As confirmed foodies, my hubby and I enjoy trying local specialties wherever we travel, even within our own continent (within limits; if it’s squiggly or slimy it’s off the table). When we’re between trips, I enjoy reading articles about places to go and things we can look forward to, including food. The other day I ran across this article at foodandwine.com, We Found the Best Fast Food in Every State, and They’re All Local Obsessions. I was curious to read what it had to say about the state of New Mexico, where we spent a couple of great weeks in the fall.
One of New Mexico’s claims to fame is the green chile cheeseburger. It’s not a complicated dish – just a juicy burger with white cheese and a heaping addition of chopped cooked green chilies – but it has one of those great flavour combinations that can quickly become addictive. In the state there’s a Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, complete with mouth-watering photos.
So even though chili peppers and I don’t get along all that well, when we went to New Mexico in the fall we had to try some.
I read a lot of recommendations about the best places to find one. Some weren’t along the path of our planned itinerary, but I made note of a few. For us the thrill isn’t in lining up with throngs at the famous places on lists, though – it’s in just trying the legendary dish in different locations and seeing what you get. And when you stumble across a really great serving that you weren’t expecting, it’s a very happy day.
For example, several years ago, while combining a week of golf along the Robert Trent Jones Trail in Alabama with a couple of days in New Orleans, we had lovely beignets in New Orleans at the market by the waterfront, but a few days later some really superb ones at a breakfast joint across the border in Alabama.
The article mentions Blake’s as the place to go for green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico, and if I’d seen the article before we left home, we probably would have tried it. We saw the signs for Blake’s Lotaburger all over the place as we drove around the central and southern part of the state. One of the recommendations we did spot, and try out, was a place called The Original Realburger in Santa Fe. It’s one of those small, unpretentious places that I suspect tourists rarely visit, but we did have a very delicious green chile cheeseburger there for our first-ever tasting.
Great food wasn’t hard to find in New Mexico, and we did enjoy some higher-end restaurants here and there. However, on the day we went to the ABQ Bio Park in Albuquerque, we decided to grab a light lunch at their Shark Reef Café, and the Green Chile Slider Stack seemed a good size for me. Not only did it fit the bill portion-wise in a country that oversizes everything, but it was absolutely yummy!
So as much fun as it is to peruse restaurant lists and fantasize trips around them, don’t be afraid to try out places that aren’t on the lists. You may get some wonderful surprises. If you can’t wait until a trip to New Mexico to try a green chile cheeseburger for yourself, here’s a basic recipe that looks comparable to what we ate; feel free to mess with as you choose 🙂
All photos are by me and may not be used without my permission. E. Jurus