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Ben Michael’s Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Ben Michael’s Restaurant on Rio Grande Blvd. outside Old Town

During the height of the Italian Renaissance, humanist-philosopher Leon Battista Alberti posited the notion that “a man can do all things if he will,” a notion that birthed the concept of the Renaissance man.  More than the contemporary Army challenge for American soldiers to “be all you can be,” a Renaissance man was expected to embrace all knowledge and develop capabilities as fully as possible in the areas of knowledge, physical development, social accomplishments and the arts.  Perhaps the very best example of a Renaissance man is Leonardo da Vinci, whose gifts were manifest in the fields of science, art, music, invention and writing. 

Spend a few minutes with Ben Michael Barreras, chef and owner of the eponymous Ben Michael’s Restaurant on the fringes of Old Town, and you’ll quickly discern you’ve met a true Renaissance man. In his half century plus, he’s been (and still is) a pharmacist, a farmer, a contractor, a musician, a fisherman and a chef.  Moreover, he’s a gentleman, emphasis on the word “gentle.”   We found that out quickly upon asking if he carried Splenda or Equal.  In a kind but serious tone, he admonished that he would never want to poison us with artificial sweeteners, emphasizing that as a practicing pharmacist, he subscribes to the Hippocratic edict to “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

Sardines and Spanish Cheese

In that spirit, Ben Michael takes great pride in offering a menu replete with organic, locally raised ingredients.  He doesn’t have to travel far to get many of them either.  Behind the restaurant he lovingly tends to a small garden in which he raises seasonal produce such as arugula, pinto beans, beets and even chile.  The bounty of his small garden may not be abundant, but the freshness and flavor of the produce he reaps is memorable.  It’s the antithesis of the artificially ripened and synthetic-flavored vegetables to which diners are often subjected.  What Ben Michael can’t grow himself, he sources from small area vendors who adhere to his standards and principles. 

If you’re traveling on Rio Grande Boulevard just north of Old Town, you can’t miss the architectural anomaly that is Ben Michael’s Restaurant though you might mistake it for something else–perhaps an art gallery or an extension of Casa Talavera next door.  To say it doesn’t subscribe to the adobe-hued homogeneity of Old Town area architectural standards is an understatement.  Ben Michael’s stands out, not so much like a sore thumb, but like a defiantly tattooed finger.  The restaurant’s unique architecture is reflective of Ben Michael’s individuality.  He’s not someone you can typecast.

Organic Salad

Neither is the restaurant he constructed in 1997, mostly with his own two hands.  For the walls, he fashioned some 8,000 adobe bricks from mud in the arroyos behind the restaurant.  He used an axe to cut aspens from the Jemez Mountains for the natillas on the ceiling which he hand-carved himself.  He laid the bricks for the restaurant’s floor.  Save for the modernity of his tools, his labors were similar to those undertaken by his ancestors (on both sides of his family) who settled the Duke City in the sixteenth century,   Morning and mid-day sun illuminate the dining room which seems taller (at least twenty-five feet) than it does commodious.

Formidable as he is at construction, Ben Michael may be even more adept at building relationships.  Amiable interactions with guests come easy to the genial restaurateur.  So do firm abrazos for the friends and neighbors who drop in for a quick visit and a steaming cup of organic coffee.  Guests and friends alike drop in on Burque Blues Tuesday or Jazz Wednesday when Ben Michael lets his hair down and tickles the ivories on the piano at the corner of the restaurant.

Enchiladas with Posole

Music, ambiance and great conversation aside, if you’re at Ben Michael’s for lunch there are two things of which you should be aware.  First, you’d better have some time on your hands.  Ben Michael prepares everything to order and may well be a one person operation, serving as your chef, server, cashier and host.  Second, don’t expect a compendium of every New Mexican dish you’ve ever had.  To say the menu is abbreviated–three entrees, three appetizers, a salad and two desserts during a visit in January, 2015–is an understatement.  While the menu may not be comprehensive, it’s got more than its share of surprises. 

Unless you’ve been to a very authentic Spanish or Portuguese restaurant, for example, you probably haven’t seen an appetizer offering of sardines and Spanish cheese served with bread.  My dad loved sardines, a trait only one of his six children (guess which one) inherited.  Because my Kim dislikes sardines intensely meant they were all mine. Ben Michael pan-fries the sardines in olive oil along with sauteed white onions.  It’s a delicious departure from the predictable cavalcade of appetizers at New Mexican restaurants.  The Spanish cheese, a firm, rindless white cheese is cubed and delicious.

