I should have made a left at Albuquerque!

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ChiTownDiner
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sun, 08/15/10 9:45 AM
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I like the look Captain Combo is sporting...touch it and there will be blood shed!

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sun, 08/15/10 9:46 AM
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Tuesday June 9, 2009
 
Before we spotted the building for Nellie's,

the first thing we saw was this unusual sign,

which told us we were in the right place.  When the doors opened at 8:00AM sharp, we were the first ones in.  The multi-roomed interior is warm and comfortable, despite the cinderblock walls and I especially liked the New Mexican chile art.



The front of the menu shows the house slogan, "Chile with an Attitude"

and also provides the phone number for an emergency chile fix!  By now, Nellie's had already won me over and we were hoping the food would live up to our expectations.
 
Before we even ordered, chips and salsa were delivered to our table. 

The chips were extra thick and the red salsa was so fiery hot, I had sweat pouring down my forehead after just a few bites.  The flavor was so good, I ate as much as I could, but finally gave up, which made Johnny happy as he quickly polished them off.  As an appetizer, more sopaipillas. 

These were extremely temperature hot, triangular and some of the biggest we had seen.  Despite managing to be fluffy and heavy at the same time, we agreed the ones at La Posta de Mesilla the afternoon before were better.
 
For our entrees, Johnny went for the fajita burrito,

which surprised us, since it sure didn't look like a burrito.  With shredded beef and chicken, sour cream and guacamole, he was very happy with his meal.  I went with the old standby, huevos rancheros

and ordered it Christmas-style, with both red and green chile.  This was a fine version and yes, there is some egg buried underneath there.  Of the two chiles, the green one brought the heat. 
 
But, our favorite things here were the tortillas.  The owner, a friendly man who went from table to table, chatting up the customers, told us they came from a local company Roberto's Tortillas.  They were very useful in mopping all the extra chile on our plates and Johnny snapped a photo of me doing just that.

The owner chatted with us for good 20 minutes and told us the story of him taking place in a recent jalapeno eating contest in El Paso.  Unfortunately, he didn't do too well.  Still, I give him credit, since that is something I could never do.
 
Nellie's
1226 W. Hadley
Las Cruces, NM
505-524-9982
 
http://www.roadfood.com/R...t/Reviews/4041/nellies
 
After a stop at the New Mexico State University bookstore, we headed north out of town. 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Sun, 08/15/10 9:54 AM>

kland01s
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sun, 08/15/10 9:55 AM
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Nice photos and report BB. I have spent a lot of time around Las Cruces and once consider relocating there, it's a scenic area with a great year around climate. The 3 Mission crosses on Nellies sign are commonly seen around Las Cruces which is "City of the Crosses", the region was claimed as part of New Spain in 1598 when the Spanish and their Missions arrived.

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sun, 08/15/10 9:58 AM
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kland01s-
Thanks so much for the information on the crosses.  As for Las Cruces, I could certainly seewhy you might want to settle there as the thought has occurred to me that it would be a nice place to retire someday.

Foodbme
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sun, 08/15/10 12:08 PM
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BB,
Did you happen to notice all the Pecan Groves around the Mesilla-Las Criuces area? Years ago I worked for Truckstops of America and the original ones were in Las Cruces & Santa Rosa NM. They were owned by the Sheriff Family. Bill Sheriff became Pres of the TA Chain. Every Christmas, Bill would send a 5# tin of NM Pecans to his managers. Best Pecans I ever tasted!

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Mon, 08/16/10 1:57 PM
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Tuesday June 9, 2009 cont.
 
We were only on I-25 a short distance until hopping on Rte. 70 north to White Sands National Monument. 

This is the world's largest gypsum dune field and is unlike any other place we had ever seen.  It was just miles and miles of white sand, sometimes with vegetation growing in it,


but none at all in other places.


I don't normally wear sunglasses, but with the bright sun reflecting off the white sand, it was practically blinding without them.  Our favorite part of the visit here was an area where you got to ride down the dunes in saucers, with some help from the park rangers.


It was very cool seeing adults riding down the dune like little kids. 
 
http://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm
 
We followed Rte. 70 back to I-10, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way. 


Once back on the highway, we continued north only to get off at Truth or Consequences for a lunch break.  We made a wrong turn, but found the place, due to the gate

leading up the hill to the restaurant.  We liked the outside sign, spelling "Hot Stuff" in chiles,

plus the prospector scene

in the parking lot.
 
La Cocina is a big place, with both indoor and outdoor seating.  Above the doorway leading to the inside dining room, is a sign giving the forecast for that day's chiles. 

Sorry about posting such a blurry photo, but I have never seen this in any other restaurant.  As usual, our meal started with an order of the sopaipillas, only these weren't just any sopaipillas. 

These were by far the biggest I have ever seen.  You can see how big they are compared to my hand.  Unfortunately, they were also very greasy, so much that even covered in honey, we didn't care for them.  Chips and salsa were brought to the table. 

The salsa was thick and chunky and quite hot, but the chips seemed to be store bought.
 
For our entrees, Johnny changed things up and got the Huevos Rancheros,

which he described as ordinary.  My grilled shrimp enchiladas,

with both red and green chile, was better.
 
La Cocina is certainly better than the many fast food and chain stores that sit next to the interstate, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again.
 
La Cocina
1 Lakeway Drive
Truth or Consequences, NM
505-894-6499 
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/3912/la-cocina
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 08/16/10 2:01 PM>

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Mon, 08/16/10 3:13 PM
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Tuesday June 9, 2009 cont.
 
Our next stop was back in the small town of San Antonio.  If you remember previously in the trip, we had some locals tell us that the green chile cheeseburgers at Buckhorn Tavern were actually even better than the ones at The Owl Bar.  We tried to stop at Buckhorn, but it was too early in the day and they hadn't opened, yet.  Now, we had our chance.
 
The Buckhorn Tavern

is located a very short distance from I-25.  The reference to #7 in America, is that GQ magazine named it the seventh best burger in the country a few years ago.  This green chile cheeseburger art
 
adorns the front door.  The inside is dark and it takes a few seconds to adjust to the light.  There is a long wooden bar

and we find out later that is owner Bob Olguin sitting there.  The waitress guided us to a booth in the front room.  We did look over the menus, but there was never any doubt that we were both going to order the green chile cheeseburgers, only here it is called the Buckhorn Burger.
 
