On the subject of green chile cheeseburgers, I've always thought they don't need much more than the ingredients in their name.
Then Danny Bowien and his Mission Cantina chefs—Angela Dimayuga and Alison Rivera—introduced me to the phenom chile cheeseburger they've put on their new Tex Mex menu. It's not that the burger has a lot more than green chiles and cheese going for it. It's the genius way they prepare it. First, green chiles (a mix of serrano and Anaheim and others they have on hand) are grilled, then fermented and turned into a spicy tangy sauce that approximates legendary green Hatch chiles. Next, Bowien addresses the problems of burgers that have too much bun. "It always happens," he says. So he scoops out the filling of the top half of each bun and stuffs it with shredded mozzarella cheese. He throws that on the griddle, next to the burgers (made with a Pat LaFrieda blend of chuck, shortrib and brisket) so it forms a melty crust. He tops the burger with crumbled feta cheese, because it delivers more flavor than queso fresco, spoons the green chile sauce over it, and tops it all with the cheesy bun. And there it is, my new favorite chile cheeseburger.