The Fork

The Fork: Trend Watch ‘22

Things are happening

A friend of ours accused us of making a mountain out of a molehill in regards to Choco Tacos. If you weren’t with us last week, you can see the previous edition of The Fork to see why Choco Tacos even came up. Anyway, as we’ve all heard by now, Choco Tacos will soon be unavailable indefinitely, so when our friend accused us of nonsense, we had no choice but to respond simply: “How dare you?”

“Think about it,” they said. “You even said it yourself at one point: They’re sideways ice cream cones, so who really gives a shit? Ice cream cones are still available.”

Dusting ourself off from that brutal affront, we gave it some thought and realized that, if we really get down to it, we don’t honestly care about Choco Tacos as much as we thought we did, but the reason we were mourning their impending demise is simple: They are comforting. They represent childhood—that weird period of time when Taco Bell had them, and your friend’s mom would take you through the drive-thru and let you have one, and then you’d shriek, “THANKS FOR THE CHOCO TACO, JAN!” even though you were 34 at the time.

Moving on...

Our powerful train of thought took us next to the concept of comfort foods in general, a concept that until recently we assumed was pretty much all about meatloaf. But then we started doing our own research and learned something interesting: There are pretty much two foods people turn to for comfort, and neither of them is meatloaf. Any idea which is what and what is up? We’ll tell you: Pizza and chocolate.

Oh, sure, maybe you heard about how Domino’s closed all of its locations in Italy (because duh), but outside of that, there’s the adage about how the worst pizza is still pretty OK. Seems it’s one of the few things we all have in common outside of this weird and enduring Keanu Reeves crush society seems to harbor. Anyway, the point is that people love pizza however they can get it.

Our train of thought next chugged into a grey area that exists betwixt concepts of discontinued foods, comfort dishes and closing pizza chains to the idea of food trends. It’s something we’ve covered before, but there was just this great big monkey wrench in the works that kind of changed everything—it’s called the pandemic; maybe you’ve heard of it?

This led to even more research and late nights and, in one instance, eating an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and then wondering why our stomach hurt so badly. Spoiler: It was the Doritos, but before we wound up in reverse flavor town (which is a term for puking we just invented), we gleaned that there are likely a few food things going down in the coming months and years. They boil down to three main tenets:

-Urban farming, which is a thing where people in urban areas grow a couple tomatoes then act like they’re fucking Johnny Appleseed, and then it’s all you can talk about ever again because they’re stupid and you start to think you wouldn’t be friends with them if you hadn’t met when you were 14.

-Being aware of how your foods impact the climate, which is a thing where people stop drinking almond milk because the whole almond situation is rife with issues (Google it), and then they want to remind you of that every time you splash your coffee with macadamia milk, which isn’t even almond milk, but whatever.

-Meat only sometimes, which is a thing where people only eat meat sometimes. We even had a friend who works for an undisclosed meat packing company tell us that they’ve scaled back orders slightly, and the brass at their job is convinced it’s because we all sat around being scared during the pandemic, and now we’re trying to eat things that make us feel less awful.

But back on that pizza thing, we’d just like to point out that you can take part in all three trends if/when you make your own pizza. Say you grow your own tomatoes, right? Make your own sauce. Say you’re thinking harder about how your purchases impact climate, right? Source your cheese from a local biz. Say you’re trying to eat less meat, right? Pineapple pizza, baby, all the way. And even if you don’t do any of that, if you just eat pizza from wherever. Well, the way we hear it, you’ll be joining a whole mess of Americans who turn to the round and cheesy goodness for comfort. Meatloaf is gross, anyway.

...and we never found out what “that” was.


-Scary-ish news out of Santa Fe as we hear a shrubbery caught fire outside Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge over the weekend. According to our spies (by which we mean someone who drove by), there was some minor damage to an exterior wall and possibly a rooftop AC unit, but the restaurant is operating regularly—good news for the musicians who play there and other assorted fans of Tiny’s. If you’ll recall, someone set fire to downtown restaurant La Casa Sena last month, too. If people could stop setting things on fire, that’d be great.

-We aren’t sure how a story from our arch enemy Teya Vitu at the Santa Fe New Mexican wound up on Yahoo! Sports, but you can click a link here that’ll take you to a story about Body Santa Fe, a spa/yoga-type joint that has reportedly opened a plant-based Moroccan joint dubbed Tajine. Just, like, know that, we guess. Everyone also understands that Vitu isn’t actually our enemy, right? We loathe explaining jokes, but we also figured you were just the type of people to take it seriously and wring your hands, clutch your pearls and opine all like, “What’s to be done with this The Fork?!” Hahaha! Why are we like this? Anyway, there’s all kinds of stuff on the menu, from an air fried falafel to a collard green burrito. Tasty vegetarian food isn’t so easy to come by around here, so this sounds pretty good.

-PSA: Sweet potato waffle fries at either of the Second Street Brewery locations are better than the regular fries. For some reason, if you sandwich a pickle wedge between two of them waffle fries, baby, you’ve really got something.

-We know we were just talking about Marcy Street tapas restaurant La Boca last week (some kind of bodega-based announcement is apparently coming soon), but it turns out the website has crowned the house that chef James Campbell Caruso built as “The Mesmerizing Award-Winning Restaurant in New Mexico That Everyone Flocks To.” Would we have titled it “The Mesmerizing Award-Winning Restaurant in New Mexico To Which Everyone Flocks?” Yes, we would have, because we know better than to end a sentence with a preposition. Still—way to go, chef!

-If’n you plan on heading up Los Alamos way, know that the Pajarito Mountain Café (that’s at the Pajarito Mountain Ski Area) is fixing to open Wednesday-Sunday from 11 am-2 pm, and it’ll do that right up until October. We’ve seen photos of the burgers, and they look allllllllright.

