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Food & Drank

Best In Class - BOSF 14 Editorial Picks

July 16, 2014, 12:00 am
By SFR

Best hand-held slice of home

Burrito Spot’s California burrito
at three locations

It’s no secret that Santa Fe is a foodie’s paradise. From the hoity-toity to the craft this, the kale that and the slumminess of some of the best grub trucks across the Southwest, we’ve got it made. Sometimes however, much like my dating life, you want it quick and dirty. Enter Burrito Spot and their iteration of a SoCal staple: the California Burrito ($4.50). The Cali what you ask? Basically, it’s a carne asada burrito stuffed with French fries. Yup, French fries. Also known along some circles as your 3 am buddy. BS’s version uses home fries instead of the usual pommes frites, but still, if I close my eyes and chew fast enough, it almost feels like home. Now, if only there were a group of fit blondes judging me as I stuff my face, the tableau would be complete. (EL)

Best Paula Deen-approved cup o' Joe

Bulletproof coffee at Iconik Coffee Roasters
1600 Lena St., 428-0996

Truvía. Almond milk harvested from a Himalayan Prunus dulcis. We locals love our caffeine and all the fancy bells and whistles that go along with it. But, what you ask is the latest it add-on? It’s a little more down-home that you might think: butter. Iconik’s gourmet pour-over can now be infused with the creamy stuff ($4.75) and let me tell you, it heightens their already stellar brews and delivers a product that simultaneously takes over your coffee and croissant cravings in one fell swoop. Leave your Land O’Lakes expectations at the door. This stuff used here comes from grassfed cows and is infused with honey and coconut. After all, this is Santa Fe. (EL)

Best Authentic Mexican (non-New Mexican) Food

La Cocina de Doña Clara Southside
4350 Airport Road, Ste. 4, 473-1081

It was tragic when the downtown menu for La Cocina de Doña Clara recently changed to presumably reflect the demographic. The food at this location is still agreeable, but the options are less and the prices are higher. But there’s no arguing that changes made the Mexican restaurant’s original Southside location all the more legendary. Here, the atmosphere is much more neighborly than its downtown counterpart. But more important is what’s on the menu. It’s still loaded with Chihuahua-style offerings like cabeza (pig’s skull meat), lengua (cow tongue) and chicharrón (pig skin) in tacos, gorditas and more. Prices are still cheap here, with tacos sold at $1.75 each, gorditas at $2.50 and tortas at $5. And after years of waiting for a liquor license, La Cocina finally offers beer and wine to wash the meals down. ¡Salud! (JP)

Best protein on the go

Flavored bugs at Doodlet’s
120 Don Gaspar Ave., 983-3771

“Very well, gentleman, this is what separates the men from the boys,” I said, sitting at the head of the table inside SFR’s conference room. I then pulled out three stacks of freshly purchased flavored insects ($3.50 each). “Man, I ain’t eating that shit,” the Reporter’s official taste tester, Joey Peters, said, staring at a box of sour cream and onion-flavored “Crick-ettes.” Interns, our art director and myself succumbed to the crawly peer pressure and took turns Fear Factor-style. One squirming attendee even made a video to show his girlfriend. Staring at our meal’s buggy eyes, we also made it through the bacon and cheese kind. Up next, “Mexican Spice Larvets” dubbed the “original worm snax.” Eew meets yum. (EL)

Best donut-peddling, crime-fighting duo

Spider-Man and Superman outside Whoo’s Donuts
851 Cerrillos Road, 629-1678

Sure, flavors like orange cardamom cream blue corn strawberry jalapeño glaze are the stars of Whoo’s Donuts, but local hypeman Micah Ortega and his myriad of costumes brings a touch of whimsy and pizzazz to the fritter emporium. For the summer, Ortega and a trusty sidekick have decided to go superhero, and several times a week take to the sidewalk in a Krypton-worthy display to drive customers in. “This is where the superheroes hang out,” Ortega says with his usual spunk. “There’s something about donuts and superheroes, bro,” he continues with his trademark chuckle. “It’s just an enigma.” We agree. (EL)

