Yeah, yeah—we said we were going to stop talking about Felipe’s Tacos, but we’re a well-established liar, so we’re gonna get back into it. We have a good (decent?) reason, though, and that reason is Tacos El Charrito, the restaurant that went into the old Felipe’s space at 1711 Llano Street in Santa Fe (505-473-9397 is the number if you wanna call); the place owned by Rodrigo Rodriguez, who used to cook for Felipe Martinez of Felipe’s Tacos; the new brick and mortar that once existed in truck form. We’re here to talk about El Charrito, and we’re here to say we’re becoming OK with it.
We had the chance to sample the menu at Rodriguez’s new restaurant recently when our editor dragged us there by lying about how we were going to a movie. We did go to that movie, actually, but before that, it was all about Charrito.
Was it weird to walk into a restaurant we’d frequented for a million years and see new tables, a completely different menu and people we’ve never met before? Sure, it was. We don’t fault Rodriguez and his crew for any of it, though. Was there a part of us that thought maybe he’d keep the no carne burrito exactly the same? You bet. But that’s hardly fair. Rodriguez has his own thing going on, and now that we’ve tried it, it doesn’t seem so scary.
For now, you’ll have a hard time finding the most current menu online. Again, Tacos El Charrito has been open a very short time. You could stand to go to a restaurant without knowing every single thing about it beforehand, though. Like, live a little. That’s what we did, and that’s how we learned Charrito has a pretty huge menu broken up into categories including “breakfast” and “tacos” and “tortas” and “quesadillas” and such. More interestingly, Charrito offers parrilladas for two or four diners ($27.50-$55.50). What, you ask, is parrilladas? In the simplest terms, it’s a big pile of meats grilled or barbecued to perfection and served up hot. Charrito has a couple burgers, too, including a Hawaiian one with pineapple ($14.50) that sounds so so so so good. They’ve got shrimp cocktails ($16.50) and chiles rellenos ($14.50); they’ve got one of the best damn horchata recipes I’ve tasted anyplace ($3.75).
We went pretty standard, though, as it was our first visit. While your old pal The Fork went nuts on huevos rancheros, over easy, red ($11.50), our stupid editor chose the chilaquiles with chicken ($12.50). Charrito offers up chips served hot and green salsa when you sit down, which rules, so we were already in a great mood when our main dishes arrived. We won’t get into a full-on review just yet, because we’d like to go back, but suffice it to say our orders proved promising. They also helped us realize something important.
What’s that saying about not being sad because it’s over, but glad because it happened? That’s been ringing in our rapidly-aging head for days now. Rather than lament how we’ll never demolish an original burrito from Felipe’s again, we’re focusing on what Charrito might become over time. As we say, this is not a full review, more like a “ch-check it out,” moment, but already we know the new eatery has solid red chile and decent chips—that’s most of the battle in Santa Fe. Time will change all, or some shit...the river will keep on cutting down the canyon; your cat will one day need help getting off the bed. Do we not accept that change is the only guarantee, or do we go gracefully into the light, knowing that Charrito has a freaking Cuban sandwich for $13.99? Santa Fe has this funny way of leaning into tradition—or that which has always been—like a crutch. Perhaps we just need to be happy we had Felipe while we did, and now we need to embrace Rodrigo Rodriguez and the rest of his crew like we once did with Martinez. Perhaps in 25 years, whoever is writing The Fork (likely us, because we’re pretty sure we’re immortal) will be penning some longwinded and nonsensical newsletter about Tacos El Charrito. Nothing is permanent, so we suggest you gather ye quesadillas while ye may. There’s beauty in the fleeting. If everything was permanent, we wouldn’t care about anything, right? Right. We’ll always miss Felipe, but we’re excited to make a new friend or two and, lastly, to find out where the coin-operated Homies machine ended up.
We know time flies by...
-The New Mexico Brewer’s Guild has a new executive director, and her name’s Ebbie Edmonston (which sounds like a superhero’s mild-mannered normie identity). According to a piece in the Albuquerque Journal, Edmonton is already making waves within the beer-loving guild, starting with the org’s upcoming WinterBrew event. It all goes down on Friday, Jan. 20 in the Santa Fe Railyard and features beers from Beer Creek Brewing Co., Bosque Brewing Co., Ex Novo Brewing Co., Hidden Mountain Brewing Co., HoneyMoon Brewery, La Cumbre Brewing Co., Marble Brewery, Ponderosa Brewing Co., Red River Brewing Co., Sandia Hard Cider/Late Shift Lager House, Rowley Farmhouse Ales, Rumor Brewing Co., Santa Fe Brewing Co., Steel Bender Brewyard, Turtle Mountain Brewing Co., and Unhinged Brewing. That’s so many beers! Welcome, Ebbie—we think your name is cool! We’re not linking all those breweries, though, because that would take all day.
