The Fork

The Fork: The Best Green Chile Cheeseburger in Santa Fe?!

Well?!? IS IT?!

Dedicated Fork readers sure like to start emails with “You know what you should do?” And while a lesser amorphous gas being might find this wildly grating and endlessly exhausting, we take a lot of this advice to heart. And you know what we should do (should have done?), apparently, according to readers who at least skimmed our recent newsletter about Real Burger? We should have eaten the green chile cheeseburger at El Milagro on the Southside, nestled within the very same San Isidro Plaza shopping center that also boasts Cleopatra, Pizza Centro, Tribes Coffee House, La Plancha, the Plaza Café Southside, Santa Fe Capitol Grill and, at one point, a movie theater that now sits empty like the bloated corpse of America’s dearth of meaningful mainstream cinema culture.

Probably there’s something else we’re forgetting, too, but we’re gonna get back to the ol’ GCCB (which we call it because it sounds like a punk club, and we mean venue, not sandwich...though maybe punks could get behind a sandwich and...wait, wha are we talking about?) at El Milagro.

First off, y’all were right—that’s a damn fine burger. DAMN FINE. Like, we drove down there in the snow fine. Like, this burger is bug Le Forkette to put her fucking shoes on, we don’t care if the roads are bad, we heard about a burger fine. It’s that fine. Is it the best with a capital-B? We’ll get to that.

First off, we love a spot like El Milagro for its ambiance. This is no hoity-toity fine dining nonsense with white tablecloths and some dead-eyed busser who just got screamed at by the head waiter—some lifer career asshole who makes speeches about the nobility of playing a part in nourishing the people. This is a handful of tables in a strip mall with a couple of friendly youths running the show. Perhaps they were surprised to see the dining room so packed on a snowy-ass day, but they were upbeat and polite and know that the perfect service isn’t about hovering, it’s about knowing the right questions and executing the proper timing.

El Milagro is, first and foremost, a New Mexican joint, and you’ll find plenty of chile items on the menu. We just plain wanted the so-called signature Milagro burger with green chile, bacon and both American AND Swiss cheese; Le Forkette got chicken tacos with guacamole. At $13.95 for the 8-ounce version (you can pay $11.95 for the 6-ounce, $16.95 for the 12-ounce or $18.95 for a whopping 16-ounce versions), it kind of felt like a steal.

The burger came cooked just right—a medium with barely pinkish insides—and with a veritable mountain of bacon mixed with the gooey cheeses and chopped green chile. El Milagro uses a sesame seed bun, which we’re not against, but, like, brioche exists, baby, and it adds a lot. Still, the meat was seasoned well and packed with meaty goodness. The green chile was also about the most mathematically precise mixture of spiciness and flavor we’ve had on a GCCB in a long time. We’re not sure where they got the stuff, but it was a good day for chile (if you’re not from around New Mexico, you should know that chile particulars change day by day). If anything, the 8-ounce version was a little big for us, but we couldn’t stop ourselves from eating every bite. The fries were pretty good, too, and clearly hand-cut. We couldn’t finish them because of the burger, though.

Which is a pretty good segue to our point: Is this the best green chile cheeseburger in Santa Fe? Short answer? No. It’s not.

Are you freaking out, people who think it is? We hope so.

Now read our longer answer: El Milagro’s burger is now in our Top 3 for sure, but we can’t give it the top slot. Actually, we won’t give that to any ONE burger. That ranking will change over time. Still, whoever was in the kitchen making this thing really knows that a good GCCB is about seasoning and shaping and staving off dryness. Then, if your chile is good enough, the rest falls into place. Oh, sure, they cooked that bacon to an almost holy place that brilliantly balanced both crisp and chew, but part of what makes El Milagro so good is that it’s solid and served in a timely fashion. We prefer a different bun; we prefer a crispier fry and so on. But will we be back. And has it been haunting us? Big time. Besides, we’ve yet to eat every single burger in town—how could we definitively say one was the best?

In summation: Milagro burger = very good. Thanks for the tip.

The End.

P.S. Since you’re likely wondering, our current favorite burger (and we mean CURRENT, so don’t yell at us) can be found at Ortiz Restaurant.

Why does this exist?


-Looks like Valentina’s 2 has opened in the location that formerly housed Loyal Hound, which sadly closed last summer. If you don’t know Valentina’s 1 (not its actual name, but it’s the first one, so...), you’re missing out. We here at SFR are pretty pumped to have a new place in the neighborhood.

-Meanwhile, down at the CHOMP food hall (which has been coming up in the news a lot lately, including in this week’s SFR food story), it sounds like popular Eldorado-based food truck Brunch Box Blue is moving into town and into a CHOMP stall there at CHOMP, which again, is a food hall called CHOMP, and will keep the brunch box going under the name 2FLoYDs (which is a spelling choice that every writer everywhere is going to absolutely hate). We’re excited for this one, too, because we’ve been meaning to try the truck and can’t even get it together to drive to Eldorado because every time we try we pass Café Fina and think, “Yeah, this’ll do.” Anyway, Brunch Box Blue stays in truck form through Feb. 26.

