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Luigi’s Ristorante & Pizzeria – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Luigi's, a mainstay on Fourth Street for nearly fifteen years

Braciole became a part of American pop culture when Debra, Ray Barone’s long-suffering wife on television sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, prepared a braciole dish everyone in the family liked too much. A notoriously bad cook who may have unintentionally ruined her husband’s taste buds, her braciole was better even than the version prepared by her competitive mother-in-law Marie, the bona fide chef in the family.   Quite naturally Marie didn’t share the ardor the  men in the family felt toward Debra’s culinary masterpiece.  That meant all-out war.

Luigi’s is one of the few (perhaps only) restaurants in town to serve braciole, a traditional Southern Italian dish featuring savory rolls of stuffed lean meat braised in a tomato sauce.  At least two other  Duke City restaurants serve Involtini, a Northern Italian version of the dish while Dagmar’s Restaurant & Strudel House prepares Rouladen, the closest thing to a German equivalent.  The point is Luigi’s serves a number of dishes you won’t find at other Albuquerque Italian restaurants.  In fact, its menu is a veritable compendium of Italian dishes.

The artistic interior of Luigi's

Luigi’s is the eponymous brainchild of Luigi Napolitano whose very last name translates to citizen of Naples, the city from which his mother Tina emigrated more than four decades ago. Tina is the bread-baking, pasta-making dynamo in the kitchen and is also responsible for many of the restaurant’s homey touches.  Tina painstakingly hand-sewed the delicate lace covering over each lamp as well as the curtains over each booth.  Other homey touches include viney plants hanging from pillars throughout the restaurant and a framed picture of the Mona Lisa hanging above the buffet.

The most eye-catching aspect of the restaurant isn’t the well-provisioned buffet, but the charcoal murals on the wall, most of which depict Roman life in the days of gladiators, spas, arcades and colonnades.  Seemingly out-of-place is  the section of the mural depicting the archangel Michael doing battle with Lucifer.  Despite Tina’s homey touches and the intriguing mural work, Luigi’s does show signs of being timeworn, but in a comfortable sort of way.   The only signage directing you to the restaurant is just off the street; there is no signage on the building itself.

Minestrone

Practically from its inception in 1996, Luigi’s has drawn in teeming masses for its weekday lunch buffet and its Friday night seafood buffet. Now, an Italian restaurant couldn’t possibly be good if it offers a dinner buffet, right? After experiencing Luigi’s rendition of a buffet, you might change your mind. That seems to be especially true of the Friday night seafood buffet which is extremely popular. Having lived near the water in Massachusetts and Mississippi, the seafood buffet isn’t something I’ll frequent, but it was worth trying once.

Luigi’s bountiful seafood buffet includes mussels, crab claws, baby clams, fried calamari, boiled shrimp, fried shrimp and other fruits of the sea. None of the crustacean offerings are as sizable as you might find at a casino buffet, but they’re well prepared and seasoned. The calamari is onion ring sized and chewy, not top tier but not bad either. Luigi’s clam chowder is better than you might prepare out of a can, but not of New England quality (in New Mexico, what is?). Had the cocktail sauce not been recently frozen, we might have enjoyed it on the seafood more.

Two slices of fresh, warm, yeasty bread

Two of the buffet highlights are Luigi’s bread offered with a garlic butter that  spreads easily and a salad bar with plenteous ingredients, some–such as beets, boiled eggs, pepperoncinis–not typically served on Duke City salad bar.  Several salad dressings are available to adorn your salad, including a passable blue cheese.  Interestingly, the salad bar also includes chocolate pudding which seems to be a staple at Chinese restaurant buffets, too.  Even if you don’t order the buffet, for a relative pittance you can have the restaurant’s all-you-can-eat soup and salad bar.  Two soups, usually a minestrone and a chowder are also available.

One of the other atypical Italian offerings on Luigi’s menu is a carne adovada pizza.  Pizza has become a virtual canvas on which pizza artisans paint with a broad brush, the more creative the ingredients, the better.  There is virtually no sacred cow, no time-honored traditions left.  When it comes to pizza, anything goes.  Still, carne adovada pizza is one of those things that will have you doing a double-take.  Even as you’re eating it and proclaiming it delicious, you’ll be questioning the propriety of this unique pizza…and it is a delicious pizza.

