Dining

Why this Hatch green chile reminds me of my wife

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My devotion to Hatch green chiles is like my love for my wife. With my wife, it was love at first sight. With the chiles, love at first bite. In both cases, my appreciation and understanding has matured though the years—while still confounding me with the mysteries of the attraction.

And when I’m kept away from either, I yearn to be together.

So you can understand my anticipation for the coming week, when I will be reunited with freshly roasted green chiles.

If this sounds odd to you, I totally understand. But Google “green chile addiction” and you’ll see that I speak for many fanatics. They are the pride of Hatch, New Mexico, and a staple in the diet there—roasted, blended and cooked up with garlic and cumin to be smothered over burritos.

Each August, a primal urge wells up in my appetite. My biological clock tells me it’s green-chile season. And my quest begins for a local source.

I had a hard time finding a local seller my first few years in Las Vegas. I’m from Denver, so last August while I was in the Mile High City I drove down to Federal Boulevard, where the Mexicans set up chile stands, selling them in bushels of mild, medium and hot and cooking them on the spot in barrel roasters heated by a blowtorch. I bought enough to stock my freezer for months.

This year I’m in luck. I found a local source, Carlito’s Burritos (547-3592), where the fresh chiles arrive Saturday.

I’ve ordered 60 pounds.

My wife, who is still my first love, thinks I’m crazy. I’m worried it won’t be enough.

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