This entry is long overdue. I don't even know where to begin, except by conveying my overwhelming excitement and sheer joy when I heard a New Mexican restaurant was coming to Everett in 2012. I actually didn't hear about it, but happened to drive down Hewitt, headed towards the water, and I saw the large banner. Yellow and red, caught my eye. I saw the Zia symbol next, and then "The New Mexicans" in large letters. I immediately pulled over, called my husband, and told him I was coming home, and then we were all going out to dinner.
I realize that those of you not from the great state of NM might be thinking "everyone loves their hometown food, what makes New Mexican food so special that I'd want to try it?" I know I'm biased, but anyone with a recipe can make grits at home, same with a good Philly cheesesteak, etc. The thing about New Mexican food is that it's difficult to find Hatch Chile. That's the key ingredient, and while it's getting a little easier (I've found frozen Bueno at the Marysville Albertson's, and one year the Everett Farmers' Market was roasting fresh), for the most part it's too hard to find good green chile in Washington state, and I can't imagine that I ever would, say I lived in Middle-America.
The New Mexicans is not the first NM restaurant in Western Washington. When we first moved here in 2008, we found the Santa Fe Café in the Phinney Ridge neighborhood of Seattle. I happily ordered their green chile tamales, only to find out that they had gentrified New Mexican food. This means they can charge more for less food. While they're more than welcome to do that, I wanted sloppy servings of meat, cheese, chile, beans, and tortillas. They do not offer that. They offer small, healthy portions, that provided little comfort, even if they might be the better life choice. I don't even think they're getting fresh chile's. They tasted like canned. Never mind though, I just looked up their information to give you a price estimate and chile facts, and have seen via Yelp, that they are closed. Now I feel a little bad...
...not so bad that I won't show the New Mexicans' amazing sopapillas. I will admit that they are a bit doughier that the ones from home. The air pocket in the middle isn't perfect, but they are cooking at sea-level, as apposed to a mile-high. Did you know that Albuquerque is a mile-high, just like Denver? They're served with honey butter and a honey bear. So delicious!
So which menu item is my favorite?
Everyone I've recommend this restaurant to has loved it, and everyone I've taken here, frequently brings it up as their go-to lunch suggestion. I forgot to mention that the décor is lovely, warm and golden, with Southwestern art, and an nice patio out back. They also have amazing dessert, even a cinnamon-roll the size of your head. I'm hoping a nod to the Frontier in ABQ (though the taste and size has declined). If you haven't been there, you should run.
I can count on one hand the foods I dislike, and I'll typically even eat those. Typically frugal, but I'll pay top dollar for an amazing/unique dining experience. Never passed up a free meal, which has led me to become the #36 ranked eater in Major League Eating. July 4th, 2020 will be my third time competing in the Nathan's Hot Dog eating contest at Coney Island. I've been on ESPN. That's right people, I'm an athlete.