MARY & TITO’S CAFE – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Old-timers whose opinions I respect consistently rate Mary & Tito’s as Albuquerque’s best restaurant for New Mexican food, a restaurant that has been pleasing the most savvy and unindoctrinated palates alike since 1963. It takes a lot to impress some of those old-timers, none of whom see much substance in the flash and panache of the nouveau restaurants and their pristine veneer and effusive, over-the-top flamboyance. These guys and gals are impressed only by New Mexican food the way their…

Lindy’s Diner – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Get your kicks on Route 66” is the mantra of nostalgic motorists who have lobbied for generations to preserve the heritage that is America’s “mother road”, the 2,448 mile highway commissioned in 1926 and decommissioned in 1985 and which traversed eight states between Chicago, Illinois and Santa Monica, California. Though Route 66 generally traces the state’s traditional east-west transportation corridor through the center of the state, its initial route when commissioned in 1926 resembled a giant S-shaped detour. It ran…

Duran’s Central Pharmacy – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In an early episode of the Andy Griffith Show, while contemplating a job offer in South America, Andy tried to assuage his son Opie’s concerns about leaving Mayberry. Instead, he wound up confusing Opie by explaining that people in South America ate something called tortillas. Opie wondered aloud why anyone would eat spiders (tarantulas). Had Opie ever tasted the delicious, piping hot, just off the comal 16-inch buttered orbs at Duran’s Central Pharmacy, it’s unlikely he would ever confuse those…

The Owl Cafe & Bar – San Antonio, New Mexico

7 March 2017: Over the past five years, the Owl Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico has been the most frequently launched review on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog. From January 1st through April 7th, 2017, the review of the Owl has been launched more often than any other review on 37 occasions. It’s been among the top five most frequently launched reviews 95 times (out of 98 days) since January 1st. The Owl review is the third most frequently…

Casa de Benavidez – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

There are restaurants throughout the Duke City that have seemingly always been “there.” They’re as much a part of the fabric of the city as the neighborhoods they serve. Casa de Benavidez is one of those restaurants, a familiar part of the landscape on North Fourth Street, some would say an institution. Despite the notion of permanence, this venerable treasure has, in fact, been around only since 1984–at least under its current name. Before there was a Casa de Benavidez,…

Western View Diner & Steakhouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Since the 1930s, neon signage has been a prominent and vital part of Route 66 as it meanders through Albuquerque. From the foothills of the Sandias in the east to the parched desert expanse of the west, Route 66 is festooned with vibrant neon signage that cuts a luminous swath through the city. The nocturnal spectacle of glowing neon might be the siren’s call that has drawn generations of “cruisers” to Central Avenue. One of Albuquerque’s most prominent neon spangled…

K&I Diner – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In 1960, Albuquerque’s population reached 201,189, more than doubling the city’s tally from the 1950 census. The start of a new decade began an era of expansion, a construction boom in which the burgeoning city began experiencing unprecedented growth. A proliferation of shopping centers was built to serve new neighborhoods. Albuquerque was not yet overrun by horrendous, copycat chain restaurants; family owned and operated mom-and-pop dining establishments–like the K&I Diner–were (and still are) your best bet for a great meal.…

El Pinto – Albuquerque, New Mexico

For almost any other restaurant in New Mexico (or anywhere else for that matter), 2015 would be considered a banner year, an auspicious annum, the type of year for which every restaurateur aspires. For Albuquerque’s El Pinto, however, 2015 could be considered just another year in which praise and recognition–local and national–seem to be heaped on in abundance. It’s probably safe to say El Pinto is the most heralded and acclaimed dining establishment in the Land of Enchantment. Terms such…

Mr. Powdrell’s Barbecue House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

If you believe in forever Where baby backs are never bland If there’s a barbecue heaven Well you know Mr. Pete is lending a hand, hand, hand. Shortly after Arthur Bryant died in 1982, the Kansas City Star published a cartoon depicting St. Peter greeting Arthur at the gates of heaven and asking, “Did you bring sauce?” A quarter of a century later, I can imagine St. Peter asking Pete Powdrell if he brought the secrets to his extraordinarily tender…

The Mine Shaft Tavern – Madrid, New Mexico

“You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. St. Peter, don’t you call me cause I can’t go. I owe my soul to the company store.” Those immortal lyrics, hauntingly performed by crooner Tennessee Ernie Ford describe with a poignant reality, the plight of the American miner even onto the 20th century. By payday, which came at month’s end, miners did indeed owe their souls to the company–for the company house in…

El Comedor De Anayas – Moriarty, New Mexico

For years, one of the Land of Enchantment’s most renowned launching pads for political campaigns and careers has been Moriarty’s El Comedor De Anayas, a venue in which political power brokering has long been transacted over hot coffee and New Mexican food. Anyone and everyone who’s aspired to political office has held court at this venerable institution which translates from Spanish to “Dining Room of the Anayas.” Launched in 1953 (one year before Moriarty was incorporated), El Comedor has long…

La Posta De Mesilla – Mesilla, New Mexico

If only walls could talk, you’d want the adobe brick walls at La Posta (The Inn) to recount their impressions of the veritable “who’s who” of Western history who once sought shelter within its fortified walls.  You’d want those walls to reveal their thoughts of legendary outlaw Billy the Kid who hung out at La Posta on his road to notoriety.  You’d want those walls to tell you about the steely presence of General Douglas MacArthur, who commanded Allied forces…

Bert’s Burger Bowl – Santa Fe, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The tee shirts worn by a nattily attired and enthusiastic wait staff at Bert’s Burger Bowl say it all: “Since 1954: One Location Worldwide.” Celebrating its golden anniversary in 2004, Bert’s seems to transcend time with a winning formula: great burgers, terrific service and reasonable prices. Generations of New Mexicans and visitors have made Bert’s a beloved Santa Fe dining destination.  It is such a beloved local institution that then-Representative Tom Udall entered it into the Congressional Record in September,…

Bobcat Bite – Santa Fe, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Update:  In a twist of cruel irony, the Travel Channel’s May 13th airing of the Burger Land program celebrating the Bobcat Bite debuted just a few days after the announcement that the world-famous Bobcat Bite as we all know and love it will be forever changed.  An official statement from Bobcat Bite, issued on May 9th, announced the restaurant renowned for its outstanding green chile cheeseburger would shutter its doors in June, 2013.  The press release read: After 12 years,…

Restaurante Rancho De Chimayo – Chimayo, New Mexico

The humble Northern New Mexico village of Chimayo has a reputation far and wide as a place in which miracles occur. Because of the healing and restorative nature of those miracles, it has even been called the “Lourdes of America.” During Holy Week of 1813, a devout Penitente named Bernardo Abeyta was performing his penances on a hillside when he looked up and saw a bright light emanating from the ground near the river. Abeyta ran to the spot, knelt…