Snapshots from a cafe somewhere between Tucson and Santa Fe

“The green chile is a little warm today,” the waitress tells us, as we order our green chile burgers with a side of green chile fries. “Is that okay?”

We nod, knowing what “a little warm” means coming from a small-town restaurant in the southwest.

And we’re not disappointed, as our sinuses clear and our throats burn. Best if all, you can actually taste the chile beneath all that heat. That’s good chile.


When I’ve drained my (very large) plastic glass of iced tea but still have some “warm” chile left and need something to wash it down with, I look around for the waitress. She’s busy dealing with the sudden lunchtime rush, but someone sitting at another table sees me, walks over, and asks what I’m looking for. I tell her.

“I’m friends with the family,” she says when I tell her, and then takes my glass out back and fills it.

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