Organic Burger

It’s rare to declare a salad as the one “must have” item on a menu, but if ever that designation is deserved for one sole item, it’s tailor-made for the organic salad at Ben Michael’s.  There is no one standard template for constructing the organic salad.  In fact, don’t be surprised if Ben Michael excuses himself briefly to step out back to retrieve the seasonal ingredients with which to construct your salad.  Ours was made with fresh, crisp greens; chopped, raw beets; organic walnuts; shredded Spanish cheese; salty, briny olives and luscious figs with a housemade Balsamic vinaigrette.  It’s organic artwork on a plate, a truly terrific salad. 

Soon after placing my order for chicken enchiladas, the unmistakeable whirring of a blender and the melodic sound of a freshly cracked egg (organic) sizzling and spitting on a frying pan could be heard.  It was the  sound of Ben Michael preparing my lunch.  More specifically, he was grinding red chile from pods for my enchiladas.  It’s an outstanding chile (among the very best we’ve had in Albuquerque) with a pleasant piquancy and deep, rich, earthy flavor.  Not surprisingly, it was chile grown by the chef himself.  The enchiladas are an outstanding option.  They’re made flat and ooze with melted Cheddar and the gooey goodness of an egg fried over-medium, all good, but made transformative thanks to that chile.

Flan

In a consumer economy dominated by fast food and mystery meat burgers, it’s refreshingly rare to find an organic burger.  The difference is significant.  At Ben Michael’s, the organic burger is constructed from hand-formed ground beef and served with crisp, fresh salad greens (ask the chef to drizzle on some of the house vinaigrette) and a side of cubed papitas.  Every burger should be as fresh and delicious. 

Only two desserts festoon the menu, a chocolate mousse and a flan which renders Ben Michael poetic.  He raves about the flan and eagerly awaits your verdict at first bite.  It’s a wonderful flan, second only to Chef Estevan Garcia’s organic goat milk flan when he helmed Tabla De Los Santos.  An addictive intoxicating caramel wafts through the air when you pierce the flan with your spoon.  It’s a light flan served cold and it’s as good as Ben Michael says it is. 

After you finish your meal and if he’s not inundated with guests, Ben Michael might just invite you to visit his small pharmacy on the premises. Similar to the abbreviated menu, it’s not nearly as well stocked as other pharmacies in Albuquerque, but you can trust that what Ben Michael chooses to keep in stock has the healthful qualities this Renaissance man values.

Ben Michael’s Restaurant
2404 Pueblo Bonito Court, N.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 224-2817
Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 17 January 2015
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 23
COST: $$
BEST BET: Sardines and Spanish Cheese, Organic Salad, Enchiladas, Organic Burger, Flan

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Duran’s Station – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Duran’s Station, a New Mexican Restaurant with a Pedigree

Homer: Five-alarm chili, eh? (Takes a bite) One…two…Hey, what’s the big idea?
Ned: Oh, I admit it. It’s only two alarm, two and a half, tops! I just wanted to be a big man in front of the kids.

One-alarm, two-alarm, three-alarm…since the 1850s, American fire departments have relied on alarm systems to alert firefighters to the severity of a fire and the staff required to battle the conflagration.  Typically the higher the number of alarms, the more severe the fire and the greater the complement of firefighters required to fight it though the precise meaning of an “alarm” varies, depending on the fire department. 

It stands to reason that a multi-alarm designation also be used to designate the “heat” generated by chile (or “chili” if you’re a foreigner; i.e., from Texas).  In 1964, Wick Fowler, a journalist from Austin, Texas founded a company to sell his “two-alarm chili,” the cumin-laden recipe he followed in winning the international chili championship cook-off in Terlingua, Texas.  Since then, chile (or chili) cooks have often used a one-alarm, two-alarm, three-alarm, etc., designation to denote piquancy.

A very busy dining room

Duran’s Station, a popular New Mexican restaurant, is a rather unique convergence of the two entities for which the one-alarm, two-alarm, three-alarm… system has been known in America.  From August, 1954 until its decommissioning in 1992, the edifice which houses the restaurant served as home to Fire Station #8 on the intersection of Menaul and Graceland.   After 38 years as a fire station, the building was repurposed and sold, launching in December, 2005 as Duran’s Station where one-alarm, two-alarm, three alarm now applies to the red and green chile for which the restaurant has come to be known.  The red, by the way, earned “best of the city” honors from Albuquerque The Magazine readers in 2012. 