It didn't take long to get the burgers, since there was only one other table of customers in the place.  The burger


was a little larger than the one served at The Owl and definitely milder.  But what it lacks in heat, in makes up for in powerful green chile flavor!  It is obvious they use high quality meat that provides the big, beefy taste.  They actually stack the meat pattie on top of layers of lettuce, tomatoes, mustard, pickles and onions, with the cheese and green chile on top.  It is practically impossible to eat this burger without some kind of spillage.  The bun itself was nicely grilled.  All in all, a fantastic burger!  In our view, Johnny felt that the burger at Buckhorn Tavern gets a slight edge over the one at The Owl, while I felt it was the other way around.  Either way, the good citizens of San Antonio are lucky to have two places like this in town.
 
We would have loved to have tried the green chile fries or even some pie, but we were stuffed from having two meals in a short amount of time.
 
While I was in the bathroom, Johnny struck up a conversation with the owner.  Bob Olguin is a big man and could probably be intimidating if he wasn't so friendly.  He told us about his upcoming appearance on Bobby Flay's Smackdown (it was broadcast later that Summer), the history of the Buckhorn Tavern (it was started by his father) and what goes into making a great green chile cheeseburger.  He talked with us for a good half hour before we had to go, since we had a long drive ahead.
 
I was personally very happy to see that the Buckhorn Tavern is going to be included in the upcoming Roadfood bus tour.  Until I realized, that if it stinks and since I'm the one who wrote the Roadfood review, I will get the blame.  But, I feel very confident that the Roadfooders who eat here, will walk out very happy. 
 
Buckhorn Tavern
68 US-380
San Antonio, NM
575-835-4423
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/6778/buckhorn-tavern
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 08/16/10 3:25 PM>

ScreamingChicken
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Mon, 08/16/10 3:46 PM
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So your meals at Nellie's were actually breakfast?  When I first read what you ordered I had to go back and check to make sure you really did type "8am"!  Regardless of the time of day, they look quite good.

Did any of the "saucerers" at White Sands have a Clark W. Griswold, Jr. moment?
 
Brad

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Mon, 08/16/10 3:56 PM
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Tuesday June 9, 2009 cont.
 
Immediately after getting in the car after leaving the Buckhorn Tavern, I spied something very interesting on the map.  In the western part of the state was a town named Pie Town.  How in the world did I not know about this before?  Was my pie radar on the fritz or did it only work for actual pie and not for things named pie?  The idea of getting my photo taken in front of a sign that said, "Welcome to Pie Town", sounded extremely inticing. 
 
Unfortunately, this was our big driving day and we had hotel reservations in Gallup for the night.  To further complicate things, my Pittsburgh Penguins were in the Stanley Cup finals and I wanted to get in front of a tv as soon as possible.  So, a visit to Pie Town would have to wait until a future trip.
 
Johnny did a great job of putting the pedal to the metal and we arrived at our hotel in Gallup in no time.  I did get to see the last two periods of the Penguin victory, which forced a game 7 Friday night. 
 
By now, we were more than ready to eat again and a place that appeared in early Roadfood books, Earl's, was just right down the street.  Looking like the classic coffee shop/diner inside

and out, the place was mostly deserted, since it was late in the day and they were closing soon.  The waiter seemed a little weary when we first sat down, but quickly cheered up and gave us great service throughout the meal.
 
I started off with the potato soup,

which lacked any big chunks of spud.  For an entree, a hot roast beef sandwich. 

The beef itself was fatty and unimpressive, but the beef gravy was delicious.  For sides, corn and mashed potatoes out of a box.  Johnny went for the fried chicken. 

He sent the breast meat was nice and moist, but the rest of the pieces were dry.  It doesn't say why in my notes, but Johnny called the spinach not good.  One thing we did like was that the iced tea,

which tasted fresh brewed and they gave us a whole pitcher.
 
Since it was late, we offered to get our dessert to go, but the waiter said to relax and take our time, since he still had some cleaning up to do, anyway.  Earl's has pie and we were hoping it would make up for missing out on Pie Town.  Johnny got the coconut cream,

which he said was fine, but it sure tasted like it was store bought.  My peach pie

was a gooey disappointment and I only ate a couple of bites.
 
After this meal, it is easy to see why Earl's doesn't appear in the Roadfood books anymore.
 
Earl's
1400 E Historic Highway 66
Gallup, NM
505-863-4201
 
Back to the hotel.  And this time we had some time to look around, because this wasn't just any hotel.  We were staying at El Rancho,


known as the hotel to the movie stars.  Seems that when a lot of Westerns were being filmed in the area, this is where people from Hollywood would stay.  We were in the Tyrone Power room.

 
Much more to come..... 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 08/16/10 4:02 PM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Mon, 08/16/10 7:07 PM
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I've never heard of pineapple-laced cole slaw but that's definitely an idea I could support.

This is all leftover from last year?  My head is hurting at the idea of what's in your to-do folder.

I've done that drive through Las Cruces and White Sands and it's one of my favorites.  It's just so gorgeous.

Foodbme
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 12:29 AM
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Nancypalooza


I've never heard of pineapple-laced cole slaw but that's definitely an idea I could support.

This is all leftover from last year?  My head is hurting at the idea of what's in your to-do folder.

I've done that drive through Las Cruces and White Sands and it's one of my favorites.  It's just so gorgeous.


Pineapple in coleslaw is an old time recipe. My Grandmother used to make it for the Sunday Family Dinners back in the 40's, 50's & '60's. Chicken on odd weeks, Pot Roast on even weeks. Attendence was mandatory. I still make it every so often when I get a Nostalgic Moment. 
That's about the time when Shredded Carrot & Raisin Salad became popular as well. And who can forget the Molded Jello & Fruit Cocktail Salads. Those were the days when life was simple and good.
The Jello molds are now collectors items.
Pineapple Coleslaw Recipe
Ingredients:
3 Cups Shredded Cabbage
1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots
3/4 Cup Drained Crushed Pineapple (1 8oz Can)
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
2 tsp Sugar
2/3 Cup Mayonnaise
Black or White Pepper to taste
Directions:
Combine all ingredients. Taste and adjust the seasonings as desired. Cover and chill through

Play27
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 9:48 AM
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Well, at least it seems that they have progressed past the terrible box lunches they used to offer to tour patrons. I was probably 5 and i still remember how bad they were! too bad you couldn't stay for the night time bat flight from the caves. It is quite a sight!

tcrouzer
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 10:20 AM
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My most vivid memory of the Carlsbad Caverns is when they turned off the lights while we were down in the caverns to show us how completely dark it is. And my little sister's voice after a minute in the dark......"Mommy?"

