous people in the area. Nowadays some conversations begin simply with "Red or green?" Some claim that this is the state's official question.

Here in La Habra, the answer is green, but as you will find they have red on offer for those that prefer it. Near the western end of the D&D Center on Whittier Blvd. and only a few blocks from Los Angeles County, possibly the only remaining institution to find the cuisine of that state exists, unless of course you take a healthy drive east on the 10.

As you ponder the influences of this southwestern cuisine, starting with indigenous traditions and importing more from Spain and the Mediterranean, Mรฉxico, and eventually the cowboy chuck wagon, grab a refreshing strawberry horchata ($3.99, above), which along with the even tastier strawberry lemonade ($3.29) is full of sweet muddled fruit.

The Green Chile calls itself the "Home of the Stuffed Sopapilla," so it only makes sense to start with one (below). Depending on your choice of meat or vegetables to stuff it with, the price can fluctuate a dollar, but the pork green chile filling for this one comes in at $9.99, with the $2 addition of sauces smothered on top.

Bigger than your face.

While the fried flatbread that has its roots in indigenous cooking is usually found underneath or alongside the ingredients it is eaten with, this stuffed version seems to be popular in the north of the state. Adding both green and red sauce on opposite ends is called "Christmas" for obvious reasons, and would be recommended although with nothing to compare it to.

That holiday is probably less anticipated in New Mexico than the annual Hatch Chile Festival, which takes place at the end of summer and draws people from all four corners and beyond.

When the ground beef & potato green chile plate ($11.99, above) was ordered, the first question was whether it should come with "corn tortillas or homemade flour tortillas." Since the emphasis was in the intonation of the server, the choice was made easily. The meat and potatoes takes a while to get used to, probably the influence of that chuck wagon and less of New Mexico's others, but with the green chile and rice and beans, the dish is really enjoyable.

Over the years The Green Chile has also become well-known for their cheeseburger, which of course adds the green chile sauce to give its burger more southwestern flare. This will be the first order on a next visit, combined hopefully with at least one of their dessert sopapilla options.


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