An all-you-can-eat salad option is available with Luigi's dinner plates

The crust, in particular, is wonderful with a very out-of-the-oven, yeasty bread aroma and texture.  It has just a hint of char on a crispy crust replete in its outside edges with those airy holes that seem part and parcel of most good, thick pizzas.  The carne adovada itself has a chile marinated flavor with just a hint of piquancy.  It’s strewn across the pizza in small shredded pieces then topped with a cheese blend from which bits of the carne peek out.  If carne adovada is too outlandish for your pizza, the menu has several other options, including gluten-free pizza.

While the seafood buffet may not have possessed the boatload of deliciousness I crave from seafood, the Frutta Di Mare, does.  A mixed seafood (shrimp, crab claws, clams, mussels and squid) medley over linguine with your choice of a red or white sauce, the name of this dish translates to “fruit of the sea.”  That’s an appropriate name considering not only the bounty of sea-birthed ingredients, but the way they’re prepared.  The seafood is sweet and succulent, a perfect foil for the red sauce.

A rarity even in Albuquerque--Carne Adovada Pizza

Luigi’s offers several seafood selections including one sure to appeal to New Mexicans who believe pain is a flavor and who like our food to bite back.  It’s the Shrimp Fra Diavalo, shrimp in a spicy garlic sauce served over a bed of linguine.  The menu describes it as “HOT!”  The term “Fra Diavalo” translates to “Brother Devil” in recognition of its tomato-based sauce which employs hot peppers (maybe Cayenne) in its flavor profile.  It’s one of those dishes that red or green chile wouldn’t improve; they’re not the type of pepper which makes this entree good.

If you do want green chile on your entree, it’s available in the green chile chicken lasagna.  Alas, the green chile is almost decorative, or more appropriately garnish-like, for its lack of piquancy.  Come on, this is New Mexico!  The layers of pasta, rich bechamel sauce and molten cheese blanketing the lasagna are quite good, but the entire dish would have been much more flavorful with a fennel-kissed Italian sausage or even ground beef.  Chicken, even well-prepared breast meat, is one of the most boring meat additives to any entree.  Sure it might make you feel good about not eating a more fattening meat, but there’s not much you can do to improve its blandish flavor profile

Green Chile Chicken Lasagna with a Bechemel Sauce

As for the braciole,it’s rolled in herbs, marinated in marinara sauce and served with a side of penne.  It’s also tied with a string to hold in the delicious stuffing.  I’m not sure it’s quite as good as Debra Barone’s rendition, but it’s quite good.  If you’re not tired of pop culture references, check out the movies A Bronx Tale and Raging Bull where braciole is used as a slang reference to the male reproductive organ.

Other pasta entrees are available with a variety of sauces: marinara, pesto, meat, Alfredo, mushroom, carbonara and even a rich broccoli cream sauce maybe even George W. Bush would like (he of the quote “I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it.  And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”)  A number of hot and cold sandwiches are available as is a varied selection of domestic and imported beers as well as margaritas and wine.

Tiramisu

A panacea of Italian dessert favorites is available for diners with a sweet, but not too sweet, tooth.  That means tiramisu that doesn’t taste like a cloying pudding.  The tiramisu, served in a small bowl, is made with ladyfingers and is redolent with espresso, not quite enough for me, but sure to please most coffee lovers.  Cannoli, the wonderful Sicilian tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough stuffed with a sweet, creamy Ricotta cheese-based filling are also available, including a chocolate cannoli.  Lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar, the cannoli is quite good.

Earlier in this essay, I mentioned the homey touches of the restaurant’s decor.  Homey would also describe the service at Luigi’s.  The wait staff is personable and attentive without hovering over you while you’re trying to eat.  Our waiter should have worn a big red letter “S” on his chest for the way he simultaneously took care of several tables–professional service with a smile, too.

Chocolate Cannoli

Luigi’s Ristorante & Pizzeria is still going strong after nearly a decade and a half in a relatively inconspicuous facade on Fourth Street.  Good portions, reasonable prices, excellent service and a diverse menu are the reason.

