The Fork

The Fork: We got Casa Bonita for lunch—now what!?

Tell us something good to eat

Back around the time Midtown eatery Casa Bonita took over the old Second Street Brewery spot on Second Street, SFR featured a fairly glowing review of its breakfast offerings. That’s why we thought to order from Casa Bonita for lunch/to write this week’s Fork. See, people ask us all the time, “Fork, have you been to that new place?” Of late, Casa Bonita has certainly been a topic of conversation in our circles, and we’re glad to report we had a pretty great takeout lunch from Casa Bonita earlier this week.

Casa Bonita’s menu is packed for one thing, and we’re talking breakfast all day (waffles whenever!); sammies and burgers; salads; soups; New Mexican faves; and a kicky little crispy chicken spinach wrap number that sounded too good to pass up. At $14.99, it’s pretty affordable by today’s standards, too, and, as we learned, an excellent value.

Our take? You should order this thing right away. Second Street Brewery has been known to offer a most excellent and similar chicken Caesar wrap as a special, but there’s no knowing when that’ll go down, and the Casa Bonita version, while admittedly not a Caesar thing, is available all day, baby—and it comes in a size we’d call “pretty perfect for lunch if you’re the type who gets sleepy after eating.”

Not only did our wrap come absolutely overflowing with crispy chicken (not fried, interestingly, but still with a really satisfying and crisp texture along its edges), it was stuffed with bacon, avocado, mixed greens and came with a little chipotle mayo on the side. The sauce side is always wise as diners can choose their own sauce-to-bite ratio, but the chicken was so tender and tasty that we hardly needed to dip our pour for any reason other than chipotle mayo tastes good.

The spinach tortilla really sealed the deal, though, both in terms of flavor and softness, though Casa Bonita pressed it like a panino, which is a simple step, yet a stroke of genius. Not only did the wrap stay wrapped throughout the meal, the press added even a little more crisp; and crisp, oh, it’s the magic texture (yeah, it is).

We even ate the included sweet potato fries (you can get normal fries or onion rings, too), which is notable as the more we age the less we can eat heaping piles of fries. Lastly? We don’t know where Casa Bonita sources its avocados (likely Sysco or Shamrock or some similar wholesaler), but they were beautiful and flavorful and some other “ful,” like bountiful or something.

In summation, we enjoyed the heck out of our not-overly-large wrap, and we’ll get it again someday—but we need your help now, buds, because we’re dying to get some new Midtown restaurants into our lunch rotation after the successful Casa Bonita thing. We love Sagche’s Coffee House ; we’ve done Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen ; we’ve housed Pizzeria Espiritu pizzas and gone to town on chilaquiles at Tacos El Charrito . But what’s next? Do you have some hole-in-the-wall or lesser-known spot we need to try? Don’t come in here like, “Jambo is pretty good, Fork,” because we freaking know , OK?! Hit us with your best shot, and maybe we’ll give the best suggestion a prize or something (we’ve been known to do that). While you’re thinking about it, hit up Casa Bonita, and tell ‘em The Fork sent you. They won’t know who we are or what that means, but we think it would be funny.

This is what we heard in our head when we said “yeah, it is,” earlier.

