Last week we were all like, “Oh, breakfast! We wanna have your babies, breakfast! Don’t leave us, breakfast! WE’LL MAKE YOU FEEL GOOOOOD, BREAKFAST!” But this week, we’re here to talk to you about lunch—the second most exciting meal of the day. Dinner (which we’ll get to) always just feels like a big old thing. At lunch, we’re still zippy and energetic and feeling ourselves. At dinner, we’re like, “Oh, so everyone at your job was being weird to you for no reason?” as if we give a shit about our dumb friends.
But anyway, we’re here to talk about our Top 3 spots for lunch currently, and why you should go there and be like, “I only have an hour,” to your dumb friends and then get home and lie down and maybe take a nap.
1310 Osage Ave., (505) 820-6552
It was actually our mom who turned us onto Red Enchilada a bazillion years ago, and we were first into it as a brunch place, mainly, but we’ve since discovered that no one can stop you from getting a huge side of fries and dumping them all over literally anything. Like, it’s not illegal or anything, and when you toss ‘em on a stuffed sopaipilla or an enchilada, baby, you’re golden. RE gets bonus points for having those Central American pupusas we all know and love, plus the owners are members of the Castro family—who also own Café Castro (a banger) and The Burrito Co. (also a banger, also with fries). In fact, just put fries on everything, and go with the red.
187 Paseo de Peralta, DeVargas Center, (505) 471-0043
We’re so down with chef Josh Gerwin’s new spot at the former Santa Fe Bar & Grill in the De Vargas Center, and we don’t care who knows it. Gerwin kept pretty much everything from both eateries on the menu—minus his wood-fired pizza, sadly, and at least for now. We suggest the Cubano sandwich. Two kinds of pork and pickled stuff and fries and slaw? You can save half that bad boy for later...or you can eat it now, brah.
1833 Cerrillos Road, (505) 995-8015
Our best advice is to order by phone ahead of time and pick up at the drive-thru. Despite this long-running and downright adored eatery’s rep for killer tacos (which they damn well are), you needn’t sleep on the burritos or tamales. We also recommend the chips and guac—both made in house and both pretty much perfect. We order the #4 chip/guac selection when we order with one other person. It’s smart and you’ll have chips left over for a little later. The Cerrillos Road location is our go-to outpost, but note that El Parasol has several others to serve other parts of town. As for that day our bud brought us a taco and we munched while smelling flowers in the Rose Park? Glorious.
What do you all do for lunch? Extra points if you can tell us a place from which we can do a quick workday bite.
-Little reminder about Dig & Serve, that local food-meets-experience biz that finds chefs and diners doing very cool one-off events in very cool places. According to an email we got, 2023 is gonna be bonkers for the company, and that means things will be bonkers for you, should you pony up and ride the tiger, or whatever you wanna call it. It gets a little weird, though (just a little), because we looked all over that site for pricing information and didn’t find any. Now, it’s possible we’re garbage at finding prices, but it’s also possible this is pricy. It’s probably pricy. We’re not CONFIRMING it’s pricy, we’re just saying that we wouldn’t be shocked. #RideTheTiger
-A number of readers from other states have reached out to ask about local food tours, and we must unequivocally tell y’all that we recommend Food Tour New Mexico. Not only is owner Nick Peña super New Mexico and shit, but the guides are super nice and you get a really great view into what’s what food-wise in Santa Fe. Tell yer buds.
-Speaking of Nick Peña, his sister Chaine Peña, formerly of the biz-onkers Chaine macaron/cookie shop in downtown Santa Fe, is all about new biz Mija, which is like fancy elixirs and more cookies and even, like, jewelry and stuff. If you’ve been missing them Chaine treats, here’s the way.
-Speaking of Chaine Peña, she’s but one of a whole mess of local food folks who have signed on with new enterprise The Kitchen Table. SFR told you all about ‘em last month, but things have heated up since then and in the lead-up to the commercial kitchen company’s official grand opening later this month. Peña’s Mija is onboard, as is pickled hot sauce brand, Apicklelypse. You’ll find Trujillo Family Farm/Orchard/Catering, too, and who even knows who else is in the wings. Neat!