Luigi’s Ristorante & Pizzeria
225 4th St NW
Albuquerque, NM
343-0466
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 24 September 2010
# OF VISITS: 4
RATING: 17
COST: $$
BEST BET: Clam Chowder, Chocolate Cannoli, Tiramisu, Carne Adovada Pizza

Luigi's Ristorante & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen – Madrid, New Mexico

Mama Lisa's Ghost Town Kitchen (aka No Pity Cafe)

Steeped in rich history dating from the early 1800s, Madrid has been transformed from a hard- and soft-coal mining town with shafts as deep as 2500 feet down into a distinctive artist’s community. In the 1970s, artists and craftspeople converted old company stores and houses into shops, galleries and services. In doing so, they transformed what might otherwise have become yet another storied New Mexico ghost town into a popular tourist destination. Situated on the storied Turquoise Trail, Madrid is today a beautiful Bohemian escape city dwellers like me really enjoy.

Madrid’s unique charm and slow pace of life are infectious. It’s easy to imagine a carefree life away from the maddening crowds and hustle and bustle of modern metropolitan existence. The folly of modern existence is captured brilliantly in the wooden sign above the door to Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen’s. The sign depicts a corpulent matron ladling soup into her mouth from an Indian pot while a sombrero and huarache wearing skeleton on bended knee begs for sustenance. It’s certainly Madrid’s citizens who represent the fatted woman while those of us envying that way of life are the skeletal beings.

The sign above the restaurant's door.

The sign above the restaurant's door.

Had the skeleton depicted on the sign been allowed to eat regularly at Mama Lisa’s kitchen, he, too, might have been endomorphic like much of American society. That’s because Mama Lisa’s serves hefty portions of delicious, maybe even extraordinary victuals…and yes, there is a Mama Lisa.  She’s a transplant from Chicago who’s been feeding visitors and locals in Madrid for more than two decades.  She and her tiny restaurant are very highly regarded by locals, but surprisingly unknown, despite the restaurant’s longevity, outside Madrid.

The signage might lead you to believe this is a restaurant with a multiple personality.  Most people know it as Mama Lisa’s, but its full name is Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen, the “Ghost Town” portion an obvious reference to what Madrid almost became.  The “No Pity Cafe” subtitle came yeas later when the restaurant’s staff called a Santa Fe radio station on a frequent basis to request a song bemoaning “a town with no pity.”  Mama Lisa, a compassionate woman, has a heart of gold, giving a hand-up to many of the town’s poor residents who might not otherwise get much to eat.

Hummus pita with feta and harissa

Hummus pita with feta and harissa

As with many seasonal travel destinations, Madrid’s peak tourist season is in the warm summer months.  As such, it’s probably best to call ahead just to make sure the restaurant is open.  Save for in summer, hours are inconsistent and the restaurant is actually closed from January through March when the town reverts from a bustling hubbub of activity to a veritable ghost town.  When it is open, you’re in for a real treat.  Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town is a jewel, one of the two or three very best restaurants along the Turquoise Trail.

Mama Lisa’s menu is eclectic and everything is made from scratch. Organic ingredients are used to the greatest extent possible. The menu changes frequently and is posted on a slate board just inside the restaurant as well as on the front porch, weather permitting.  The restaurant is situated in the confines of a former two-story home located near the center of Madrid, just east of the fictional Maggie’s Cafe built for the Disney movie Wild Hogs.  Though the restaurant is as homey as possible, its restroom is a porta-potty behind the restaurant by a llama pen–all part of its charm.

Curried Acorn Squash and Orange Soup

Mama Lisa’s eclectic menu is a departure from the mundane. It’s a treat to read the slateboard and a challenge to pick what to order. Everything just sounds so good and you can always be assured of the highest quality of fresh, homemade food possible…just like a mama would make if she could cook nearly as well. As good a cook as my mom is, she never prepared curried acorn squash and orange soup for me, but Mama Lisa has. This is a fabulous, soul-warming soup. Beautiful to look at and absolutely delicious, it melds the surprising combination of acorn squash and orange into an elixir for whatever ails you.

If it’s on the menu, it would be hard to pass up the hummus pita with feta and harissa (a paste of chilies and garlic used to enhance food in North Africa). This Mediterranean inspired entree also includes a fresh assorted greens garden salad and cucumbers (use the harissa as a salad dressing). It’s entirely meatless and absolutely delicious.  While hummus has seemingly become a de rigueur offering at just about every restaurant, very infrequently does it make an impression on me.  Mama Lisa’s rendition does.  It is rich and garlicky, spiced just right.

