The Big Frito Pie Flap & More

Gourmet Girl - October 2, 2013

Locals react to Anthony Bourdain's insult to the Five & Dime's Frito pie...

The Big Frito Pie Flap

Anthony Bourdain has been the culinary world's bad boy ever since his book “Kitchen Confidential” exposed the seamy side of New York's restaurant world. Now he's in the spotlight for slinging around some derogatory terms about one of our very own food icons–the Frito pie—during a recent episode of his CNN show “Parts Unknown,” which was devoted to New Mexico.

Bourdain said the world-famous Frito pie he sampled at the Five & Dime General Store on the Plaza in Santa Fe was made with “canned Hormel Chili and a "day-glow orange cheese-like substance,” sparking outrage among New Mexicans. Worse, he described the dish as “warm crap in bag” and claimed that it originated in Texas, not New Mexico.

"Neither the Frito, nor the Frito pie, are indigenous to New Mexico,” Bourdain said on his show. “New Mexico, you have many wonderful things. I think, let Texas have this one."

His remarks set off a maelstrom of criticism from Frito pie fans everywhere, and the national media covered it the way rich, red chile sauce covers the beef, beans and Frito chips in an autenthic Frito Pie. Five & Dime manager Mike Collins spoke out, defending the dish. Bourdain was “completely wrong” about the Hormel chilii," he said, according to ABC News and other national news outlets. "I don't have any idea where he got that from. I mean, if we're using canned Hormel Chili then I'd like to buy stock in that because what we have is good."

Bourdain relented. “He admits that 'we got it wrong' about the chile,” his spokeswoman Karen Reynolds told the Associated Press. She also stated that the show's writer was incorrect in his description of the chile used by the Five & Dime. She promised to try and correct the errors in future airings of the show.

But Santa Fe may not be done with Bourdain yet. In the wake of the Frito pie kerfuffle,  Bourdain has officially been invited to FUZE.SW, the food+folklore conference at the Museum of International Folk Art Nov. 8-11. He'd be perfect on the panel New Mexico's Favorite Indulgence: Frito Pies, moderated by chef Rocky Durham and including New Mexico chile experts Dave De Witt, and Paul Bosland and Estevan Arellana, who grows chile in Embudo. He might also enjoy listening to a panel discussion about New Mexico's chile wars, moderated by author Carmella Padilla.

FUZE.SW is Santa Fe’s first-ever food conference of its kind and it promises to be exciting. James Beard Award-winning authors and chefs from across the country will gather with leading historians, archaeologists, cultural commentators and folklorists to explore the diverse heritages that make up New Mexico's distinctive cuisine.

Eat Drink Local Month

It's October, and edible Santa Fe is presenting the very first Eat Drink Local Month in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos, The food magazine requests that readers take the Eat Drink Local Challenge and pledge to eat food that's grown locally all month long.

More than three dozen restaurants are participating in this event as part of the Moveable Feast, a regional, roving celebrates that commemorates Eat Drink Local Month. Each restaurant offers specials and prix fixe dinners, appetizers, entrees, desserts and more, and each dish is made with at least 60 percent of ingredients from around New Mexico.

Participating restaurants in Santa Fe include Joe's Dining, Il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen, La Boca, Taberna La Boca, Santa Fe Culinary Academy, Terra at  Rancho Encantada, Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen and Flying Star Cafe.

For more info and a schedule of restaurant dinners, visit

The Santa Fe Reporter's Secret Supper

This sounds like fun. The Santa Fe Reporter is hosting Secret Supper 2013 Restaurant, a lavish dinner Oct. 15 at a restaurant that is yet to be named. Only 50 tickets are available for this exclusive event, which will take place at the restaurant that receives the publication's Best Restaurant Award for 2013.

You can buy tickets now online at, but you won't find out where you'll be dining until noon or earlier on the day of event. Then be dressed and ready for dinner at 6:30 p.m.