Good New Mexican Food Was Worth Risking My Life, Quince Jerome

Quince JeromeI lived in New Mexico for only two years, although now that I’ve been visiting there for more than half my life, I consider it home. But two years or not, it was long enough to make me a food snob when it comes to the food. Ask anyone who’s put in any time in the “505”: We take our green chile VERY seriously. The first time I brought a jar home to a friend in NYC, I was horrified when I learned later that it had been poured into a bowl, mistaken for the sort of chile you eat at a football game. The New Mexican chile is an obsession put on everything from pizza at Dion’s to cheeseburgers, even at McDonald’s and Dairy Queen. But I digress. During a recent American Southwest roadtrip with my friend Diana, we received a restaurant recommendation for a good New Mexican restaurant called Quince (Jerome, Arizona( outside of Sedona, where we staying. What we didn’t know what was that the road to Jerome was a death-defying twist of asphalt heading straight up.

For New Mexican food, it was worth it.

I scoff at the salsa at about 95 percent of Mexican restaurants, often politely asking that the “tomato sauce” be removed from the table. But the trio of sauces at Quince Jerome was impressive. Each was unique, with the right amount of flavor and spice. I ate way too many chips. Not that I cared — I knew I was home.

Quince Jerome

 

For a starter, even though it was hot as blazes outside, there was no way I was leaving without a cup of green chile stew. They had a whopping six options, and I just didn’t know what to do about this. Diana got the green, so I tried one of the reds. I rarely order red green chiles, but here they beckoned. It was an excellent choice. It had just the right amount of kick to it, but it wasn’t hot just for the sake of being hot. That famous roasted green chile flavor seeped through every bite, and the homemade flour tortilla on the side was perfection.

Quince Jerome

 

For our entree, Diana and I split the fish tacos, which were more an ode to my time living in Costa Rica than New Mexico. Just look at ’em. Yum!

Quince Jerome

 

After I got home, I read a little bit about how the Bolivian Vlad Costa “the mad chef” made his way from Taos, NM (an amazing town, if you’ve never been) to charming Quince Jerome. But I’d love to learn more! What is clear: This guy has an enormous passion for food, and for authentic New Mexican cuisine. I couldn’t recommend it more!

 Quince Jerome

If you go:

Quince is open seven days a week and is located at 363 Main Street, right in the middle of historic downtown Jerome.

(928) 634-7087

Go on down and check out what I now officially called the best New Mexican joint outside of New Mexico (and it’s better than some places IN it, too.)

Enjoy!

 

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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Comments

  1. Mexican food is among my favorite foods out there, but you made me open the google and besides bookmaking Quince, I looked for a Mexican restaurant colse by to eat out tonight.

  2. Wow – It does look delicious, I love Mexican food, I just need to adjust the spicy sometimes 😛

  3. I’m in Austin, Texas for the weekend, so I might be going Tex Mex tonight. I can’t get enough of all of the different kinds!

  4. I had no clue New Mexico had its on take on cuisine, but it definitely sounds yummy.

  5. Ahem. Since Jerome is in Arizona, and Arizona is famous for great Mexican food. Why is this “New Mexican” food? Looks like Arizona Mexican to me.
    (signed, a proud resident of the Arizona Sonoran dessert, way south from Jerome.)

  6. Lol I love it!! Hatch green chiles come from across the border lol. So all of that stuff is ours. You can claim the fish tacos — those really weren’t that New Mexican! Seriously, I loved his mix of cuisines. He was an excellent chef!

  7. Oh my god, just reading this makes me want to go back there immediately and order another cup of that green chile. Mmmmm.

  8. I know — it was so good! I’ve always forgotten how bad the drive was lol. Almost.

  9. I love Mexican food, although I’ve never really had anything that could be classified as really authentic. Looking forward to it one day!

  10. A chile snob? Salsa doesn’t go in a bowl? I LOVE this post… I’m so in Jerome! 🙂

  11. Oh, that looks soooo good Abby 🙂

  12. My mouth is watering – I have yet to find any decent Mexican sauces here in Stavanger…what they call ‘hot’ is laughable.

  13. A friend of mine is mexican and before moving back to Guadalajara, where sh’s currently leaving, used to cook Mexican food! i love it; so spicY! My favourite meal is burrito! too yummy!

  14. Oh, Andrea, I can’t imagine “hot” sauce in Norway! It was hard to find even in Costa Rica…

    Goody, I would LOVE to have a friend from Guadalajara to cook for me!

  15. Abby: If you eat Salmon caught in the state of Washington, does that make the restaurant a Washingtonian restaurant? Fish tacos come from the Gulf of California, I think, so Arizona doesn’t claim them either. (We don’t have a lot of seafront.)

    But seriously, folks need to understand that there are many regional versions of Mexican food, and while Arizona tends to be the Sonoran (more beef, flour tortillas, chimichangas, and other specialties), New Mexican is more Chihuahuan and the chile is definitely hotter. Also you’ll see sopapillas on nearly all New Mexican Mexican restaurants (that wasn’t a typo) and almost never on Arizona Mexican restaurant menus.

  16. Yum sounds absolutely delicious! I’m not sure I even knew there was a distinction between New Mexican food and Mexican food but I’m willing to be educated 🙂

  17. You lived in New Mexico and you don’t write about food?? More food posts please!

  18. Dude, I love this foodie post from you! Keep it up!

  19. Growing up in El Paso (which is BASICALLY NM), I understand the craze. We used to go to the festival every year to bring some home and freeze for later use. SERIOUSLY GOOD. And the fish tacos… WOW I WANT!

  20. Mmm… I miss good Mexican food! You are lucky to live so close.

  21. Not going to lie… kind of hungry right now, thanks to you…

  22. Wow! You’re in New Mexico already 🙂

    Thank you for the Food Porn pics. I’ve been dying for a taste of New Mexico. Nowhere in Europe or Asia.. blegh!! Have fun, girl!!

    Cathy Trails

  23. Ah, you’re killing me! We haven’t had good Mexican food since leaving the U.S. 10 months ago. I’d give my left arm for some of this grub. 🙂

  24. I love that cow head’s and crosses photo. Love it!!

  25. Great slogan! We are all here because we are not all there! Love it

  26. argh. now i’m craving salsa. that looks wonderful!

  27. I love a good “bowl of green”. Had a really good one in Sante Fe, but I really want to go to the chile festival in Hatch,NM one day.

    Jerome is pretty cool too. If you like Jerome, check out Bisbee – same artsy vibe.

  28. Um…YUM this looks incredible! I have never had that kind of soup before. Must try!

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