Checking in from San Antonio, NM …
My walk in the high desert of New Mexico passed by the north or Stallion Gate entrance to the White Sands Missile Base. It is at White Sands at 5:30AM on July 16, 1945 that the atomic age was ushered in at a 51,500 acre site called Trinity with the detonation of a 19-kiloton underground explosion. The bomb called Jumbo was the culmination of the work of the Manhattan Project at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The development of the atomic technology led to a quick end to the war in the Pacific and forever changed the history of the world.
Nearby to White Sands, however, another much less consequential war has continued since the 1940’s. In the tiny town of San Antonio which has less than twelve buildings, two renowned restaurants have competed for the title of best burger, not only in town, but in the land. Like an old west shootout both face off with the same signature dish—a green chili cheeseburger. Since 2003, the burger at the Owl Bar and Café has been listed as one of the “top ten burgers in the US.” And in 2009, GQ Magazine rated the burger at the Buckhorn Tavern as the “7th best burger in America.” Famed chef Bobby Flay from the Food Network even came to town to challenge Buckhorn’s Bobby Olguin to a green chili cheeseburger throw-down. The Buckhorn’s burger won as one of the “baddest burgers in the land.”
Of course, Brenda and I had to try the burger at both establishments. For our tender palates, the chilies on both burgers were a little hot for our taste. Our choice for best green chili cheeseburger goes to the Cowboy Café in Roswell, NM. We are bringing jars of “mild” green chilies back with us after our trip to create the baddest burger in the south.
In the next few days, my path turns to Hwy 60 toward Magdalena, New Mexico. We’ll be spending Independence Day somewhere in the Cibola National Forest and the Gallinas Mountains.