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 11:12 AM
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Wednesday June 10, 2009
 
Well, we didn't have far to go for breakfast this morning.  The El Rancho Hotel has a highly regarded restaurant, so that is where we ate.  This inside is small and dark,

lit by red lights shaped liked chile peppers, which kind of gave it a Christmasy feel.  Almost of all of photos from here turned out bad, except for my Huevos Rancheros,

served Christmas-style, with red and green chile.  The green was chunky and mild, especially compared to the fiery red chile.  This was a really good version of Huevos Rancheros.  Johnny was less enthused about his overcooked bacon and bland atole, which was a blue corn hot cereal.  My attempts at photographing this dish were futile and I ended up with some of the most unintentionally horrible photographs I have ever taken.
 
Before we left, we took some time to look around the hotel,

which has many cool things on display. 

We really enjoyed our stay at El Rancho and we would highly recommend anyone driving Route 66 to stay here.
 
Since Johnny wasn't thrilled with his breakfast, we decided to go ahead and have breakfast #2 right in Gallup.  Located on the main street in town is the Eagle Cafe,

which has appeared in some of the Roadfood books.  They bill themselves as the oldest restaurant on Route 66. 

The interior is huge, with Route 66 signs,

plus giant food art

hanging on the walls.  During our meal here, we were the only customers.  Once again, I got the Huevos Rancheros,

which just made me realize how incredibly boring I am.  Still, I am glad I got it since this was some of the best tasting green chile on the trip.  Here is another pic of some tortilla chile mopping going on. 

Playing it more safe, Johnny got an order of the french toast,

which was fine, but nothing special.  The young man who waited on us here was friendly and very enthusiastic.
 
Eagle Cafe
220 W. Historic Highway 66
Gallup, NM
505-722-3220
 
Since we were here, we took some time to look at some of the shops along Route 66, checking out some of the colorfully painted signs, jewelry stores, art galleries, etc.


But, neither one of us are really shoppers, so nothing was bought.  We had a lot of ground to cover on this day, too, we we soon headed out of town.
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/17/10 11:15 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 11:37 AM
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Brad-
Yeah, that actually was our breakfast at Nellie's.  The line between breakfast foods and other meal foods can get blurred in New Mexico, which is another thing I love about the place. 

Foodbme-
Sorry, I did not notice any pecan trees while in Las Cruces, but that sure doesn't mean they weren't there!  And thanks for the recipe for pineapple cole slaw.  That looks really good!

Nancy-
Yes, this is all left over from last year, which is a little embarrassing.  If I didn't have some really good stuff, coming I might have chucked it.  But, you will soon be able to see me in a hair net, among other things!

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 1:20 PM
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Foodbme--thank you!  I'm gonna have to give that a try!

Cliff I'll wait right here til you get that up.  :)

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 3:27 PM
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Wednesday June 10, 20009 cont.
 
Just southeast of Gallup is El Morro National Monument,

which was our next stop.  The tall sandstone cliffs made this a gathering point for natives and Spanish and American explorers, many of whom carved inscriptions and petroglyphs in the rocks.  To do the entire hike is about 2 miles, which will take you up over the cliffs and then back to the visitors center.  On top, you will find some ancient Pueblo ruins.  Here is some of the attractive scenery here at El Morro:












 
After hiking out in the hot sun, we sat in their small theater and watched a movie about the history of the monument.  We really enjoyed the couple of hours we spent at El Morro.
 
http://www.nps.gov/elmo/i...htm%3C/a%3E%3C/font%3E
 
We got back on I-40 heading east until we were back in Albuquerque.  We were actually only passing through, but still had time for a few quick stops.  The first place we hit was Golden Crown Panaderia,

a wonderful little bakery found by ayersian and it has become a must stop for me everytime through Albuquerque.  Located in a residential neighborhood, it can be a little difficult to find.  But the wonderful smells that waft out of here are a dead giveaway!  Most of the time, when you walk through the door, they will give you a free biscochito, which is the official state cookie of New Mexico.  This time, we were given chocolate biscochitos to nibble on, while we were deciding what to purchase.  Here are the bread choices we had in front of us. 

Together, we bought a loaf of green chile bread, a dozen anise flavored biscochitos, lemon empanadas and apricot flautas.  While they were being boxed up, a man came out of the back and started chatting with us.  His name is Pratt Morales

and turns out that he is the owner.  A very friendly, personable man, who is understandably proud of his business, we had a good time chatting with Mr. Morales.  Despite how good our newly purchased baked goods smelled, we stowed them in the back seat, since we would need these snacks tomorrow.  Okay, maybe we did sneak one cookie or two!
 
Golden Crown Panaderia
1103 Mountain Road NW
Albuquerque, NM
505-243-2424
 
http://www.roadfood.com/R.../golden-crown-panadera
 
Next stop, another local favorite, Model Pharmacy


I always have to watch signs being changed.  It's like I need to be the first one to know what is coming next!
This is a drugstore that also has a first rate lunch counter.  They are also equally known for their distinctive, colorful tile counter.

I have enjoyed sandwiches and salads from here in the past and they do some have some delicious sounding options on the menu board. 

But, we needed to save some appetite for our next food stop, so we stuck to milkshakes.  There are awards on the wall, proclaiming Model Pharmacy having the best milkshakes in the city.  I went for the cookies & cream,

while Johnny tackled the strawberry.  Here is the young woman who waited on us, making our milkshakes. 

Anyplace that gives you your shakes in a silver beaker, gets a thumbs up from me, but these were really good shakes, even if they were a little thinner than I remember.  In what had to be one of the biggest upsets since the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team winning gold, Johnny passed on the peach and blackberry cobblers,

despite being a confirmed cobbler-aholic.  I briefly considered driving him straight to the hospital, but I knew Bobcat Bite was next!
 
Model Pharmacy
Lomas @ Carlisle
Albuquerque, NM
505-255-8686
 
http://www.roadfood.com/R...ws/1376/model-pharmacy
 
Much more to come.....

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 4:59 PM
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Those El Morro pictures are incredible!  And haven't you used that tile counter picture in the 'guess where this is' thread?

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/17/10 5:03 PM
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Yes, I used a photo of the tiled counter of the Model Pharmacy as one of the first photos of that thread.  No other place looks quite like it.

