I Ate This: Frito Pie, or, Back from Vacation

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Origin myths under debate:

1. Was the universe created in one Big Bang or seven days?

2. Did Marco Polo really bring pasta to Italy from China?

3. Was the Frito pie invented in Texas or New Mexico?

Re the latter: Here's a recent Dallas newspaper article that reviews Frito pies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, yet argues the dish must have been invented in Texas. (Though the author can't back up her assertion with any facts. Hunh. Texans.)

Before I drove around New Mexico last week, I asked fellow bacon addict and former Santa Fe Reporter restaurant critic Gwyneth Doland for advice on where to get the best Frito pie when I stopped in Santa Fe. She, as well as onetime New Mexico resident Laura Onstot, both said that the best place to get Frito pie is at high school basketball games. Basketball season being over for the year, Gwyneth said I should visit the Cowgirl.

Holy shit, was it good: Served in a bowl (well, it did cost $7), with just enough of the bag appearing to make it "authentic," the Cowgirl's Frito pie was one big mess of chips slathered in spoon-tender beef stewed in red chile sauce, which I spruced up with onions, cheddar cheese, jalapenos, and sour cream. I felt a little guilty for eating the Frito pie with metal silverware, but after the second bite I stopped caring. The next day, when I was describing the dish on the phone to my mom, who has never been to either New Mexico or Texas, she requested that I recreate it for her when she comes to Seattle for Mother's Day. So I have to do a little reverse engineering, using red chiles I bought in Chimayo, and will hope that it's not too spicy for a Hoosier palate.

Another high point of the New Mexico trip, as you might imagine:

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