Bob’s Burgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Bob.” Advertisers (as well as television and movie producers) realize there probably isn’t a better example of an “every man” name, typically portraying Bob as the average wage-earning man about town. Few would argue that Bob, a diminutive of Robert, isn’t a very vanilla and common name. In fact, according to Social Security Administration data it was the fourth most common name in the United States with 9.5 instances per 1,000 people as of 2013. Despite that popularity, advertisers seem…

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…

Monte Carlo Steakhouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter That looks like Elvis.” ~George Jones Having spent much of his career in an inebriated state, Country music icon George Jones actually lived the life experiences that inspired much of his music. After one of his four divorces, Jones sat alone in a rather empty home, his ex-wife having absconded with almost everything–furniture, china, glassware and more. Among the few items left behind were a small table, a Jim…

Laguna Burger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

19 June 2016: Fathers may get the short end of the stick when it comes to cards (card companies sell 133 million Mother’s Day cards annually, 40 million more than for Father’s Day), but when it comes to the annual Father’s Day dining ritual, dad’s make up for it. That’s how it seemed when I walked into Laguna Burger and found the little restaurant overflowing with families feting their fathers. What a great choice! In each of the last two…

The Owl Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Shortly before 6AM. on July 16, 1945, some of the world’s most brilliant minds ushered in the nuclear age with the detonation of the first atomic bomb, an occasion which later prompted Los Alamos Laboratory head J. Robert Oppenheimer to declare “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” The transformative event occurred in a dry, desolate locale approximately 35 miles from bucolic San Antonio, New Mexico, the gateway to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. The scientists…

El Bruno’s Restaurante Y Cantina – Albuquerque, New Mexico

At about 75 miles each way, Cuba, New Mexico is almost equidistant between Albuquerque and Farmington. Regardless of starting point, the drive to and from Cuba is one of the Land of Enchantment’s most spectacular. A preponderance of scenic vistas and an otherworldly, multi-hued topography make the drive a sightseer’s delight. The stratification of multi-hued earthen layers, will remind you of colorful Navajo sand paintings while hulking hoodoos (columns or pillars of bizarre shape caused by differential erosion on rocks…

Lucky Boy – Albuquerque, New Mexican

During its seventh season, the X Files television series in which FBI agents investigated paranormal phenomena featured an episode in which a ravenous Lucky Boy employee in California struggled against his craving for human brain matter (almost anything goes in the Golden state). The most paranormal thing about the Duke City Lucky Boy is its “east meets west” dining concept. Nowhere else in town can you order Chinese and American food so inexpensively and from the very same menu. If…

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…

Stray Dog Cantina – Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico

There’s a rather ominous sign on the base of the Taos Ski Valley. In bold red uppercase print, the sign reads “DON’T PANIC!,” a preface for somewhat more reassuring text: “YOU’RE LOOKING AT ONLY 1/30 OF TAOS SKI VALLEY. WE HAVE MANY EASY RUNS TOO!” To novice skiers, the steepness of the ski runs visible from the base may as well be the “I’d turn back if I were you” sign Dorothy and her friends encountered when they entered the…

Magdalena Cafe – Magdalena, New Mexico

In 1863 during the height of the Civil War, soldiers on leave from Fort Craig staked claims to silver strikes in the Magdalena Mountains. Within a few years, the boom towns of Kelly and Magdalena had sprung up, eventually achieving a population surpassing even Socorro, the county seat. The first veins of metal ore given up by the rocky promontories were lead and zinc, but ultimately silver became the principal source of wealth. With the arrival of the railroad in…

Bibo Bar & Grille – Bibo, New Mexico

There’s an old Lebanese proverb that says, “some men build a wine cellar after only finding one grape.” That proverb aptly describes the many rags to riches success stories among Lebanese immigrants to the Land of Enchantment, primarily to our state’s northern villages. Some of New Mexico’s most prominent names in business–Maloof, Bellamah, Hanosh, Ghattas, Sahd and others–embody the spirit of that proverb. The progenitors of many of New Mexico’s Lebanese immigrants left Lebanon during the repressive Ottoman Empire, the…

Five Star Burgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico

On Friday, March 19th, 2010 and to surprisingly little fanfare, a locally owned and operated burger restaurant by the name of Five Star Burgers launched in Albuquerque’s North Towne Plaza at Academy and Wyoming. Its opening predated by about a week, the launch of a similarly named burger establishment, an east coast based interloper named Five Guys which has exploded across the country with nearly 600 locations in 39 states. The latter opening was greeted with ruffles and flourishes, pomp…

Badlands Burgers & Tortas – Grants, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Out through the back door of Rosa’s I ran, Out where the horses were tied. I caught a good one. It looked like it could run. Up on its back and away I did ride, Just as fast as I could from the West Texas town of El Paso Out to the badlands of New Mexico. ~El Paso by Marty Robbins From the Texas cowboy immortalized in the Marty Robbins ballad to Walter White, Albuquerque’s favorite meth maker, through time…

Lumpy’s Burgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Of all the adjectives that can be used to describe something or someone, lumpy is certainly not one of the most complimentary.  Think of all the Archie Bunker-like tantrums thrown during holiday meals when lumpy mashed potatoes are served or the breakfast battles that ensue when the oatmeal is lumpy. In fits of pique, seven-time Academy Award nominated actor Richard Burton often called his voluptuous wife Elizabeth Taylor “lumpy,” perhaps one of the reasons Hollywood’s most volatile couple was twice…

La Plazuela at La Fonda – Santa Fe, New Mexico

History and Hollywood have glamorized the Colt 45 revolver as the “gun that tamed the West.” Known as the “Peacemaker,” the .45 caliber pistol was used by all the famous lawmen and cowboy heroes of the old West. Wyatt Earp used the Colt 45. So did Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill Cody. It was often the deciding factor in the unrelenting battle of good and evil, the means by which law and order were established in a frontier in…