Vestiges of Fire Station #8’s halcyon days can still be found though even firehouse veterans might be challenged to espy them.  Most readily identifiable as a firehouse standard are the interior red brick walls.  The bay doors from which trucks ambled onto Menaul have been walled in with tall windows providing vantage points for of one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares.  The old firehouse’s kitchen is gone, replaced by the restaurant’s entrance-reception area.  The “apparatus room,” essentially a large garage in which the firetrucks  were housed, now serves as the restaurant’s sole dining room.

Chips and Salsa

If you’ve surmised there’s an affiliation between Duran’s Station and the Old Town area’s Duran’s Central Pharmacy, you’re probably a Duke City native.  Duran’s Station is owned by Marcel Ghattas, eldest scion of Robert Ghattas, the long-time owner of Duran’s Central Pharmacy and patriarch of a prolific family of restaurateurs (daughter Myra owns and operates the Slate Street Cafe).  Now, if you know why both restaurants are named “Duran” and not “Ghattas,” you just might be a Duke City historian.  In the late 1950s, Robert Ghattas began working with Pete Duran at Pete’s Pharmacy which then included a soda fountain.  A few years later, Robert purchased the pharmacy from Pete and the soda fountain came with it.  So did the name.

As consumer tastes changed, interest in the soda fountain waned, prompting Robert to change the menu to cater to neighborhood tastes.  In a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, it just made sense that Duran’s should offer New Mexican cuisine.  The rest, as the proverbial “they” say, is history.  Today Duran’s menu is practically the same as it was on the day it was introduced.  Duran’s has become a home away from home for  blue- and white-collar diners who converge there for breakfast and lunch.  The menu at Duran’s Station is nearly identical to the menu at its elder sibling, but instead of breakfast, it serves lunch and dinner.  Duran’s Station can also accommodate more diners.

Hot buttered tortilla

Among Duran’s long-time standards are hot-buttered tortillas.  Long regarded as among the very best in the Duke City, these are not the tissue-thin, machine-pressed, bland-flavored abominations served in too many New Mexican restaurants.  These tortillas are hand-rolled and comal-griddled until speckled with pinto-pony brown char spots.  They’re soft, warm and thick, a perfect canvas for slathering on butter.  In true Land of Enchantment tradition, they’re also ideal for forming into “New Mexican spoons” with which to scoop up beans. 

Your first portion of salsa and chips is complimentary.  Thereafter you’ll pay a pittance for one of the very best salsa and chip pairings in the city.  The salsa is served in a clear plastic ramekin that frankly doesn’t hold enough salsa to suit me, especially since the chips are fresh, thick, crispy, low-in-salt and invitingly accommodate Gil-sized salsa scoops.  This is not a salsa for dipping.  It’s meant to be scooped for maximum enjoyment.  It’s not especially piquant and some might say the preparer was a bit heavy-handed with garlic, but it’s a very fresh, delicious salsa.

Blue Corn Enchiladas with Red and Green Chile and Fried Egg Over-Easy

Santa Fe resident and Saturday Night Live alum Jack “Deep Thoughts” Handey postulated that “If God dwells inside us like some people say, I sure hope He likes enchiladas, because that’s what He’s getting.” More often than not in New Mexico, that means enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas and served stacked (flat).  That’s the way they’re served at Duran’s Station.  Three flat blue corn cheese enchiladas per order served Christmas-style (both red and green chile) with an egg on top is the way I’d serve them to God.  The blue corn tortillas are sweeter and more “corny” tasting than those made with yellow or white corn.   Both the red and green chile are deeply flavorful with a nice level of piquancy.  The accompanying pinto beans with melted shredded Cheddar are a nice touch (and remember, they go well with New Mexican “spoons.”)

While carne adovada is a Thursday only special at Duran’s Central Pharmacy, at Duran’s Station, you can get this outstanding dish every day for lunch and dinner.  It’s some of the best carne adovada in town.  The delicious orange-red chile used on other entrees is ameliorated with aromatic Mexican oregano and chile pequin, a fiery, dried red chile made from ground chile pods, not from powder.  That chile covers bite sized cubes of porcine perfection so tender and delicious they will make your taste buds smile. My Kim enjoys her carne with a fried egg (over-easy) on top. The carne adovada is served with steamed potatoes nearing the consistency of mashed potatoes.

