Mention Hatch green chiles to Austin residents, and you’ll likely witness a Homer Simpson-esque lolling back of heads, replete with drool.
Austin LOVES its Hatch green chiles and reveres the annual Hatch season—a time of treating our taste buds to some real heat, to accompany the 100-degree+ weather we face in August. Rejoice, for these five locally-based companies embrace the potent peppers from New Mexico, too. If you have a fever and the only cure is more green chiles, then you’re in luck!
Chuy’s is the undeniable Austin OG of green chile mania. The restaurant first introduced Austin to Hatch green chiles in 1989 with a seasonal Hatch green chile menu. Austin fell in love on the spot! Chuy’s leans heavily on green chile power year-round, but magnifies that power considerably right about now.
Chuy’s 29th Green Chile Festival through September 3 brings more than two million pounds of chiles from Hatch, New Mexico, during peak harvest time. Specialty menus showcase the pepper’s heat, and devotees come from near and far to indulge in this fiery festival of goodness. If it weren’t for Chuy’s, then who knows how long it would have taken us to discover these bright green treasures? I thank you, Chuy’s, from the bottom of my heart.
Menu options featuring the sacred-to-Austin peppers include Enchiladas Ricas—some crazy good concoction with sour cream, cheese, Hatch chiles, and tomatillos—New Mexican Steak Tacos, Pork Boom-Boom Enchiladas, and my favorite, the Green Chile Combo with a chile relleno (made with a New Mexican Anaheim chile pepper) and an enchilada rica. You’ll need a to-go box.
728 Barton Springs Road – Website
2/ Whole Foods Market
Austin’s Whole Foods Market definitely got the memo on the Hatch green chile cult. The options begin to boggle the mind. Among the mouth-watering, Hatch-based options in the prepared case this year are quesadillas, chicken salad, a twice-baked potato, various types of bread, stuffed chicken breast, apple pie, and cookies. More spicy delights line the grocery aisles, as well.
Shop for Hatch green chile items among the landmark store’s in-house restaurants and prepared food cases. These specialty items pop up throughout the store. Whole Foods is basically a Hatch green chile wonderland right now. A fun little game is to make it a scavenger hunt for kicks. The person with the most Hatch items at the checkout counter wins!
Whole Foods Market will sell roasted Hatch green chiles through August 22 and carry other Hatch items until they run out.
525 N. Lamar Blvd. – Website
3/ Central Market
Yet again, Central Market’s Hatch zeal goes all the way to 11! From the moment you enter the parking lot and see the roasters outside, you should begin to prepare yourself for a Hatch attack. Hatch items rule the roost this time of year at Central Market.
The café has an entire menu devoted to Hatch-based items. From Hatch burgers to queso, from corn frittery tidbits to gelato, they have tried and perfected 1,001 Hatch recipes. They also have Hatch tortilla chips, salsa, and even wine. The list is nigh endless this time of year. Since the first Central Market opened in 1994 in Austin, the company has dabbled with all things Hatch. Their devotion to the humble pepper is palpable.
Various locations – Website
4/ Wheatsville Food Co-op
Wheatsville Co-op is a solid contender on the Hatch scene this year. This local-love market is feeling the heat of Hatch fever. Walking in, the first Hatch case is prominently displayed, offering Hatch queso, Hatch verde salsa, a home run of a Hatch chimichurri sauce, Hatch-marinated chicken breasts, and Hatch pork sausages.
The bakery section boasts freshly-made Hatch green chile donuts and hamburger buns. Move to the meat section to find more yumminess, such as Hatch black drum filets. Welcome to the party, Wheatsville! So excited to try all of these items.
Various locations – Website
5/ Counter Culture
Who needs a little Hatch vegan love? Counter Culture is the perfect place to find it! They are dabbling with new recipes, but have already come up with a gorgeous Hatch green chile burger and a Hatch cheeze plate. This little east side restaurant with a huge heart makes delicious food that even the staunchest meat eater can enjoy. The dishes have a lot of flavor and surprising heft that satisfies. Counter Culture also caters to other restricted diets, with soy-free and gluten-free dishes.
2337 E. Cesar Chavez St. – Website
Venture Forth and Burn
The short-lived, hotly-anticipated Hatch season is in full swing for 2017. You still have time to heat your summer from the inside out, but remember that it won’t last forever! Remember to wear gloves when handling hatch chiles, and remember not to overdo it—these babies pack a bonafide wallop!
@theAustinot wants to know:
Do you celebrate Hatch green chile season?
Disclosure: I worked at Chuy’s once upon a time, so that experience introduced me to the world of Hatch green chiles and to celebrating the season. Wheatsville Co-op also provided me with a gift card to try their 2017 offerings. Opinions are my own.