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High Noon...but no shoot out

Last time, I had us just finishing up our ice cream and cold drinks with our friend Connie. We then did a little more shopping in Old Town, but we realized that we were hungry. So, we headed off for lunch at High Noon.


This is a restaurant in Old Town quite near Connie’s shop, specifically at 425 San Felipe Ave. You can see its webpage here: highnoonrestaurant.com. It’s been our fav restaurant in Old Town for some years. The food is quite good, it has been there forever (the restaurant since 1974), and the place itself is interesting. It is an ancient building (constructed 1785) with two dining rooms and a small bar. During the holiday season, they have upside down Christmas trees in the rear room, which is fun and funky.



About the photos: Three today. First, Martha in High Noon some years ago. Second, an upside down Christmas tree in High Noon around 2018.  And, finally, a bowl of delicious Green Chile Stew...at, of course, High Noon.




But I guess the real reason it’s been our favorite is that it has managed to remain a real restaurant, serving decent food, in a tourist area. That isn’t easy, by the way. Tourist areas can be hard on eateries. You know you’re dealing with customers who may come to your place, at most, one time in their lives. Rents are high and profit margins are always slim. As such, there is a tremendous temptation (sometimes an obligation) to cut quality to the bone and raise prices to the max.


After all, what have you got to lose? You’ve got to pay your own bills. Fred and Mary from East Overshoe, Nebraska, are not coming back soon. If they hate your food, well, who cares? There’s another bus of tourists coming in tomorrow. (That’s how I ended up with a plastic wrapper in my burrito a while back.)


But High Noon has managed to escape that fate. Somehow, they’ve kept their food good. I don’t know why. Maybe it is because they specialize in selling to Old Town residents (there really are some) and a repeat clientele. Or maybe the chef is just stubborn. Whatever, we’ve gone there for years, and will do so (I hope) for years to come.


That day, Martha had their Green Chile Cheese Burger (which is very good) and I had a bowl of their Green Chile stew. Quick word. Don’t give me a hard time about “Chile.” Chili is something in a bowl with beans. Chile is a, well, a Chile. A pepper. The Chile in question is New Mexico Chile, a.k.a., Green Chile, Chile Del Norte, Hatch Chile, etc. (See its wikipedia page here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico_chile).


It is not, repeat NOT, a jalapeño, which is a smaller and (usually) much hotter chili. Unfortunately, there are sometimes...uh...regrettable errors in this regard.


My father used to tell a story about an Italian restaurant he frequented in town. It was run by a recent immigrant from New Jersey, who was an excellent cook...but unfamiliar with local cuisine. The man learned that there was a call for green chile stew among his customers. So...he decided to make some.


Only...yes...you guessed it...he used jalapeños. It was green, wasn’t it? And it was a chile, wasn’t it?


The story goes that it did not result in the bankruptcy of his company. Nor did his customers ride him out of town on a rail. They were forgiving. But let’s just say that they made it very clear that, in future, unless he wanted to get Fed-Exed back to the Pine Barrens with Jimmy Hoffa and the Jersey Devil (with or without wings and hoofs) then he would darn well better stick to pasta. Which, wisely, he did.


Anyway, the High Noon version of Green Chile Stew is delicious...as Green Chile Stew normally is. I’ll put a link to a recipe below, but basically it is stewed pork with potatoes, tomatoes (sometimes), onions, and, of course, lots of Green Chile. You eat it with flour tortillas (okay, corn tortillas if you’re gluten intolerant), preferably warmed.


It is a New Mexican favorite, and I grew up on it. The fact that I couldn’t get it in Massachussets was a pain. But the fact that I’m now in Texas, only a few hours drive away from the New Mexican border, and I still can’t get it is an even bigger pain.


Anyway, we ate, then drifted out into Old Town again. We decided we were tired and so headed back to the car, and from there to the Casita.


But I realize I still haven’t gotten to dinner that night, and the...er....Ladies Of The Evening.


So...I promise. Next time.


I’ll try to work them in (no pun intended).


More to come.


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Footnote


Here are some recipes I’ve found for Green Chile Stew I found on the web. There are multiple variations, but these are some that I like the look of:


1. “We Love Traditional Hatch Green Chile Stew,” by Becky Spoon, 2Spoons, Oct 14, 2021. For some reason, the page opens with the picture of a boiled egg, but just scroll down and you’ll find the recipe: https://the2spoons.com/we-love-traditional-hatch-green-chile-stew/#wprm-recipe-container-8748


2. Green Chile Stew: This dish is hearty enough to warm you on a cold winter night,” https://www.newmexico.org/things-to-do/cuisine/recipes/green-chile-stew/


3. Hatch Green Chile Stew, https://buenofoods.com/green-chile-stew/


Note, this is a traditional food, and like all traditional dishes, will vary enormously. You’ll discover lots of other versions on the web as well. So, remember, select the recipe which you enjoy and forget about getting it “right.”







Copyright©2024 Michael Jay Tucker


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