Carne Adovada with Fried Egg and Steamed Potatoes

On its Facebook page, Duran’s Station posted the three ways to your heart: “buy me enchiladas, make me enchiladas and be enchiladas.” Frankly, Duran’s Station has many ways to win the heart of all its diners and though most of them involve red and (or) green chile, the menu also features some pretty terrific desserts.  While some are seasonal (caramel apple cake), you can usually find a pie or two on the menu.  The buttermilk pie with vanilla ice cream is especially good if you have a pronounced sweet tooth.  It’s ultra rich and buttery with a smooth texture and crumbly crust.

Buttermilk Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

With the launch of Duran’s Station in 2005, Duke City diners can treat themselves on both sides of town to the culinary excellence they’ve come to expect from the Ghattas family.

Duran’s Station
4201 Menaul Blvd, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 830-0007
Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 27 December 2014
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: N/R
COST: $$
BEST BET: Blue Corn Enchiladas, Carne Adovada, Chips and Salsa, Buttermilk Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

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New Mexico Beef Jerky Company – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Green Chile Cheese Fries

The internet is replete with compilations abounding in truth and humor entitled “You know you’re from New Mexico when…”  Perhaps most resonating in factuality are the items which depict just how much New Mexicans value their culinary traditions.  For example, you know you’re from New Mexico when: your favorite breakfast meat is sliced fried bologna; you buy green chile by the bushel and red chile by the gallon; most restaurants you go to begin with ‘El’ or ‘Los'; you have an extra freezer just for green chile; you think Sadie’s was better when it was in a bowling alley; and you can order your Big Mac with green chile.

Even if you’ve lived in the Land of Enchantment for only a short time, several items on that short list will ring with veracity for you. If you’re a lifelong resident, however, the list may get your dander up a bit because, conspicuous by their absence, are sacrosanct New Mexican foods and culinary traditions we treasure. We would add to the list, you know you’re from New Mexico when: your trail mix consists of pinon and carne seca and instead of popcorn, your home movie nights consist of eating chicharrones in front of the television.

The comfy, cozy dining room

You also know you’re from New Mexico if you can drive down the street and pass several stores selling carne seca. New Mexicans have always had an affinity for carne seca whose literal translation is “dried beef” but for which a more accurate description would be “dehydrated beef.” Spanish conquistadores and settlers learned the process for making carne seca from indigenous peoples, quickly discerning the value of preserving and ease of transporting dehydrated meats as they set off on their conquests. When they settled down and raised cattle for their families, they retained their carne seca preparation traditions. Years of preparing it had taught them that beyond its practicality, carne seca is an addictively delicious meat treat.

Frank Chavez and his family have been provisioning New Mexicans with high-quality, delicious carne seca for three decades, proffering some thirteen flavors. The carne seca is hung and dried in a controlled environment until the desired texture is achieved. The thin strips of dehydrated beef are then marinated in such ingredients as Hatch red and green chile with no additives or preservatives. Any triskaidekaphobia you might have will dissipate when you feast your eyes and wrap your lips around any of the thirteen flavors: original (salt only), peppered (salt and pepper), green chile, red chile, tangy teriyaki, extra hot teriyaki, lemon peppered, old-fashioned, garlic, extra hot Habanero, hot chile con limon and Christmas (red and green chile).

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Taco Burgers

27 November 2013: Texturally, the carne seca is absolutely perfect.  That means it snaps when you bite into it or break apart a piece.  It isn’t stringy in the least and is lean and super delicious.  The chile con limon is not to be missed.  Chile con limon is a very popular Mexican spice mix combining chile spices, salt, lemon and lime to impart an addictive piquant-tangy-citrusy flavor.  The heat is real.  So is the citrusy flavor.  Other early favorites include the extra hot teriyaki and the garlic, but that’s likely to change with future visits and more sampling.

Chavez, an Albuquerque native who grew up in the area around Central and Atrisco, realizes that New Mexican’s can’t live on carne seca alone. When he launched his second instantiation of the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company, he diversified its offerings by selling chicharrones, too…and if there’s anything New Mexicans love as much as carne seca, it’s chicharrones. We also love hot and spicy New Mexico Quality (the store brand) red chile chips so Chavez makes the very best, created with the same high standards as other products in the store.

