We're regulars at Second Street Brewery's Railyard location (you'll still never identify us). We usually go for things like the veggie burger (which is no longer on the menu, but they'll make it for you; we forget the price offhand) or the deep-friend avocado (when it's available, since it's a special), but during a recent visit we broke down and got something we wouldn't usually order. There are two kinds of diners in our experience: those who order the same things forever at their regular joints because they know what to expect and because they find comfort in something familiar, and those who would consider that a fate worse than death.
"I like to experiment," a friend said recently, pointing out that their ordering something different every time they ate out was akin to some sort of scientific milestone. We shrugged at this, being a little more of the former type of diner. It's not what you think, though—we just have to try all kinds of things for work, so when it comes to our free time eating out, an old standby usually feels right.
"Life's too short," this friend said, acting like they had the moral high ground, "to eat the same old things."
Those words echoed in our brain someplace, but not in a "this feels helpful" way, and more of a "we'll show EVERYONE!" way. We ordered the enchiladas.
Now, a brief straw poll conducted through an SFR staffer yielded interesting results; interesting insofar as there seem to be three main enchilada faves across Santa Fe regardless of economic provenance and/or feelings on any other restaurants. Our exhaustive research proves that the people of Santa Fe pretty much want one of four enchiladas when given an enchilada choice:
We're gonna get to that Second Street enchie in just a sec, but just know that even we know that we've talked La Choza/The Shed to death and that Atrisco and Tomasita's are well-known (look at the lines at either almost anytime you go to eat). We've had the PC's enchie for sure, and it's so much better than anyone led us to believe it would be (chalk it up to shitty East-versus-Southside nonsense on Santa Fe's part) and Café Castro is…well, it's just a straight-up institution. These places are all grand, they're all part of a rich tapestry and yes, of course, some of them are easier to get into than others. But hear us now and believe us later—that Second Street enchilada is nothing to sneeze at. Let us break it down thusly:
-We had it red, and the thick, earthy chile enveloping the brilliantly melted cheese created a soft yet slightly grainy (in a good way, dammit) concoction that we almost couldn't believe.
-Black beans and rice on the side came together with a warm, soft flour tortilla, which we used to make our own little mini-burrito kind of thing complete with enchilada bits—and it was glorious. We even asked for a second tortilla so we could make another one. Did we feel like shit later because we ate too much? You bet! Was it worth it, though? Oh, no question.
-We didn't love the huge dollop of sour cream right on the top of them enchiladas. Partly because that particular item is for weaklings who can't hack it with spicy foods, partly because we don't like the taste and prefer our chile unnnnnnndamaged. Ask for it on the side, maybe? We know we will. You'll also find pico de gallo and guacamole on that bad boy.
-The portion was outta control in a good way—and for $11.50, it felt like a deal and a half. USA! USA! USA! Oh, we added a fried egg, also, because also America. Actually, a fried egg on almost any New Mexican dish is a good idea.
The verdict? It's on our list. And you could share it. And we're just really down with Second Street. It's local as hell, founder Rod Tweet has expanded really mindfully with community, sustainability and longevity in mind and, if we're being honest, the Kolsch rules the land. Get you one. And tell us about what enchiladas you love (that aren't The Shed or La Choza. We know about those).
-We were sad to learn that Lion & Honey, which was, like, a super-good place for treats and stuff, is set to close soon after owners learned their lease would not be renewed. If it's treats you need or want, hurry—they're done at the end of the month.
-A dear friend who lives on the Southside told us we have to get down to Jaguar Drive to check out 101 Coffee, a new-ish fave of theirs that means not having to drive all far for a quick cup o' joe. Word is, they serve Ohori's, so … score.
-We also hear the spot formerly known as the Palace Saloon will be under new ownership from restauranteur Charles Dale and some dude from Texas who loves steak. It'll be all about steak. If you can't wait for steak, might we recommend Market Steer?
-Did you know that the Twister's in Albuquerque that doubled as Pollos Hermanos in Breaking Bad has been named New Mexico's most iconic filming destination? Well, it's true, according to website holidaycottages.co.uk (a real site). Others on the list include Seinfeld's diner and the lighthouse from Forest Gump. We mention this because it's kinda-sorta food adjacent.
-Come Jan. 31, a reportedly annual compilation album of songs about green chile is set to release through visceralview.com (and your face music streaming sites). You'll find a ton of stuff from musicians around the country, including artists from right here in New Mexico like Simatic, Ras Illy, Ras Elijah Tafari and more.
-New Mexico's beer scene is obviously bonkers, but did you know there are plenty of hops farmers right here in the Land of Enchantment? Well, there are, and Edible New Mexico highlights a few in a recent piece.
-Y'all know about Open Kitchen, the food-making outfit that had pop-up events at Body of Santa Fe that proved so popular they became permanent? Welp, chef Hue-Chan Karels wants to arm everyone with the same vegan knowledge that made the outfit so beloved, and for a scant $95, you can hit that up and go nuts. Details here.
-To be filed under pretty cool, Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi has chosen to eliminate all plastic water bottles from its premises. The hotel/restaurant has already switched to agave straws, wheat straws for stirrers and embraced other, more eco-conscious initiatives.
Last week's Orson Welles commercial outtakes video proved so popular that we thought we'd trot out another similar one—for frozen peas. It's slightly less glorious, but still glorious.
-Celebrated cannabis aficionado Snoop Dogg has partnered with Dunkin' (think of them like the official restaurant of New Jersey, which is sad with affection) to release a not-surprising-to-people-who-know-he-loves-weed sandwich. On this bad boy, you'll find a bit o' Beyond Sausage (that's meatless, ya bunch of jabronis) on a glazed donut sliced in half like a bagel. Yes, it's real, yes you want it.
-In you-can't-get-it-here news, Jelly Belly (they make jellybeans usually) is kicking off a line of sparkling water—in the Midwest. Fingers crossed it comes here, right hipsters? Then you can say stuff like, "It's so gross, I love it."
-A fancy-ass restaurant in England refused to change a man's reservation—or refund a hefty deposit he'd dropped—after his father died. On New Year's Eve. Which was also right around the man's birthday. Yikes. The Fordwich Arms, the Michelin Star-bearing eatery who refused to make the change, should probably get real.
-Here's a big fat article on shrimp toast.
-Given the whole resolutions thing going down around this time of the year, it should be no surprise that Dry January is a thing. In other words, it's a month to not drink, and some writers, like thetakeout.com's Allison Robicelli, rightly say that sober menus, including mocktails, should be available year-round. We agree. When one doesn't drink, friends fall by the wayside and there's almost no reason to go do anything anywhere at any time. Maybe if we had access to some cooler bevvies?
-Lastly this week, remember how we told you about fry boards, and how they're like charcuterie but for french fries? There are also desert boards. Be aware.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
Number of Letters Received
Most Helpful Tip of the Week
“You should know they have sandwiches.”
*No intro, no mention of who “they” might be, no mention of what kind of sammies.
Actually Helpful Tip
Fork fan Donna wisely points out that Regal theaters switching to Pepsi might have deeper implications that we’d thought. Coca-Cola does indeed have a long history of anti-union stuff, and we def should have thought of that. Thanks, Donna! That said, we’re kicking around making the Who-Caresies mentioned last time a real award. Shoot us your thoughts.
PS. Thanks to Marc for bringing wasabi Kit-Kats to the office. They were eaten IMMEDIATELY. Like, so quickly. And thanks to Laurel, who pointed out Restaurant Week isn’t so much ticketed as much as it is not, and that it’s really more about discounts and special dishes and stuff.