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Watch: Why Green and Red Chiles Are at the Center of New Mexican Food

Cooking in America stops by Santa Fe’s Palacio Cafe for an introduction to the local pepper-centric cuisine

“What makes New Mexican food so great is also what limits it,” says Santa Fe native and You Can Do This host, Clifford Endo. Endo — who is joining host Sheldon Simeon on the premiere of Cooking in America’s Santa Fe season — is referring to Santa Fe’s grande pepper, a native chile pepper that’s a major ingredient and a main decorative piece for the city. “If it’s not from here, it’s not going to taste the same.”

Endo is taking Simeon to one of his favorite places in Santa Fe: Palacio Cafe, run by Damian and Maria Muñoz. Damian comes from nearby Mexican restaurant the Shed, where he spent 20 years perfecting the restaurant’s green and red chiles. At Palacio Cafe, Damian is smothering his own versions of green and red chile on dishes like cheese enchiladas, beef and bean burritos, and a handful of breakfast burritos. “I want everyone to know what this [food] is about,” says Endo. “But I want people to have it in the context of this city.”

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