No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t find a website for Midtown burger joint Real Burger (2641 1/2 Cerrillos Road, (505) 474-7325) before we went down there. And, we don’t much like reading other food writers’ takes on things before we present our own, so suffice it to say it was a harrowing journey just getting there to eat. One friend said something to the effect of, “You’ve never eaten at Real Burger? What are you? Super-Hitler?” But another was like, “Grrrrrrrl, it’s basically Blake’s but, like maybe a little better, and I mean ‘maybe’ as hard as you can mean it and also we bet you’ve never felt love!”
Turns out they’re both stupid. Only we are smart and only we know what’s up with food.
But yeah, we’d never eaten at Real Burger before despite decades of driving by and thinking, “Wonder if there’s burgers in there?” And we finally made it happen. The overall takeaway? It’s, uh, it’s a pretty good burger joint. Definitely better than Blake’s, definitely not the greatest we’ve ever had, definitely worthy of a newsletter mention, in our opinion. Because, y’know, we’ve talked to some other folks since we went down there, and they hadn’t eaten there, either, so we’ve been going around telling people the five things we wish we knew before eating at Real Burger. And here they are:
1. The Ambiance is Awesome, Actually
We aren’t quite sure what we were expecting (maybe something a little more table service-y?), but from the counter ordering situation to the homey environs of the seating area, Real Burger reminds us of this neighborhood steak place our dad would sometimes take us to as kids in an undisclosed city and state. Real Burger kind of exists in the liminal space between your sit-down Blake’s (sorry to keep bringing them up) and the old Bobcat Bite (which is now Santa Fe Bite and a burger story for another day). It’s not fancy, but it’s just the type of place in which we’d like to scarf a burg.
2. The Super Real Burger is Most Definitely Super...Maybe a Little Too Super
At a spot like Santa Fe Bite (which will always be Bobcat to us), if you order the bigger (heavier?) burger, it’s still just a single patty, just a little bigger. At Real Burger, the Super Real Burger is a double-patty beast that is maybe a little too big for most folks, even if they are hungry. Nonetheless, with green chile and cheese, it was good. Damn good. It might even crack our top 10 of local burgers, though admittedly lower to the bottom.
3. They Have Fried Chicken Over There! Brisket, Too! Also pulled pork!
We bit the bullet a couple weeks ago and absolutely destroyed our kitchen while making fried chicken at home, but we’ve had an upped craving since then that’s hard to sate around here. See, some places (take Horno or, again, Santa Fe Bite) that serve fried chicken don’t do so every day, and sometimes it’s not so affordable. Real Burger’s chicken fried chicken clocks in at a mere $11 and came with mashed potatoes, sooooo much white gravy and a side of calabacitas. It was, quite frankly, good as heck. We’d go back just for that. And to try the brisket. And the pulled pork. In fact, Real Burger’s menu was much more varied than we’d thought.
4. Ribbon Fries, No Matter What Your Dining Companion Tells You, Are Potato Chips
We don’t know what kind of backwater carnival you lying ribbon fry fans wandered out of with tall tales about what they are or aren’t, but ribbon fries are pretty much potato chips. At Real Burger, they’re a little better than the fries (the side of regular fries that came with our combo could have fed three people, though, so...value, or something), but they’re still pretty much chips. Just know that, dear readers, so you don’t wind up as disappointed as we were.
5. Some of the Best Natillas in Town
It’s been a minute since we’ve had natillas, and we were delighted to see it on Real Burger’s dessert menu. If’n you aren’t familiar, think a custardy combo that’s like some unholy alliance between creamy pudding, thick rice pudding and flan (though flan’s too eggy for us and we always wonder why people don’t just drink a big glass of eggs). The cinnamon on top really accentuated the tastes and textures, too, and while we’re sure there’s some white tablecloth eatery someplace rocking the greatest natillas that ever came to be, for a wintery night in a burger joint in Midtown Santa Fe, the Real Burger version did us so right. Deal with it, America.
What about you, dear readers? Do you have some restaurant about which you’ve always been curious but never managed to visit? We wanna know! Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Things aren’t what they seem...he’s a burger queen.”
-Didja hear the one about how Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s State of the State speech wherein she said, among other things, obvi, that New Mexico is “the state that invented the breakfast burrito, the green chile cheeseburger, the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto and the Frito Pie?” Lujan Grisham went on to say that, “in every generation, we have looked beyond the challenges of the moment to launch ideas and industries that pay dividends decade after decade.” That’s pretty true of brekkie b’s for sure, though we’re not so sure about the Flamin’ Hot Cheeto (which many have attributed to one Richard Montañez, though probably incorrectly). Anyway, brekkie b’s are good.
-We hear Chef Nath of Nath’s Inspired Khmer Cuisine inside CHOMP food hall has taken a trip back home to Cambodia, as she’s been known to do each year. We’re all about workers taking breaks and partying, and we salute the choice. Kind of a bummer for people who want to eat there, though, right? Right. She’ll be back in February, but maybe call first to make sure she’s open when the time comes.
-In opposite news, chef Martín Rios of downtown dining gem Restaurant Martín has just returned from his winter vacation and is ready to get back to it staring this Friday, Jan. 19. Not bad! Apparently there are new menu items about to debut, too, so put that in your pipe and...eat it.
-We also hear 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar is on break mode for the time being. Know that if you’re looking for a nice little steak and wine dinner and had planned to visit. Actually, you should call any restaurant at which you’d like to dine and make sure they’re open pretty much anytime you’re heading out to dine. We don’t have a return date yet, but we’ll let you know when we do.
