Denver: From lamb, bison and beef to Olathe corn, Palisade peaches and Rocky Ford melons, Colorado’s ranching and farming history has yielded a cornucopia of homegrown treasures. But if there’s one thing we can’t get enough of morning, noon and night, season in and season out, it’s green chile. Be it thin or thick, with pork or without, ladled over burritos or showcased in a bowl, its variations are endless and its addictiveness incurable.
Where to Try: There’s not a street in Denver where you won’t find it, but El Taco de Mexico remains our go-to for green chile at its most simple and pure.
Seattle: While Denver might be famous for its Rocky Mountain Oysters, we’ve got the real deal in the Northwest - some of the best, or maybe the best, bivalves in the world. Pacific oysters grown plump around the Puget Sound are smaller, sweeter and more delicate than their East Coast cousins.
Where to Try: For raw oysters on the half-shell, try Elliott’s Oyster House - where dozens of variations from different producers are on display on ice near the entry - Seatown Seabar, The Brooklyn and at Blueacre, which also serves an updated of a Rockefeller with wilted spinach and apple-smoked bacon.
The Verdict: Legendary food writer Calvin Trillin once wrote an entire essay about the joys of green chile, calling it a "bowful of dreams." While we agree 100% with that statement - even the most soul-warming dish of chile-smothered enchiladas can't take away the fact that an oyster is one of nature's perfect foods. It is as good, if not better, raw, than cooked, and the shellfish's haunting, umami-packed flavor and has inspired not just magazine articles, but many, many books. Another win for the west coast.