Best Bar to Never Run Into People You Can’t Stand

The Staab House at La Posada
330 E Palace Ave., 986-0000

As I search for a comfortable seat on an antique loveseat, the inviting wood paneling of The Staab House coupled with a complete lack of music being blasted so loud that even Einstein couldn’t think, it occurs to me: There isn’t anyone I know here. No high school jerks or rejection-heavy girls, no loud-mouthed frat boys or “punk rock” geniuses. Just me…and quiet. The friendly staff attends to my every whim and the drinks are poured to reasonable strengths. I say a silent prayer to the hustle and bustle of downtown—which still holds a place in my heart—and knock my Hendrick’s, rocks. “If this isn’t nice I don’t know what is,” I think, and I sit back in the loveseat and sigh contentedly. (ADV)

Best Place to Distract your Kids While You Get A Latte

The Kid’s Corner at Betterday Coffee
905 W Alameda St., 780-8059

Mainstream coffee shops are not exactly what you’d call kid-friendly, and even with a coloring book and a sugary pastry (a ticking time bomb if ever there was one) there’s only so long you can enjoy the peace of coffee before they get antsy. But since that morning ritual has a pretty direct effect on one’s parenting (or babysitting) skills, bring them to the kids’ corner at Betterday, where you can watch from a comfortable distance as they play with everything from a toy kitchen, cars and trucks, to a little rolling ladybug cart that sends many a toddler zooming across the café floor (to the great amusement of patrons). (ZH)

Best Best Frito pie challenger

DoriNachos at Refresquería Las Delicias
4350 Airport Road, 438-0280

Regardless of its much-debated origins, few things SCREAM out local snack as the humble Frito Pie does. For eons it has remained at the top of the chip-based grab-n-go kingdom, but Refresquería Las Delicias is out to challenge that with their scrumptious DoriNachos—a hearty serving of Doritos, topped with cheese (grated and nacho), jalapeños, corn and chili beans. Ball’s in your court, Anthony Bourdain. (EL)

Best jerk

Ortega’s Jerky
2800 block of Cerrillos Road

New York has Times Square, London has Piccadilly Circus and Santa Fe has the trifecta formed by Cheeks, The Locker Room Sports Bar and the glory hole-tastic Arcade News. The latest member of the fray, Ortega’s Jerky, is here to take care of whatever snack cravings might spring at the neighboring spots. Tasty and local, the mobile shack’s attendant is the first to tell you that the product is more of the carne seca varietal tradition than its Slim Jim counterpart. “There’s no preservatives,” Carlos Ortega boasts. Flavors range from red and green chile to pepper and it comes packed in generous Ziploc baggies. Cost per a 7-ounce serving is $10. Saying that you jerked it at the Cheeks parking lot? Priceless. (EL)

Best Hangover Breakfast, Lunch or Brunch

El Parasol
1833 Cerrillos Road, 995-8015;
298 Dinosaur Trail, 995-TACO

It happens: You wake up in the morning with a pounding headache, an upset stomach and a bone-dry mouth from the night before. After downing tons of water, your stomach growls for food. You’re hurting too much to cook eggs, let alone meat, so you need someone else to fill that void. If your wallet took a dent from the bar bills last night and it’s still before 11 am, a breakfast burrito at El Parasol will come to roughly $6, unless you want to drop a few extra dollars to get it smothered with chile, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes (in your face, Captain Morgan!) If it’s the afternoon, a chicken burrito will always hit the spot. Don’t forget to ask for lettuce, cheese and tomato as well, which they’re also willing to stuff inside in the burrito to soften the blow. (JP)

