Addicted, But Not to CHILE ADDICTION

The above picture is of New Mexican chilies. It was taken two years ago during the southern New Mexico chile harvest. The chilies pictured are call New Mexican or Anaheim chilies, depending on with whom you are speaking. They can range from somewhat mild to medium hot to Scotch Bonnet hot, depending upon the batch and where they are grown.

Having said that, a grandma-friendly, totally sweet, heat-free New Mexican chile in New Mexico is rarer than a heterosexual male at a Lady Gaga concert.

Late summer is harvest time in New Mexico, and across the Southwest, grocery stores of all stripes stock up on these beauties so people (and restaurants) can roast them to a blistered, smoky, garlic-pungent perfection — the best way to bring out their sweet-spicy-crisp, herbaceousness.

New Mexican chile peppers are the basis of one of America’s most unique, indigenous cuisines. The Pueblo Indians started their cultivation a millennia before the Conquistadors showed up, and when someone had the bright idea to throw these roasted, seeded and chopped peppers on (and in) a slightly thicker, doughier version of the Mexican tortilla (muchos gracias Navajo Nation fry bread!), the original American fusion food was born.

Eating Las Vegas is nuts about New Mexican chile. He eats his weight in them whenever he goes to Albuquerque-Santa Fe — which is often — because he considers their flavor profile, and the hearty soups, salsas, stews and savories made with them, to be some of the most honest food on earth.

ELV — the man, the myth, the chile-head — is always on the lookout for a New Mexican chile fix. Occasionally, he hits up Carlito’s Burritos when he’s desperate, but has always found it a pale facsimile of the real thing, and the weakest form of this food found west of The Shed.

But that was before he ate at Chile Addiction — the way too slick by half “ode” to New Mexican food that recently popped up near Flamingo and the I-215.

Chile Addiction is the Taylor Swift of New Mexican food to Carlito’s Miley Cyrus. One is canned, bland and offense-free; the other tries too hard to keep it real, but is just as calculating (and dumbed-down) in its own way.

Neither one of them tastes anything like the actual enchilada, and their food wouldn’t pass muster in a corner dive within 300 miles of ABQ. (That’s actually unfair, since some of the best chile concoctions come from corner dives and lunch counters all over N.M.)

If you insist, here was ELV’s green chile cheeseburger at Chile Addiction in all of its Sysco-special, cheap cheese, banal beef, Ortega glory:

…and here is the straight-from-a-can “Christmas” adovada:


Suffice it to say that the best things about these dishes are the pictures.

“I wouldn’t eat these with an Arizonan’s palate,” ELV’s comely dining companion remarked to him.

And she was right.

Carlito’s may not be the real deal, but at least if you close your eyes and inhale the perfume, you can almost convince yourself you’re at Duran Central Pharmacy on the outskirts of Old Town in ABQ:

As for Chile Addiction: you have been warned.

ELV’s dinner for two came to $20 + a $5 tip for the good service in an empty restaurant.


4235 South Fort Apache #260

Las Vegas, NV



3345 East Patrick Lane #105

Las Vegas, NV 89120



1815 Central Ave. NW

Albuquerque, NM 87104


5 thoughts on “Addicted, But Not to CHILE ADDICTION

  1. Agreed, Sir. Ate there a couple months ago after their “soft” opening. Very nice people and good service. But the food was only marginally better than Applebee’s although, to be honest, it’s been eight years since I’ve eaten at an Applebee’s. My excuse was I had a business lunch where the prospect absolutely insisted on Applebee’s. God Almighty.

  2. Generally agree with your comments. Wife and I ate there and felt service was good and ambience pleasant but felt rice, especially, not up to par for usual Hispanic restaurant (I’ve tried them all in town).

  3. I basically agree with your sentiment on Chile Addiction. You captured my experience there. For me, though, Carlito’s is completely off the table. Any place that gets Cs from the health department, and then tries to make it out to be no big deal is off my list of dining options forever. Also, while there are great places to eat in Albuquerque, there are also duds that aren’t too far removed from the cuisine at Chile Addiction. There are people with bad taste everywhere. I’ve also eaten crappy Chinese food in San Francisco, crappy Thai in Las Angeles, and crappy Mexican food in San Diego. It happens. I firmly believe “because I’ve never eaten there before” is the second best reason to go to a restaurant.

  4. UNM Alumni LV Chapter chile roast this Saturday for current and future addicts. Warning: you’ll fail rehab more than Lindsey Lohan.

  5. The owners of Chile Addiction are friends with the owner of Skinny Fats. That explains everything.

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