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Roadtrip through New Mexico

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hey all,
my gf and i are trekking across the country searching for the best food. we'll be driving through new mexico from phoenix to stop in Albuquerque for a day. What would you recommend as the best food to experience new mexico cuisine.

we are willing to spend a couple extra bucks an AMAZING meal, but we are simply looking for the greatest FOOD. it could be in a gas station. or a strip mall. or just on the side of the road from phoenix to ABQ....i guess we are looking for everyones "final meal" in new mexico. (sorry to make it morbid :)

we are going to post a similar thread in each of the other cities we are going to, and will make a google map with the results (and share it with everyone)....and then come back to write about the experiences.

fyi, here are the other cities: phoenix, denver, kansas city, st louis, louisville, columbus, philadelphia, nyc.

thanks!!

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  1. IMO, nothing on the high end is especially revelatory in ABQ (not saying it's bad, just saying I don't think that's your sweet spot).

    NM-style cuisine is probably the way to go. Mary & Tito's, Padilla's, & Barela's are all pretty canonical. El Pinto isn't on par with these, but the location is beautiful, a perfect place to enjoy a dinner outdoors.

    I also think the NY-style pizza at Giovanni's is great, best topped with NM's signature ingredient, green chile.

    Ezra's Place is randomly located in a semi-grungy bowling alley, but they dish out some remarkably good upscale New American food, which makes it feel exceedingly "chowish".

    Two other quick notes: (1) the traffic on this board is pretty light, but this question has been asked a bunch of times over the years, you'll get a lot more ideas if you do a board search, and (2) please write back and let us know what worked for you and what didn't!

    2 Replies
    1. re: finlero

      ya, we arent looking for revelatory food, really just great regional food. so, where is the best green chile? we are willing to drive up to 2 hours off our path to get it....
      we'll probably skip the pizza since we end our trip in new york :)
      ill post back what our experience is like.

      1. re: avidan

        Green chile is like a religion here, so you'll get vehemently differing views. I personally love Mary & Tito's, as their green is basically just a huge pile of diced green chile. Other places make it much more "saucy", but I like M&T's purer take.

        Agree with DebitNM below that Frontier is worth experiencing. The fresh homemade tortillas are killer.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Will this be lunch or dinner and what day of the week? Yes, it matters as some places are actually closed on Sundays here.

        3 Replies
        1. re: DebitNM

          lunch and dinner on a thursday.

          1. re: avidan

            Lunch - Frontier. It may not be the absolute best, but it is quintessential NM at it's best. THE best tortilla, made fresh, all day long.

            http://frontierrestaurant.com/

            Hit Santa Fe for dinner. Lots of suggestions on here, do a search.

            1. re: DebitNM

              Frontier is a great suggestion. If you dine there - focus on the green chile stew, cinnamon rolls, and tortillas - not necessarily in that order.

        2. Mary & Tito's is great, but since you're willing to go out of your way, I think Santa Fe has better classic NM food than Albuquerque. Maybe try The Shed or La Choza? Finlero probably has better recommendations.

          1. Since you are dining out for two meals, may I recommend an alternative to NM cuisine? Budai is a Taiwanese restaurant that is absolutely fantastic. If you try it, make sure you ask for the special menu which doesn't always come out. It is well worth a third meal, if that's possible.