Best slice of pizza

Dion’s Pizza
2014 Cerrillos Road, 424-7333

Sometimes SFR wants pizza but not a whole pie. And we’re disappointed about the lack of available slices in Santa Fe (let the hate mail roll in). To be clear: We’re talking slices of pizza, the triangle-shaped pieces cut out from the larger circle, fresh from an eatery’s oven, not leftovers from our fridge. We state our desire clearly because the concept doesn’t seem to have taken hold here, especially in the popular downtown joints like Rooftop Pizzeria and Upper Crust—places we’d love to patronize more frequently but don’t always have the money to do so, because we unwisely choose journalism as a profession. That’s why we often find ourselves in a drive-thru at Dion’s Pizza. Yes, a drive-thru, where you can fork over no more than $5 in exchange for a few slices—slices!—of the hot stuff. Occasionally we’ll eat inside Dion’s roomy joint, one that’s frequented by a mix of cops and crooks, teenagers and seniors, families and singles. The pizza itself stays true to its intended form. A lot of restaurants in this town sprinkle organic cheese on a skimpy serving of sauce and call it a special after topping it off with a mess of green chile or garlic. But Dion’s knows that pizza is just that—the essence being crust, sauce and cheese—and puts care into all three building blocks. Any extra toppings might set you back a few quarters, but at least they won’t throw the entire pie in your face. (JH)

Totally Sincerely the Best Pizza Place Ever

Domino’s
3530 Zafarano Drive, 473-1672

Let’s be real here. Pizza is the best because it’s the only place where my body weight in fat, flour and salt, or as Domino’s calls it, “food” costs less than my body weight in dollars. I don’t want any complicated “flavors” ruining the simple tastes of cheese and dough. I don’t want local ingredients (sorry) and I certainly don’t want a crust made with less salt than flour. That’s why I love Dominos. Tucked away on Zafarano Drive, you will find the best of the lot, a location I affectionately call “Store #6540.” Then again, sometimes after a long day, a cheap, greasy slice is all I want (and stuffed cheesy bread). There’s something greasy in your neighborhood. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters! Dominos, baby! (IM)

Best Day to Shop at the Farmers Market

Tuesdays
1607 Paseo de Peralta, 983-4098

Sure, you want to buy local produce, meats and cheeses, but the Santa Fe Farmers Market is a Railyard mob scene on Saturday mornings. If you find it difficult to stomach the elbow-to-elbow crowd for a chance to pay top dollar to eat beets and broccoli grown in the region, hit the Tuesday morning market instead. The prices are the same (the profit helps people who you know instead of faceless corporations), and fewer vendors line the alameda, but the sparse collection of shoppers makes for a much more pleasant experience. Parking is a breeze, bike racks have ample space and farmers are more laid back. Tuesday’s market is open between May and November from 8 am to 1 pm. Also, an even smaller—yet adequate—Southside market pops up Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 6:30 pm between July and September in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Place mall. (JAG)

Best Place to Feed an Army

El Merendero (Posa’s)
1514 Rodeo Road, 820-POSA

There’s no way you have spent any time in Santa Fe and not encountered a Posa’s tamal. Shipped frozen to restaurants as far away as Wyoming, you’d be surprised how many other high-dollar plates these treats land on in local eateries. Jeff Posa remembers selling tamales made in his grandmother’s Santa Fe Avenue kitchen for a quarter a piece in front of the Roundhouse, but now he oversees production of 3,500 tamales a day from a factory on Rodeo Road. Outside of the world-famous business, however, Posa’s has another reputation: giant pans of enchiladas. Posa says the green chile chicken variety is the top seller. At $39.95, the 1/2 pan feeds 16 people. Ask about prices for total catering packages that include beans, rice, tortilla chips, paper plates and all the necessities to feed your nuclear family, your extended kin network, a workplace event even a bunch of people you hardly know. A few years ago, Posa’s fed 500 soldiers and their families at the National Guard complex for a homecoming celebration. They’ll even provide Bunsen burners to keep it hot. Posa’s knows how to get it done right. (JAG)

Best Load of Tripe

Pho Kim Vietnamese Restaurant
919 W Alameda St., 820-6777

If you’ve got the stomach for it, Pho Kim’s rare steak and tripe beef noodle soup is a surefire way to expand your culinary horizons. The steamy broth and organ-meaty goodness can be loaded up with all manner of pho accoutrements—bean sprouts, basil, cilantro and lime (plus don’t forget hoisin sauce and Sriracha, those elder deities of soup flavoring)—so though it’s far from fast food, you can have it your way while you impress your date with your adventurous tastes. The best of both worlds, no? (ZH)

 

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