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Quick Bites, Local Style

SANTA FE, N.M. — Sometimes you want a quick, inexpensive meal. Not “fast food,” but the Santa Fe locals’ equivalent. If you’re working or visiting downtown and don’t want to spend $10 on lunch, the Burrito Company is a perfect choice. Located right off the Plaza on Washington Avenue across from the Palace of the Governors, the restaurant even offers fancy coffee drinks, a kids’ menu and low-carb options for breakfast and lunch. You order at the counter and pick up your meal when your number is called.

Breakfast, as you’d expect from a burrito company, features that New Mexico standard tortilla wrap in several configurations, from the vegetarian to the meat-filled carne adovada. Handheld for easy eating on the go, or burrito plates with a bit of extra chile and a side of beans and rice, are available.

The menu also features pancakes, a bagel breakfast sandwich, French toast and the standard egg-potato-toast-bacon meal with variations. Specials are posted on a sandwich board up front; the regular menu is displayed on a blackboard above the counter as well as available in a printed version by the front door. The restaurant’s folk art, yellow walls, green tables and red stools and benches create a cheerful ambiance. Latin music plays softly as background. Out the windows you can watch cars and visitors cruise by along Washington Avenue. When the weather warms, you can enjoy your meal on the patio.

Burrito Company Cafe
WHERE: 111 Washington Ave., Santa Fe, 982-4453
FOOD: New Mexican and American. No alcohol.
SERVICE: Order at the counter.
PRICES: Breakfast $6.75 or less; lunch $8.25 or less.
HOURS: 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, Sunday.
AMBIANCE: Bright and cheerful.

I hadn’t eaten here for several years, and I’m happy to report that the food is better than ever. My friend and I shared the “Papas Rancheros,” a version of huevos rancheros which substitutes potatoes for the tortilla, and adds eggs, chile sauce and generous serving of sour cream. The staff does a good job with potatoes, freshly cut cubes and rectangles cooked with crispy edges. The two eggs arrived hot and over easy as requested. The green chile on top had a pleasant spiciness to it, but there wasn’t enough. We also got a warm flour tortilla and pinto beans, all for $6.95.

The menu described our other choice, the carne adovada breakfast burrito, as a combination of meat and eggs. But the one we received had no eggs, just plenty of tender, very spicy beef wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with a small bit of red chile sauce on top. The burrito dish came with posole, pinto beans and Spanish rice. ($7.95). As we chowed down, I speculated that the cook had given us the lunch burrito. No matter. It was delicious.

We shared the restaurant that morning with pueblo artists getting ready for their day under the Palace Portal, a newspaper street vendor who came in for coffee, folks who work downtown and some early season tourists — all of whom seemed to be enjoying their meals.

Our more than ample breakfast, with two cups of fresh coffee, was $20.24. Lunch was even better. We tried one of the daily specials, yummy lamb tacos complete with guacamole, cheese and salsa fresca on soft corn tortilla ($7.95). The tacos came with Spanish rice, enough garnish to be a salad, and, alas, tasteless black beans. The cheeseburger ($8), served on a sesame bun with plenty of hot green chile, got a big thumbs up. So did the Tex-Mex dog ($6.95), a plump frank on a toasted roll, smothered with cowboy chili — not our “red or green” — cheese, chopped onion and tomato. Both arrived next to a mountain of fries and creamy cole slaw. Other lunch choices include burritoss, enchilada plates, crisp or soft tacos and salads. Our meal for three, with two drinks, was $29.10 with tax.

The Burrito Company isn’t fancy, but it’s clean and efficient without an assembly line ambiance. It gets a round of applause for offering high quality food at prices that don’t take advantage of its prime, just-off-the-Plaza location. It’s one of downtown’s best bargains, and the friendly staff is a bonus.

Photo Credit – PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL
Cutline – A chicken taco plate includes beans, rice and posole at the Burrito Company Cafe.

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