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/18/10 2:37 PM
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Wednesday June 10, 2009 cont.
 
The next stop was the famed Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe. 

Our meal here was so stupendous, I started it's own thread here on Roadfood when I returned from vacation. 
 
http://www.roadfood.com/F...nta-Fe-NM-m520346.aspx
 
No sense in repeating myself here.  Just suffice it to say that we consider Bobcat Bite our #1 Roadfood spot of all-time, thanks to their incredible green chile cheeseburger.

Once Cousin Johnny and ChiTownDiner land in Albuquerque the day before the tour next month, this is where we are heading.  This is a place everyone should get to once in their life!
 
Bobcat Bite
420 Old Las Vegas Hwy
Santa Fe, NM
505-983-5319
 
http://www.roadfood.com/R...views/1385/bobcat-bite
 
We made one more food stop before the day was over and that was at Stop and Eat Drive-In

in Espanola.  Here is the menu board

and you can see that it has the typical drive-in menu with some Mexican options thrown in.  First up was the green chile hot dog. 

Despite being loaded down with the green chile, we didn't like this at all.  The chile was waterlogged and probably hurt the hot dog more than it helped.  The green chile cheeseburger

was an improvement, but these green chiles just did not provide much flavor.  To drink, we both got root beer floats,

which were awful.  Johnny described these as being flat root beer topped by bad soft serve. 
 
As you can see, we really did not like Stop and Eat Drive-In at all.  My initial reaction was that maybe it would be tough for anyplace to follow up Bobcat Bite for us.  But, this food was so poor, I really don't think it would have mattered.
 
Stop and Eat Drive-In
110 Paseo de Onate
Espanola, NM
505-753-7400
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/58/stop-and-eat-drive-in
 
We continued north onto our destination of Taos, where we were spending the night.  Along the way, lots more beautiful scenery for us to enjoy.



Once we reached Taos, we we tired, so we just checked into our hotel and went to sleep.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/18/10 2:39 PM>

ChiTownDiner
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/18/10 5:48 PM
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I just love the thought of have two men taking me out to lunch!
<message edited by ChiTownDiner on Wed, 08/18/10 5:53 PM>

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/19/10 3:01 PM
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Thursday June 11, 2009
 
When Johnny and I vacationed in the Four Corners area in 2005, one of the highlights was the ride we took on the Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which takes you through some of the prettiest parts of the Rocky Mountains.  Hoping for a similar experience, we bought tickets for the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.  As usual, we arrived at the train station in Chama,

which is in the very northern part of the state, way too early.  Of course, that meant we could start in on our snacks for the day,

which we picked up at Golden Crown Panaderia the day before.  The biscochitos

had a pleasant, mild anise flavor, the lemon empanadas were full of sweet lemon filling and we thought the apricot flautas

tasted buttery, but could have used more apricot.  Best of the lot was the excellent green chile bread. 

You could see the green chiles mixed right into the dough and it had a nice strong heat to it.
 
You have all kinds of different options for the train ride and we took the option of riding a bus to the other station in Antonito, Colorado

and riding the train back to Chama.  We also made the decision to ride in the first class car.  On the previous train ride, not every seat was next to the window and it was a constant fight to try and see everything, which really made it hard to take photos.  Also, before we boarded, we asked the porter which side to sit on and she told us the left side would have much more scenery, which made a big difference.  Here is our cabin,

which you can see is nothing elegant.  But, at least we had some room and they did bring us a constant parade of snacks, like these soft little muffins.

As the train got rolling, I put on my I-Pod, drank cranberry juice

and followed the train's progress on the map, as the scenery went by my window.  This was going to be a good day!
 
The scenery certainly started off pretty enough. 



But the further we got from civilization and headed deeper into the mountains, the better views we got.  And of course, I had to get the obligatory shots of the engine from around a bend,

plus the tracks behind us,

since we were the last car. 
 
Part of the fun of something like this is the anticipation of what is waiting for you around the next bend.  And the scenery just got progressively more beautiful.









 
A few hours into the trip, we stopped for lunch.  The train heading the opposite way was already there. 

There is a big dining hall

up in the mountains, where they had a short cafeteria line set up for us.  Lunch was turkey, dressing and all the fixings. 

Nothing gourmet, but for here, the food was fine.  Somehow, Johnny and I got seperated and I ended up sitting with a family from Florida.  By the time I found Johnny, he was eating cobbler and jello for dessert!  The extra time we had here allowed me to get some photos, like this one

of one of the engines.  And I'm not sure what is happening here,

but I do like the photo.  Soon, it was time to reboard and you had to be careful to get on the correct train car or you would be headed right back where you started.  Here is the other train,

on it's way to Antonito, just before it slipped out of sight.
 
Immediately after the lunch, the scenery got even better,



with deeper valleys, lusher greenery and now plenty of rivers.  This was the prettiest part of the trip and the photos don't do it justice.  At one point, we came to a complete stop and this is something that they do at the same time on each trip.  A guy on an ATV and his dog

were there to greet us, just like they apparently do everyday.  I love that the guy is pointing his dog to which way is the camera.  What remained of the ride was still very scenic,



but you could still see the signs of man and civilization creeping in.  Our on board snacks ended with this slice of iced pound cake.

 
This was a very enjoyable day away of the fast paced vacation we had been on so far and the scenery made the whole thing worth while.  We would gladly do this again.  I imagine if you go during different seasons, you would get completely different views.
 
http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/
 
We got back in the car and drove to Santa Fe.
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/24/10 7:40 PM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/19/10 3:34 PM
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That's so cool!  I love the guy and his dog too--so cute!

Root-Beer Man
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/19/10 5:33 PM
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Wow. Outstanding photos and it looks like a great trip.

Foodbme
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/19/10 5:43 PM
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The greatest job in the World has to be being the Engineer on that train! Second Best, Conductor, Third Best, Fireman.

mar52
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/19/10 10:15 PM
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I really love the way you live and look at the places you visit.  You certainly know how to do it right.

TnTinCT
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sat, 08/21/10 6:00 PM
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I really enjoy reading your reports - great photos, but local life and stories mixed in. We've been talking about a trip out to that area of the country for some time, but haven't yet planned it.

Yetti Spaghetttti
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sat, 08/21/10 9:45 PM
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Loved reading and drooling over this trip report! The Bobcat Bite GCC is gorgeous, and those cobblers are absolutely swoon worthy!

