As with most travel days, the morning came to soon. We rose a little passed 3am, and slowly zombied our way through the morning operations: breakfast, grumbling, cups of orange juice, cold shoulders, commuting, removing shoes, veiled sarcasm, waiting, boarding flights, fighting for the elbow rest with portly grey strangers, landing, and thrashing onto the open road northbound in a wimpy little Chevy Cobalt - care of the Albuquerque Budget Rental Car. With 2 flights and a robust morning of happenings behind us, the devil was in the detail of the time - 9:45am. As we tore through the desertish shrublands towards Santa Fe, I resented the amount of life we had already crammed into this extended morning. Our accomplishments were worn with a grimace and a our growling stomachs spoke tales of malnourishment.
We were famished. Food was needed and fast. As our car alighted with Santa Fe proper, we began scanning buildings for a den of sustenance. We happened upon a ramshackle abode with promise and a heady "as seen on tv" endorsement. One of those shows, with one of those guys, that talks about food, had gone ahead and extended to the world a recommendation that we accepted as we peeled open the weathered teal door. It was going to be chili burgers. My god, it had to be.
This restaurant, Bert's Burger Bowl, is one of those hole in the wall establishments that locals adore and travelers embrace. Using the locally sourced chilies, Berts has created a burger concoction that bears a familiar badge - chili burger, yet it is not the usual sloppy concoction. No sir, this chili burger is made using green hatch chilies and a familiar cast of characters - cheese, beef, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, a slightly charred structural bun, and a little bit of mustard. The whole experience is unbelievably balanced, each ingredient is noticeable with nothing overpowering. The burger is humble, simple, and perfect. The meat is thin and tender, a part of the whole. The green chilies are the true star, and they add a kick that takes this burger to addictive new heights. I dipped my burger in the Bert's red chili sauce, and that took the taste up a glorious notch. All in Bert's is a fantastic hole in the wall, and if you find yourself in Santa Fe, find yourself a Bert's burger.
Bert's burger bowl is in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The green chili burger is about 3 bucks. Open 8am - 7pm, Monday-Friday and 10:30am - 5pm on Sunday.
Buns and green chili
More behind the scenes with the stars
Bert's has no indoor seating, just a little counter to munch at. There are plenty of outdoor tables, but it was too cold for us to sit out there.
Damn good fries with spicy Bert's red sauce
Happiness is this right here