Green Chile Cheeseburger

During our inaugural visit, we lucked upon the “Schwarzneggar,” an aptly named Sunday special consisting of a three-quarter inch pork chop smothered with rich cream gravy and served with red cabbage imbued with caraway seeds and dried cranberries. Rarely have we had a better pork chop, especially in New Mexico.  An accompanying flax seed bread roll was out-of-the-oven warm and absolutely delicious. Mama Lisa (who rarely seems to venture out of the kitchen) bakes great bread when she finds the time.

Great bread, an airy and hearty housemade ciabatta bun, is the foundation of an excellent green chile cheeseburger.  Lightly toasted, the ciabatta provides a solid foundation to hold all the ingredients for the burger together.  A hand-formed all-beef patty extends beyond the bread on all sides.  It’s a thick beef patty topped with an excellent green chile blanketed by a molten white Cheddar.  The green chile barely registers on my piquancy scale, but rates highly on my roasted green chile flavor meter.  Toppings include julienne carrots, red onions, lettuce, pickles and squash.  The burger is accompanied by a warm potato salad.

The "Sloppy Jose"

The "Sloppy Jose"

A barbecue brisket sandwich with chipotle barbecue sauce is nearly as good as the green chile cheeseburger. The brisket is as tender as a bird’s heart and so scrumptious, no sauce is required (although the chipotle barbecue sauce is dynamite).   The brisket is thinly sliced with a faint smokiness and no discernible fat or gristle.  The chipotle barbecue sauce combines the best aspects of barbecue and chipotle, meaning a nice degree of heat and flavor.  This sandwich may have been served on a paper plate (thankfully with real silverware) but it was of three star quality.

The theme of “good food that’s good for you” applies seemingly to all sandwiches on the menu. Mama Lisa’s “Sloppy Jose,” for example, is made with organic ground beef and is served with dill pickles, a fresh tomato slice and mixed greens all on a ciabatta roll (a specialty of the house). The spicy ground beef practically oozes out of the buns as you squeeze them into your hands. Sandwich plates may include Kettle potato chips which are all natural, extra crispy and delicious–a perfect sandwich accompaniment

Enchilada Heaven

Enchilada Heaven

At most restaurants, especially in New Mexico, calling an entree “Enchilada Heaven” might be an audacious claim, but Mama Lisa’s interpretation of this quintessential New Mexican dish lives up to its name. The three ingredients which make this entree special are pork carnitas (adovada style and unbelievably tender), cremini (a small Portobello) mushrooms and a deeply rich red chile tinged with just a hint of cinnamon and a barely discernable bit of cumin. Perfectly prepared pinto beans and cheese add to the flavor parade.

The parade of surprises at Mama Lisa’s is endless.  You might believe you know what you’re in for if you see penne pasta with meatballs and sausage on the menu, but not so at the hands of a wonderfully inventive chef.  We discerned a real difference in the first taste of the sauce.  Sure the usual suspects–garlic, oregano, etc.–were obviously in the flavor profile, but there was also something deliciously different.  The sauce included a basil-enhanced pesto sauce that provided an enlivening zing that made me want a whole bowl of the sauce.

By the way, the rest of the penne pasta dish is perfectly executed, too.  The pasta is perfectly prepared, neither al dente nor overdone and mushy.  Dollops of melted mozzarella decorate the dish and provide a mellow cheese contrast.  The meatballs, near perfect orbs of seasoned ground beef, are plentiful and excellent.  The sausage, sliced diagonally and buried under the pasta, is fennel-kissed and delicious.  Mama Lisa’s prowess with Italian inspired dishes should be of no surprise considering her international repertoire.

Penne Pasta with Meatballs and Sausage

Beverage selections may include a refreshing Tamarindo Refresco, loosely patterned after a Mexican agua fresca. If you’ve never had tamarind, you’re in for a treat. Tamarind is a fruity, sour, fleshy pulp which Mama Lisa squeezes into a lip puckering cup of deliciousness.  During another visit, the Mexican inspired libation was housemade limeade.  Not too tart, not to sweet, it proved a thirst-quenching beverage on a hot Madrid day.

Mama Lisa’s portions are waist expanding, but no matter how full you might be, you have to save room for dessert. Either that or shop for a couple of hours then come back just for dessert.

