It's Hatch chile season! If you've never had the long, green, hot cousins of the Anaheim chile that grow in southeastern New Mexico, now's the time to try them. They make awesome green chile, of course, fantastic Ortega burgers and they're sublime stuffed with cheese, battered and deep-fried.
Gustavo posted last week that there's been a drought; there are fewer chiles, they're hotter and they're more expensive than usual--none of which will keep chile heads away.
El Rey Farms up in Whittier has been bringing in Hatch chiles for eons; they set up at La Puente High School and churn huge lines of people through. They've sold out all but the last week of the season, and they're really expensive: $39 per 40-pound sack, plus a $13 fee for roasting.
If you're going to get the chiles roasted, though, you don't want the hassle of El Rey anyway; you want the Frieda's folks, who are importing and roasting Hatch chiles at various Ralphs throughout the county. I went to go buy forty pounds on Saturday at the Ralphs on 17th Street in Costa Mesa--the first roast of the season in OC--and there were maybe four people total in line. Since I wanted mine fresh, I didn't have to wait at all.
If you want your chiles roasted, it's cheaper to go to Frieda's; a sack of 30 pounds costs $29.99 and includes roasting if you want; if thirty pounds of fresh chiles is overwhelming to you, you can purchase 10 pounds for $16.99.
Albertsons in La Habra will be doing one roast in OC this year; a 30-pound sack is $34.99, including roasting.
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Bristol Farms in Newport Beach will be roasting on Labor Day weekend; a 20-pound case is $35; you can purchase loose chiles for $1.79 a pound. A spokesman at Henry's/Sprouts in Laguna Niguel said there will not be a Hatch chile roast this year.
While none of the roasts have the bizarre set of lines and rules that the El Rey roasts do, show up earlier rather than later, because once the pallets of chiles are gone, that's it for the day. If you know of Hatch chile roastings that aren't listed, please let us know--we'd love nothing better than to get more Orange Countians hooked on these things.
August 20: Ralphs, 5241 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach; (714) 377-0024. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
August 20: Albertsons, 1800 W. Whittier Blvd., La Habra; (562) 697-6442. 6 a.m.-noon.
August 27: Ralphs, 13321 Jamboree Rd., Tustin; (714) 544-0491. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
September 3: Bristol Farms, 810 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach; (949) 760-6514. 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
September 4: Bristol Farms, 810 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach; (949) 760-6514. 8 a.m.-2 p.m.