The patriotic plate

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My chile en nogada at a mountaintop eatery yesterday.

NEXT WEEK WE Mexicans celebrate our independence from the pinche españoles, the Spanish who had dominated us for centuries.

We tossed them out, and things have been much better ever since. Wait, maybe not. Gotta wonder if we might have been better off staying tied to Spain.

Among the questionable characters we’ve had running our show since 1810 have been Santa Anna, Porfirio Diáz and now López Obrador. Spanish royalty would have been preferable.

This dish you see above is served in restaurants around this time of year. It’s called chile en nogada or, as you more often see it written, chiles en nogada, plural. In spite of restaurants almost always writing the plural on menus, you just get one chile, not more. I think this is akin to Mexicans saying there are eight days in a week instead of seven.

We live in a wacky sea of illogicality.

Chile en nogada is a patriotic plate because it sports the colors of Mexico, red, white and green. It’s also sorta sweet and it’s served tepid. I like chile en nogada a lot.  Quite a few people do not, considering it a big, misplaced dessert.

¡Viva México! Or at least as long as I’m around.

20 thoughts on “The patriotic plate

    1. Señor Lanier, P.S.: The chile en nogada in the photo was a disappointment yesterday. I assume the chile is first boiled to soften it up before stuffing and the final touches done. But mine had not been boiled enough. It was tough. First time that had ever happened in that restaurant, a very popular, rather touristy, place quite near the Hacienda on the outskirts of town. It’s the only restaurant where I’ve ever ordered chile en nogada because it’s absurdly expensive in most places. Even the nearby place has raised the price — and all their prices — somewhat. I may have to abandon chile en nogada and that restaurant too. I’ve abandoned it a number of times in the past, but later I return. I must be more steadfast.


  1. The recipe calls for the peppers to be roasted, not boiled. Anyway, my tastebuds can’t reconcile the ingredients, especially the cream sauce.


    1. Carole: I was just guessing on it being boiled first. So, roasted? No matter. It wasn’t done enough for my dish yesterday. Wish it had been, especially since they upped the price this year.

      I just don’t understand you non-chile en nogada people. Sad.


  2. Beside the colors of the flag, it is also traditionally served in September, el mes de la patria, which also happens to coincide with the season of the walnut harvest, the nut which gives the dish its name. Actually the nut is more commonly called nuez de castilla but it comes from the walnut tree which is named nogal in Spanish.

    And there is nothing illogical about its name on the menu. There are times when singular and plural in Spanish just happen to be different than English. To ask the price of beans you wouldn’t say “que precio tienen los frijoles” but “que precio tiene el frijol”. It isn’t an “arpia de naranjas” but “una arpia de naranja” even though there are many.

    If you want something illogical how about the English word shrimp? One shrimp, a hundred shrimp, no difference in the spelling. Or sheep or deer. And if you really want something linguistically illogical, how about mouse and mice? Where did that come from?


    1. Gerard: I don’t see chile en nogada in these parts in September. Must be a Guadalajara thing.

      And you’re citing other Spanish as examples of logic?! I direct you back to the eight-day week.


      1. No, its a national tradition.

        You don’t see chiles en nogada in those parts in September? That kind of contradicts “this dish you see above is served in restaurants around this time of year” plus having on for dinner yesterday the 5th of September!


  3. Nogada must be roughly similar to nougat in English (or French or Azerbaijani), due to the sauce being nutty.


  4. Felipe,

    So inquiring minds want to know, how much was your Chile en Nogada up there on the mountaintop? At my favorite restaurant over here in Gringolandia it is 130 pesos.



    1. Troy: The restaurant in question, connected to a Pemex station, has chiles en nogada as a part of their comida corrida, something I’ve not seen anywhere else. The restaurant has been jacking up the price on its comida corrida for the past few years, and now it sits at, I believe, 95 pesos. The chile en nogada is still part of the comida corrida, but they’ve put an additional 15 pesos on the price of the chile en nogada if you order it. You still get the other dishes of the comida corrida, however. Price is still better than anywhere else I’ve ever seen it.


  5. I am agnostic on the dish. Probably because the quality over our way ranges from dreadful to edible. What I do like is the various layers of flavor. Too often it is overcooked for my taste.


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