Tres Leches cake, one of the best we've had in New Mexico

Tres Leches cake, one of the best we've had in New Mexico

One of her specialties is a red chile chocolate cake. Velvety smooth and moist, it’s a delicious marriage of chocolate and chile. Montezuma and the Aztecs believed this combination possessed aphrodisiac qualities and it turns out, there is a physiological basis for this belief.  As all New Mexicans know, chile is considered an aphrodisiac because of its ability to heighten the pulse rate. Chocolate is imbued with phenyl-ethylamine, a substance that stimulates the same bodily reaction as falling in love.  The bitter-sweetness of chocolate and the smoky heat of the chile form an absolutely delicious combination! It’s made even better with Mama Lisa’s homemade ice cream.

One of the very best homemade ice cream treats we’ve ever experienced is Mama Lisa’s honey flavored ice cream, a dollop of which graced a fabulous “nectarine blue crisp” dessert served warm.  First, the nectarine blue crisp.  It’s a cobbler made with blueberries and nectarine (a fuzz-less relative of the peach) slices.  The blueberry and nectarine combination is a study in how well contrasting flavors can go together.  Now for the honey-vanilla ice cream.  Unlike so many housemade ice creams we’ve sampled, this one has a creamy, velvety texture, but it’s the prominent sweet honey flavor that’s the true foil which makes this dessert memorable.

 

Nectarine Blue Crisp with Housemade Honey Ice Cream

Another outstanding dessert is Mama Lisa’s interpretation of the Mexican favorite tres leches cake. Taking just a bit of liberty, she tops the cake with caramel, homemade ice cream and adds strawberries to the cavalcade of flavors. It’s not quite spongy moist, but the press of each spoonful is made easy thanks to the sweet, delicious three milks combination.

The chocolate walnut strudel is light, flaky, moist and delicious. It is topped with a redolent bitter-sweet chocolate and imbued throughout with walnuts.  It’s one of the few things at Mama Lisa’s you can top.

This is an outstanding restaurant not on everybody’s radar!  If you want to impress friends and family, bring them to Mama Lisa’s and you’ll be hailed a pioneer, maybe a savant.  Please note that because of the frequency with which the menu changes, some (perhaps none) of the items described in this review might be available when you visit.  That would be fine, too, because no matter what’s on the menu is bound to be an adventure in deliciousness.

Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen (aka No Pity Cafe)
2859 Highway 14
Madrid, New Mexico
(505) 471-5769

LATEST VISIT: 18 September 2010
# OF VISITS: 3
RATING: 22
COST: $$
BEST BET: Red Chile Chocolate Cake, Barbecue Brisket, the Schwarzeneggar, Hummus Pita With Feta & Harissa, Enchilada Heaven, Organic Ground Beef Sloppy Jose, Chocolate Walnut Strudel, Tres Leches Cake, Nectarine Blue Crisp, Green Chile Cheeseburger, Penne Pasta with Meatballs and Sausage, Curried Acorn Squash and Orange Soup

Mama Lisa's Ghost Town Kitchen on Urbanspoon

El Camino Family Restaurant – Socorro, New Mexico

El Camino Family Restaurant in Socorro, New Mexico

America’s oldest and longest continuously used “highway,” El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, (Spanish for the Royal Road of the Interior Land) includes a 404 mile stretch that bisects much of the Land of Enchantment  from south to north.  A large portion of that stretch is barren and desolate, one especially treacherous and dry section even designated by the Spanish conquistadores as the Jornada del Muerto, Spanish for “route of the dead man.”  For nearly 400 years–from 1598  (more than two decades before the Mayflower’s storied landing) to 1882–El Camino Real served as both a trade route and as the route taken by settlers and conquerors alike.

For four centuries, thousands of intrepid Spanish and Mexican colonists, conquering warriors and evangelizing Franciscan priests and friars alike traversed the 1,600 mile route from Mexico City as far as San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, many founding and settling villages along the route.  The direct descendants of these bold-spirited pioneers can be found living in those villages and cities today.  Vestiges of the unique culture, language, music, legends and faith founded by their ancestors exist into the 21st century.

El Camino Family Restaurant in Socorro

Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate, who today is both revered and reviled, led the very first expedition of colonists into New Mexico.  Not far from the terminus of the Jornada del Muerto, Oñate’s party was aided by the Piro-speaking people of the Teypana Pueblo.  Oñate named the site Socorro, Spanish for “to give succor” or “to give aid.”  Socorro is today New Mexico’s second oldest inhabited community, a city proudly linked to its storied past and historical traditions while at the cutting edge of 21st century technologies.

