“When in New Mexico, eat chile,” that’s what I’ve been told before my trip to Santa Fe this week. I’m not particularly crazy about chile, but I’ve also been told by a reliable source that the New Mexican chile is a whole different game from the Texan chile (which the reliable source is not particularly crazy about either), implying that the New Mexican chile is something worth looking for. And so be it: the first time my girl friends and I descended from the St. John’s College cafeteria to downtown Santa Fe, we joined everyone else at the Bumble Bee’s for burritos and tacos.
Of course, I got the only thing on the menu that has “chile” in its name: the Red Chile Chicken Burrito ($10.81 with tax).
It was huge. It was chubbier than my arm, stuffed with exceedingly tender chicken and smothered in pico de gallo, queso cotija, and red chile. The chicken was no doubt tasty, but the raw onion overpowered everything else in bitterness, which didn’t help the monotonic spicy chile, either. I stopped short after a third of the way.
Hyunmi and Eric clearly made the better (and more efficient) choice: pork and fish soft tacos. Not only did the tacos look delicious, they were also finished. As Eric put it, “despite their little size, they’re surprisingly filling”.
Perhaps the kitchen had put so much effort into Jen’s vegan burrito that it took forever to arrive at the table. Perhaps the gods just found her deserving of a good meal after she had been patiently filling her empty stomach with Bumble Bee’s delicious lemon-infused water. Either way, I’m glad that I was the only one who wasn’t thrilled about her food. Bumble Bee’s has 3 locations (two in Santa Fe and one in Albuquerque) and it’s the only drive-thru down-this-artsy-town, a sign of establishment in its craft: the easy-to-eat crossbreeds of Southern and Mexican cuisines, spiced up by fresh ingredients in a lively, if not childlike, setting. Shouldn’t judge a baja grill by one burrito, I guess.
Address: Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill #1
Santa Fe, NM 87501