Eating enchiladas in Santa Fe is like getting a free spa treatment on the side: the heat from the local chilies warms you from the inside out making your skin blush with a healthy radiance. Unlike a facial, the intensity of New Mexico’s heirloom chilies tantalizes the palate and awakens the senses to make you feel calm, yet energized. The distinctive, piquant flavor of chilies used in the local cuisine varies from a green sauce that is assertive and tangy to the red variety that’s more mellow with a hint of autumn smoke. Perhaps it’s a regular diet of chilies and the luminous light of the semi-arid climate that gives Santa Fe women their natural glow.
Santa Fe restaurants give you a choice of “red, green, or Christmas” when you order an entree topped with chili. This ubiquitous question allows you to indulge in the singular flavors of rojo, verde, or half of each color in what is affectionately referred to as Christmas. Regardless of the presentation, chilies are deeply satisfying and nourish the body and soul with a unique alchemy of picante and spicy, peaceful and tranquilo.
There’s a profound quiet that pervades the vast landscape of northern New Mexico.
Silence is the best guide when exploring the grand scale of the Sangre de Cristo mountains or the depths of the Rio Grande gorge. The ground is moccasin-soft in some areas, and the weathered green sage is aromatic and often used to purify the air inside homes. North of Santa Fe, The El Monte Sagrado resort in Taos uses skin-care products made from indigenous plants for restorative body treatments and aromatherapy. Further south, the unique terroir produces the mouth-watering chilies that will set you free to experience New Mexico’s creative culture.
As you explore the world-class visual arts of Santa Fe and the renowned performing arts of “The City Different” opera, savor the culinary arts that use chilies to connect you to the bounty of the land. And make room in your suitcase for these little treasures...the robust aroma of New Mexican chilies will remind you of the state’s rugged terrain, abundant sunshine, and enchanting vibe.
Red, Green, or Christmas? Navidad por favor.