Little Red Hamburger Hut – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Published on: July 25, 2010

My girlfriend and I often have a difficult time figuring out what we want to eat on the weekends, one of the reasons I created this site.  This weekend was no different, so I looked to my good friend, Nexus One.  There is an app called Urbanspoon, you shake the phone, it gives you a random selection.  Saturday’s random selection is the Little Red Hamburger Hut.  Having had burgers the day before, we weren’t really interested, but “for the sake of the site”, I said.

Front

It’s off the beaten path, so to speak.  Act as if you were going to head down to the Melting Pot and then drive right on past.  The parking lot is next door, not paved and gives you the impending impression that this may not be the place you want to take a date on prom night.  Door

Let me help you out with the small amount of confusion as to which door to head through.  On the left,  is a Salon.  It’s not something I expected as the entire building appears to be full of nothing but this little burger joint, I was wrong.  On the right side is a very colorfully painted door, with a giant pepper and the name “Little Reds.”  Perhaps the name of the place would be a better description, but at least now you know.  The building has been there a while, you can tell, but the place I believe is fairly new, only having been there a few years.

Having never been there before, I’m very interested in their menu, burgers, taco burgers, tortilla burgers, “Little Reds,” Fries, Frito Pie and that’s about it.  If you aren’t a fan of the hamburger, then walk away.  A small burger will give you what seems to be basically a slider at 1/8 lbs, med at 1/4 and a large at 1/2.  I go for the medium as I want to try the Frito Pie too.

The person that took my order, seemed to be someone who had a vested interested in the place, likely the owner.  He apologized as he explained a busy week left them with no fountain drinks.  He made up for it by a fresh supply of canned ones, all you can drink, very nice man.  Signs on the menu and the wall free state, “Satisfaction Guaranteed!!!” I’m not entirely sure what exactly they mean by that, but they certainly do seem willing to please.  Chile and cheese are free on the burger, so feel free to load up.

Here is the food:Burger

Looks good doesn’t it?  Well let me tell you, it was VERY good.  A simple burger, cooked extremely well.  The meat was full of flavor, though the American cheese is not my favorite, it did not detract from the burger at all.  Slightly salty, very meaty, slightly crispy toasted bun, but soft.  All around an amazing burger.  Sadly they were out of green chile that day, “2nd time in 3 and a half years” the man P1010761says, which goes along with the comment from earlier, “we’ve had a busy week.”  Instead of green chile, I got red, which I didn’t eat on my burger as I have Frito Pie!.   Fresh toppings, the Frito’s are the real deal, I was assured and they were also nice and crispy.

Let me take a moment to talk about their red sauce.  I’m very particular about my red chile.  I’ve had Frito Pie with Red Chile before (not Texas chile) and it’s awesome.  This, I have to admit, I wasn’t not a huge fan.  The chile was hot, not overly so, but a good kick in the mouth.  It seemed to be lacking something, which I would highly lean toward garlic.  It had a slight sweetness to it, which caught me off guard, but in a good way.  The other thing, it has ground beef in it.  Not a lot, just a few specks here and there.  Just enough for you to think maybe was an accident, but it’s there for a reason, they said so before I even ordered it.

Last, but not least, the fries.  Fries are not an easy thing to get right.  I’ve tried to make them several times at home and I simply cannot do it.  This is the reason most places buy fries pre-cut and par-cooked in a plastic lined paper sack, frozen and shipped across the country.  I cannot make any Wimpypromises here as I didn’t get an invite into the kitchen, but these fries seem to be the real deal.  If not, I want to find out where they get them because they are certainly some of the best fries I’ve ever had.  Super crispy on the outside, hot, soft and oh so fluffy on the inside.  Lightly salted, I could easily eat a basket or 12 of these.

One last little comment here before I wrap things up.  The sign outside calls this place a Wimpy’s.  I’m not sure what their association with Wimpy is, as they have a wonderful painting of the Patron St of the Hamburger on their wall.  If this was the burger the little chubby man with the funny hat ate, when he asked for a burger, I can certainly understand his obsession.  This place, however, does not appear to have any association with the ACTUAL Wimpy Burger of UK fame, or anywhere else for that matter.  This is a one of a kind and unique burger place hidden on the back streets of downtown Albuquerque.

It’s been a while since I’ve had a burger and fries this good.  The patty is not pre-formed, it’s smashed right onto the grill, the way they used to do it.  The food comes out hot and fresh and in exactly the right proportions.  With basically one thing on the menu, they HAVE to do it right, and do it right they do.  It’s out of the way, but worth the short trek to get there.  Stop by the museum on your way and get in some culture to feed your soul because this burger will fill your stomach and please your taste buds.

