Red or Green? Eating in Albuquerque & Santa Fe, New Mexico

Little Anita's Steak Burrito © 2012 Beth Billstrom

“Red or green?” asked the Little Anita’s waitress as she finished writing my order for a burrito? Hmmm, I hesitated and in that moment I gave myself away.  Had the waitress not already guessed that this was my first visit to New Mexico, she knew for sure now!  “Red or green?” is asked a million times a day in New Mexico and refers to only one thing:  chile peppers.  Red has a bit of heat and a smoky flavor, green is a bit hotter and in my opinion, much more flavorful.  I ordered red at Little Anita’s, but from then on ordered green. (It was New Mexico, after all, hot is good!)

Sopaipillas and honey © 2012 Beth Billstrom

Chile peppers were just the beginning of our flavor adventure.  Our meal at Little Anitas came with traditional chips and salsa as well as sopaipillas – deep fried, sweetend bread.  Little Anita’s sopaipillas are typically stuffed with potatoes.  The waitress’ suggested we ordered ours unstuffed.  Good idea!  I was completely stuffed after the meal and didn’t miss the potatoes one bit.  A drop or two of honey on the sopaipillas was all I needed.

Later that evening, after a full day of wandering historic Old Town and taking in some of the local sights, we headed to Seasons Rotisserie and Grill.  This is where we ate the most unbelievably good fish tacos. (Read about them here.)  Seasons also introduced us to New Mexican wine in the form of sangria.  While all the sangria I’ve had (and made) is typically made with cheaper wines, Seasons uses a mix of some of the state’s best wines…and it shows.  They kick the taste up a notch further by adding a bit of cinnamon.  The result is a wonderfully heady experience that we enjoyed even more on their rooftop patio.

The following evening we were exploring the boutiques and galleries in Santa Fe.  We stumbled on a sign pointing down a hallway towards the Blue Corn Cafe.  In true Santa Fe style, the Blue Corn Cafe is off the beaten track.  We climbed up the first set of stairs, wound down and around the hallway, up a second floor of stairs and headed for the amazing smells.  It was worth the trek.  However, by this time I’d had my fill of tacos, burritos and the like.  I opted for a spinach, pecan and blue cheese salad.  I wasn’t disappointed.  It was fresh, tangy and just a bit sweet.

The following morning was to be our last in New Mexico.  We spent it cruising Route 66. We really hadn’t planned to eat AGAIN, but it just happened to be March 17th

© 2012 Beth Billstrom

and we came across Kelly’s Brew Pub.  It appeared to be THE place to be for a New Mexican breakfast burrito served on St. Patty’s day.

Kelly's breakfast burrito © 2012 Beth Billstrom

unfortunately, our plane left just a bit after lunch, so I had coffee and OJ, but took a pass on the green beer…..maybe next year!

I hope you enjoyed my brief New Mexican food tour. There is so much more the state has to offer, and I hope I’m fortunate enough to return very soon.


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