Santa Fe Noshes

January 14th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, Santa Fe has some very high end restaurants (Geronimo is the best). But, HG/BSK are not customers. The problem is wine (and spirits). BSK is a hearty wine drinker (can knock off more than a half-bottle with a meal). HG drinks much wine but also likes vodka before the meal and brandy after. This amounts to big bucks at a good restaurant. Cost of wine and spirits can be more than a hundred bucks (sometimes $150). And, then there are three courses of food plus tax and tip. Excessive expenditure. So, dinner is confined to lusty home cooking plus wine and spirit values from Kokoman and Trader Joe’s. BSK confines lunch to leftovers but HG prefers noshing at casual, inexpensive eateries. El Parasol (in Pojoaque and Santa Fe) for menudo and tacos; Saigon Cafe (Santa Fe) for chow fun and pho; Whole Foods for a container of jambalaya; Tune Up for a breakfast burrito smothered in green chile. Best of all are the numerous food trucks. One of them serves foot long hot dogs covered in super hot green chile sauce. A happy way to achieve the ultimate in heartburns. Pass the Tums.

Breakfast Burrito

October 3rd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The breakfast burrito is a hearty culinary staple of western USA. Favored by physical laborers and desk bound executives (and everyone in between). A big BB devoured in the morning makes lunch superfluous. Effete east coasters may never have tasted one so let HG explain: A BB is a big rolled flour tortilla enclosing potatoes, eggs, onions, peppers, bacon (or ham, sausage or chorizo). The BB, looking like a small football, is smothered in green or red chile. Heat factor is mild to blazing. HG was introduced to the BB at Pete’s Kitchen on Colfax and Race in Denver. HG’s office was two blocks away from Pete’s so breakfast (or lunch) was, inevitably, the mild green chile smothered BB. HG loved it (as did SJ when SJ resided in the Mile High City). Since moving to the Santa Fe area, HG has learned that New Mexico is the true home of the BB. There are exemplary BB’s served in more than a score of restaurants and from some dozen roadside trucks. The best BB can be found at Tune-Up Cafe in Santa Fe (El Parasol in Pojoaque is a close second). Inventive BSK serves up BSK’s own version of the BB. Not monstrously large but very satisfying. Here’s how BSK does it: Warms a modest sized tortilla. Tops it with a browned layer of left over smashed potatoes and fried onions. Adds crisp bacon. Tops it with a sunny side fried egg. Then smothers the tasty work of art with plentiful warmed 505 Green Chile Sauce (Medium). Medium is mouth tingling. Hot is numbing. Where did the name “505” come from ? That’s Santa Fe’s telephone area code. If you want to attempt a New Mexico BB at home, order 505 from Amazon.


Breakfast Renaissance

February 16th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

For scores of years HG’s very unhealthy breakfast consisted of endless cups of black coffee and numerous Marlboro cigarettes, all consumed while reading The New York Times (HG’s morning hands were always stained by Times print). Much has changed. HG now reads The New York Times online. No cigarettes. Cafe latte. And, nourishing, often very hearty, breakfast meals. Most often HG has a big bowl of fresh fruit and Greek yogurt drizzled with plenty of Turkish honey (this is one occasion where the Greek and Turkish cultures are in harmony). The other perpetual is organic coarsely cut oatmeal (BSK adds lots of dried fruit to the cereal). For some reason, Sunday morning is a time for eggs. BSK is an exert poacher and scrambler. Thus, there are poached eggs on buttered Thomas English Muffins. Or, poached eggs on a bed of Geechie Boy Stone Ground Grits (provided by SJ). Crisp rashers of bacon always accompany these dishes. HG is very fond of soft, voluptuous scrambled eggs with Alaskan red caviar and creme fraiche. BSK makes this perfectly; however, it is in the realm of omelets that BSK demonstrates her true mastery. Here are some of the fillings: Cheese, fried onions, asparagus, mushrooms, mixed chopped herbs, spinach…and, surprisingly, super spicy Korean kimchee. A BSK omelette is always lightly browned on the outside. Creamy on the inside. Perfect. (SJ also does great omelettes. Must be an inherited talent). When HG goes out for breakfast he consumes a cheese enchilada topped with a sunny side fried egg and smothered in spicy red and mellow green chile sauce (In New Mexico this topping is called “Christmas.”) Best source for this dish is Sopaipilla Factory in Pojoauque (15 minute drive north of Santa Fe). When HG is really hungry in the AM, HG goes to Tune Up Cafe in Santa Fe for the eatery’s massive breakfast burrito filled with eggs, potatoes and thick cut bacon. There’s a ton of fiery green chile on the plate but HG always asks for more. HG may express some nostalgia for the past, but breakfast has never been better than the present.20110719-salmon-roe-eggs

