It is so dry in New Mexico that nothing much can get moldy, including a good idea. Last year I wrote a post about New Mexico’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail – a swath through the state of places voted most likely to find nirvana in a cheeseburger experience. Now it’s time to update the map.
Cable tv has done a lot for the food industry with shows and even more importantly, channels devoted to food and foodies. They are even creating new generations of foodies all over the globe, so it’s not surprising that in the past few years culinary hot spots are popping up in unusual places and have now become desirable travel destinations. Many of our Albuquerque Bed and Breakfast guests have traveled at least part of the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, and a few came here just for that reason. I am still amazed.
New Mexico with it’s unique style of Southwestern cuisine is no exception. New Mexico Style cooking is nothing like Texas’ Tex-Mex or Arizona’s pitiful identity crisis of make-shift “Mexican” food. It isn’t fancy, or hard to make, but basically consists of a short list of ingredients used to prepare a longer list of different items that always has chile as the condiment or main ingredient. Our Official State Question is “Red or Green?”, and that refers to chile. In every New Mexican cuisine restaurant, no matter what you order, the last question the wait staff will ask is “red or green?”
The NM Ingredients: Meat – beef, pork or chicken, cheese, cumin, oregano, garlic, onion, pinto beans, rice or sometimes potato, red or green chile, tomato and lettuce. Also a must – a corn or flour base tortilla, or other bread like starch.
The NM menu items: Tacos, tamales, sopaipilla, stuffed sopaipilla, burrito, enchiladas (roled or stacked), taquitos, chimichungas, quesadillas, tostados, green chili stew, red chili stew, carne adovada, empanadas, rellenos, flautas, salsas, chili burgers, and more I know I must be forgetting.
Now…back to the burgers – This popular “Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail” idea continues – and it is time once again to nominate your favorite Green Chili Cheeseburger joint so the Official Trail can be updated for 2011. As everything else in life – there are rules. Here is what the NM Tourism Department came up with:
- Nominations are open to New Mexico-based restaurants with a business license, that are in good standing with the NM Health Department; and that have a bricks-and-mortar location. Indoor seating is not required. New Mexico-based chains are eligible for consideration. Green chile cheeseburgers must be a regular part of the restaurant’s menu. A burger must include at least one patty of ground beef, bison, or veggie mixture, green chile, cheese, and a bun or other bread.
At the official nominating website, you may find the full list of rules. This is also where you can nominate your favorites and vote as well.
Rumor has it that Green Chile Cheeseburgers have been a regular item in the New Mexico diet since the mid 1950’s. I believe that. As I was writing this post I ate a Blake’s Lota Burger, (a New Mexico Burger Chain), Itsaburger with green chili. We have to do it, you know, and we will never eat a burger that doesn’t have red or green chili on it. Green chili seems to be the accepted norm, although red is my personal fav. Even the national chains like McDonalds and Burger King know better than to NOT offer green chili as a condiment at their New Mexico locations. They know we’ll move on to another location for our burgers if they didn’t have chili. Truth is…we usually do anyway because the local haunts like Blake’s and Bob’s Burgers, (my fav with the BEST green chili sauce), just have a better New Mexico burger.
So get going…go nominate your favorite Green Chile Cheeseburger now…or at very least, if you are lucky enough to be in NM, get off of your computer now and go get one.
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!