Albuquerque

Little Red Hamburger Hut has that ABQ heat

Little Red Hamburger Hut has that ABQ heat

We didn't go looking for the Little Red Hamburger Hut (1501 Mountain Rd. NW, Albuquerque, 505-304-1819). We just stumbled across it when we were on our way to the Golden Crown Panadería (also on Mountain Road) for breakfast. Like road runners and skinks (about the only other critters out in the August sun in Albuquerque), we were on foot. Call us suckers for graphic art, but the six-foot-wide rendering of a double burger with red chile sauce would have been enough to hook us. Then we saw the dancing chile peppers. Various signs proclaimed the Little Red Hamburger Hut as the home of the red chile hamburger. Hey, it would only be lunch. What was there to lose? The posted hours were a little confusing,...Read More
Gruet sparkling wines just keep getting better

Gruet sparkling wines just keep getting better

We've been drinking Gruet wines for about 25 years now, and we hope to keep drinking them another 25. That would be something to celebrate—which is appropriate for an American winery that produces sparkling wines that rival good Champagne. Quality can always be had at a premium price, but entry-level Gruet Brut starts at $15. That's hard to beat, even if you step down to bulk-process California sparklers. The top of the line—a grand rosé that sits three years on the lees—is only $39. (Those are winery prices.) When we're in Gruet country, we always try to stop at the Albuquerque tasting room (8400 Pan American Freeway NE, Albuquerque; (505) 821-0055, gruetwinery.com). For one thing, this space has the full line of Gruet wines, including...Read More
Mary & Tito’s: the hottest red and green you’ll ever love

Mary & Tito’s: the hottest red and green you’ll ever love

We have one piece of advice for you when you visit Mary & Tito's (2711 4th St. NW, 505-344-6266) in Albuquerque. Bring plenty of Kleenex. The red and green chile sauces that accompany most dishes are so hot that they will make your eyes water and your nose run. We don't mean to scare you off. You just need to be prepared. The food is so good that you will want to eat every bite. Order a soda to accompany your meal and the server will bring you a big glass full of ice and a can of your choice. When you've downed it all, she will bring you another. The refill is free. That is a distinct kindness. Mary & Tito's is located in...Read More

Duran Central Pharmacy — a prescription for chile cuisine

[caption id="attachment_449" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Counter at Duran Central Pharmacy"][/caption] The drugstore lunch counter is a dying breed all over the country, but it's alive and well in Albuquerque, N.M. Duran Central Pharmacy (1815 Central NW, Albuquerque, N.M., 505-247-4141) has been around for 45 years and in the same location since 1975. It's close to the tourist-haunted Old Town, yet locals make up most of the clientele. The food isn't fancy, but it's definitely special and highly local. Because it's full of chile peppers, it's good for you. The red chile sauce avoids beans and it also eschews such adulterants as cumin. The green chile is also a straight-ahead stew of chopped green chile peppers with just a little sautéed onion and garlic. [caption id="attachment_450" align="alignleft"...Read More

Warming up with green chile chicken stew

[caption id="attachment_428" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Green chile chicken stew"][/caption] El Pinto Restaurant (10500 4th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM, 505-898-1771, www.elpinto.com) may seat up to 1,000 people at a time, yet the quality of the handmade New Mexican food belies the size. Maybe that's because it is a family restaurant run by the grandsons of Josephina Chavez-Griggs. Her daughter Katy opened La Posta de la Mesilla in 1939, and Katy's nephews Jim and John Thomas Meek ("the salsa twins") operate El Pinto. Many of their recipes, though, go back to Josephina. When I was there recently on a cold November night, the green chile chicken stew lifted both the chill and my mood. It's a perfect winter warmer and simple to make at home once you have...Read More