Monday, March 16, 2009

Cheeseburger in Paradise, if paradise happens to be San Antonio, NM

Cheeseburger in paradise
Medium rare with mustard 'be nice
Heaven on earth with an onion slice
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise

~ Jimmy Buffett

I had some business to attend to south of here last week and used the opportunity to cross off one of the things on my bucket list: eat a green chile cheeseburger in paradise. Paradise in this case is San Antonio, New Mexico, population 700 or thereabouts.

This is the first building that greets you on the way in to town.


It's one of about a dozen buildings on the main drag. Somehow, someway, the planets have aligned and San Antonio has two of the highest-rated restaurants in the whole country for green chile cheeseburgers. Go figure.

The Owl Bar & Café's burger has been rated as one of the top ten in America by epicurious.com.



The Buckhorn Tavern's burger was named seventh-best in America by GQ magazine.



I opted for the Owl Café this trip, and you know what? It was the best darned green chile cheeseburger I've ever had.

Then I walked across the parking lot to the San Antonio General Store and Gas Station for dessert. I'd heard a rumor about their fudge. Sure enough, in a display case at the cash register, right under the Slim Jims and a stack of yesterday's newspapers, were at least 10 pans of fresh homemade fudge – Peanut Butter Chocolate, Rocky Road, Orange Cream, Amaretto... – sold by the pound. Some of the Peanut Butter Chocolate made its way home with me to serve as dessert to my weekend guests, and it was unequivocally the best fudge I've ever had.


This town and its culinary delights are one big mystery to me. It's like something molecular happened to the local cows so that they could provide the best beef for the burgers and the best cream for the fudge.


Did I mention that the road out of town leads to the Trinity Site?

22 comments:

  1. Fun!
    Must be something in the water.

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  2. The green chile cheeseburger "just because" is a great treat. The Owl's green chile cheeseburger after a winter sunrise photo shoot at the Bosques del Apache National Wildlife Refuge is "essential to survival". San Antonio is unique!

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  3. Wow, you just never know what you'll find in those quaint little roadside towns. I've never even heard of a green chile cheeseburger, but I'd be willing to give it a try - sounds good.
    So, I think it would be a blast to reminisce about Ray's colt classes. Ladde was 3 years and 4 months old when I started him in Seneca, Oregon (a real hole-in-the-wall kind of town), but beautiful in the mountainous setting. It was 1999 and was a surprise from my husband. A friend and I were planning to go for the weekend and watch only. A few days before we were set to leave, he informed me that I was registered and paid to ride. WHAT!!?? I had heard a little about what Ray's colt classes were like and wasn't sure I was up for the challenge. I was also hugely intimidated by Ladde's size - he was already a solid 17 hands high and was a lot of horse to handle. I had raised him from birth and wasn't sure I had enough confidence in myself to start this big, energetic young colt. But, I went and like you, lived to tell the tale!! I ended up with heat stroke on the last day, but finished and still count it as one of my greatest accomplishments. The first day I got a compliment from Ray while idly doing groundwork with Ladde while Ray was talking to us...all he said was, "Appy's looking real good" and he smiled. I still to this day remember how very, very good I felt at having received a compliment from my idol!! Later on, of course there were plenty of times where I was being yelled at to "get appy turned around!!", but every time, I knew in my own mind that I needed to get turned around to get my horse back down to earth, so I appreciated the comments. Just wish they weren't over the loudspeaker. Just saddling and unsaddling this huge colt was so much harder for me than for the other riders, they all had squat little QH types and couldn't relate (I'm 5'3"), and mounting was a big accomplishment. Ladde also decided he needed his own harem out of the other horses, so he picked this little paint mare and Ray's grandson's little mare for his. This caused some problems because it was very difficult to be seperated from either of these horses for one-on-one stuff, so when Ray was ready with his flag to work the paint mare, my horse placed himself between Ray on his horse and the paint mare and kicked Ray's horse!!! OMG!! I just remember grabbing the horn because I knew we were in deep shit for sure!! Ray slapped Ladde right on the forehead with his flag, which sent us galloping full tilt to the other end of the arena with Ray (again over the loudspeaker yelling at me), "don't teach that horse you can fall off!!" Ladde was smart enough to accept his punishment with grace and thankfulness to remain at the opposite end of the arena until it was our turn. Sheesh!! I just remember being both terrified and exhilerated at the same time for most of the 4 days. Wonderful memories!!! I've ridden with Ray 3 times total, once again with Ladde and once with my other boy, Harley. I went to 1 clinic as an auditor and saw Tom Dorrance once. I just wish I could have done it all at least one more time. Each time I learned so very much and had a blast. Maybe if I can get some of those photos scanned, I'll do a post sometime soon.
    Sorry this is so very long, but I could go on and on...
    tell me some more about your experience.

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  4. What a hoot that those two places are named 'the best', and you got to go there and enjoy. The flavors of fudge sounded so yummy, but peanut butter chocolate would be my choice.

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  5. Ah, San Antonio...I miss you so!

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  6. Never had one of those cheeseburgers, would probably give me heartburn. But sounds like it might be worth the risk.

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  7. I'm not a burger fan, so I'll take your word for it.

    Am I missing something or is the sign at the Trinity Site hilarious...no cosmetics? What's that about? I think I'll skip that portion of the New Mexico tour...

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  8. Maam, you have awakened in me a memory from the wayback. A green chile cheeseburger (& beer?) at the Owl put hair on the chest of many an Aggie en route. Around the corner near the tracks is a great little antique/junk store with rusty railroad memorabilia, cooking implements, etc. Thanks for the pleasant reminder. I don't think you could have picked a better part of the country to live.

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  9. C-ingspots, thanks for your memories. I can just hear Ray saying all those things. I'll be back over at your place with mine.

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  10. I am certainly going to be making burgers for dinner now. I'll figure out the green chili part. Yum.

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  11. It's fun going to town with you, Linda !

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  12. Obviously a very happenin' place, despite that first view coming in! And I LOVE that they have a sign that says voted #7!! Very cool, thanks for showing us around.

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  13. Can you describe a green chili cheeseburger for us?

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  14. Pat, I believe Webster defines a green chile cheeseburger as "heaven on a bun."

    Seriously, it's just a cheeseburger topped with roasted green chiles, the best of which are indigenous to Hatch, New Mexico. The hotter, the better.

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  15. Fun trip...wish I could have joined you for lunch!! I've never had a green chile burger...gotta have one now!!

    That Trinity Site sign was funny...then after I started thinking about it, it's really pretty spooky!

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  16. What a great trip, thanks for taking us along with you. That fudge sounds awesome. The sign at the Trinity Site is just plain scary!!

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  17. Sounds yummy, we have a San Antonio in Texas with great Mexican food

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  18. I am sitting here drooling here at the moment! Heaven on earth I'm sure!!! =P

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  19. Hi 7msn ranch
    Thank you very much for your very nice article on San Antonio, New Mexico.
    I appreciate your kind words about our fudge at the General Store.
    "The fudge Maker" Anne.

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  20. I just found your site and love it! So I am a little behind browsing through your posts! If you liked the burger at the Owl, make sure you try one at the Outpost in Carrizozo sometime.

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  21. P.S. You might enjoy this link.

    http://www.newmexico.org/greenchilecheeseburger/

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