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It’s still green-chile season, and even though the first roadside stands are starting to close, you can still find the popular peppers making cameos on menus across town, bringing the heat to margaritas, chocolates, and everything in between. Of course, for a tried-and-true green chile dish, you can get burritos and chimichangas smothered in the good stuff at many of the area’s beloved Mexican restaurants. But if you’re looking to branch out, follow this Denver-area treasure map to find chile-infused dishes that are absolute fire.
Peppers bring the heat in this noodle spot’s green chile chorizo ramen, which comes with cooling shaved cabbage, cilantro, and a poached egg. “The earthy spices from the chorizo and the heat from the chiles give the plain ol’ noodle a little kick,” says chef-owner Jeff Osaka. “It’s one of my favorite seasonal ramens.” Osaka Ramen sources its peppers from a local purveyor, bringing in Hatch chiles when homegrown Pueblo chiles aren’t available. 2611 Walnut St.
River and Woods
Poutine is a Canadian dish that traditionally includes a heap of fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. But for a regional remix, River and Woods—a spot known for serving comforting Colorado fare in a cute cottage—put a Southwest Poutine on its menu. It’s got cheese curds, chicken gravy, and Pueblo green chile queso. 2328 Pearl St., Boulder
At La Loma, one of Denver’s iconic Mexican restaurants, green chiles are celebrated year-round and incorporated into a myriad of dinner and brunch dishes. The peppers arrive on sizzling plates of fajitas, and green chile generously smothers burritos, stuffed sopapillas, chimichangas, and the spinach and chicken quesadillas. It’s ladled over the La Loma hamburger, which is sandwiched between homemade tortillas and served atop the mini chile rellenos, crispy shells stuffed with roasted Anaheim chiles and cheese. Or, you can simply order the stew by the bowl, sopping it up with pillowy and hot fresh-made tortillas. 1801 Broadway
A new kid on the block in RiNo, Federales got the memo about Denver’s green-chile obsession. The tequila and taco outpost has a green chile margarita that’s made with puréed green chiles and Ancho Reyes Verde, a liqueur made from poblano chiles. “Green chile makes for a great riff on a spicy marg due to the heat of the chiles but also because of the clean, vegetal taste profile it brings,” says Tim Ryll, beverage director at Federales. The margarita’s heat teeters on medium to high. If you want to experience a lip-burning sensation, ask the bartenders to add in a drop of Scrappy’s Firewater bitters and pair everything with an order of the Hatch chile nachos. 2901 Larimer St.
Denver Central Market
You could do a full-on green chile food crawl inside Denver Central Market. Start with a Southwestern Colorado Salad from Green Seed, with greens, olathe sweet corn, roasted red peppers, radish, crispy onions, avocado, and Hatch chile ranch dressing. For the main course, grab a burger from Lunchboxx with fire-roasted Hatch chiles and griddled asadero cheese. Then, for a sweet treat with heat, pick up the 505 Bonbon from Temper Chocolates—Hatch green chile ganache coated with a chocolate shell. “The sweetness of our milk chocolate mellows out the heat from the Hatch chile, creating the perfect sweet and savory taste,” says Temper chocolatier Victoria Johnson. 2669 Larimer St.
This octagon-shaped cantina is tucked off of Federal Boulevard in Westminster and dishes out some of the tastiest green chile in the metro area. While the breakfast menu is loaded with chile-rich options, you can get your fix anytime of day via the likes of a green chile plate with carnitas, a bulging burrito available Christmas-style (i.e. smothered in green and red chile), and a Mexican hamburger swimming in the zesty stew. 2835 W. 72nd Ave., Westminster
Tiny Giant Sushi
California has its own sushi roll. Now, Colorado has one to call its own, too. Chef Troy Guard put a “Colorado roll” on the menu at Tiny Giant Sushi, his new sushi stall located inside Milepost Zero, a 14,000-square-foot food hall at McGregor Square. The smoky-spicy roll is made with smoked trout, green chiles, cucumber, and smoked trout roe. Pair it with a beverage from the adjacent beer wall that features 35 taps of craft beer, wines, ciders, seltzers, and cocktails. 1901 Wazee St.
Smōk’s chef and owner Bill Espiricueta makes his house green chile with smoked pulled pork shoulder and Hatch chiles. You’ve got options for how you can enjoy it—in chile cheese fries or brisket queso and chips. If you’re worried about the heat, Espiricueta’s iteration of the specialty is on the milder side. “The vinegary, tanginess of green chile works so great to complement the smoky-sweet flavor of barbecue,” he says. “They’re natural together.” 3330 Brighton Blvd., Ste. 202
For a stacker with a bite, try the green chile cheeseburger from Steuben’s, a classic crowned with melty American cheese and Hatch peppers. It’s served on a brioche bun with other classic accompaniments like mustard, mayo, and tomatoes. 523 E. 17th Ave.
The Fort makes a decadent mac ’n’ cheese with gruyere cheese, a blend of Mexican cheeses, and roasted green chiles. A year-round staple on the menu (it’s that popular!), the dish is topped with Parmigiano-Reggiano and presented bubbling hot in a cast-iron pot. “The combination of flavors is divine and pairs beautifully with our Rocky Mountain buffalo steaks and prime rib,” says the Fort’s proprietress Holly Arnold Kinney. 19192 CO-8, Morrison
This San Diego–inspired taqueria thickens its green chile with masa, and you can order it in the expected ways—drenching burritos and huevos rancheros. But for the plot twist, get the fried oysters with green chile tartar sauce for dunking. 94 Rampart Way