Hi all! Marika here. It’s been far too long since our last post, but third year of medical school is no joke! We spend too many hours to count in the hospital, caring for patients, learning clinical skills, and taking endless exams. Sadly, there is often little time to eat so that means grabbing whatever is quick and portable in the cafeteria (chicken tenders anyone?!).
Needless to say, we haven’t been in the kitchen much lately. But the most wonderful time of medical school has arrived: fourth year! Yes, there are residency applications and interviews, but there is also precious free time. For the bogged down medical student, that means traveling, getting back to our beloved hobbies (cooking!), and cramming as much fun as we can into these few short months of freedom.
So, let me give you a glimpse of my most recent food escapade during a trip to my home state: New Mexico! The state’s official question is “red or green?” You can tell a native from a tourist by either their quick response or their puzzled stare. We are talking about red or green CHILE. New Mexicans put chile on everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.
My personal preference? Green! And I ate as much as I could during my three day trip.
First up, the beloved breakfast burrito. I have never found a breakfast burrito like the ones in New Mexico. They take hash browns, bacon or sausage, cheese, eggs, and chile — frying all the ingredients together on the grill to meld the flavors and then wrap it in a soft flour tortilla. Always order it SMOTHERED (aka covered in more chile and cheese). This one was from Palacio, a tiny, family run restaurant in Santa Fe. The authentic food is enhanced by the warm and welcoming couple who bus the tables, take the orders, deliver the food and man the register!
Next stop? An Albuquerque staple, Flying Star. It has everything from buddha bowls full of stir fried veggies and brown rice to green chile cheeseburgers and the best rhubarb pie I’ve ever had!
But to reach my goal of most green chile eaten in one weekend, I had to order the green chile stew. Their version is thick, hearty, and full of spice. I was so overwhelmed by the dish in front of me, I mixed in the cheese and sour cream and took a giant bite before realizing I hadn’t taken a picture yet!
A stop in Albuquerque’s Old Town isn’t complete without visiting The Candy Lady. This chocolate and candy shop has been around for over 30 years, and the white chocolate red chile fudge is a sweet and spicy treat that leaves your lips burning.
Next up, a place that was a childhood staple. The one place my brothers and I never disagreed upon for breakfast, and the restaurant I stop at every time I’m back home, without fail. Weck’s.
If I had to choose one last meal to have on this earth, it would definitely be the Papas Original at Weck’s. This is a mountain of fried hash browns, bacon, sausage and ham, topped with two fried eggs and smothered in cheese and green chile sauce unlike any other. A fresh flour tortilla cuts the heat and sops up the extra green chile. It is my own personal nirvana.
I took half with me to the airport as my final taste of home before heading back to Michigan, where green chile is a mysterious condiment rarely seen outside the canned food aisle of the grocery store.
And with that, I promise more regular posts to come as Alina and I rekindle our relationship with the kitchen (and all-around good eats)!
I’ll leave you with a view of the Sandia (watermelon) mountains, the backdrop of my Albuquerque home, known for their spectacular pink color at sunset.