Thursday, September 10, 2015
La Choza ~ Santa Fe, New Mexico
Food: La Choza has to be considered one of the gold standards for New Mexican cooking. We've smothered a few items in their famous chile's, and never have we left without huge smiles of happiness. In general, regarding the chile, I've stuck with the Christmas standard. Their green is slightly spicy and I would consider it good to very good in flavor. Their red chile is quite simply the best I've ever had - and one of the best food items I've ever had. It's so velvety in texture with flavors that continue to explode as time goes on. It's not particularly spicy either (though hotter than the green on average - it's seasonal). Remember my comment on the Horseman's Haven review about "It's not about the heat, it's about the flavor"? I think they can't get La Choza out of their head. And, yea, I can understand that too. Chips and salsa are an extra purchase, which we've done in the past (recall being excellent but too long ago), but eschewed this time around. All meals come with a sopaipilla (or garlic bread or a tortilla - c'mon get the sopaipilla), that they deliver steaming hot at the end of the meal. I darn near burned my face opening it up this time! Can't really recommend anything beyond this: You must order something that is buried in the red chile. I'm salivating as I write this.
Drink: Tequila, margaritas, wine, and even craft beer on tap. Like a total dope, I ordered the frozen margarita. When will I ever learn that no one does frozen margs better than what we have in Texas? Of course, it was watered down. My fault. I knew better. Mrs. RJG, on the other hand, being the smart one in the marriage, ordered a house margarita on the rocks. I had one sip and was envious all night. Delicious, and plenty of tequila in there too!
Location: As mentioned at the top, La Choza's reputation is well earned, is featured in every magazine imaginable, and as such, it fills up quickly. Reservations are recommended, or you can do what the RJG does and show up not long after opening (we always go for dinner). As well, it seems that all great New Mexican restaurants in Santa Fe come with difficult-at-first parking. The restaurant is hidden behind the Santa Fe Railyard at the mobbed intersection of St. Francis and Cerrillos. Get your trusty Google Map App out, and wind your way to the back roads. There is a parking lot behind the restaurant and through the fenced area. Like the restaurant, it fills up quick. If you go early, easy breezy. Otherwise, it's street parking. The restaurant itself is the old headquarters of a former ranch. It has many rooms, and outside seating as well. And a bar area, which you can dine in as well. Very comfortable surroundings.
Notes: La Choza opened in 1983, and has been gathering awards ever since.
Rating: 4.5 (ready to christen it a 5 soon!)
Hours: Mon-Sat: 11:00 - 2:30 & dinner 5:00 - 9:00; Closed Sunday