There are numerous vegetables and fruits that are associated with specific locations around the country, but only a handful of edibles that attract fans simply because of that certain smell they exude.
For sure, orange blossoms around Santa Paula smell like nothing else, though that's the flower, not the fruit. And Oak Glen apples? Yep, they count, when they're baking in pies.
Chile, however, rules the roost on the smells-extraordinary-when-roasting part. It's the scent of fall around Hatch, New Mexico, the famous HQ for the famous peppers. And if you fretted that you weren't going to make the Land of Enchantment for your piquant pod fix this autumn, fret not, fiery fans: Shutters on the Beach is devoted four dishes, including dessert, to the seasonal delicacy.
The Hatch Chile Festival menu is available at the Santa Monica eatery through Wednesday, Oct. 8.
The starter? It's a chile-luscious quesadilla. The entree? Think BBQ Pork Chop. Dessert includes cornbread, creme fraiche, a roasted Hatch chile, and candy bacon. (!!! is what we say to that.) And, indeed, there's an adult beverage involving the chile, ginger beer, pineapple ice, and mescal.
There should be some pleasant burn to that one, what with the ginger and the chile forming a palate-awakening pairing.
The dishes come as a trio for $34, and the drink is another $6 when ordered alongside.
Too much chile? Nah. Certainly a Hatch fan, someone who dreams of visiting New Mexico solely to eat a fresh roaster right in the town where it was grown, will be game for all four.
Because every chile fan knows two things: One? You always spell chile, as in the pepper, with an "e" on the end, rather than an "i," at least when talking about Hatch's famous crop.
And two? If you find three dishes and a drink that include Hatch chiles, all in one place, you typically eat all three dishes, and a drink, if possible. That heat-building-on-heat thing is one of the sweet treats of a Southwest fall.