HG’s Eccentric Taste Treats

November 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

HG’s go-to lunch (when HG isn’t eating sumptuously at El Parasol, Sopaipilla Factory, Tune Up Cafe, Shokho Cafe, Shibumi Ramenya, The Talin Market or any of the other good noshing places in the Santa Fe area) is a big bowl of Spicy Flavor Saymyang Ramen, a hearty Korean, instant-noodle soup. HG orders it by the carton from H-Mart, the Korean online grocer. Some weeks ago, HG learned that Korean immigrants in Los Angeles often served their hungry kids packaged ramen topped with slices of American cheese. Sounds strange but HG gave it a try with some aged cheddar and gouda. Really good. (Purists like SJ and Exquisite Maiko might turn up their noses but HG finds the cheesy addition yummy). HG also likes another bit of culinary eccentricity. The oldster often accompanies the remains of dinner red wine with peanut butter and peach (or mirabelle) jam on a few crisp Keebler’s Club Crackers. Oenophiles would be shocked.

Samyang Spicy Ramen


January 20th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Do you know what a Pupusa is? Okay, you food sophisticates out there might know all about them, but HG didn’t. And now that HG knows, HG is concerned for the unlucky folks who haven’t encountered this delight. So. A Pupusa comes from Central America (Salvador makes a specialty of this treat). It is a thick corn tortilla made of masada de maiz (maize flour dough). Pupusas are lightly fried and stuffed with a variety of ingredients — beans, cheese, chicken, chicharron ( a Salvadorian roast pork cooked to a paste-like consistency), etc., etc. Pupusas are usually served with curtido, cabbage slaw enhanced with vinegar and red chilis. They are mighty good (and very filling). They have some things in common with the Arepas eaten in Colombia and Venezuela and the Mexican Gordita. The Pupusa is better. Santa Fe is a great place for Pupusa consumption. The Tune Up Cafe makes some estimable Pupusas. But, the real shrine of these goodies is Pupuseria y Restaurante Salvadorena on Cerrillos Road. Some 16 Pupusas are on the menu. All spectacular. All priced at $2.50 each. Big time bargain. Lots of other Salvadoreno dishes are served. However, the big draw is the delicious and inexpensive Pupusa.

Breakfast Burrito Supremo

October 23rd, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Very hungry midday so off to he HG standby in Pojoaque, El Parasol (there are six El Parasols–in Santa Fe, Espanola, Los Alamos–but the Pojoaque branch is the HG favorite). The Pojoaque branch is under the supervision of veteran restaurateur Jose Atencio (his family has run the renowned El Paragua in Espanola for generations). His wife, the lovely Alicia Atencio, is also frequently in attendance. Their personal touch insures that the welcome is warm, the service swift, the premises sparkling clean and the food consistently good with true down home Northern New Mexico flavor. Alicia was on duty today and HG inquired if it was too late for a breakfast burrito. Big smile from Alicia. “Of course not.” Soon a generously (to put it mildly!) sized breakfast burrito appeared. Perfectly scrambled eggs nestled inside a tortilla with loads of crispy bacon, green chiles, and roast potatoes. Smothered with mucho, mucho green chile — hot and spicy but not ridiculous. A green chile burrito for gourmands, not masochists.

When HG finished the last scrap of the burrito it was time for contemplation. How did this breakfast burrito rank with other winners in that category? HG had never tasted a breakfast burrito until HG and BSK’s move to Colorado some 27 years ago. Tenderfoot HG had his first BB at Pete’s Diner in Denver and was overwhelmed. Breakfast for the gods. New Mexico friends sneered. Wait until you taste a BB smothered in New Mexico green. Then you will know how a BB should taste. They were right. My first taste of a BB at Tune Up Cafe in Santa Fe knocked the Pete’s version out of the box. Enter the El Parasol BB. HG will end the suspense. This is the Numero Uno BB. Freshness, balance of ingredients, levels of flavor, perfection of the green chiles. Thank you, Jose. Thank you, Alicia. You rule.

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