Hearty huevos rancheros do exist in the East Mountains outside of Albuquerque, on the Manzano side headed South, past a few choice hiking/mountain biking spots and picnic grounds. I’m talking about the family owned and operated, log cabined, wood-burning stoved and properly situated Ponderosa Eatery and Saloon. Stop-off for bikers and hikers alike, no matter how tough you are, you’ll be well fed by the time you leave The Ponderosa.

I could not finish my huevos.

Ponderosa huevos rancheros

This, my friends, is a plate of serious food. Starting with a homemade flour tortilla, The Ponderosans pile the plate with perfectly cooked eggs at the center, deliciously pan-fried potatoes to the North and tangy refried beans to the South. Do you spy the cheese? That cheddar cheese pleasantly shows up throughout this meal! A light dusting of freshly chopped tomato and lettuce acts as garnish.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got to dive into that New Mexico red chile. Yes. Good choice. This is a deep bright red with a most satisfying consistency and medium heat with a nice crisp spice. I can live with this red, no problemo. The green I am not as crazy about. It is a bit soft, missing that crunch, and somewhat milder than expected. Again, no problemo: I’ll just spread the wealth of the red.

I’ll admit that part of the reason I couldn’t finish has to do with the fresh, crispy, bubbly, salty, truly restaurant-style chips and pico de gallo-style salsa, not to mention the flour tortilla on the side. Did I mention homemade tortilla? The lovely asymmetrical shape as well as actual slightly-salty taste tells me this. This makes two flour tortillas in the meal.

While waiting on the large table of bikers, chaps and all, to order their midday meal, we sit at a table between the door and the wood-burning stove, cozy, with good-tasting fresh coffee to warm our insides. As we look around, this Halloween weekend, we are happily accompanied by Sunday football, ghostly apparitions, various taxidermy, and who knows what souls have passed through The Ponderosa, which I do remember from my own childhood, where there is plenty of rest for the dead.

Oh, when it comes to the East Mountains, it is true: Gusty Winds May Exist.


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