Visiting Bobcat Bite and having their Green Chile Cheeseburger has been on my "Burger spots to must check out before..." list for some time. While many of my initial discoveries were after purchasing a copy of George Motz' Hamburger America many years ago, it certainly was the primer for the now endlessly growing list.
The pilgrimage to Bobcat Bite naturally came as a road trip, as Santa Fe (NM) was the sole realistically drivable destination from San Diego, at least from the eight locations highlighted in the film. Long overdue, the drive finally realized last weekend along with a friend (aka: spare driver, aka: to whom to split the gas bill). I couldn't think of a better way to spend the three day weekend, though I didn't expect to be there and back in San Diego within 48-hrs, ha.
The drive up was taken much slower, making time for many side stops and ended up crashing the first night in a bargain Motel 6 ($35!) in Albuquerque, just an hour away from Santa Fe. The photo above was taken a couple hours before opening the next day, probably the only chance at getting a clean shot of the exterior without any cars parked up front (or lined people). Things I noticed were that the front driveway was asphalted and that the patio was now covered.
Spent some time in the beautiful historic downtown and when we finally made our way back it was a half hour past opening (11:30AM). Didn't know what to expect fearing a possible wait but seemed the off season helped as we managed to immediately secure a center counter seat surrounded mostly by local patrons.
[The counter with a back lot view at Bobcat Bite.]
By now the soft spoken lady and "chef with the Sponge Bob T-shirt" Bonnie and John Eckre were almost like celebrities and it was really neat seeing them just doing their everyday thing. I was having such a great experience from the incredibly nice and down to earth personable people they were, to the awesomely laid back atmosphere (at least until the crowd hit later on) that by now I probably could've been served a Whopper Jr. and have left moderately happy. We both ordered the burgers done a medium and your meal can take up to 20-mins. There were a few seasonal dishes like the very tempting Chile Bowl that some were having served only during Winter.
[Good food takes time, especially one with a patty this thick...]
But the burger was fantastic and the hype to be believed. Wow, the thing I immediately noticed was how beefy and flavorful the patty was, its size now bumped up to 10 oz. Generously (but perfectly) seasoned and with nice griddle seared crust, the burger juices overflowing from the coarser, daily ground chuck was out of control along with some glistening grease (which I always felt was important to make the distinction).
The buns have also been upgraded not so long ago judging by older photos floating around the net. A perfectly toasted semolina or cornmeal dusted with softer density, yet something with enough tooth to withstand that giant juicy patty. The green chile sauce wasn't too spicy, what I would consider medium in level, though the heat tends to build up slowly and linger.
It along with the completely melted cheese (seemed a mild white cheddar) was a great complement to the burger. I left out the lettuce and tomato in mine shown above. Since this was my first meal of the day and technically breakfast, had with some home fries which were well done but pretty good. I think what made it was its also beefy flavor where I imagined was probably cooked with some of the beef fat.
While the burger proudly stands on its own, the Green Chile Cheeseburger here I felt was one that couldn't be separated from its location and the amazing people who create it. While a trendy joint in cities elsewhere may copy, it would never compare to the one from Bobcat Bite.
Bobcat Bite, 418 Old Las Vegas Highway, Santa Fe, NM 87505