Authentic regional flavor is on the menu at this Albuquerque, New Mexico restaurant.
Plus, Sadie’s salsas and chile sauces are sold nationwide so you can relish the taste of New Mexico at home.
By Hope S. Philbrick
“In New Mexico, we’re defined by our cuisine,” says Jim A. Garcia, vice president of operations for Sadie’s of New Mexico. “Our culture is defined by food.”
If you don’t know New Mexican cuisine, you’re cheating your taste buds of the state’s unique, distinctive fare. Think fresh and flavorful with a snap of heat that arrives most readily in the swath of green or red chile salsa or sauce that adorns the top of most traditional entrées.
Indeed, New Mexico’s green chile sauce has been voted by readers of USA Today and 10Best as the best iconic American food.
For an authentic taste of New Mexican green chile sauce—plus a myriad of other sauces, salsas and dishes—head to Sadie’s of New Mexico, a family-owned restaurant that’s been an Albuquerque mainstay for over 50 years.
“We are the No. 1 selling salsa in New Mexico. Sadie’s is the only salsa that outsells Pace in any single market in the U.S.,” says Garcia. “And that’s Nielsen numbers. We’re proud of that.”
Using only fresh ingredients and recipes passed down through generations, Sadie’s Salsa uses only New Mexico’s famed Hatch green chiles along with fresh jalapeños, tomatoes and garlic. Sadie’s salsas and chile sauces are known for deep flavor with a bold kick. “Chile is one of the only products that can change the entire flavor profile of a recipe without changing the carbohydrates,” says Garcia.
Red or Green?
Red or green? Order most anything off a menu in New Mexico and that’s the automatic follow-up question—it was declared the official state question in 1996. Translation: Do you prefer green or red chile sauce with your meal? If you aren’t well-versed in chiles or haven’t yet settled upon your personal preference, answer “Christmas” to get a taste of both sauces served side-by-side.
Chiles—vegetables that folks from most other states would refer to as peppers—are a seasonal crop. Chile plants “love the arid dry climate we have in New Mexico,” says Garcia. Planted each spring, they mature in 120 days to green; when left on the vine 20 days longer they turn red. Red chiles are generally milder than green.
Jars of salsa and sauce put Sadie’s into grocery stores. “It’s been great. We’re able to get our message out. People like boutique things,” says Garcia. “But nothing is more important than what we do here, the next plate of enchiladas.”
The restaurant, which has four locations, is still the focus of the business owners, and—based on the dining room energy at nearly any hour—hungry and thirsty folks are grateful.
Across Sadie’s menu, fresh is crucial. As one example, “We make fresh guacamole every hour,” says Garcia.
House specialties include enchiladas, carne adovada, burritos and stuffed sopaipillas—fried puffs of dough that beg for a drizzle of honey.
Try green chile atop chicken enchiladas, red atop beef and get your enchiladas flat rather than rolled for a higher ratio of filling to tortilla. Add a fried egg on top for a local twist that proves genius with one bite.
The tequila selection here is top notch and, if you’re willing to splurge and try something new, trust the recommendations. Staff members presented me with a heavenly concoction featuring a $200 tequila and fresh lime juice that was magically the clearest hue yet snappiest flavor of any margarita I’ve ever sipped.
Rest assured that staff members will call a cab if you’re a wee too tipsy to drive after imbibing (BTW, it’s a quick trip to Nativo Lodge).
A meal here is an experience you’ll want to repeat.
Four locations, including:
Sadie’s on Fourth
6230 Fourth Street NW
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico 87107
Odds of Encountering Children: High, but the dining room is bustling with energy and chatter, so even the whine of a kid begging for dessert is easily mitigated.
@21plusTravel Tip: Can’t get to New Mexico anytime soon? Try the taste of Sadie’s at home with a jar of Sadie’s salsa or chile sauce, available at grocers nationwide and also online.
– Photos © HSP Media LLC
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