Saturday, July 24, 2021

Sparky's - Hatch, NM

Hatch chiles have become famous in the last ten years. In our local grocery stores we will get sections of the produce department devoted to "Hatch Chile" and several years ago we drove to Loma Linda to a store to buy Hatch chiles that were tumbled in a barrel over a fire and had to wait in line to get them. 

The Hatch chile is a New Mexico chile grown in the Hatch Valley, in and around Hatch, New Mexico. The ancestor of the New Mexico chile was grown by Pueblo and Hispano communities. Then a horticulturalist at what is now New Mexico State University, in Las Cruces, about 40 miles southeast, developed the modern New Mexico chile in 1894. It grows green and ripens to red and the New Mexico state questions is "Red or Green?" It is now sold worldwide, including places like Europe, Australia and Japan. Hatch is now often referred to as the "Chile Capital of the World." 

I'd noticed in our trip planning that Hatch was just off I-25, past Las Cruces on our way to Albuquerque. So we decided to do an impromptu visit, crossing over the Rio Grande River and into a town with lots of signs with references to Hatch chile. 

Sparky's stood out like a neon sign, literally. It was gaudy, blaring, in your face kitsch. So over-the-top that it was fun to look and laugh and try a small sample of the famous local vegetable. 

We ordered a chocolate malt with chile in it and a yellow queso with chile and fries. Remarkably, the chile did not ruin the malt and there was plenty in it. It did add a little heat. The queso with chile was just the first of quite a few quesos with chile we would have on the trip. I ordered it every time I saw it on a menu, and that was a lot. It was "finger-licken' good." 

Hatch is a fun stop and Sparky's, whether or not the best food, is the obnoxious showboat that garners the attention. We'll stop again if we ever go by this way again. 

1 comment:

  1. It's crazy that such a funky little town can be the economic capital of the chile world. I hope it doesn't lose it's vibe in the years to come.