…for a few days and have plans to drive to Hatch—“The Chile Capital of the World”—for lunch at Sparky’s. Fortunately, I had done some advanced research, so we weren’t in the position of these reviewers posting on tripadvisor.com: “In Hatch for lunch and Sparky’s (tripadvisor no. 1 choice) was closed…,” “We stopped in Hatch to have competitor's food—they were closed that day…,” “Happened to be passing through town in the middle of the week when Sparky's was closed…,” and “Wanted to try Sparky’s but they were closed….”
So our fallback position was to eat at The Pepper Pot, a small restaurant that had been featured on No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain and one that we visited in March of 2010.
“Located in a converted residence, the Pepper Pot still resembles a family home, the give-away that it’s a business being prominent signage on a concrete plant stand. Homey exterior implements such as an old-fashioned push mower and a miniature John Deere tractor adorn the lawn.
On the front porch sits a Corona decorated high top with four stools (although I don’t think that the café serves alcohol) and an assortment of household items.
Some things haven’t changed since our visit four years ago. The restaurant was almost empty, but those dining seem to be known by all of the staff. A party of three entered, and the one waitress on duty hugged each member of the party. And the three of them all placed their orders before taking their seats. And later a woman from the kitchen came out to another table and engaged in a lengthy conversation with two women on the proper cooking of chiles.
On our previous visit, we ordered enchiladas and a chile relleno for me. We found the food good but not spectacular. Would anything change this time?
Chuck ordered the beef fajitas that came with rice, beans, and guacamole and only one flour tortilla for wrapping.
I ordered the day’s special—the pork carnitas tacos. Again, what I got wasn’t what I was expecting.
Fortunately, the plate came with a small cup of minced cilantro, onion, and lettuce, and I added a cup of chopped roasted Hatch green chiles. These, along with the guacamole from Chuck’s plate, helped immensely.
The beans were a combination of whole and mashed and had a smoky meaty undertone. The rice was better than average and seemed to have a distinct lime flavor. I know that there is a commercial Mexican seasoning—Tajin Clasico Seasoning—that contains lime and I wonder if this was used here.
We finished with an order of sopapillas that were good but—like those at Garcia’s—not as good as Cecelia’s Café’s.
To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.