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El Farolito

1212 Main St., El Rito, NM - (575) 581-9509
Posted By Michael Stern on 8/26/2003 4:59:00 AM
El Rito is a long way from almost everywhere, but the trip to get there is stunning. It is a drive through pure New Mexico, with a landscape of awesome rock formations, sagebrush, and grazing cows. The town is little more than a single street with a general store on one side and El Farolito on the other. It’s a small place, hardly bigger than a house trailer, with seven picnic tables up front and the kitchen in back.

For native New Mexican food, you won’t find a better place at a better price. Chilies rellenos, tacos, enchiladas, and green chile cheeseburgers are featured on the menu (which also offers ordinary hamburgers and hot dogs for chilephobes). The green chili is especially excellent: a luxurious stew of bite-size pieces of pork, tomato, and slivers of ultrahot green chile. Red chile is more a sauce, nothing but pureed chilies and spice; and it is used on burritos and enchiladas. But if you’d like a “bowl of red” as a meal, the Trujillos will add beef and/or beans to create a thick, powerhouse stew.

We cannot resist El Farolito’s Fritos pie. Dominic Trujillo, son of founders Carmen and Dennis, told us that some customers who get their pies to go have the corn chips packed separately so they don’t get too soft by the time dinner is ready to eat. The way it normally comes from the kitchen, there is a thick layer of relatively mild-mannered red chili spread atop a foundation of corn chips, the chili garnished with melting shredded cheese, lettuce and tomato. It’s the whole food pyramid in a single bowl!

Thanks to Michelle Sullivan for tipping us off to this great find.

15 out of 16 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Fritos Pie
Green Chile
Sopaipillas
Chilies Rellenos
Green Chile Cheeseburger
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

A chile relleno covered in the thin, hot red chile
"A chile relleno covered in the thin, hot red chile"
Cliff Strutz





The northern New Mexico classic: Fritos pie. The chips are bedded down below the chile.
"The northern New Mexico classic: Fritos pie. The chips are bedded down below the chile."
Michael Stern


I like the stuffed sopaipilla itself just fine, but the green chile here is so good, it would make any dish magical.
"I like the stuffed sopaipilla itself just fine, but the green chile here is so good, it would make any dish magical."
Cliff Strutz


In New Mexico, chile is always spelled with an E at the end. It's a way of honoring the official state vegetable. This is a bowl of green chile stew.
"In New Mexico, chile is always spelled with an E at the end. It's a way of honoring the official state vegetable. This is a bowl of green chile stew."
Michael Stern


A superb example of the Green Chile Cheeseburger
"A superb example of the Green Chile Cheeseburger"
Michael Stern


The Mexican hot chocolate provides strong chocolate flavor without being overly sweet.
"The Mexican hot chocolate provides strong chocolate flavor without being overly sweet."
Cliff Strutz


The traditional breadstuff with New Mexican meals: sopaipillas. They are fresh-fried and served warm with honey.
"The traditional breadstuff with New Mexican meals: sopaipillas. They are fresh-fried and served warm with honey."
Michael Stern


The interior is tiny and most of the seats are picnic tables.
"The interior is tiny and most of the seats are picnic tables."
Cliff Strutz


El Farolito is justifiably proud of their great green chile.
"El Farolito is justifiably proud of their great green chile."
Cliff Strutz


El Farolito is a tiny diner on the Main Street of El Rito, a town that is little more than a main street.
"El Farolito is a tiny diner on the Main Street of El Rito, a town that is little more than a main street."
Michael Stern


El Farolito means
"El Farolito means "The Little Lantern," which is how this restaurant is marked."
Michael Stern



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