I am always filled with a not-so-quiet joy when I see the place from whence I came showcased on the big stage.
It somehow validates me.
Sure, having Big Bad Billy run for President surely upped New Mexico’s cool quotient and “put us on the map” in plenty of ways.
But my heart sang and my eyes wept last night watching an episode of “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel.
I love this show. Starring Anthony Bourdain, a career chef, New Jersey born, New York resident. This is a high class, high dollar guy who knows his food.
He was head chef at upscale Les Halles in New York for many years. He’s also a prolific writer and avid traveler. I’ve read a few of his books, many of his editorials and some blog posts. His writing is tight, snarky and well, just good.
I’ve watched his food/travel show since it was called something different for a season on the Food Network. I’ve also seen every episode of the long running series now on the Travel Channel.
I’ve been around the world with Tony. Watched him get pummeled by bulky bodybuilders in Finland, seen him travel the back roads of Viet Nam eating god knows what, watched him get bucked off a four wheeler in New Zealand, and am intimately familiar with his love for all pork products.
So last night’s episode (actually, it was last week’s, I missed it and caught a rerun), Anthony was given use of a BMW SUV, then set out on a road trip to the American Southwest.
Hoookay, Mr. Snappy Chef Boy, you are dancing on my terrain now.
I was pretty certain I’d see plenty of Arizona, lots of Texas, and none of my Fair New Mexico.
I was wrong.
In between stops in Indio, CA (god, why would *anyone* willingly stop there) and Waco, TX (home of one Mr. Ted Nugent), the No Reservations crew made a stop in Hatch.
Yes, Hatch, New Mexico, home of one of the finest food ingredients in the world.
Tony sat at a vinyl-topped table with the owners of The Pepper Pot, and talked with them about the troubles of chile farmers (mostly that there is lack of demand, so farmers are converting crops to more profitable items, like corn).
While they talked, the host was served both a red and a green enchilada.
And Mr. Bourdain, world traveler, renowned chef, he of highly calibrated taste buds turned to the camera and said, “That is the best enchilada I have ever eaten.”
Yes, yes it is. The best you’ll *ever* eat.
Take that to Manhattan, big man.
Because if it was the last day of my life, and I was told that I could choose one of two places for my last meal: a high end, high dollar establishment, or a crappy diner in New Mexico, there would be no contest.
Chicken enchiladas, green, with a fried egg and sour cream.
And I would go quietly into that great beyond with a big smile and a full belly.
Salute to my home state for getting a good review from a snarky host of a travel show!
To celebrate, I’ll have feet on the ground in just less than two weeks.
Because it’s time. And because my sweet New Mexico calls to me.
Mostly because my best friend said she’d make rellenos.
Green chile chicken enchiladas, here I come!