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Carne Adovada Burrito

Several months after launching his second store (1900 Fourth Street, N.W.), Chavez once again listened to his customers (a novel concept more restaurateurs should embrace) who were clamoring for more. He expanded the menu beyond carne seca, chicharonnes and red chile chips, restructuring the store to include several tables for eat-in dining. One of the first to visit after the menu expansion was Rudy Vigil, the Sandia savant who’s led me to some great restaurants. Rudy endorsed the burritos at the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company with the same enthusiasm he has for the University of New Mexico Lobos.

The limited menu befits the store’s diminutive digs.  Four breakfast burritos (served all day long), five lunch burritos, burgers (tortilla or bun) and taco burgers make up the standard menu, but savvy diners will quickly pick up on the fact that they can also order chicharrones in half or full-pound sizes.  Even better, they can indulge in a chicharrones plate which comes with two tortillas and four ounces of chile for a half-pound portion.  Order a full pound of chicharrones and you’ll double the number of tortillas and chile portion size if you order the full pound.  You’ll also double your enjoyment.

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Chicharonnes Burrito with Green Chile

1 November 2013: Order the taco burgers as an appetizer to begin your experience in New Mexico Beef Jerky Company deliciousness. The taco burgers are simple in their construction: a hard-shell corn tortilla, a hamburger-style beef patty, lettuce and your choice of red or green chile (or both). More tacos should be made with hamburger patties. Texturally, hamburgers have an advantage in that they don’t fall off the taco shell. Hamburger patties are also superior in flavor to fried ground beef. The real kicker, literally and figuratively, is the green chile which bites back with a vengeance. It’s an excellent chile, some of the best in town.

1 November 2013: The carne adovada burrito is so good, it’s easy to imagine yourself having one for breakfast and one for lunch two or seven times a week.  The breakfast version is made with carne adovada, eggs, cheese and potatoes while the lunch version omits the eggs (though as previously noted, breakfast burritos are available all day long).  The carne adovada is outstanding with tender tendrils of porcine perfection marinated in a rich, piquant red chile made from chile pods.  Burritos are generously engorged, easily twice as thick as most hand-held burritos…and most of the filling is carne, not potatoes.  They’re easily affordable and will fill you up.  My adovada adoring friend Ruben calls them “unbelievably good,” a sentiment you’ll echo. Another friend Mike Muller believes these are the very best carne adovada burritos in town. Frankly, I can’t think of any better.

Green Chile Cheeseburger with New Mexico Quality Chips

Green Chile Cheeseburger with New Mexico Quality Red Chile Chips

1 November 2013: By most measures, the carne adovada burrito would be the best burrito at most restaurants’ burrito line-up, but it may not even be the best burrito at the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company. That honor probably belongs to the chicharrones burrito (with beans and chile), the only possible way in which chicharrones could be improved. The chicharrones are exemplars of crackling pork. They’re crispy, crunchy and redolent with porcine goodness. This burrito is tailor-made for green chile, an R-rated variety in that it may be unsuitable (too piquant) for some children, adults who don’t have an asbestos-lined mouth and Texans. This is chile the way New Mexicans have been preparing it for generations, not dumbed down for tourist tastes.

As a cautionary note, if you get there late in the day, say after 3:30, the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company may have run out of chicharrones.  Fresh batches are made daily and if you’re fortunate enough to arrive shortly after a fresh batch is ready, you’re in for a treat.  Few things are as wonderful as freshly made chicharrones hot enough to burn your tongue.  Before day’s end, the freshly ground beef from which burgers are constructed may also be gone.

Baloney, Cheese, Egg and Bean Burrito

Baloney, Cheese, Egg and Bean Burrito

27 November 2013: The ground beef for the burgers comes from the same beef used to create the old-fashioned carne seca. Each beef patty is hand-formed and prepared at about medium-well then topped with mustard and onions. Green chile (a must-have) and cheese are optional. As a green chile cheeseburger, the emphasis here is on chile as in plenty of piquancy. If you’ve ever lamented not being able to discern any chile on your green chile cheeseburger, this is a burger for you. The chile is not only piquant, it’s got a nice flavor. The beef patty exceeds the circumference of the bun and is thick, probably a good eight ounces of delicious, rich beef. Burgers are served with New Mexico Quality red chile chips. 

24 September 2014:  Baloney!  If you’ve ever wondered why the popular Italian sausage is synonymous with a term commonly associated with nonsense, bunkum or insincerity, you’re not alone.  It turns out the word “baloney” was first used in the 1930s as a reference to the disingenuousness of government bureaucracies.  The term was later applied to “Bologna” sausages because the sausage tasted nothing like the meat used to make them (a mixture of smoked, spiced meat from cows and pigs). 

