May Day! May Day! The month of May is National Burger Month and the only distress signal conceivable is a lack of the singular element that lifts any burger to a higher culinary plane than every other beefy iteration––green chile! Once you’ve tasted the bravado our signature ingredient adds to the American classic, your burger bravos may never be the same. My guidelines for matching flavor and fire are here for your drooling pleasure.
Good, Better, Best––for Your Burger, Go Southwest
The “best list” concept is fraught with pitfalls, but Eater.com had every taste bud properly attuned when choosing the Santa Fe Bite’s green chile cheeseburger as one of Eater’s 21 essential U.S. burgers. The Bite’s outdoor patio on the Old Santa Fe Trail lets you bask in savory success as envious strollers slow down for a longing look. This isn’t the first time Eater has done a shout-out on the green chile cheeseburger. Pretty impressive considering that there are 50 states with who-knows-how-many cities boasting a panoply of perfect patties!
Great Burgers are in Santa Fe’s Back(Rail)Yard
The Bite was busy rocking its new location (having morphed from its Bobcat Bite incarnation), so the field was clear for Second Street Brewery to take top honors in last year’s Green Chile Smackdown, our annual competitive burg-a-thon (stay tuned for details on its autumn return). Their reigning chomp, the Alien Burger––a wacky combo of beef, bacon, green chile, cheese and a green chile relleno on top––makes repeat landings at all of their locations. Or, you can build your own fantasy burger while sampling their locally brewed craft beers.
Mining the Flavor of New Mexico
Tasting the People’s Choice 2014 GCCB (short name for burgers long on flavor) award-winner offers the bonus of a leisurely drive in the New Mexico countryside. The people spoke “Madrid” by choosing the Mine Shaft Tavern in historic Madrid, New Mexico, perched on the scenic Turquoise Trail, an alternate route between Santa Fe and Albuquerque that every local recommends to family and friends. A stop at this friendly village hangout yields a half-pound of Black Angus with aged cheddar and a duo of chiles (roasted and fired) resting comfortably on a brioche bun. Now that’s New Mexico comfort food!
Who’s Your Burger Mama?
When it comes to dinner, Mother Knows Best––and that’s my recommendation for the Cowgirl BBQ’s Mother Burger, the 2013 Smackdown People’s Choice. A meaty threesome of buffalo, bacon and beef meet their match when green chile and brie join the five-alarm taste sensation. The chile-cheddar bun adds its own special flare to the fun. And as for fun, you can’t beat the music scene at the Cowgirl! Additional note: Fido can come when you sit out on the dog-friendly patio, but it’s up to you whether to tempt your poor pooch’s discerning sense of smell.
Simply Santa Fe = Green Chile on Top
Despite the number of Smackdown participants, there can only be one winner, but that’s no reason not to try the also-rans––the competition was that stiff. My green chile meanderings frequently lead to Caffe Greco, where the simplicity of the burger lets each individual ingredient shine. Just the essentials––grass-fed beef plus melted cheddar, a pile of fresh-roasted green chile and a hearty bun––make this lunchtime excursion well worth your while. Add their Canyon Road location for easy art wandering and you’ve got the recipe for simply delicious satisfaction.
Stay and Dine In to Win at Burger-Boasting
When you stay at Santa Fe’s great hotels, you won’t have to look far for burger fare. Forget whatever you’ve heard about eating in hotel restaurants, because great Santa Fe dining is onsite. Hotel Santa Fe’s Amaya (Amaya Burger in Bison or Beef) and the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi (Anasazi Buffalo Burger) were both 2014 Smackdown finalists and each has a burger that deserves your chomping consideration.
Get All the Colors of the Rainbow with Your Green Chile
On the topic of hotel restaurants, I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest a short jaunt up north to watch the sun set from the serene patio at the Four Seasons Santa Fe. You can cuddle by the fire pit with a margarita until your burger arrives topped with candied chile bacon and a crispy poblano. A word of advice: Do not––I repeat–– do not forego the onion rings!
National Burger Month Deserves Santa Fe Styling
You’re hungry now, right? So am I! Lucky me, I don’t have far to go to achieve the best in burger-ability, but it’s just as easy for you when you include a scrumptious green chile cheeseburger in your National Burger Month getaway. Mother, May I? Yes, you MAY!