Chile peppers from New Mexico are talked about with something akin to religious reverence. Where they’re grown, which restaurants have the hottest, and which restaurants prepare them best are all points of local spirited debate. The best chile peppers you can eat are from New Mexico and served in New Mexico as any resident will tell you. The term “chile” can refer to either the pepper or the sauce made from the pepper, which is typically prepared by blending roasted and peeled chile peppers with lime juice and garlic.
The chile pride runs so deep that the governor of New Mexico just signed into law “The New Mexico Chile Advertising Act,” making it illegal to advertise or sell New Mexico chile unless the peppers are grown, you guessed it, in New Mexico. If you happen to be visiting, you’re advised never to mention eating “New Mexico chile” elsewhere or your days just might be numbered.
So what do people in New Mexico do with their stashes of precious chile? They put it on cheeseburgers and create one of the most delicious versions of the American classic known to man. The best place to relish this combination is at Bobcat Bite, a small restaurant off of Old Las Vegas Highway in Santa Fe, which began dishing out green chile burgers in 1953. The restaurant got its name by feeding bobcats scraps when they wandered down to the restaurant from the mountains in the days before I-25 was built.
Bobcat Bite’s green chile burger was voted “Best Burger” in Santa Fe, which is high praise considering the fierce green chile burger competition that rages on in New Mexico. They even go one step further and add the next best topping after chile: that’s right, bacon. So go ahead, order your chile on a plain burger, cheeseburger or bacon cheeseburger, but just remember if it’s not from New Mexico it’s not the real deal.