Anthony Bourdain attacks NM 'Frito pie' dish

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Insults dished out by food critic Anthony Bourdain on an episode of CNN's "Parts Unknown" have stirred up outrage in New Mexico.

The sharp-tongued chef and writer lashed into the "World Famous" Frito pies sold at Santa Fe's Five & Dime General Store's snack bar — a tourist attraction and a mainstay in the city's historic plaza.

The dish, according to Bourdain, tasted as if it were made with canned Hormel Chili and a "day-glow orange cheese-like substance."

He also charged that the local favorite isn't even a New Mexico meal, but rather a Texas creation. He said New Mexicans should leave the recipe to the Texans.

"New Mexico, you have many wonderful things," Bourdain said. "I think, let Texas have this one."

Mike Collins, store manager of the Five & Dime, says Bourdain was "completely wrong" on the store's Frito pie. He said their version is homemade from chile grown in New Mexico and remains popular.

"I don't have any idea where he got that from," Collins said. "I mean, if we're using canned Hormel Chili then I'd like to buy stock in that because what we have is good."

Still, Collins said he and the staff don't have any ill feelings toward Bourdain. He said during the taping of his visit, he was nice and a pleasure to be around.

Bourdain spokesman Karen Reynolds did not immediately return an email message from The Associated Press. However, Reynolds told the Santa Fe New Mexican that she didn't expect Bourdain to issue an apology or make a correction.

The food critic wasn't all negative toward New Mexico on the episode. Bourdain is seen driving through Route 66 in New Mexico and speaks of the famous highway's different cultures and cornucopia of food. He also is shown enjoying some "level 3" green chile and having to "wait it out" while the spicy effects wear off.

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