Now that we’re all vaxx’d up and it’s summertime and our friends who are all vaxx’d up are texting us like “Wanna eat someplace where we can easily be distant from dorks and strangers?” we’re starting to think that yes, we do want to eat someplace where we can easily be distant from dorks and strangers. The last few weeks have featured a couple things that were easily the most THING we’ve done in over a year, and it’s been good.
So far we’ve eaten in-person at places like Atrisco (stuffed sopaipilla, X-mas, all bean) and Second Street Brewery (fish and chips, usually) and Pizza Etc. (we love them and, in a future Fork, we’ll tell you exactly why), but when a buddy said “Hey, Ramblin’ Café is close to both our offices, and we could totally snag a lunch there,” we were like, “Yeah!” And then they were all like “Hell, yeah.” So we were like, “Yeah...yeah. For sure, yeah.”
If you’re somehow not in the know when it comes to the little Second Street hole-in-ye-olde-wall that is Ramblin’ Café, allow us to elucidate—place fucking kills. And it’s not just in the excellent brekkie menu with items like hand-held or smothered Brekkie Bs ($5.25-$6.50), the meat lovers scramble with bacon AND sausage ($8.50) or even the fried special, a mountainous egg white omelet kind of thing with minimal yolk and maximum chile ($10)—it’s in the house-made tortilla chips.
Confession: We lived in New Mexico for a VERY long time before we phased into eating X-mas chile configurations. Green just seemed like a breakfast thing while red seemed like a nighttime, earthy, saucy dinner kind of thing. This is to say that despite how often we eat out (and, if our accountant is correct, it’s WAY TOO MUCH)—and at a variety of restaurants—we still find new things with a little help from our friends (sung like Ringo; NEVER like Joe Cocker). To wit, the tortilla chips we mentioned above. Now, we meant to take a photo (and failed), and then we meant to get some more (but didn’t in time), but know the facts...like how they’re house-made, which we’re mentioning a second time because it’s that important, and how they’re served hot.
In other cities and countries, crispy, fresh and hot tortilla chips are the norm. In Santa Fe, however, outside of the bigly (a perfectly cromulent word) famous New Mexican joints and a few small holdouts, you’re lucky to get Tostito’s crammed in a separate bag to look like they’re not from Costco. At Ramblin’ Café, thanks to our bud, we now know they’re the best in town. And we didn’t even see them on the menu. That’s kind of our way of saying we don’t know how much they’ll set you back since our friend paid, but it almost seemed like something you just need to know. And now you do, too. The side orders of guacamole and red salsa didn’t hurt either, nor did the salsa being the hottest variety we’ve EVER had in Santa Fe. The guacamole was fresh, too, and did not lean too hard into garlic or citrus flavors. The avocado was the main draw, and baby, it was soft in the right places, firm in the right places, creamy like you want and chunky like you dream about. We DEMOLISHED it, frenz.
Anyway, this has all been a really long and roundabout way of asking what your hidden menu favorites are. For example, we’ve repeatedly brought up how if you ask nicely at Burrito Company, they’ll put fries INSIDE the burrito. Or if you go to Il Vicino and say, “I know it’s not on the menu anymore, but can I have the Di Bosco sandwich?” they’ll do it. (That’s mushrooms, red peppers, spinach and mozzarella, for any nerds who don’t know). We’ll totally understand if you want to keep the info to yourself, but if food is for sharing, and we believe it is, you’ll wanna foster that feeling we had with our buddy and his magic chips. We’re still beaming. Oh, and support Ramblin’ Café's no-nonsense meals and such. Another friend of ours would leave you to drown if it meant a free Brekkie B from the Midtown haunt. Do it.
OK, this kinda beats Ringo, too. Though it’s still kinda Cocker-fied. Either way, if you’re bumming this will probably make you cry, which always makes us feel better. We’re crying in the car right now.
-Reminder that Mother’s Day is this weekend, so if you wanna do something for your mom, you’d better hurry.
-Even though our boss told us that former Cuba Fe proprietor Robert McCormick reached out to SFR for possible coverage then immediately went over to The Santa Fe New Mexican for a story, we’re still gonna point out that he’s doing a Cuban food pop-up at the Santa Fe Brewing Co. May 13-16. That means flan.