-Angels Dine Out is pretty much upon us. What’s that, you might ask? Welllllllll....local food nonprofit Kitchen Angels, which delivers meals to homebound folks, does this thing kind of a lot, and it’s kind of a lot of awesome. It’s easy—just eat at one of the restaurants included in this link on April 20, and those places will donate 25% of their bill to Kitchen Angels so they can keep doing what they’re doing. There are many restaurants included. MANY! Our brain kept making us type “Kitchen Angles,” just so you know.
-Chef Dakota Weiss of Catch Poke will host a special French dip pop-up at downtown Santa Fe bar Tonic on April 20 (which mean you legally have to be stoned to go—just kidding, that’s not a law, but doesn’t it sound fun?) via her Frenchie’s Dips & Tots brand/eatery. There are all kinds of variations of the dippible sandwich on offer, not to mention special dips like one with truffles, but our top pick obviously goes to the sammie with green chile, bacon and herbed au jus for dippin’. Sandwiches run $15-$16.50, and you can get tots for $5-$8, depending on what kinds of things you want on top of them. According to the Instagram from them dips and tots (which we linked above through the name of the biz), Weiss’ new project will move into Albuquerque-based food hall, Sawmill Market on June 1, but Santa Fe will reap all the benefits for now. They got cocktails at Tonic, too...BIG TIME.
-Lastly in local news, reader Paul E. is officially our favorite, so the rest of you can take those tributes of like, myrhh and gold and spices from the east and shove ‘em in a sack.
You can see his stripes but you know he’s clean!
SHOUT-OUT FROM A READER!
“We miss Jasper at La Choza, who moved, we think.”
That’s weird, because we knew that guy and do not miss him. We do, however, miss when we could get into La Choza easily. Still, sorry you miss your bud.
-Word on the street is that those who write fortune cookies (which, we checked, is a real job) might soon be out of work due to stupid AI writing programs like ChatGPT. Do you think a robot could possibly spin literary gold like we, The Fork, can? Why don’t you ask Pricelisto from last week about what happens when robots try to mess with us. Anyway, the long and short of it is that humans write those fortunes (in bed), and robots are horning in. When does it stop? Did we learn nothing from movies like Killdozer and, to a lesser extent, Terminator?
-Have you heard about the mushroom boom going down in Hawaii? Yeah, seems that Hawaiian fungus is basically the BUSINESS and more chefs on them islands are throwing mushrooms into their stuff. Also, have you heard the Feist song “Mushaboom?”
-In their effort to raise a generation of kids who lose a foot to diabetes, Krispy Kreme is now offering free donuts for good grades. Guess the donut chain will offer a donut for every A a kid gets, up to six donuts. That’s better than no donuts, maybe? We don’t think there’s one in Santa Fe anymore, but maybe it’s worth a trip to ABQ? Make a day of it. FEED THE DUCKS!
Apropos of that time we asked you about this...
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In the print edition of SFR this week, learn why we’re all gonna be down with Wolf & Mermaid Enchantment Roasters.
Number of Letters Received
*Y’all, we have some similar-ass taste in restaurants.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Brekkie b=fingernails on a chalkboard. Please stop. Thank you.”
*We’ll tell the class what we told reader Mary C.: We can’t stop because our grandfather ran over a witch 30 years ago and saying “brekkie b” is our curse!
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“All the foods on this website’s ‘Most Loathed Food’ list are so truly awesome it’s hard to pick favorites, but I have to go with the Maine lobster roll (I grew up there), and the New Mexico corn chip pie. I assume in their ignorance they mean a Frito Pie! And who can diss ice cream!”
*Oh. Our. God. Reader Dave F. is probably totally right. It never occurred to us that could mean Frito pie, but it’s so obvious now! If you don’t know what this means, read last week’s Fork, baby!
Gotta get away, get awaaaaayeeeayeeeyay,