Hatch Chili

Hatch Chili

How good is your Austin trivia? How deep do the memories run?

Having traipsed up and down the hard, New Mexico line, from Austin to El Paso, then up to Santa Fe, and back again, too many times?

Hatch, NM, home to a valley that produces some of the best-marketed peppers in the world. Practically, with one’s eyes shut? There is no difference in taste between a Hatch poblano and regular store-bought poblano, which, in some kind of miracle, Hatch is now producing in quantities that defy logic.

They sell them at the walmarts.

The Austin trivia connection, friend of a friend started playing the “I remember when” with old Austin trivia.

I remember when the fall season was marked by the original Chuy’s on Barton Springs Road had a “Hatch Chili Festival,” with a single roaster, outside, gently roasting peppers, the tangy, almost acrid tinge to the aroma of peppers in the air. The added portion? Grocery stores, Whole Foods, and burger chains didn’t offer this as a seasonal menu. No one ever heard of “Hatch Chili,” outside of central New Mexico and old south Austin.

That’s old Austin.

Hatch Chili

Hatch Chili roasted along Barton Springs Road, and little further along? Roadside vendors selling the same.

Subsidiary memory? Then President Bush’s daughter used a fake ID to drink alcohol there? Austin wasn’t “kind” to hipsters, or Millennials, or whatever was trendy? No, that’s overtly hostile.

“Millennials! Am I right?”

Even the former governor’s daughter, busted for underage drinking.

That’s old Austin.

Hatch Chili

That Hatch Chili is more commonplace now. Shows up in ice cream, bacon, and so forth.

But it all started with that single roaster on Barton Springs Road — that’s old Austin.

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.4
  • Camera: iPad Pro
  • Focal length: 3.3mm
  • ISO: 80
  • Location: 30° 17′ 52.45″ N 97° 43′ 2.31″ W
  • Shutter speed: 1/30s

About the author: Born and raised in East Texas, Kramer Wetzel, settled in a South Austin trailer park before trailer parks were cool. He now lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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