Had a late check-out at the [almost] 2-month old Holiday Inn, located at Truth or Consequences, NM. First of all, what the heck kind of town name is that? Truth or Consequences? I imagine this town used to be some rebel settlement where you had gunslingers duking it out on Date Street (one of the main streets in the tiny town). I suppose, with a name like this, you can let your imagination run wild.
The Holiday Inn Express itself was super new. I bet our room had been previously occupied only once–if at all! Everything was excellent. One criticism I do have is their decision to stick the coffee maker on the bathroom counter, directly next to the toilet. Gross. This new hotel is also the tallest hotel in the entire town, with three floors. That’s how tiny this place was.
After taking advantage of the late check-out, we headed out to Hatch, New Mexico. The chile capital of the country. Can’t cite reputable sources where this claim is made, but I believe Anthony Bourdain has said this. If you watch his show “No Reservations,” he visits this restaurant called Peppy’s Pot (now renamed to Pepper Pot). In the show, he orders the enchiladas, half green chile and half red chile. I did the same thing, except I added chicken in the mix. It was damn good. Bourdain concluded that he liked the red chile more, while I ended falling for the green chile. But, to put it in perspective, liking one chile over another is all about preference. Both chile sauces are excellent. Very rich and distinct flavors, with a lot of depth in it. I have a bias towards green chiles anyway (hence, my inclination to cook chicken chile verde for leftover chicken), so my preference did not come as a surprise.
The reason for the title of this post has to do with the fact that I was starstruck as soon as we pulled over in front of the restaurant. I don’t get starstruck easily. Not sure if it’s my Los Angeles upbringing, but that’s how I roll. Anyway, I had been anticipating this visit since I was able to take my mind off school. As soon as we walked in, I could instantly point out where Tony Bourdain and his crew sat. And, to my excitement, I saw one of the two sisters (the owners) out on the floor talking to customers. Holy shit. I figuratively peed in my pants.
We ate, we now understood the hype. Robin also preferred the green chile sauce, and jointly concluded that it was worth the stop. I had anxiety about talking to one of the owners, but Robin ultimately convinced me to go for it. So, I pestered the waitress (who I surmised was one of the daughters of the owners, and future heir of the secret recipes) to talk to one of them. Mensa, I believe her name was, came out looking confused and I sputtered out, “Hi, we came out here from LA–we saw you on TV–we are such big fans–can I take a picture?” I don’t think I said one complete sentence to the lady. So, Robin took a picture, we shook hands some more, promised to come back again, and we were off. On the way to door, my knees buckled, and I started giggling. I looked like someone who was high on marijuana.