-Looks like peril’s afoot over at Railyard nightlife spot, Boxcar, where the bar’s landlord claims its patronage is just too dang rowdy. Eagle-eyed Santa Feans will no doubt have seen the “Boxcar coming soon” signs hanging on the Plaza-adjacent Plaza Mercado building for some time (which The Fork told you about roughly one million years ago, though none of you voiced your cares over the matter). But for now, it seems, they were supposed to be outta the Gross Kelly building in the Railyard by February of last year. That didn’t happen, obvs, and the landlord, being real estate guy David Barker, is doing law stuff. Now that Santa Fe has, like, three music venues you actually want to visit, we can’t help but feel scared this is a dark harbinger of things to come. As always, we’re on the side of the not landlords.
-Downtown Indian joint India Palace is back open after two-ish years closed. What does that mean for you, the discerning asshole who needs things to be amazing immediately? It means maybe you’d better wait a little bit before eating there to give ‘em time to gel. Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for criticism and reviews of restaurants, and we still adhere to a “don’t do public thing if you can’t handle public response” line of thought. That said, it’s been a couple weeks and these things take time. We promise that we can all talk trash in six months if there are issues.
-Rio Chama Prime Steakhouse (who knew “Prime” was in the title?) is open again for lunch following not doing that thing because of stupid COVID. Go there for lunch if you want.
-Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi has announced a partnership with Santa Fe butchery, Beck & Bulow. This is, according to the email we got, all about local this and sustainability that. We like those things, so we consider this a victory. Can we afford to eat there? Nope. But we hope those who can like it! Anyway, we also wondered if the musician Beck was part of that butchery, but that’s also a nope.
For all you meat fans out there.
SHOUT-OUT FROM A READER!
We asked if we should add a reader shout-out section, and y’all said yes, so here’s an apropos shout-out from reader Chris M:
Just have to rave about the bison sausage from Beck & Bulow. I love sausage, but I am really picky about where it comes from and how it is made, and this stuff is outstanding. They make a cheddar/jalapeño that we like to have as an entree with mustard and sauerkraut, and they make a ‘Cajun Andouille’ that is absolutely epic. Of course the andouille is awesome in a red-beans-and-rice thing, but we recently put it in a pot of dried lima beans with onion and it was killer. (It’s cooked but we strongly suggest browning it in every case for flavor and texture.)
Thanks for that, Chris! Now then, dear readers...who’s next?
-CNN-dot-com wants folks to know why their eggs are so expensive lately (we saw a dozen for $9 some place), and it’s a combination of things, not least of which is because everything feels terrible now. Also, like, inflation and bird flu and stuff.
-Meanwhile, in Speyer, Germany, wine experts say the world’s oldest bottle of wine (dated to around 1,700 years ago) is probably still drinkable, you just maybe wouldn’t want to do that because of history and stuff. The soon-to-be-famous-if-it-isn’t-already-famous bottle was reportedly unearthed from a burial site belonging to a pair of well-to-do Romans, and it was pretty much the only intact one in there.
-We aren’t sure how we missed this little tidbit from last month, but it seems Trader Joe’s has a new liquer, and it’s cookie butter flavored. Apparently not every Trader Joe’s in the country is allowed to sell alcohol, so your results may vary, but we know they have booze in Santa Fe, so...yeah. We haven’t laid our own eyes on a bottle, but we’re seriously considering it.
-What do you know about drinking chocolate? Probably not a whole lot, but a new piece up at Eater-dot-com traces its origins from Mesoamerica to your grandma’s pantry. That’s mostly a joke, we just know it’s around here somewhere, and its history is pretty neat.
-”Go to hell, Sierra Mist!” says Pepsi as everybody’s second favorite fizzy drink brand replaces its lemon lime soda offering with a new concoction called Starry. That’s an OK name, and far enough removed from Mountain Dew so as to be..whatever. We’d point out that Kroger still has the cooler lemon lime soda name, being Citrus Drop—which, and we’re not kidding, formerly bore the slogan, “Pop the drop.” What a world! What a time to be alive!
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In the print edition of SFR this week, learn more about Catch Poke, one of Santa Fe’s newest dining establishments and a pretty damn good one.
Number of Letters Received
Apparently our shout-outs lifted your spirits—and we want to hear more from you!
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
”I prefer when you’re mean.”
*Are we mean?!?
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
”Dip a Ritz cracker in chocolate.”
*Ummmmm, yeah! Deal! We’ll try it!
Pop the drop,