-The Inn of the Five Graces, being the company that took over The Pink Adobe Restaurant over there on Old Santa Fe Trail, recently unveiled new images of the renovated space, and it looks fancy as hell. The Dragon Room bar has also been renovated, though we don’t know what that looks like yet. The food menu is reportedly now all about New Mexican Cajun dishes. If we eat over there at some point, we’ll let you know.

-That’s not even the end of places moving, or moving on or moving in or whatever. Why, just look to forthcoming Casa Bonita, which is set to open soon in the old location that once was the original Second Street Brewery. SSB, of course, closed in 2022 to focus on its Railyard and Rufina Street locations, and we’re just glad that another food biz is going in there. We highly doubt it’s a satellite location for Trey Parker/Matt Stone’s Colorado restaurant of the same name, but we’ll eat those words if we’re wrong. That’s literally everything we know about that.

-As if being shortlisted as a semifinalist for a James Beard Beardo (which we still assert should be the name of the James Beard Award, and we’ll die on that hill), chef Mark Kiffin’s enduring Compound restaurant on Canyon Road just picked up a 2024 DiRōNA Gold Award of Excellence, which is all about ambiance, cocktail curation, wine list, service and so on. Congrats, chef...2024 is kinda going pretty good for you so far. Similarly, DiRōNA (that’s the org aka Distinguished Restaurants of North America if you were wondering from before) is now up against forthcoming eatery 2FLoYDs for the 1st Annual The Fork Wants to Know Why You Have to Spell Shit That Way Because That Makes it So Much Harder to Type The Damn Name Award. We’re very excited for this inaugural year and might call it the Beardo if the James Beard folks don’t snatch up our very cool title first. In fact, who can we talk to over there at the Jamie Bs about naming their medallions?

-Some photobook company (whatever that is, and no, we’re not looking it up) called Mixbook (ugh) conducted a survey to see where Americans might like spending their ideal anniversary dinner date. Why so many websites we’ve never heard about conduct surveys about stuff like this is beyond us, but this is a thing that happened. We are telling you about it now, because apparently Albuquerque made the top 15 (at number 15 to be fair) and Santa Fe made it to...number 158. ONE-FIFTY-EIGHT?! WE LOST TO FUCKING SCOTTSDALE AND RENO?!? Look, Mixbook, we don’t know who you are, but your name is stupid and we’d love to see the science behind this survey. Who conducted it?! WHO!?!?!? Scottsdale. Fuck outta here. Anyway, here’s a link to this incredibly suspect piece of information.

-For the bazzillionth time, Santa Fe Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 19-Feb. 29, and it’s basically about a bunch of local restaurants doing special dishes to be like, “We’re cool!” And they ARE cool. Get the full list of participating joints here.

Reader Lauren L. fully one-upped our Krinkles the Clow commercial with Wrinkles the Clown—a waaaaaaaaay worse clown!

More Tidbits

-Though we’re not sure to what degree Carl’s Jr. wishes to “make up for any chaos” that went down during Free Burger Day (about which we’ve never heard until now), but in a press release that came our way and from which we got that chaos quote, the fast food chain’s powers that be would like to inform you that they’re gonna offer up free ice cream shake with any $1 purchase on the app—so long as you use the code RIPBEN, which...what is that code? Who is Ben? Is he dead? We don’t know. We don’t care to know. Anyway, seems like a lot of work for a shake, but the deal’s good from Feb. 16-18.

-Sting (the musician who likes to do it very slowly and for a long time) has a new low-proof liquor out that he reportedly says is good for sipping with friends and lovers. Talk about a message in a bottle! You don’t have to turn on the red light to drink this stuff! Your brother’s gonna love it and he’s 6-foot-10! OTHER STING JOKES!

-Now that Valentine’s Day is over, you’re probably gonna see candy on sale at various stores. But before you go nuts like we did on those cupcakes a co-worker brought in earlier this week, experts have thoughts on how to be healthier when it comes to holiday (or post-holiday in this case) snacks and such.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

In this week’s print edition of SFR, find out why you need to get over to Trina Jae’s Navajo Frybread pop-up ASAP. It’s apparently so so so so so so good. That’s really good!

Number of Letters Received


*Many of you think that geography completely vexes us, it seems.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)

“I meant you should quit.”

*You quit...reading The Fork that is. Or be cool. The choice is yours.

Actually Helpful Tip(s)

We’ve got a list of Midtown restaurants to try out, and though we’ve been to many of them already, we did get a few surprise tips from readers. Thank you!

*Seriously, thank you!

Forever burger-ing,

The Fork

Letters to the Editor

Mail letters to PO Box 4910 Santa Fe, NM 87502 or email them to editor[at] Letters (no more than 200 words) should refer to specific articles in the Reporter. Letters will be edited for space and clarity.

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