Also

  • If there’s one thing New Mexicans are great at, it’s moving to new places and then being furious we can’t eat the same foods with which we grew up. Not to worry, though, for New Mexicans in Okinawa, Japan, where the Mesilla Kitchen New Mexican joint recently opened, following its early days as a food truck. Through independent research, we’ve acquired anecdotal evidence that Mesilla Kitchen might be owned by former New Mexicans, though we’ve been unable to confirm that as of yet. Hopefully it won’t end up like The Green Chile Kitchen in San Francisco, at which a worker told us years ago that “New Mexicans don’t actually smother their food in chile, that would be insane.” Our NM driver’s license and general attitude told him he was incorrect, and still he fought us and refused to smother. Ugh. Anyway, That place permanently closed, though, while we’re still very much alive. The moral of the story? Someone in Okinawa should tell us how Mesilla Kitchen fares.
  • We also have good news for anyone who knows what we mean when we say “Matt the Peach Guy is coming back to town!” OK, we’ll clue the rest of you dweebs in, too. So there’s this guy, Matt, and he blows into town every summer with the kind of fruit and produce that can drive people to great, almost Herculean efforts to obtain. If you hadn’t known, the name of Matt the Peach Guy’s company is Mountain Valley Produce, and that company now has a Facebook page—so you can now take your peach questions right to the source. Here’s a link to that . Anyway, Mountain Valley Produce is slated to open on June 14 at 901 St. Michael’s Drive, which is in the parking lot next door to The Candyman if you’re local and a landmark is easier for you to find. Oh, also, there’s a phone number: (720) 810-3735.
  • We’re curious if we should drive out to Eldorado to munch on fancy ice cream(s) at Hello Sweet Cream ? What do all y’all think? Do you go there? Is it good? We hear it’s good.
  • While the particulars behind the split are currently unknown to us, The Fork, we can confirm that baker Nicole Appels has left her position at Baca Street/Cerrillos Road bakery Baked and Brew , a business she helped found and open last year. The bakery will continue on under owner Kate Holland, whom SFR recently featured in our 2024 Restaurant Directory issue.
  • Father’s Day is coming up on Sunday, June 16, and we weirdly only got one email from a local spot touting its Dad’s Day offerings—Chocolate Maven. The Maven is offering all sorts of interesting items, including a Father’s Day gift set featuring chocolate-piñon coffee beans and three espresso brownies or cookies. Check it out here .
  • Though numerous chefs and restaurants were up for James Beard Awards this year (including The Compound, Mesa Provisions, The Bakehouse and Eduardo Rodriguez of Zacatlán), none of ‘em took home a Beardo (which, if you’re new here, is what we call the awards and wish the James Beard Foundation would also use). No matter, however, as it can be an honor just to be nominated and we all know those restaurants smack.
  • Santa Fe-based chef Joshua Pringle is back in town after wrapping up his studies at the Culinary Institute of America, and has joined on with nonprofit Cooking With Kids for the upcoming BIG Little Banquet event/fundraiser in September. You can learn more through the links above, but it basically boils down to helping to raise money for a program that provides kids with culinary know-how—and all you have to do is eat and pay for that food you eat.
  • The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute, an aptly named institute dedicated to the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, has released its 2023 financial report , and you can read that right here if you’re the sort of data-lovin’ fool who’d like to read that kind of thing.

There is literally never a bad time for this song.

More Tidbits

  • Swiss scientists in Zurich have created an edible gel that reduces the effects of alcohol . That’s it. That’s the whole news item. Sounds pretty cool, maybe, but isn’t the point of drinking to feel those effects as hard as possible?
  • USA Today released a rather interesting road trip video with a snazzy title: “What’s the big deal about Buc-ee’s?” Indeed, many a New Mexican has wondered why people on the road are so enamored with the gas station/convenience shop chain, and now we might finally get some answers .
  • Lastly in non-local news, US News & World Report has assembled a handy guide to choosing the right olive oil for you. We both enjoy and appreciate the guide’s very existence, because olive oil shopping is a nightmarish experience of confusing varieties, bottle shapes, label promises and so on. Yet we want to dip our bread and drizzle our pans and pastas! Check out the factors for choosing a good one right here .

A totally scientific breakdown of The Fork’s correspondence

In this week’s print edition of SFR, you simply need to know about Tibet Café, though it might be a little better as a take-out thing than a sit-down thing. Just saying. Now on to the letters!

Number of Letters Received: 17

*Not. Enough. Letters.

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

“I don’t like cold stuff.”

*Thanks for taking the time to let us know, we guess?

Actually Helpful Tip(s):

“Just read your review of cold treats and wanted to let you know about a new one you must try! Santa Fe Biscochito Co. at 330 Sandoval St. Think biscochitos on their own, in the ice cream, in a Biscochino latte or—wait for it—the Bisookie! the above-mentioned ice cream in between two oversized biscochitos!”

*Ummmm, yes, Carlene. Just yes.

Wrapped up,

The Fork

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