Dinner at Mary and Tito’s (Albuquerque, NM)


After a day at the balloon fiesta, we were ready for dinner. Close to our hotel was the legendary Mary and Tito’s, purveyor of what many foodies regard as one of the best places to have New Mexican food and a 2010 winner of the James Beard “America’s Classic” award. The accolades don’t stop there as food critics throughout New Mexico have showered heaps of praise.

I ordered the carne adovada, one of M & T’s signature dishes. It was extremely good (☆☆☆½), tender and flavorful chunks of pork, served Christmas-style. Both red and green chile sauces were excellent. There is something unique about the red sauce, spicy and full of chile flavor and glowing an almost unnatural red.

Carne adovada plate

Carne adovada plate

My wife’s chicken flautas were also real good (☆☆☆). Both were served with rice and refried beans. The beans were lardy, the only way to make them.

Chicken flautas plate

Chicken flautas plate

The corn tortillas we’ve had in the SW are slightly thinner than what we get in the NW, which also makes everyone’s tortilla chips lighter. Throughout our trip, we’ve noticed that rice seems to be an afterthought. Some of them have been mushy, M & T’s a little undercooked.

Mary & Tito’s Cafe
2711 4th Street, NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
505.344.6266
 
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Léona’s Restaurante (Chimayo, NM)


Carne adovada burrito

Leona’s was a little gem in Chimayo, across the walkway from the Santuario. Since 1977, Leona Medina-Tiede has been serving delicious snack foods, primarily burritos and tamales. I ordered the carne adovada burrito, very different from the adovada I had at El Bruno’s. This was a wonderful adovada, more tender than Bruno’s, more garlicky, shredded and salty, and lightly combined with red chile sauce. Her red chile sauce, also served on the side, was pure, unadorned chile powder and water, with a hint of natural sweetness. We purchased a jar of the green chile sauce, it was so good.

Chicken burrito

Green and red chile sauces

At checkout, for later eating, we purchased biscochitos (anise-flavored cookies) and a tub of real chicharrones, not the “chips” that are sold in cellophane packages in supermarkets.

Chicharrones

Unfortunately, as of October 16, the restaurant portion will be closed when Leona retires from the cooking business. But the shop will continue selling gift items.

Update: The restaurant, after being closed for a few years, has re-opened. Unfortunately, Leona is no longer with us, but her legacy continues through Leona’s eldest daughter and her family.

Leona’s (Restaurant now closed, gift shop still open)
17 Santuario Drive
Chimayo, NM 87522
(505) 351-4569

Lunch at El Bruno’s (Cuba, NM)


Carne adovada plate

Carne adovada plate

Having just left Chaco, where the night before all we had to eat was freeze-dried food and this morning, coffee and nut bars, we were ready for some real food. Luckily for us, one of the legendary restaurants in New Mexico happened to be in Cuba, less than 2 hours away, and on the way to our next destination, Taos.

Cuba is a small town at the intersection of Hwys 126 and 550. El Bruno’s is almost at that junction. It has steadily gained quite a reputation for serving some of the best Mexican/Southwestern food in all of New Mexico. Success has been such that a branch has opened in Albuquerque, which no doubt pleases the restaurant’s fans who live there.

One of the most admired dishes at El Bruno is the carne adovada. I ordered it for lunch and it was great, just great (☆☆☆☆). Not only did it have a deep taste of dried red chiles but it also had the tang of lime juice. It was the first adovada on our trip. The Mexican rice was not as impressive, being on the mushy side.

Sopaipilla stuffed with beef and vegies

Sopaipilla stuffed with beef and vegies

A cold Modelo Especial in a salt-rimmed glass really hit the spot. The salsa (☆☆☆☆) served with the chips was extraordinary. It was thick, tomatoey and spicy, had great chile flavor. It was so good I purchased a jar of it on the way out.

Chips and salsa (and what a salsa!)

Chips and salsa (and what a salsa!)

El Bruno is a great restaurant in a small town. Outside seating has a lot of atmosphere and should be the dining spot of choice.

El Bruno
6453 Highway 550 Main St.
Cuba, NM 87013
575.289.9429
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