You may have heard that New Mexico’s official state question is, ‘Red or green?’ It makes perfect sense — chile is a focal point of many of our dishes, from enchiladas and posole to burritos and even pizza.
Ah, but there is yet another question often asked when people are looking for a good restaurant in Taos. Mexican or New Mexican? Or Christmas, a combination of both?
Mexican and New Mexican cuisine share many ingredients like chile, beans and the ubiquitous tortilla. But there are some important differences as well.
New Mexican food is a fusion of Native American and Mexican food. We also have the Spanish influence that came to us via Mexico and blended with the Pueblo traditions. Our sopaipillas, for example, are a cross between Indian fried bread and puff pastries.
Mexican cuisine is a broad term. It refers to the culinary traditions of a whole country that range from the seafood-based Veracruz dishes to the Sopa Tarasca, a tasty bean and tomato soup from Michoacán. In Taos, the biggest influence comes from northern Mexico, like the Chihuahua and Sonora regions, but there is a little of everything.
Local restaurants serving New Mexico dishes include Bella’s, El Taoseño Restaurant and Lounge, Michael’s Kitchen, Old Martina’s Hall, Orlando’s, Ranchos Plaza Grill, Taos Diner, Abe’s Cantina and Cocina in Arroyo Seco and Casa de Valdez. Mexican-style restaurants include Guadalajara Grill and Toribio’s. Some restaurants, such as Antonio’s, La Cueva and Jalapeños, serve both Mexican and New Mexican food.
The menu at Doc Martin’s Restaurant at The Historic Taos Inn features fresh local ingredients with a splash of the Southwest or what they aptly call ‘New American’ fare.