Chuy’s is easily one of my favorite restaurants. I’ll admit that there may be a bias to my opinion, but even the bias has merit. Established in 1982, Chuy’s is headquartered in Austin, Texas – and as a Texan girl, I know that this fact yields the expectation that they know how to serve up proper Tex-Mex cuisine. As a Florida transplant, Chuy’s has been one of the VERY few purveyors of quality Tex-Mex in the Sunshine State, satiating my food-related homesickness on many occasions. We Texans hold high expectations for our Mexican cuisine – much like a New Yorker’s passion for pizza, so yes… I’m a wee bit partial here. On the flipside of that coin however, Chuy’s earns every bit of praise I toss their way. The food is not only amazing, but in true Texas style – portions are tremendous, and friendly service is a standard.
We recently visited Chuy’s in Kissimmee, Florida to experience the Green Chile Festival – an annual, three week long event in its 28th year, celebrating the harvest of the Hatch Green Chiles from Hatch, New Mexico. The festival features a special, six-item original menu (each item priced under $12) incorporating fresh green chiles, as well as chile-infused beverages like the Mexican Martini. I also highly recommend the Prickly Pear Margarita – or, for those feeling torn between liquor and beer, opt for the Chuy’s Brew, which combines Corona and Margarita!
Let’s take a closer look at this year’s Green Chile Fest menu items…
Queso Fundido makes for a tantalizing shared appetizer, or can easily be a hardy entree for one. A brilliant combination of ample jack cheese, spicy chorizo, green chiles and pico de gallo, this can work as a dip for your complimentary tortilla chips, or as filling for the made-from-scratch tortillas that are included. We made four stuffed “burritos” out of the dish. Considering that I am an immeasurable fan of chorizo, this may have been my favorite item on the Green Chile Fest menu. Just the right level of spice and “kick”, and an abundance of cheese put the Queso Fundido straight over the top.
Spinach Chicken Enchiladas combine meat, veggie and luscious jack cheese rolled into homemade corn tortillas. Topped with a ridiculously tasty green chile cream sauce, the enchiladas are served with refried beans and green chile rice. I typically prefer beef to chicken in my Tex-Mex, and I am not at all a fan of spinach, so I’m very surprised to say that I loved this dish! The cream sauce is absolutely the element that seals the deal and makes this a must-have menu choice.
Green Chile Street Tacos feature chunks of steak carnitas and cotija cheese with a topper combo of tomatoes, green chiles and cilantro. While these are absolutely yummy, my personal preference would have called for less tomato and slightly heavier seasoning on the meat. This entree is also accompanied by the green chile rice, which I had become quite the fan of by this time.
Burrito Loco is simply gargantuan! Buried beneath the roasted pork green chile poblano sauce, green chiles, cotija cheese and onion is a flour tortilla stuffed with green chile and poblano peppers, beans and jack cheese. I’m not sure how you say “out of this world” in Spanish, but… YES! You would be LOCO if you passed this item up. If it wasn’t for my loyalty to chorizo, the Burrito Loco would probably top my obsession with the Queso Fundido! Once again, you’ll enjoy a hardy helping of green chile rice with this entree.
The Valley Combo is a great option for the indecisive diner. It includes the Spinach Chicken Enchilada (with that exquisite cream sauce I’ve already raved about), and a ridiculously colossal cheese chile relleno. Served with green chile rice and refried beans, The Valley Combo is a diverse sampling of deliciousness. Personally, I just want to know when Chuy’s will offer those chile rellenos in bulk to-go fashion!
Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken is a creation borne of culinary genius! Let’s just gloss over the chile rice and refried beans this time because you will be far too focused on the deep fried chicken breast that is breaded with Lay’s potato chips. Oh yes – they went there!! Top with green chile sauce and cheddar cheese and you have an undeniably enticing treat for the taste buds. Okay, so I can admit that this probably couldn’t be less healthy, but it is absolutely worth every bit of potential regret.
Tres Leches Cake is not an item direct from the Green Chile Fest menu, but I certainly wasn’t turning it away when it was presented. Full stomach or not, I just had to try it, and I’m glad I did. This is a regular menu item at Chuy’s. Just do it… save room, take it home – whatever you have to do, don’t pass it by.
Chuy’s Green Chile Fest runs from August 15th through September 4th. Get those chile-infused masterpieces while the chiles are fresh, folks! There are more than 70 Chuy’s locations throughout 12 U.S. states. To find a location near you, visit Chuy’s online. Follow Chuy’s on Facebook and Twitter.