Baloney Sandwich

24 September 2014: There’s nothing insincere or nonsensical about the love of baloney, the sausage.  It’s long been a favorite among families in rural New Mexico, a realization some restaurants are only now starting to grasp.  New Mexicans love the log-sized baloney we slice ourselves so that it’s three or four times the height of the single-sliced baloney sold in supermarkets.  We like to grill or fry it over low heat so that it acquires a smoky char and we love our boloney on a tortilla.  That’s how Frank’s crew prepares it: two thick slices of grilled baloney, melted cheese, lettuce and an incendiary green chile that will bring sweat to your brow.  It’s the baloney sandwich of my youth recaptured and for my friends Bill and Phil, it’s a new way to appreciate the “Rodney Dangerfield” of meat products.  They’ve become hooked on the baloney sandwiches, much to the detriment of ordering anything else.

17 November 2014: Baloney–it’s not just for sandwiches anymore!  In fact, baloney is a versatile ingredient that improves almost every dish in which it’s used (and it’s pretty terrific on its own, too).  In addition to using it on the aforementioned baloney sandwich, the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company deploys baloney on its burritos, too.  Were it not for that sublime carne adovada, the baloney, egg and cheese burrito would be in contention for best burrito in town.  The only thing that can improve this winner is beans.

Chorizo Burrito

9 October 2014:  When I asked the genial server manning the counter whether or not the chorizo burrito included cumin, his answer validated my long-held assertion that cumin has no place in New Mexican food.  He told me: “we don’t use sobaco on anything here.”  Sobaco is Spanish for armpit, a description my friend Bill also uses to describe cumin.  The chorizo burrito (eggs, potatoes, cheese, chorizo in a flour tortilla) is the best I’ve had in memory, maybe the best ever.  The chorizo has a wonderfully piquant kick.  It’s not nearly as piquant as the XX-Hot chile of the day (a placard at the counter will tell you how hot the chile is ), but it’s got personality and deliciousness.

17 November 2014: Chile cheese fries aren’t a new idea.  Several New Mexican restaurants offer them though very few are notable.  At the New Mexico Beef Jerky Company, they’re so memorable you might wish they were available at every meal.  The French fries are reminiscent of the fries at the K&I Diner in that they’re soft and easy to pick up en masse with a fork.  The cheese is shredded, not gloppy.  The chile, of course, is fantastic!  The plate includes a garnish of chopped tomatoes and lettuce which go surprisingly well with the fries.

Green Chile Cheese Fries

3 December 2014: The New Mexico Beef Jerky Co. started its December (2014) in a new site about four blocks south of its inaugural Fourth Street location.  Now occupying the building where the late, lamented 4 Aces Grill got its start in 2011, Frank Chavez and his crew now have a venue in which they can better showcase the great service which has always accompanied the excellent New Mexican cuisine.  Now you can order either at the counter up front or you can take a seat and be waited upon. 

The new, larger space also allows for even more expansion of the menu.  With virtually every visit, there seems to be something new on the menu which means menu boredom can’t set in.  Cheese enchiladas are a  heretofore offering that won me over immediately.  That’s an easy feat considering how transformative the red and green chile are.  Beyond the chile, these enchiladas are prepared as well as enchiladas can be and they’re accompanied by outstanding refried beans and papitas along with a single tortilla.

Enchiladas with red and green chile and a fried egg (over easy)

New Mexico Beef Jerky Company may be Lilliputian compared to those impersonal mega restaurants, but when it comes to service, the big boys can learn a thing or two from Frank Chavez and his crew. By the time our taco burgers were delivered to our table during our inaugural visit, Frank had already secured our unending loyalty with a generous sample of chicharrones. For “dessert” he brought us chicharrones in red chile and samples of the beef jerky.  He had us at chicharrones.  We’ll be back again and again.

New Mexico Beef Jerky Company
1527 4th Street, N.W
Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 242-6121
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 3 December 2014
1st VISIT: 1 November 2013
# OF VISITS: 7
RATING: 24
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Chicharrones, Chicharrones Burrito, Carne Adovada Burrito, Taco Burger, Beef Jerky, Green Chile Cheeseburger, New Mexico Quality Red Chile Chips, Baloney Sandwich, Chorizo Burrito, Chile Cheese Fries, Enchiladas

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