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Taos is New Mexico True
Taos, NM
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Red, green or Christmas? In Taos, this question may not mean what you think it means.

From the welcome signs on our highways and the license plates on our cars, both of which feature luminous red and green chiles, to the dried ristras hanging on our portals, it’s evident that Taoseños love chile.

To fully appreciate New Mexican green chile, you need to visit in the late summer or early fall when acres upon acres of chile fields ripen, and the fragile pods are hand-picked before they turn red. These green chile are roasted, unleashing an alluring and unique aroma outside every vendor in town, and the red chiles are dried so we can begin stockpiling enough of the addictive ingredients to spice our food through the colder winter months. In Taos, chiles find their way into stews, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, burgers, eggs, turkey sandwiches, whatever . . . .

If the hot stuff is new to you, start mild and work your way up. You’ll soon be addicted to the New Mexico chile. If you can’t make up your mind between red or green, order Christmas and you’ll get both!

The hot chile trail blazes through our entire state, but when you find yourself in Taos, here are the five best chile hotspots in Taos.

New Mexico Hatch Chile, the best in the world? Taos thinks so.
Whole dry pepper chilli. Vintage hatching vector color illustration. Isolated on white background. Hand drawn ink design

Michael’s Kitchen

Michael’s is right on the main drag (Paseo del Pueblo Norte), just a few blocks north of Taos Plaza, and is an easy breakfast stop on your way to just about anywhere. You can’t go wrong with the Huevos Rancheros, but local kids swear by the Healthfood―an unlikely named concoction of french fries smothered in chile (traditionally green, but red or Christmas are acceptable).

The breakfast burrito alone is reason enough for Michael’s to be one of the five best chile hotspots in Taos. It’s packed with mouthwatering green chile, eggs, bacon, and cheese. Call ahead and ask for the handheld version if you’re on the go. If you get the regular version, the burrito will come in a to-go container with chile smothered on the outside, which is delicious but can prove challenging to tackle in the car.

Orlando’s

Also on the main drag through Taos but a little farther north, Orlando’s is another of the five best chile hotspots in Taos and a longtime local favorite for northern New Mexican and Mexican cuisine. A perfect lunch spot where, if the weather is fine, you can sit outside on their patio.

Get the Sayulita fish tacos, named for Sayulita, Mexico, where owners Orlando and Yvette Ortega spend time every year. The fish is fried in a delicate batter, and the tacos are flavored Taos style with a green-chile mayo and topped with fresh pico de gallo. The enchiladas are another good choice―the red chile sauce is rich and flavourful but won’t leave your mouth on fire. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try the caribe (pronounce it “cah-REE-vay” and you’ll sound like a local!). Also red, caribe chiles are crushed with the seeds, adding another layer of flavor and a bit more heat as well!

Antonio’s The Taste of Mexico

Chef Antonio Matus is a Taos institution; he’s been delighting locals and visitors for years with his inspired Mexican and northern New Mexican cuisine, assuring him a spot among the five best chile hotspots in Taos. His latest endeavor is unassuming from the outside, located in the parking lot of the south side Rio Grande Ace Hardware. But once you step inside, the aromas of carne asada and chicken enchiladas with green chile and mango will transport you to a magical (and very delicious) place.

Abe’s Cantina Y Cocina

Nestled in the village of Arroyo Seco, it does not get more authentic than Abe’s. Part bar, part corner grocery, and part kitchen, this chile hotspot in Taos is a great place to stop on your way back to town after a day skiing or hiking on the mountain. The frito pie is legendary, and you won’t find a better bowl of red chile posole in all of Taos.

La Cueva Cafe

Dating back to the 18th Century and just one block south of the Taos Plaza is the Historic Baca Plaza, home of La Cueva Cafe. This is one of the five best chile hotspots in Taos for many reasons; one is that it is a safe bet for the gluten-free diner. No gluten is allowed to set its lethal feet on the premises! This charming eatery serves traditional Mexican dishes, including ceviche and a sublime mole, but northern New Mexican dishes with both red and green chile are included on the menu as well. La Cueva has a lovely, shady patio out back, which is good because the restaurant itself is muy pequeño!

Once you’ve satisfied yourself with these five best chile hotspots in Taos, don’t stop there! Just about anywhere you go, you’ll find chile in some incarnation. From the award-winning green chile stew at the Adobe Bar at the Historic Taos Inn to the red chile carne adovada enchiladas at the Ranchos Plaza Grill, there is no limit to the chile hotspots in Taos.