By Amy Young
New Mexican cuisine is the regional fare of New Mexico that includes influences from Spanish, Mexican, Mediterranean, Native American and cowboy cultures. One of its prominent traits is the spicy sauce, made from red or green New Mexico chile peppers, that adorns many dishes. This style of food is known and loved for its heat levels, which vary based on the type and amount of chiles included in a dish. Phoenix obviously isn’t in New Mexico but several local restaurants carry the fiery torch.
RICHARDSON’S CUISINE OF NEW MEXICO
A long-running area hotspot, the combination of delicious food and hearty portions has patrons returning in droves, along with a steady influx of new guests. The menu gives you plenty of ways to find out if you have a red or green sauce preference. One example is the Carne Adovada, which finds chunks of smoky pork surrounded by tingly red sauce. Or order up the New Mexico Enchiladas with your choice of meat or cheese and top them with the zesty green sauce. Everything here has a kick, including their proprietary Green Chile Potato, which is a whipped spud stuffed into a roasted green chile pepper. richardsonsnm.com
LOS DOS MOLINOS
Some like it hot; really hot. If you’re in that camp, the folks at Los Dos Molinos say that they “don’t know how to do mild,” so you’re in luck. Let red chiles dance on your tongue as you bite into menu items such as the Carne Adovada Ribs, a generous plate of country-style pork ribs resting in red chile. The menu is loaded with a variety of choices including burritos, tacos and flautas. Sopapillas for dessert are a wise choice—the pillow-y bites of light and crispy fried dough can be sweetened with honey, powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or a combo of all three. Wash it all down with a Prickly Pear Margarita. losdosmolinosphoenix.com
LA RISTRA NEW MEXICAN KITCHEN
Gilbert, Arizona, in Phoenix’s East Valley has become a hotspot for dining. La Ristra is a spicy part of that mix. Here, the Blue Corn Enchiladas are New Mexican-style, meaning stacked, not rolled. You pick the filling and the sauce(s) and the restaurant will serve it to you topped with a fried egg. The roasted, bone-in Pork Carnitas are another favorite; tender and piquant. laristraaz.com.