When Anthony Aguillon opened his Santa Fe-style restaurant here in 2001, nobody else talked about green chile season or Hatch, N.M.
Then came the city’s first Central Market, and with it the first Hatch Festival celebrating the annual August harvest of New Mexico peppers.
“At first, I was like, why are people here making such a big deal out of our chile peppers?” said Aguillon. He grew up in New Mexico helping harvest them, and now serves red and green chile dishes at his Santa Fe-style La Choza Fine Foods in western Tarrant County near Lakeside.
“But now, I get excited about Hatch season. It’s like being back in New Mexico where people get so excited. It’s the time when you get really great, fresh chiles.”
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La Choza serves red and green chile dishes year-round, including a green chile burger and stacked chicken enchiladas with green chile. It’s open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, lunch Monday at 7001 Confederate Park Road (Farm Road 1886); 817-751-9060.
Chiles time at Chuy’s
If Central Market sparked the Hatch frenzy here, the return of Austin-based Chuy’s Tex-Mex fired it to full blast.
Chuy’s restaurants will begin serving Hatch specials Aug. 14 and continue them through Sept. 3.
Chuy’s menu includes a burrito “en fuego” covered with a new salsa “fuego.” Other dishes include chicken enchiladas with Hatch green chile-cream sauce, pork enchiladas with Chuy’s “boom-boom” sauce and steak tacos.
The three local Chuy’s Tex-Mex locations are: 2401 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-332-2489; 9700 North Freeway, Fort Worth, 817-741-6090; and 4001 Bagpiper Way, Arlington, 817-557-2489, chuys.com.
(The Adame family’s small, local suburban Chuy’s restaurants are not related.)
Pappasito’s goes green
Houston-based Pappasito’s Cantina also launched its Hatch Green Chile Fest this week, offering pork tamales with Hatch salsa, Hatch pepper queso, Hatch pork enchiladas, fire-roasted Hatch rellenos and more items.
Tarrant County has two Pappasito’s locations: 2704 West Freeway, Fort Worth, 817-877-5546, and 321 Road to Six Flags West, Arlington, 817-795-3535; pappasitos.com.
Other restaurants continuing Hatch chile festivals: Irving-based Blue Mesa Grill (try the Hatch brownie sundae) and the Dallas-based El Fenix Restaurants.
Vacation time for Tandoor
For many Texans, our first Indian food came from the lunch buffet at Tandoor Indian Restaurant in Arlington.
For the first time since Tandoor opened in 1985, it’s getting a complete remodeling and new look. The restaurant will reopen about September.
“It’s been here 30 years” — 32! — “and it was time to update,” said Gagan Saini, daughter of founder Harpal Singh.
Tandoor’s tikka masala and tandoori chicken won’t change, Saini said. The restaurant will have new flooring and a sleek gray look throughout, with a new kitchen.
Watch for it to reopen at 1200 North Fielder Plaza; 817-261-6604, tandoorindian.net.
(In the meantime, don’t miss the new Mughlai Fine Indian Cuisine, 3311 Texas 114 East, Southlake; 817-251-0663, mughlaidfw.com.)
Countdown to Hopdoddy
Fort Worth’s wait is ending for Hopdoddy’s “Llano poblano” burger, the “Magic ’Shroom” and the new meat-ish “Impossible Burger.”
The first Hopdoddy in Tarrant County will open Aug. 21 at 2300 W. Seventh St. in the Left Bank shopping center.
Hopdoddy was founded in Austin by the same partners who started Eddie V’s Prime Seafood. It’s known for natural-beef burgers in clever combinations, Kennebec fries, green-chile white queso, cocktails and shakes.