Monday, June 8, 2015

The Original Frito Pie

Who knew that the world famous Frito Pie had such a humble beginning?

Legend has it that the first Frito Pie was created at a lunch counter in the back of a five and dime store on the Santa Fe Plaza. 

The unassuming store, formerly a Woolworth's, sells every type of souvenir trinket you could imagine, but its true claim to fame is their served-in-a-bag concoction, a favorite among locals.

Unlike the Walking Taco, Frito Pie consists of a bag of Fritos sliced open along the side, a red chile sauce and ground beef mixture, pinto beans and shredded cheddar cheese on top.

My husband and I decided to investigate this regional classic.  We were a bit nervous that the dish would be flaming-hot spicy, but heck, it was nothing that a little Pepto couldn't cure, right?  

So we ordered one to share, and I committed myself to a few bites.

While assembling our pie, the woman behind the counter explained that the store had been serving the dish since the 50s and that the red chile sauce and pinto beans are home made.  After topping it with a mound of cheddar, she handed it to us and told us to enjoy.

Surprisingly we did, and it was delicious. 

The red chile had a great flavor - it was spicy but not overly.  An interesting thing about Frito Pie is that it's on the menu at many New Mexican restaurants, each putting a different spin on the original.  

My husband ordered it at Ojo Caliente resort.  Theirs came with shredded pork instead of ground beef.  Oh, and sans the bag.

I just might use the red chile powder I bought at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market to create my own version - better call the fire department!

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