For years Socorro has been regarded as a stopping point on the way to somewhere else.  Tourists have long stopped in Socorro to refuel en route to El Bosque del Apache, Magdalena, the Very Large Array (VLA) and other points north, south, east and west of the city.  Socorro has been making a concerted effort to change the perception of Socorro as solely a city on the way elsewhere by showcasing all that is available–for locals and tourists alike–in this city of approximately 9,000 residents.

The capacious interior of El Camino Family Restaurant in Socorro

Leading that charge is the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce which wisely secured the services of my friend Susan Wisdom as their web designer.  Susan has not only made the Chamber’s Web site the online home for all of its members, she has created a valuable resource for all prospective visitors.  A longtime Socorro resident, Susan has the ambassadorial qualities needed by a city aspiring to attract visitors and keep locals informed.  She’s personable, effusive…and she really knows the area’s restaurants.

Perhaps her favorite is the aptly named El Camino Family Restaurant, a true New Mexico culinary classic which opened in the early summer of 1963.  El Camino is a city institution, the perennial  choice for best coffee shop and best breakfast in annual newspaper contests voted on by Socorro residents. It has long been a haven for New Mexico Institute of Technology students who drink pots of  the restaurant’s coffee as they study into the wee hours.  The restaurant is open 24 hours a day and serves breakfast at all hours.

SW Omelet: Cheese, green chili, sausage, and mushroom

Breakfast is what Susan knows best though she’s intimately acquainted with the entire menu, having designed it herself for family friend and restaurant owner Mehrdad Moradi.  It’s a comprehensive menu serving traditional American and Mexican food, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, seafood, appetizers and even an omelet named for Susan.  That omelet is called the “SW Omelet,” which diners assume stands for “Southwest.”  Instead, “SW” stands for Susan’s initials, representing “Susan Wisdom.”  Susan special ordered this omelet so often, the restaurant put it on the menu.

Our inaugural visit to El Camino was at the wee hour of 8AM for the breakfast segment of a “Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner” article for New Mexico Magazine. At that unholy hour, the restaurant’s coffee, an invigorating blend with a fragrant aroma, really hits the spot.  You can smell that coffee and other breakfast dishes as you approach the timeworn, but very clean restaurant.  The signage, a prominent beacon on heavily trafficked California Avenue, is the original sign though an angry hailstorm (hail which grew to three-inches in diameter and struck the ground at speeds approaching 100MPH) destroyed a portion of it (since restored).

Two eggs any style, served with hash browns, grilled ham and three French toasts

The restaurant is bustling with activity in the early morning when the clinking of spoons against ceramic cups is punctuated by an enthusiastic wait staff’s cheerful greetings.  The menu, a six-page compendium of deliciousness, is delivered with your first cup of coffee.  Though I studied the menu at length, there was really only one choice for breakfast–the SW Omelet. The restaurant’s omelets are made with three eggs and are served with hash browns and toast. Cheese can be added to any omelet for a pittance.

The SW Omelet is engorged with sausage, cheese and mushrooms then topped with green chili (sic). It’s no wonder this is my friend Susan’s favorite breakfast entree.   It’s certainly all that eggs are cracked up to be! The SW Omelet is an excellent early morning picker-upper with a green chile that is more flavorful that it is piquant.  Almost resembling a “gravy,” the chile is ladled on generously atop the folded eggs.  Flecks of mushroom, sausage and green chile are seen on that “gravy,” an elixir you’ll want topping everything on your plate.  It’s what’s for breakfast in Socorro.

French toast

If a traditional American breakfast is more your early morning speed or you just want to load up on carbs for a busy day, the #6 has your name written all over it.  This behemoth breakfast features two eggs any style served with hash browns, three French toast and your choice of ham, bacon or sausage.  The slab of ham occupies about half the plate.  It has a sweet, smoky flavor that proves an excellent contrast to the thick, sweet French toast.  The eggs, prepared over easy, are quite good though they would have been even better with the restaurant’s green chile.

Intrepid diners no longer have to contend with the hardships faced by early settlers and explorers traveling the Camino Real and travelers today have several reasons to visit Socorro.  In fact, it’s worth getting there early in the morning so you can have the city’s very best breakfast at El Camino Family Restaurant.

El Camino Family Restaurant
707 California Avenue, NW
Socorro, New Mexico
(575) 835-1180
Web Site
LATEST VISIT: 12 September 2010
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: 19
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: SW Omelet, French Toast

El Camino Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon