Omnivore - A tale of two stuffed poblanos

Twenty years ago, you couldn't get a decent chile relleno in our city. When you found it on a menu, it was invariably made with a bell pepper, instead of a poblano pepper. We won't even discuss the Velveeta-esque cheese typically used. That has changed and now the usually mild, slightly stinging poblano is ubiquitous.

Quality, on the other hand, ranges all over the place. Here's a case in point. The classic chile relleno (top photo) at the new, gringo-oriented Holy Taco (1314 Glenwood Ave., 404-230-6177) beats the chile relleno at the "authentic" El Rey del Taco (5288 Buford Hwy., 770-986-0032) by a mile (right).

In El Rey's version, the chile is over-cooked and stuffed with tasteless baby shrimp, then submerged in a tomatoey sauce. Holy Taco's version, lightly battered and filled with white cheese is just right.

Other experts with poblanos are Eddie Hernadez of the defunct Sundown Cafe and Lucero Martinez-Obregon of Zocalo. Both have on occasion served chiles en nogada — a stuffed poblano topped with white walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.

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