Michael Hoffman
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sat, 08/21/10 10:00 PM
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I love the Buckhorn restaurants. I didn't know they moved those truck stops from Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania, though.

Actually, don't tell Buffebuster, 'cause I'm suing him, but I secretly enjoy his reports.

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Sat, 08/21/10 10:12 PM
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Michael Hoffman

Actually, don't tell Buffebuster, 'cause I'm suing him, but I secretly enjoy his reports.
Don't worry, your secret is safe with me!

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/24/10 1:27 PM
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Thursday June 11, 2009 cont.
 
We had hoped to get back to Santa Fe in time to grab another GCC at Bobcat Bite, but it was way to late by the time we got to town.  Instead, that gave us the opportunity to try something new and we ended up at Maria's New Mexican Kitchen.  

Maria's looks small on the outside, but has multiple rooms to dine in and they can hold a lot of customers here.  Which was good, because the place was packed.  
  
First up was good homemade chips and salsa.

Both of us started our meals with interesting appetizers.  Johnny went for the Green Chile Stew,

which was a delicious combination of tender pork, potatoes and loads of green chiles.  Johnny loved it!  I was also fond of my posole,

which was a bowl of red chile pods, plus corn posole, pork and cueditos.  BTW, I did ask what cueditos are, but did not write it down.  Anyone out there know?
 
For our entrees, Johnny tried to make up for the disappointment of not making it to Bobcat Bite by ordering the Green Chile Cheeseburger

at Maria's.  The first problem was the chiles came on the side.  He tried to dump the chiles on the burger, but everytime he picked it up, they just went sliding off the other side.  This became rather frustrating.  The second problem was that he ordered the burger medium and it came well done, so it wasn't as juicy as he would have liked.  Johnny did like how thick the burgers were and said the chiles had plenty of flavor, but he wouldn't really recommend the burger here.  Oh, the fresh cut fries got a thumbs up.  I did have better luck with the really good blue corn enchiladas.

 
Maria's New Mexican Kitchen
555 West Cordova Road
Santa Fe, NM
505-983-7929
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/4887/marias-new-mexican-kitchen
 
By this time, we were very tired and just went to the hotel for the night.
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/24/10 1:29 PM>

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/24/10 2:31 PM
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Friday June 12, 2009
 
We were the first ones through the door of Tecolote Cafe

when they opened at 7:00AM.  I have been to Tecolote at least a half dozen times and it has become one of my "must-eats" whenever in Santa Fe. 
 
They do have just about every typical breakfast food you could want, but their pancakes and french toast are so exceptional, I rarely get anything else.  Here is the pancake portion of the menu 

and I started my meal with a single atole pinion pancake. 
 
Made with blue cornmeal, light and fluffy and full of the soft pinion nuts, this was an excellent pancake.  What makes the french toast so noteworthy is that they make their own bread in house.  Here are the breads available for french toast. 

I split an order, with two of the orange poppyseed and two of the honey blue corn. 

The orange poppyseed is the interior pair.  The bread was thick, but soft and was absolutely delicious!  Instead of using syrup, I got a couple of sides of fruit,

one each of raspberries and one of peaches, which complimented the french toast perfectly.  Johnny went for a full order of the cinnamon raisin french toast, which he said was very dense and went well the bananas he ordered.  Typical in the commitment of Tecolote to do the little things right, the orange juice here is fresh squezed. 
 
Tecolote is a big, comfortable place,

with multiple dining rooms and lots of room between the tables.  And the service was as friendly as ever.  Because Tecolote translates to owl, you will see an owl theme


throughout the interior decoration.  I love Tecolote and it is on the short list of my favorite breakfast spots in the country.
 
Tecolote Cafe
1203 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM
505-988-1362 
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/1422/tecolote-cafe
 
After going back to the hotel to shower and change, our first stop was the Santa Fe Tortilla Company

We walked in the front door and asked the first woman we saw that we would like to take a tour.  She didn't seem to know what we were talking about, so she consulted with some of the other women in the office, all of whom were speaking Spanish.  They called a man from the back to speak to me.  Unfortunately, his English was only slightly better than our Spanish.  He did understand the word tour, so he took us into the next room, where were handed hairnets.  This I wasn't expecting, but we have no problem following the rules.  
 
He took us into the back and showed us, mostly by pointing and gesturing, how the tortillas were made.  Considering we were in the inner workings of a business, I didn't feel comfortable taking photos of their machinery and equipment.  At one point, he motioned for us to take a tortilla off the assembly line, so we did and it was very hot to the touch.  We tore it into small pieces, just like he was showing us to do and ate it.  Even all by themselves, these were really good.  He grabbed a bag of whole wheat tortillas

and gave them to us as a gift, which was very generous of him.  
 
Then, he started asking about our business.  It was here that I realized that he thought we were buyers for a food company.  We did our best to explain that we were just stupid tourists, but he still seemed somewhat confused.  On the way out, I had the nice man pose for a photo of us in our hairnets.

I asked if I could buy another bag of the tortillas to take home and was told that they no longer sell them here.  Before we left, I went out to the car and grabbed the printed out Roadfood review of the place.  About a half dozen of the employees were pouring over it when we walked out the door.
 
Needless to say, this was one of the more bizarre Roadfood experiences we have ever had.  No intentional attempt at deception was made, but we still got a free tour and a bag of tortillas.  Oh, and we did offer to give the bag of tortillas back, but were refused.  To make a long story short, they apparently no longer offer tours or sell the tortillas on site.   
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/25/10 1:21 PM>

Ralph Melton
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/24/10 3:18 PM
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Oh man. Now I regret that we didn't make it to Tecolote on our recent Santa Fe visit.

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/24/10 3:20 PM
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Not to mention a free hairnet!  Cliff, if we see a news item about a guy going around the country representing himself as a 'pie inspector' we will know right away what's going on.  :)

Now I want to go to Tecolote for french toast!  I would have trouble deciding what kind of bread. 

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/24/10 3:46 PM
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Nancypalooza

Cliff, if we see a news item about a guy going around the country representing himself as a 'pie inspector' we will know right away what's going on.  :) 
Oh Nancy, you really shouldn't be giving me ideas! 


billyboy
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/24/10 11:42 PM
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Oh my Cliff, I am laughing soooo hard right now at the comedy of errors that was your Santa Fe Tortilla Company tour.  Classic BB.  wwBBd?  

