Chile vs. Chile: The Arcata Standoff


As discussed last week, chile relleno appears to come in a spectrum. We've been treated to both the traditional Poblano pepper wrapped in batter and the equally sabroso omelet-style yumminess. Our readers, however, took exception this week to our inclusion of the eggy offering from Arcata's Fiesta Grill and Cantina (3525 Janes Rd).

So, first, in our defense, we did call and ask for both kinds, but were told only the egg version was available. The very nice (and very busy) lady on the phone broke down their chile relleno-making process, which she said involved folding the pepper into the batter right on the grill. Mmmm! We were pretty delighted with the spiciness and nice, even batter with the oozy Monterey Jack cheese inside. Yes, we know, Monterey Jack is not exactly traditional, but it's the taste that matters, okay? 

Carmela's in Arcata serves up a more traditional fare. - GRANT SCOTT GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott Goforth
  • Carmela's in Arcata serves up a more traditional fare.
Across town, Carmelas (1288 G St) handed us a hefty package of cilantro-sprinkled goodness. That deep brown batter, that gooey traditional cheese...we could see why people have their platonic ideal of the perfect chile relleno. But...were we comparing apples to oranges? Was the egg version not a worthy contender to the traditional masa version? We decided to withhold judgement. Next week we'll pit Fiesta Grill and Cantina's more traditional version against Carmela's and toss in the much-nominated Valley Azteca to boot. Three chile rellenos in one week? Yeah, we can handle it. Heck, why not nominate yet another Arcata favorite into the ring. The ultimate winner will go up against Fortuna and Eureka's favorites in our ongoing quest to find #humboldtsbestchilerelleno.

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