-But also, downtown eatery La Mama is back to service after a brief break. SFR’s regular food writer loved them.
-We also also hear the Blackbird Saloon is Los Cerrillos is closed right now for winter. The last time the site was updated was just toward the end of last year, but some enterprising readers tell us they should be back up and running in March. As always, keep checking the website for any changes.
-At least the Cowgirl is back open as of Jan. 12 (we know, that was last week, we’re just letting you know because it seems a theme has emerged here).
-Local bagel champ Adam Stone is upping his game with his Ouroboros Bagels outfit in a major way. Now, we don’t have alllll the details just yet, but what we know is that when SFR covered Stone’s bagels back in September, many a reader was nonplussed by how to get in on the goods. In their defense, Stone was working out of a strange location that required a little bit of a, shall we say, adventurous spirit to find. Now, however, he says he’s moving into a dedicated space next month (no address available just yet) and that his new website should make ordering bagels a breeze. Here’s a link to that site. Ouroboros is closed through January, so you’ll have to wait a little longer.
-Totemoff’s up there at Ski Santa Fe is also popping off lately, as it has been known to do whenever that pow-pow is so gnar that you’ve just gotta get so pitted on the slopes. Which reminds us, did you ever see those ‘80s and ‘90s movies about, like, ski schools and snowboard schools? The ones where the slacker types were always sticking it to the preppies and there was usually some kind of boobs-in-a-hot-tub scene? We don’t think they do that up at Totemoff’s, but you can follow the Instagram just in case.
-Lastly in local news, sounds like there’s a new bakery in town in the former Wild Leaven space at 130 N Guadalupe St. Of course, Wild Leaven’s Santa Fe happenings now go down inside CHOMP at 505 Cerrillos Road (the most puro Santa Fe address there is), which means baker Moly Eyler Mix’s Bakery Feliz can flare into existence with cookies and cakes and pastries and stuff. Now, we’ve only seen photos thanks to the Bakery Feliz insta (link here), but we’re so so so so mega onboard. Frankly, it’s a pretty good time to like bakeries and live in Santa Fe right now.
And we quote, “A ski buff takes his buddies along on a quest to send his ex-girlfriend’s upcoming nuptials on a downhill slide.” Wild that this was a thing.
-People are confused as to why Hulu/FX show The Bear won a big fat comedy award at the Emmys recently. It’s really more of a sad-sack show despite a few funny moments here and there, so...we dunno, you guys, it’s maybe just...OK, look, we think it’s a great show (which we wrote about when it first dropped), especially for people who’ve worked in foodservice, but a comedy it ain’t. Read more here.
-We admit that we thought a headline reading “How I Got My Job Making Internet-Famous Food-Inspired Candles” was a joke, but it turns out it’s a thing in a very real way, baby. And it’s kind of interesting, too. Who makes these candles? Some lady named Ingrid Nilsen. Where can you learn more? Right here.
-A bloodhound forced into a life of narc-ing for the cops in North Carolina helped those same cops find a suspect who robbed a food app delivery driver of their in-transit order from Pizza Hut (a big box of pizza and stuff, and also maybe wings, we hear), which we’re pretty sure Food and Wine-dot-com reported simply so their art director could make an image of a bloodhound and pizza. Anyway, turns out bloodhounds are very good at smelling. Now, while we do not condone robbing delivery drivers because they, too, are likely not rich and have to deal with folks who tip like shit, we still believe that if you see someone stealing food from, say, a Walmart or some chain, no you didn’t. We aren’t encouraging anyone to steal by any means, more like we’re saying to mind your business if some desperate person is trying to fucking survive (don’t email us to whine about this take, because we can tell you right now that you will straight up not like our response). Also, if you do rat folks like that out, you’re pretty much Javert, bro, and you know how that ends—throwing yourself to your death in a cistern. Like, if you rat out the poor, you misunderstood the plot of all movies—especially Ski School 2. We salute the dog for doing its job and all, because that’s probably all it has ever known, we guess, but it’s wild that we make some dogs have jobs (not counting assistance dogs, who are really more like health care professionals heeding a calling) instead of spoiling them with pets and steak.
-How in the name of Internet-Famous Food-Inspired Candle Lady did we never hear of finger limes until now? We’ve worked in many a restaurant and eaten many a thing—from testicles to brains to feet to yo mama—and yet we’d never heard of finger limes til now. Apparently they generate a caviar-like inside and are very tasty in just the way you want limes to be. Learn more from Bon Appétit-dot-com here.
-Lastly in our not-local section, Delish-dot-com just put up a recipe for a cake that has whole-ass Oreo cookies all up in it—and we’re not talking that Newman’s Own nonsense that people pretend to like, but brand name Oreos with a capital-Ohhhhhhhhhhh!!! We just thought you’d want this recipe because you’re presumably human people with tastebuds and such? It looks so so so so so so so delicious. We want it bad. If you make this and send it to us, we’ll eat it, we swear.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In this week’s print edition of SFR, you shan’t find food coverage as our regular food writer was still full from us forcing him to eat at Real Burger.
Number of Letters Received
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“I don’t discuss eating bologna with any of my friends.”
*Deb C., you’re a card and we laughed so hard reading this email. We seriously loved it, thank you!
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“I heard the bagel guy is doing something.”
*And so he is (read the local section above for more if you skimmed like a monster)
Nobody keeps it realer,