NOPALITO RESTAURANT – Las Cruces, New Mexico

Growing up in rural Northern New Mexico, my siblings and I thought all Mexican food was the same–the way my mom, grandmothers and aunts prepared it (which is to say it was outstanding).  At the time New Mexicans hadn’t universally acknowledged that the genesis of our cuisine wasn’t solely Mexico.  Back then, only the most savvy culinary historians were crediting…

ELEMI – El Paso, Texas

My friend Steve Coleman, owner of the well-written and impeccably researched Steve’s Food Blog has become quite a culinary anthropologist.  Not only does he provide his readers with comprehensive reviews of restaurants throughout the fruited plain, he explores the genesis of the foods he writes about.  One of his passions is to define what constitutes El Paso style Mexican cuisine–its…

The Owl Cafe & Bar – San Antonio, New Mexico

25 February 2023: Over the past twelve years, the Owl Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico has been one of the three most frequently launched reviews on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog, ranking behind only Mary & Tito’s and the Buckhorn Tavern as the third most frequently launched review of all time. What accounts for the Owl’s popularity? It truly is a timeless…

Tortilla Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico

A sure sign Spring has arrived In rural New Mexico is the annual ritual of cleaning the acequias, the community operated ditches used to irrigate fields, gardens and lawns. Early in the morning, property owners or their designated paid representatives would convene at appointed spots to begin the effort. Work crews typically consisted of grizzled veterans, most of whom acted…

Blake’s Lotaburger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Blake’s Lotaburger is a New Mexico only institution founded in 1952 by long-time proprietor Blake Chanslor who owned it for half a century before selling it in 2003. While the marquee may still carry Blake’s name, the 76 store franchise with a presence in most of New Mexico’s larger cities and towns (23 in all) is now owned by Brian…

Juniper Coffee & Eatery – Farmington, New Mexico

Before heading off for an overnight stay in Farmington, I scoured the internet for suggestions on where to have breakfast.  My criteria was simple:  preferably a Navajo owned-and-operated eatery; restaurants who spell New Mexico’s official state vegetable “chili” wouldn’t be considered.  Yelp came through on its listing of the ten best restaurants for breakfast in Farmington.  At the very top…