Green Chile Cheeseburger: Denver or Santa Fe?

The capitals of Colorado and New Mexico lay claim the best of this Southwestern fave.

SantaFe-logoAsk a Coloradan which city makes the best green chile cheeseburger, and the instant answer is Denver, The Mile High City. Ask a New Mexican, and the reply is Santa Fe, The City Different. There are plenty of reasons to visit beautiful, artistic San Fe, and its Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is one of them.

Here’s what Santa Fe claims: Santa Fe, NM is a burger lover’s paradise, and ‘The City Different’ spends 365 days celebrating the Green Chile Cheeseburger. Santa Fe’s indigenous cuisine dates back to the area’s Native American roots and their staples of beans, corn and squash. With the introduction of foods brought by the Spanish like onions, tomatoes and of course, chile, the table was set for what became the distinctive New Mexican fare with its enduring emphasis on the use of chile in and on almost everything.  The green chile cheeseburger has been a staple on menus around the state of New Mexico since at least the middle of the 1900s.

At least two Santa Fe eateries are offering specials in celebration of National Burger Month, which happens to be May. Theses loaded burgers are pricy, but I’ll bet both are muy sabroso. Caffe Greco’s “Springtime Burger Special” (through May 20) throws in a beer or soft drink with the purchase of a burger for $12. Through May 31, La Posada de Santa Fe offers La Posada Cheeseburger (Certified Angus Beef  chuck, Maytag blue cheese and Applewood Smoked Bacon, $17.50 with a choice of draft beer of $14 à la carte) or a Green Chile Cheeseburger (same burger but with white cheddar cheese and roasted green chiles (also $17.50 with a beer or $15 á la carte).

Other Green Chile Experiences

Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail. Food trails come and go but the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail is truly one-of-a-kind. Santa Fe is home to some of the most notable stops on the trail including Atrisco Café, Blake’s Lotaburger, Santa Fe Bite, El Parasol, La Plazeula and Real Food Nation. New Mexico residents, visitors, other restaurateurs, reviewers, critics and people in every corner of the state came together to decide on the state’s best green chile cheeseburger restaurants, cafés, drive-ins and joints. Click here for a full map and more information.

Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown – September 10, 2015 On September 10, the Santa Fe hosts the third annual Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown, a competition that puts chefs head-to-head to compete for the title of ultimate Green Chile Cheeseburger. Fans vote for the city’s best and the six that receive the most votes will advance to the final cook-off. Chefs fire up their grills and present their best burgers to a panel of food critics and the public.

Last year, the winning burger came from Second Street Brewery — the Original Alien Burger made with blue corn chile relleno with pepper jack, more green chile, guac, bacon, stout queso, fried red onion, chipotle mayo. The People’s Choice Award-Winner was from Mine Shaft Tavern. Their Mad Chile Burger is made with a half pound Black Angus chuck, a duo of roasted and fried chile, aged cheddar, chipotle Dijonnaise, brioche bun, “famous” fries and garnish. I don’t know what the ticket price will be come September, but every ticket buys seven samples, one per  chef (roughly the equivalent of two full burgers), a locally crafted beer from Second Street Brewery and a vote for the People’s Choice Award. Last year, proceeds from the event benefited the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute. Hopefully, an equally worthy cause will benefit in 2015.