-We know it’s not open yet, but Horno from Street Food Institute chef David Sellers (which’ll open in the old Il Piatto spot on Marcy Street) is apparently soon to be filling bellies, and we want in. If anyone happens to notice they’re open, drop us a line so we can get us some.
-Speaking of new things, our spies tell us that after Bill Banowsky of Violet Crown and George RR Martin of books and Catherine Oppenheimer of loving art bought the ol’ Santa Fe Southern Railway, there might just be food and beverage service in them trains. All we really know so far is that former Il Piatto manager Jamie Taylor has been brought on board to direct the food/bevvie programs, and Taylor’s longtime Santa Fe food scene experience is NO JOKE.
-Also of note and related to Bill Banowsky, Violet Crown reopens in Santa Fe this week with a revamped menu of sourdough pizzas developed with Tender Fire Kitchen sourdough genius Ben Crosky. If that weren’t enough, our sources also tell us construction on Banowsky’s Nuckolls Brewing Co. in the Railyard is still plugging along, and there might be more news on that front soon. Dang, Railyard—way to fulfill so many promises; three breweries, several restaurants, two coffee shops, a taproom/cinema. Yo, it’s a good time to live in Santa Fe, even if there are people moving from Texas and getting into Facebook groups to ask why it has to be so dusty and mountainy here.
-We’re sad to report that Arroyo Vino’s kitchen was damaged following a small fire. According to the info we received, the eatery and wine haven will be closed to renovate and repair “until further notice.” We’ll be sure to let you know if and when anything changes.
Yeah, Ringo’s cute.
-Since we are obviously very important in the world of food, a new duck sauce company reached out just to let us know it exists. Cute. Like, Ringo-cute. Anyway, it’s called Awakened Taste, and apparently we’re going to see a lot more of it out there. Maybe it’ll awaken your taste?
-Ever been to Denny’s? Sure you have! It’s that place you go when it’s a holiday and you’re alone, or when you’re driving through Needles, California, at 3 am. Well, not that it’ll surprise you, but apparently the longtime freeway-adjacent diner’s leadership isn’t so pumped on the idea of raising its minimum wage. In a letter from investors like As You Sow, Adasina Social Capital, as well as Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, signatories tell Denny’s CEO John C. Miller that the company is pretty much operating against the investors’ interests, even as some Denny’s locations reportedly flourished during the pandemic. Setting aside how it also sucks for the people who work at Denny’s, at least someone said something? You can read the full letter right here.
-You know how we’ve all been ordering from delivery apps despite how hard restaurant people have begged us to stop because we’re lazy? Welp, turns out that big fat delivery bubble may burst soon. Over at Grubstreet-dot-com, writer Chris Crowley breaks down the top five reasons the end is surely nigh.
-The day this Fork edition goes live is Thursday, May 6, and on that day—aka National Nurses Day—nurses can get all kinds of free stuff from chain restaurants. Check this list. Also, check this out: Nurses are better than doctors. Deal with it.
-Look, Delish-dot-com says (and we agree) that you should just start making your own tortillas. It’s not hard, they’ve even got a primer for all y’all.
In the print edition of SFR, young Riley Gardner headed to Midtown Santa Fe and beyond to find brunchy treats and a new reason to give cinnamon rolls a chance.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
Number of Letters Received
*Oh. We See. Summer rolls around and it’s all like “Let’s all stop emailing The Fork straight away!”
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Where did you learn to write”
*Write-Güd University, what’s it to you?
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“We didn’t find anything particularly helpful this week.”
-Nice try, though, mean guy who said we should die!
PS: We want to extend an apology to Iconik Lupe, an offshoot of the Iconik Coffee Roasters brand which, we learned recently, serves up breakfast tacos (or Brekkie Ts if you will, and you should). In a previous Fork, we noted that Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen was about the only place we’d locally found a great breakfast taco, and we were wrong. This makes us think there are many more around, and we’re about to get into the finding them biz. Cheers—and sorry, Iconik!