And as for the rest of this thread, well I don't even know where to begin!  I'll carry yours on Cousin Johnny's bags on your next NM trip if only for your table scraps!  Excellent work as always.  Thanks for raising the bar.

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/25/10 2:44 PM
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Friday June 12, 2009 cont.
 
Next stop in Santa Fe was the hub of the city, the Plaza.  Priority #1 was to find and eat at Roque's Carnitas, since we have never eaten here before.  My first three trips to Santa Fe were made during cold weather months and Roque is back in Mexico during that time.  In 2005, Johnny and I were here on the Plaza on July 4, but no Roque.  We asked around and a policeman told us he was off working at a festival somewhere.  We were bound and determined to eat there on this trip.
 
Once we reached the Plaza, we systematically started at one end and started doing a circle.  Three quarters of the way and still no Roque.  Despair and a feeling of here we go again was starting to settle in.  Finally, we saw a brightly colored cart

and there he was!  Woo hoo!  The menu is not real long,

but there was never any doubt that we would be ordering the carnitas.  What is a carnita?  Since they undoubtedly have people asking that same question all the time, they have a sign

that explains it better than I could.
 
Roque greeted us and kindly put up with all of my questions and photo requests.  Since there were other customers, I tried my best not to be a pest.  We placed our food order and then Roque asked what we wanted to drink.  He recommended something called a Jamaica (pronounced HA-MY-KA), which is made from hibiscus.  He said it was even better if you mix a splash of the lemonade in, which sure sounded good. Here is Roque

mixing our drinks and one of the Jamaicas on the right. 

We found it to be not too sweet, cool and refreshing. 
 
Here is the grill

with our food being made and Roque

handing us the carnitas.  That is a genuine smile as he seems to really enjoy chatting with the customers.  Since it was my turn to pay, (Johnny and I take turns paying, figuring it will even out over the course of a trip) I looked for a place to set down my food to get my wallet out.  He stopped us and said to come back and pay when we are done eating.  How cool is that?  We walked around and looked for a bench in the very busy Plaza, finally sitting down at the base of the center monument.  The carnitas

were everything we had hoped for.  The incredibly tender beef, fresh tomato chunks, onions and peppers, Roque's flavorful pico de gallo, all inside a soft tortilla.  This was one of the highlights of the trip.  Come to think of it, sitting out in the warm sun, in such a beautiful setting, eating food like this, it was one of my very favorite Roadfood moments ever.  Here is Johnny

enjoying his carnita.  The aluminum foil really comes in handy because this thing is juicy and lots of spillage is inevitable.
 
Johnny loved his so much, he gave serious consideration to going back and getting a second one.  Knowing we had a couple more stops later, including a return trip to Bobcat Bite, he decided against it.  We went back to the cart and paid and since there was no line, Roque was glad to chat with us for a few minutes.  He did tell us that this wasn't his regular cart, since that was away preparing for a festival.
 
When Roadfood announced they would be going to New Mexico for the bus tour this year, I called Johnny and read off the schedule.  When I got to Roque's Carnitas, he let out a long, drawn out, "Ooooohhhhhh".  Roque, if you are reading this, you might want to put a little extra food on your cart.  A hungry group of Roadfooders, led by Cousin Johnny and a certain ravenous Chicagoan will be there soon!
 
Roque's Carnitas
Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe, NM
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Review/55-55/roques-carnitas        
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 08/25/10 8:34 PM>

mr chips
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/25/10 8:24 PM
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Love the photos of El Morro ,White Sands and your train ride. The photos of the food places are incredible. It is always a pleasure to read your reports and look at your most excellent photos.

Michael Hoffman
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/25/10 8:38 PM
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Damn! Will you cut it out

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/25/10 8:40 PM
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Michael-
Maybe I should put my lawyer on speed dial!

Stephen Rushmore Jr.
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/25/10 8:41 PM
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Cliff, your trip reports have gotten me fired about about this trip.  Only a couple more weeks to go!

Michael Hoffman
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Wed, 08/25/10 8:50 PM
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buffetbuster


Michael-
Maybe I should put my lawyer on speed dial!



It can't hurt.

ChiTownDiner
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 8:07 AM
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Captain Combo looks different with the hairnet...

cecif
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 9:40 AM
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Forget PMs and emails... I still wanna know why you appear NOT to have stopped and eaten in Taos!

Still, great stuff, as ever & always!

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 10:49 AM
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cecif-
This was my seventh trip to New Mexico and Johnny's fourth.  We have both spent plenty of time in Taos.  As much as we like it there, we just wanted to see some new things this time.

Foodbme
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 2:19 PM
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So Buffetbuster----- When are you and Cousin Johnny moving out here to God's Country???

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 2:24 PM
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Hey Foodbme, I thought Pittsburgh IS God's Country!
 
Actually, New Mexico is high on the list of places I may retire to someday. 

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 3:58 PM
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Friday June 12, 2009 cont.
 
Next up on the list of things to do was make a quick stop at the Five and Dime General Store,


a store located right on the Plaza.  The Roadfood significance of the Five and Dime is that here is where Fritos Pie was invented and is still served in fine fashion. 
 
The snack bar

is located in the back of the store.  They do make several other things

beside the Fritos Pie, but that is all I have ever tried here.  Over 30,000 sold a year, that is rather impressive!  They still do it the way it has always been done, where they tear open a bag of Fritos and then warm chile is poured directly into the bag.  After that, a layer of shredded cheese is piled on top.  The combination of the chile, cheese and no longer crunchy chips are unbeatable.  Here is one ready to eat!

Another nice little thing about them all being mixed into the one bag is that they are perfect for strolling around the Plaza with.  In fact, back in Pittsburgh, you will see these listed on festival menus as walking tacos, since you can eat them while going mobile.  One other nice little thing we observed here is that they don't hand the Fritos Pie directly to you.  After they prepare it, they set it in a holder

especially designed for it.  This makes it easier for the customer to pay, instead of juggling the food, your wallet and whatever else you are holding.  And for those of you who like to send postcards back to your loved ones, the Five and Dime has the largest selection in the city.

There was a photo taken here of me in a sombrero, but I don't want to post it and infringe on wanderingjew's domain!
 
