Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
DENVER – Colorado Gov. Jared Polis isn’t conceding defeat in the so-called Chile War with New Mexico, but he may be in need of a napkin to lick his wounds after tasting defeat in a story that literally comes out of left field.
A concession stand on the outfield concourse near the left field foul pole at Coors Field in Denver sells a variety of sausages, including a Hatch green chile and cheese bratwurst. To elbow in on territory in Colorado’s state capital where the home team is called the Colorado Rockies amounts to a squeeze play victory for New Mexico chile. But Polis refuses to surrender his claim that chile grown in Pueblo, Colorado, is somehow superior to that grown south of his state’s border.
“The chile wars continue and the chile to our south remains an inferior chile,” Polis insisted in a statement to the Journal. “Anyone is free to serve whatever they’d like and we urge them to serve the best chile in the world: the Pueblo chile.”
Colorado and New Mexico have been engaged in a friendly competition over who grows the best chile in the world for some time now. The dispute heated up after New Mexico started issuing licence plates declaring the state more than just the “Land of Enchantment,” but also the “Chile Capital of the World.”
The state staked its claim following a monumental win by the “Centennial State” when Whole Foods switched to selling Pueblo chile at its regional stores – except those in New Mexico.
Polis then boasted that Pueblo chile was “widely acknowledged as the best chile in the world,” adding, “New Mexico stores will unfortunately not be offering the best chile and will instead keep offering inferior New Mexico chile.”
“We have the best chile in the world – period,” New Mexico’s then-Gov. Susana Martinez fired back. “Whether you’re going for red, green or Christmas, you can’t go wrong with New Mexico chile. And while I enjoy a little friendly competition with our neighbors to the north, I think we all know that there’s only one chile capital of the world: New Mexico.”
The war of words heated up again after Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took office and the New Mexico Department of Tourism launched a “New Mexico True: Chile Capital of the World” marketing campaign that invaded Colorado.
Polis roasted the attack on his state.
“The fact that they have to design a promotional campaign in support of their chiles shows how superior the Pueblo Chile is,” Polis said tweeted. “Our Pueblo chile promotes itself. Granting yourself a title doesn’t simply make it true.”
Lujan Grisham then sent a spicy volley back to her Colorado counterpart.
“If Pueblo chile were any good, it would have been on national shelves before now,” she replied in a tweet. “If Colorado wants to go chile to chile, no question that New Mexico can bring the heat – Hatch chile is, has always been and will always be the greatest in the world.”
The pandemic seems to have caused a cease-fire in the Chile War. But it’s back on now, with New Mexico chile scoring a home run in Colorado’s own ballpark.
Polis went so far as to suggest that the New Mexico green chile and cheese bratwurst being sold at Coors Field was responsible for the poor play by the team that bears the name of his great state.
“The way the Rockies have been playing, it’s clear they need to upgrade their chile,” he said.
Alas, the Rockies, whose top minor league team is the Albuquerque Isotopes, entered play on Monday with a 31-47 record, 19½ games behind the San Francisco Giants in the National League West.
Informed that New Mexico seemingly scored victory in the Chile War with a Hatch green chile and cheese bratwurst at Colorado Rockies games, Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Meyers Sackett celebrated victory.
“Ha! New Mexico chile is always the winner,” she replied in an email.