-Blake’s Lotaburger has a new, limited-time-only dish that finds boneless chicken slathered in a spicy BBQ sauce and served atop a thing of fries. What did they name this item, you ask? The Buffalo Chicken Boat, duh. We also have a very New Mexican story about a time we went to Blake’s: The year was 1999, and Y2K was all the rage. As we stood in line waiting to order our brekkie b, the kid in front of us rambles off an order, which he caps with, “And, uh, for the Coke, lemme get a Sprite.” We think about that all the time and we love it so much.

-The Margarita Trail (being a self-guided trail of restaurants one follows to margaritas) is back, and there are more restaurants than ever onboard. The way we hear it from the folks at Tourism Santa Fe, more than 27,000 visitors and locals have engaged with the trail, and there are more than 30 stops—of which a mere 198 have taken full advantage.

-Lastly, in news that really only affects Santa Fe and its surrounding areas, our buds at Edible New Mexico released the list of finalists for this year’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown, and here they are:

  • Pajarito Brewpub & Grill, Los Alamos
  • Turtle Mountain Brewing Company, Rio Rancho
  • Luminaria at Inn and Spa Loretto, Santa Fe
  • Yo Mama’s Grill, Socorro
  • Mesa Provisions, Albuquerque
  • Upscale Burgers & Shakes, Albuquerque
  • Tikka Spice, Albuquerque
  • El Roi, Albuquerque

Here, have a second helping of Meatloaf.

More Tidbits

-Weird that we were just talking about Doritos, and now the company has the audacity to release new flavors. What are these new taste treats, you ask? What satisfying blend of flavors have the celebrated makers of Nacho Cheese chips concocted? Mustard and ketchup. That’s two different kinds of chips. Now, we don’t know much, but we know that Canadians love ketchup in a really intense way. As for the mustard flavor, we’re unsure if there’s a market. And Doritos just released these flavors so casually, too, like it wasn’t a big deal...or, as our friend Spinner Mason from Degrassi might say, “No schleboggle.” Learn more here (about the chips, not Degrassi—for that you’re on your own).

-The folks at USA Today have a new piece that’s basically about reverse engineering food at home to taste like In-N-Out and Cinnabon. We’d point out that those places exist, albeit not in every state, and that maybe it’s OK to have a burger that tastes more like the place in which it was made (including your kitchen) than it does a California chain.

-Lifestyle site Popsugar-dot-com has a recipe for making rainbow noodles that, no joke, we thought was rubber bands in a bowl. As we looked closer, though, we kind of thought about how pasta has been that boring pasta color our whole lives. Maybe it’s time for a change?

-Facebook con artists used America’s love of fancy foods to make crab leg and caviar promises to restaurants (which we heard in Robin Leach voice), only to turn around and be all like, “PSYCH! We don’t actually exist!” What we’re saying is, desperate restaurants tried to order luxury food items through Facebook, only to learn the items didn’t exist. And the scammers stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. Eater-dot-com has more on that, but perhaps this says something about supply chain issues and not buying food on Facebook?

-Speaking of fancy things, we found a piece on Martha Stewart-dot-com about making simple but delicious lunches to take to work. Smart! You’ll find it here, and there are, like, 20 of them. Not even kidding, we love Martha so effing much. So so effing much.

-Ruh-roh, Scoob, sounds like Capri Sun, makers of the most obnoxious juice “box” on Earth, have recalled nearly 6,000 cases of wild cherry beverages (notice the word in play here is “beverage” and not “juice”) over fears they were contaminated with cleaning product. Please be aware if you have kids or buy Capri Sun for yourself, even.

-The Girl Scouts of the USA announced they’ll release a new cookie in 2023. Before we get any further, it’s important to note that there will never be a better cookie than the Samoa, but the new Raspberry Rally looks pretty OK. Reportedly, the cookie is meant like a sister cookie to the Thin Mint—and it even looks like it, though rather than mint, you’re getting raspberry. Sign us up!

-Terrible news out of France as heatwaves and fires and drought have halted production of one of the country’s oldest and most beloved cheeses. If you’ve never had Salers, which is the name of the cheese, are you even living? The cow’s milk fromage comes from cows who typically graze in certain kinds of grassy fields, but with said fields facing the brunt of climate change, it might soon be a case of au revoir, y’know? You know. You KNOW. Anyway, we shouldn’t make jokes, because it’s honestly very sad, particularly for fans of semi-hard cheeses. See? We skated right past the phrase “semi-hard.”

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence 

In the print edition of this week’s SFR, find yet more entries in the never-ending saga of brekkie b’s. Yes, dear readers, that’s right—So You’re Looking For a Breakfast Burrito is back, now in its sixth iteration.

Number of Letters Received27*And a special shoutout to Albuquerque’s Neal C. for upping our count. You did it, Neal!

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)”I read your newsletter, and I like it, but in another sense, I kind of hate it.”*We love you, person who wrote this. We’d seriously buy you coffee, because you made us LAUGH. Email back and let us know how to send you a gift certificate or something.

Actually Helpful Tip(s)Reader Matthew Z. hits hard with even more ice cream sandwich knowledge, including that La Lecheria in Santa Fe sometimes offers ice cream sammies. We could kiss you, Matthew Z., but we won’t! As we say, we’re not even a real person. Oh, God. Are we a robot who just became self-aware? Is we exist outside of this newsletter? We must scream, but we have no mouth.*Thanks for sammie shoutout, Matthew!

Trending, The Fork

Whom do we hope enjoys growing tomatoes and eatin’ pizzas?

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