Five and Dime General Store
58 E. San Francisco
Santa Fe, NM
505-992-1800
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/1381/five-and-dime-general-store
 
Johnny and I did indeed enjoy our Fritos Pie while walking the Plaza, looking at the sights.  Now, I have been to Santa Fe many times, but strolling the Plaza is still a "must do" on every trip.  From the local Native Americans selling jewelry in front of the Palace of the Governors, to the beautiful architecture, there is plenty to see.  Here are some photos from within a block or two of the Santa Fe Plaza.









 
After a couple hours of exploring, it was time to grab a bite to eat.  A reasonable walk from the Plaza is Bert's Burger Bowl, so we hiked on over.  The place looked cool on the outside,
 

in a retro 1950's sort of way.  They do offer all kinds of different kinds of burgers,

including a Kobe beef burger, but we stuck to the basics and got the green chile cheeseburgers.  And here is where I made a big mistake.  I hadn't called into work for a few days, so I asked Johnny to collect the food and bring it outside, where I grabbed a table.  Anyway, there was some things going on and I ended up being on the phone for almost an hour.  Needless to say, my green chile cheeseburger had grown cold.  It was still pretty to look at

and I can tell you that Johnny came away impressed, but this is not something that tastes as good cold.  No big deal, since I wasn't exactly starving to death.  And we both liked our creamy shakes, mine being the chocolate. 

With us being back in Santa Fe in a few weeks, giving Bert's another shot will be a priority.
 
Bert's Burger Bowl
235 Guadalupe Street
Santa Fe, NM
505-982-0215
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/1379/berts-burger-bowl
 
We ended up doing a little shopping, since I had run short of socks and Johnny some other necessary items, before we headed out for our return meal to Bobcat Bite.  Once again, I chronicled it here,
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/Bobcat-BiteSanta-Fe-NM-m520346.aspx
so no reason to rehash it.  But, I do kind of like this close-up shot taken of the burger.

I'll say it again.....  Both Johnny and I consider Bobcat Bite the #1 Roadfood restaurant we have ever visited and nothing else comes close.  It was that good!
 
The rest of the night was spent in the hotel yelling at the tv.  My Pittsburgh Penguins were playing in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals and my team was fortunate enough to win over an outstanding opponent, the Detroit Red Wings.  Needless to say, I was on Cloud 9!  This had been a great day!
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 08/27/10 8:57 AM>

ChiTownDiner
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 5:51 PM
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I'm with Stephen on this one...can't wait for the trip!

mr chips
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Thu, 08/26/10 6:32 PM
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my envy of those of you going on the trip grows larger every time I read this report. I hope you will all have a great time. By the way, I've been to a mexican rodeo in San Antonio, Texas and it was a wonderful experience and I hope tose of you who can will take advantage of the opportunity to see 1.

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Fri, 08/27/10 8:41 AM
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Saturday June 13, 2009
 
For breakfast, we decided to visit a place near the hotel that Johnny had never been to before.  Horseman's Haven was in some of the older Roadfood books and I ate here with my mother about a decade ago.  I remember it being very good, very small and connected to a gas station out on busy Cerrillos Road.  That location closed down and I thought it had gone out of business.  But, some research showed they had moved to a new location just down the road.  When we pulled up and saw that the parking lot was full of police cars,

we knew we were in the right place.  And all the officers

were sitting together at one table.
 
The new Horseman's Haven is much bigger now, with lots of comfortable booths.  It does still has the same attractive Western decor,

including the obligatory tribute to The Duke.

Once again, I went with the huevos rancheros, Christmas-style. 

A few more potatoes were have been preferred, but the chile here was extremely flavorful, including the extremely hot green chile.  I sided my entree with some crispy, greasy and very good chorizo sausage.

Johnny went for the carne adovado. 

The beef was so tender, it just fell apart as you tried to pick it up with a fork.  There wasn't much heat to the thick sauce, but it was some of the best tasting chile on the trip.
 
In doing research for the upcoming vacation, I read that Horseman's Haven does an excellent green chile cheeseburger.  They also have a terrifyingly hot chile know as Level 2, which doesn't appear on the menu.  Not sure if I will try that, but a GCC from this place sounds like a "must do"!   
 
Horseman's Haven
4353 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM
505-471-5420
 
We headed north and then west to Bandelier National Monument,

where homes of ancient Puebloans have been preserved.  We stuck to the main loop trail, which is only about 1.2 miles, but there was so much to see, we spent over three hours here.  Some of the sights:










As much as we enjoyed the hike, my favorite thing from Bandelier was this sign: 

Is it really necessary to tell people not to handle bats.  I wouldn't pick up a bat, even if someone was actually giving me a rabies shot at the same time! 
 
We really enjoyed out time at Bandelier and if people going on the Roadfood bus tour are looking for someplace not too far from Albuquerque to do some outdoor sightseeing, this place comes highly recommended.
 
http://www.nps.gov/band/
 
After all the exercis in the hot sun, we were ready to eat!
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 08/27/10 11:15 AM>

Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Fri, 08/27/10 8:59 AM
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"a GCC from this place sounds like a "must do"!"

Cliff, it was many years ago but the GCC we had here was our favorite of those we tried.  And the green chile was certainly hotter than all the others!

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Fri, 08/27/10 9:05 AM
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I love to hear that Bruce!  Thanks.

mr chips-
We sure do wish you could join us on the bus tour this year.  You will be missed! 

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Fri, 08/27/10 9:13 AM
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Wow, that chorizo has totally left this mortal coil.  Is it typical to see it served like that?

Ivyhouse
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Fri, 08/27/10 10:38 AM
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Hello Cliff,
 
I have been following your Albuquerque thread very closely.  My friend Lisa and I will be on the New Mexico tour, and we are spending a few extra days in ABQ and Santa Fe.  Your sightseeing and restaurant  recommendations will come in very handy.

One of the restaurants we are considering in Santa Fe is Coyote Cafe.  Have you ever been there and if so, what are your thoughts?

Thanks,

Karen

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Fri, 08/27/10 10:58 AM
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Ivyhouse-
Looking forward to meeting you and your friend on the tour.  It has been several years since I have been to Coyote Cafe, but I remember it being very good.  The dishes were very creative and beautiful to look at.  No doubt, a little pricey but worth it.  The rooftop cantina is especially nice during the Summertime.  Now that I think about it, more of my meals at Coyote Cafe were at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, although I think that location is no longer there.

Glad you are going to spend some extra days out there.  You will love it!!!

Nancy-
No, I don't think that is typical for chorizo.  Undoubtedly overcooked, but we liked it regardless.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Fri, 08/27/10 10:59 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/31/10 10:46 AM
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Saturday June 13, 2009 cont.

