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Jan 16, 2014 04:56 PM

Santa Fe Burger Update

Tried two new places in the past week that I haven't seen discussed here. The first, Shake Foundation, has been doing a brisk business since it opened a few weeks ago near the intersection of Cerrillos and Paseo de Peralta. It's a riff on the Shake Shack concept and apparently the brainchild of Brian Knox, former chef/owner of Aqua Santa. There's no indoor seating, so you can eat in your car or huddle under a heat lamp (it looks like they're set up for extensive outdoor seating in the warmer months).

I had a basic green chile cheeseburger with shoestring fries and a chocolate shake. The burger was on the small side (about 3.5" in diameter, maybe halfway between a slider and a full size burger), with fairly spicy green chile, an obviously hand formed and flavorful patty, and a soft bun with a hint of sweetness (reminiscent of a potato roll). Shoestring fries are not my favorite rendition of fried potatoes, but these were about as good as the genre gets. My biggest disappointment was the milkshake with Todos Santos chocolate - the shake itself didn't seem very chocolaty, and the chunks of dark chocolate at the bottom plugged up the straw and didn't really integrate with the rest of the shake. Overall I came away a bit nonplussed, but I also never really got worked up over the Shake Shack when I was living in NY so this just may not be my thing.

We also stopped by El Milagro, a hole in the wall across from Plaza Café Southside that boasts of serving some of Santa Fe's best burgers, and they did a pretty good job of backing up that claim. Burgers are cooked to order, and they hit our rare and medium rare orders pretty much spot on. Green chile was plentiful and hot, and the onion rings were decent (the fries less so). The buns kind of disintegrated toward the end due to the juiciness of the burgers, but that's kind of a tough thing to complain about. A very pleasant surprise overall.

Since I've been a white knight for Santa Fe Bite in previous posts here, I should also add that I'm having a difficult time getting their burgers cooked to what I consider a proper degree of rareness. At the old location their success rate was better than 9 out of 10. So far at Santa Fe Bite I'm 2 for 5. I'm sure this is just a function of the increased volume and probably somewhat inevitable, but it has lessened the appeal of the place for me.

Enough about burgers, already!

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  1. Rcurtism, are any of the burgers grass fed that you know of? We have friends who know the owner of Shake Foundation and they told us at Christmas time that he had everything but shake-making equipment. Do you think that accounts for your less-than-perfect shake? Maybe they are trying to make do without one until they get one? (Why would that be a big deal, anyway?).

    We are always looking for a good grass fed burger in SF other than Joe's and Rio Chama.

    7 Replies
    1. re: sandiasingh

      Shake Foundation did have a sign posted that described the sourcing of their beef, but I don't recall the details. I strongly suspect it is from New Mexico and wouldn't be at all surprised if it is grass fed. El Milagro was definitely more of a Sysco type place.

      I think the shake program is up and running at Shake Foundation. Next time I will probably just order a straight chocolate shake with Taos Cow ice cream (minus the chocolate chunks) and see how they do with that.

      As a side note, Plaza Café Southside claims to serve grass fed beef on their menu and based on recent visits to both places I would rank them a few cuts above Rio Chama (I've only been to Joe's once so really can't comment).

      1. re: rcurtism

        Good to know. We haven't been to Plaza Cafe South yet.

        On another note, have you tried Duel Brewery over in the Siler/Rufina neighborhood? I've heard good things about it but haven't been there yet either.


      2. re: sandiasingh

        SS, I have so many problems when I eat hormone-added and grain-fed animal products that I've started keeping a list t of restaurants in NM that serve grass-fed and pastured meats and eggs. I haven't been to most of them, but here's my Santa Fe grass-fed burger list so far (excluding the places you and rcurtism already mentioned):

        Del Charro
        Caffe Greco
        Atrisco Cafe
        Museum Hill Cafe
        Zia Diner
        Terra @ The Encantado Resort

        I think some of the burgers at Tune-Up Cafe might be grass-fed, too. At the very least, they have a Talus Wind lamb burger and I'm pretty sure all that ranch's meat is grass-fed.

        Most NM restaurants advertising locally-sourced beef are serving grain-fed NM and Colorado beef.

        1. re: ninrn

          That is so helpful, ninrm. Thank you! It has been years since we've eaten industrial meat that on a rare occasion when we accidentally do, we get sick. We buy all of our grass fed meats from Kretsinger's from the San Juan Mountain area in Southern Colorado. They come thru town about once a month with orders. It is wonderful meat and they are dedicated organic farmers.

          I had no idea Cowgirl had grass fed burgers! I haven't been there for at least 15 years because I recall their food was so bad (and I wasn't even picky then). We will definitely check out these places and if I hear of any more, will let you know.

          I'm not sure if the Indigo Crow serves grass fed (I think so) but in ABQ I think our choices are much fewer. Flying Star probably (which I don't care for) and maybe Chama River Brewpub?

          Thanks again.

          1. re: ninrn

            Add 5 Star Burgers to your list (Taos & Albuquerque as well as Santa Fe). Their beef is from Harris Ranch in Fresno, CA and is VERY good.

            The Jer

            1. re: TheJer

              Thanks, TheJer. I like 5 Star in Abq (I didn't know there was one in Santa Fe) but, although their burgers are hormone and antibiotic-free, they are not grass-fed beef. I think the best GF in Abq right now may be B2B Bistronomy in Nob Hill. I've heard Holy Cow is good, too, but can't get past how offensive the name is (yet).

              1. re: ninrn

                Thank you guys for the reportage :-)