Chowdown Report: Mary and Tito’s in Albuquerque
During my March visit, I had the pleasure of meeting two local ‘hounds for a chowdown lunch at Mary & Tito’s, a James Beard-awarded American classic, in Albuquerque, NM. On the my home board, San Francisco Bay Area, we have a rule that requires a report back on chowdowns. Hopefully the period of time approaches the year-long dispensation for wedding gifts and similar obligations of etiquette, and I’m not too late by posting before year’s end.
Façade for Mary & Tito's, http://www.flickr.com/photos/melaniewong/4487995182/
The specific details of our repast have faded, but the overall impression and delight at savoring the local cuisine with two able guides still burns bright in my memory. I enjoyed the company and food mightily, and my appreciation grew even more after experiencing three more meals of Southwest/New Mexican cooking during my trip. None of them came close to the quality found at Mary & Tito’s. Such a deft hand at frying, clean and bright flavors, and juicy well-seasoned carne adovada, what a welcome back to New Mexico’s red and green chile after a 10-year drought.
As a chilihead who purchases Hatch peppers each season to roast and pack away in the freezer for a rainy day, I had expected to have a strong preference for green. But no, the fantastic, thick and richly flavored red chile powered through to earn an equal spot in my affections. I really couldn’t choose between them and was glad that I didn’t have to. I bought a pound ($5) of the red chile powder to take home with me.
Here are the snapshots of our meal. Makes me long for chile just looking at them.
Chowdown lunch spread with Ben “finlero” and Mollie at Mary & Tito's. Enchilada plate, stuffed sopaipilla plate, huevos ranchero plate (thursday special), and a chile relleno as a side.
Carne adovada stuffed sopaipilla, "Christmas" chile (half red, half green)
Side order of chile relleno with green chile sauce.
All my photos from ABQ, March 2010 (click “slideshow” and select “info” to see captions)
Thanks again for your advice. Happy new year!
Mary's & Tito's Cafe
2711 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107
Well, the write-up was a little belated, I guess it's fitting that my reply should be even more belated.
Totally agree, this was some of the best NM cooking I've encountered. Even my DW, an ABQ girl, was thoroughly pleased with the whole meal.
Most chile houses sling out better red or better green, but I thought M&T's did a remarkably great job with both. Ironically, considering green chile is NM's de facto signature ingredient, I feel like green is the less common one to get right; the thing I liked about M&T's green was how much actual chile was in it, basically a big pile of green chile dressed with a light sauce. And I also absolutely agree that the frying technique was out of this world. That was without a doubt the best chile relleno I've ever had. I just wish they were open a little later...
Was cool getting to hang out with you. I hope you'll make it back to our fair state; look us up if you do!
Thanks. Sadly, no. With the high winds, snow, rain, and hail of the past couple years during the March dates, I did expect Pork & Brew to change the dates. But it has been moved to July 2, and that's not a good time for me to be in NM. If it had been in April or May, I would have absolutely returned. The competitors at this contest are bbq'ing at a high standard.