We continued north to the small town of Embudo to eat at a place we were eagerly anticipating, Sugar's.  We had driven right past this place earlier in the trip on the way to Taos, but it was already closed for the night.  The reason we were particularly excited about Sugar's in the photo in the Roadfood review of the bulldog sitting on top of the wall, watching the customers eat.
 
We loved Sugar's

just based on how the place looked.  Obviously, just a trailer with a tin front, it was screaming good Roadfood to us.  They have a beautiful framed black & white photo of a bulldog,

who the restaurant is certainly named after.  Being big dog lovers, we loved this touch!  Here is a poor photo of the menu,

highlighted by the bbq and burger options on it.  We placed our orders and then sat down in the lovely little picnic table area nearby.

 
Captain Combo struck again!  His three meat choices

were ribs, brisket and sausage.  The ribs

were very tender, but not fall off the bone, which is what we like.  It provided a nice chew with lots of meaty flavor.  Thumbs up!  The brisket with the clear smoke ring, was even more tender.  It was on the fatty side, but Johnny still liked it very much.  Johnny described the sausage as being more like a kielbasa and not like a Texas hot link, with a crispy exterior and a nice snap when you bit into it.  The only problem with the meats was that it came drenched in too much sauce.  The sauce was very thick, on the sweet side, with maybe some vinegar and did provide a small amount of heat.  We liked the sauce, but less would have been more in this case.  My entree was the brisket burrito,

which also contained green chiles.  The combination was addictive and was on the short list of best things I ate on the trip. 
 
We split up the sides.  The cole slaw

was finely chopped.  I liked it better than Johnny, who thought it was too peppery.  He was much happier with the potato salad,

which was also chopped fine and contained a heavy does of mayo, plus some pickle.  The sweet beans,

with plenty of pork in it, were my favorite side.  Johnny ate the cornbread

in a manner that he picked up from ChiTownDiner when we were in Memphis.
 
Sorry about the food photos having so many shadows.  I have yet to master the art of outdoor food photography.
 
Sugar's gets high marks from us for the food and had we asked them to go a little lighter on the sauce, we would have liked it even more.  The only disappointment is that we never saw a dog the entire time we were here.
 
We got back in the car and headed south, back towards Santa Fe.
 
Sugar's
1799 SR-68
Embudo, NM
505-852-0604
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/1389/sugars
 
Much more to come..... 
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/31/10 10:52 AM>

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/31/10 2:05 PM
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Saturday June 13, 2009 cont.

Next stop was the town of Chimayo.  I have been here on several occasions before, since the Roadfood landmark restaurant Rancho de Chimayo is located in Chimayo.  Johnny and I even stayed in their inn, back on our previous trip.  Unfortunately, the restaurant had a fire earlier in the year and they hadn't reopened yet.  This time, we were here to visit El Santuario de Chimayo,

which is a Catholic shrine and is sometimes referred to as the Lourdes of America.  One of the rooms has a round pit and the dirt in it is supposed to possess the power to heal.  I did take a few photos on the way in to the shrine,


including the makeshift crosses on the fence.  But, I eventually decided to put the camera away and just enjoy being at this holy site.  Neither one of us is Catholic, but there is something special about this place. 
 
Now, as long as we were here, we grabbed some late lunch at Leona's,

which is right next to the shrine.  I will go ahead and apologize right now, because my food photos turned out horrible and most are too bad to post.  There have a surprisingly large menu for such a little place.  On each table is a menu stand,

but you actually place your order at the counter

and they bring the food out to you. 
 
Our favorite item here was the delicious posole,

which was considerably hotter than the version we had earlier in the trip.  We got a couple of tamales,
 

wrapped in corn husks and then shared them.  The chicken tamale contained green chiles and was very mild.  The pork tamale had red chiles and was fiery hot.  There were a couple of other items, but my notes are sketchy and my memory fading.  I know that we drank our food down with good Henry Weinhard root beers, a brand we had never tasted before.  And we finished it with biscochitos,

wrapped in cellophane, that were sitting next to the register.  A nice way to end the meal, but these were no way near as good as the fresh ones at Golden Crown Panaderia.
 
Leona's
17 Santuario Drive
Chimayo, NM
505-351-4569

 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/1752/leonas
 
It had been a long day, so we went back to the hotel and napped.  We did wake up in time for a late dinner.  As much as we enjoyed all the great New Mexican food, we were ready for a change of pace.  Warning to wanderingjew:  you should just skip past this part of the trip report.  Both of us love Thai food and after a quick search online, we found one right down the street. 
 
The place was called Dara Thai

and the inside decoration is a strange combination of adobe/Asian.  The menu looked pretty standard, but we both got a laugh out of a dish called Evil Jungle Princess.

 
We both got Thai iced teas to drink. 

They were extremely strong, not sweet and we didn't care for them.  Johnny got his usual appetizer, the chicken satay.  The chicken had a strange texture,

but the peanut sauce was very tasty.  For his entree, Johnny got the Gang Ga Puket,

which is chicken in a mild curry sauce.  The dish also had tomato, pineapple, spinach and broccoli.  The name of my dish never got written down in my notes,

but it was another dish of mild heat that contained flat noodles shrimp and broccoli.  One of the things that was different here is that when we order in a Thai restaurant back home, they ask you how spicy you want it on a scale of 1-10.  Here, we were asked on a scale of 1-5.  Since I usually get a 7, I had to ask for 3 1/2!
 
Dara Thai was a nice change of pace for us and the people working there were very nice, but the food was just okay and I would not go out of my way to eat there again.  Right down the street from Dara Thai, we spotted a Baskins-Robbins, so we stopped in for a cone.  Chocolate peanut butter for me and mango tango for Johnny.  From there, it was back to the hotel for the night.
 
Much more to come.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 09/1/10 9:11 AM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/31/10 2:23 PM
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I think that's a pad see ew?  I'm not spelling that right I know, but basically the wide egg noodles.
 
I think I would feel right at home at Sugar's--all that stuff (with the exception of the barbecue sauce) looks straight out of a barbecue hut here.

buffetbuster
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Re:I should have made a left at Albuquerque! - Tue, 08/31/10 2:29 PM
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Nancy, I think you are right about that pad see ew, since that is a dish I have ordered in the past.  And you would have enjoyed the adobe/Asian decor!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 08/31/10 2:31 PM>

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