Little Red Hamburger Hut on Urbanspoon

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El Pinto – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
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Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: May 1, 2010

El PintoThe other nights asthma inducing windstorm reminded me of a night a couple of weeks ago.  My girlfriend’s mother had come to town and it has become a tradition.  She invites my parents out to dinner and where do we go?  El Pinto.   It’s not that she is a big fan of Mexican food as she is from Montana, a place not really thought about when you think of good Mexican food.  And before you start yelling at me stating El Pinto isn’t Mexican food, it’s NEW Mexican food, for the sake of having a few less words to write, I will just leave it as Mexican food and you can make the change in your head.  Deal?  Ok.

It had been a gorgeous day, though it was supposed to be a big ball a crap.  We were very lucky having gone to the zoo earlier that day, but the weather loomed on the horizon.  On to the food. 

Picking a favorite Mexican food place is like picking your favorite team.  When it comes down to it, they are all basically the same, a few variations here and there, and sometimes, even when you know they are crap, you still support them and are your favorite.  On the flip side, they can be really really good, but just something about them rubs you raw, you just don’t like them. 

ChipsandsalsaEl Pinto is what I think of when I think of Mexican food.  The atmosphere is fantastic, the place is  enormous and the food is generally quite good.  They make some of my favorite Salsa, though the stuff you buy at the store in the jar isn’t quite as good as the stuff at El Pinto.  It’s nice and hot without being mind blowing (though that can be debated if you talk to my girlfriend’s mother, or my girlfriend, but take that as you will, they are from Montana and aren’t such the huge fans of hot).  I’ve had hotter salsa before, but that’s not what this is about.  This is about the flavor.  And it’s free, and they refill the basket too, a fact that most Mexican food places leave out, first one is free, then you have to pay?  Not here, if you can eat it, they will bring it.  Oh yeah, and the chips are homemade too.  Crispy, fresh, hot, it’s a good way to start the meal.  Just make sure you save a little bit of salsa for the tacos, assuming you get tacos.  They also have quesadillas, and burgers, both of which would benefit from a nice scoop of the red stuff.

Speaking of Red stuff, I always order the #2, red and hot.  Oh, THAT’s descriptive, mmm…that sounds good, let’s all get a number 2 (sarcasm at myself).  Tamale, cheese enchilada and 2 rolled tacos.  Not being such a big fan of beans, I get the papitas…potatoes for you and me.  Dinnerplate

I usually order a side of Red chile as I smother my whole plate, but since my girlfriend always gets her’s on the side, even though it’s mild, I’ll just use that.  Start with the papitas, soft inside, crispy outside, cooked with onions and peppers, dipped in a little of the red chile, now these are a good way to start  a meal.  The tacos, dipped in what is left of the salsa are super crispy and hot, covered in melty and slightly crispy cheese, they come in chicken and beef (though I always get beef, they are flavorful cigars of taconess.  Tamales aren’t typically covered in red chile, but mine are.  A soft masa, also covered in cheese, though I think it’s just because they were a bit judicious on my tacos.  The spicy pork inside is shredded and tender and I think a great ration between meet and masa.  I’m a huge fan of cheese enchiladas.  You can get a little extra heat from the sauce and still have it cooled off a little by the cheese.  The flavor is intense, garlicy and as much flavor as spice.

Let’s talk about the heat for a second.  Now this is all very subjective, what one person finds about as spicy as a bell pepper, could be link drinking a can of sterno and striking up a match.  I like my spice flavorful and I have a reasonable tolerance.  I like medium taco sauce at Del Taco and Taco Bell because I find the hot just too hot for the flavor.  I like medium salsa, because as much as I like to have that little sweat across the forehead, I want to taste the rest of my dinner when I am done. 

CleanPlateAnd what do you do when you clean your plate?  You sit around and talk for a while because you are far too full for dessert.  It may not look like a lot of food at first, but it’s enough.  My brother could probably plow through two plates as he is a big fan of food and has an insatiable appetite.  With that, there is still a basket Sopapillaof Sopapillas on the table and there is no way we can let those go to waste.  I highly suggest you start your meal with them because after they have been sitting there for half an hour, they aren’t nearly as tasty if they were freshly plucked from the fryer.   You may want to ask your bringer of food to hold off on the Sopapillas until the meal comes to an end.  Do yourself a favor and heed my warning as you will be far happier with a nice crispy, hot, fresh and steamy sopa than if you were to let them sit.  They are quite good even still.  Bite off the corner, fill the thing with honey (make sure you have your plate still) and devour. 

RistraAs we left the wind had picked up, I could tell because my asthma was killing me.   The Ristras violently thrashing around made it difficult to get a picture, but it’s very much a big part of who they are.  The pictures line the wall of all the celebs and presidents who have walked under these red chile pods and enjoyed a meal at this local landmark.  It’s not because it has a pretty entrance, it’s not because the building is huge or has a nice bar.  It is because the food is good, damn good.  If you have your favorite place nailed down and you compare every salsa to the bowl they bring you when you sit down, it doesn’t matter what I say here.  But if you are looking for some all around good Mexican food, a variety choices and a fantastic atmosphere, give it a go. 

Oh yeah, and don’t let the lingering smell of Horse manure scare you away as you are walking in, the smell stops at the door. 


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