The official New Mexico state question is “red or green?” You will hear it the very first time you order New Mexican food. What your server is asking is, “which chile (sauce) do you want on your food?”
Red or green — there is never a wrong answer — but when the answer is red, you will be getting a rich, gravy-like sauce made from ripened and dried New Mexico chili pods. (The “green” is the same type of chili, but picked younger and cooked when it is fresh).
Traditionally, for the red, whole chili pods are cooked, then pureed into a sauce. However, you can make excellent red chile with pre-ground red chile powder.
Either way you start, everyone has their own spin on what is supposed to go into chile — add cumin or not, use stock or water — not to mention the debate about the “cheater” addition of flour. The common ingredients, of course are red chile and a desire for that tongue-tingling bright, earthy rush when red chile meets your mouth.
If you ever find yourself anywhere near Oklahoma City, check out Pops, a combination gas-station, cafe, shake shop and “soda ranch.”
Just a short 30-minute drive from Oklahoma City, this roadside oddity shrugs-off the historic Rt. 66 dust and beckons tourists with a gleaming steel and glass building. A 66-foot-tall soda bottle sculpture (illuminated at night with LED lights) stands post out front — a monument to the store’s offering — a selection of more than 600 types of soda pop.