As I make my way towards the inevitable huevos rancheros meal in my immediate future, I find myself sitting in a festive setting, listening to mariachi music, and enjoying complementary chips and salsa. I must be in Albuquerque, and it must be Garduno’s– a place that goes back in my family’s history. Garduno’s huevos are one of a kind, just like the restaurant itself. Today, I am on the West Side, one of only 2 remaining locations of this once-on-the-verge ABQ restaurant chain. Let me tell you something: the food is still that good.
Garduno’s huevos rancheros are special, made with a beef chilaqua with cheese over a flour tortilla- a lot of taste to begin with. The sides are refried beans (Garduno’s has always been spot on with the basics) and papitas. The eggs are an afterthought, and the entire plate is sprinkled with cheese, light lettuce and tomato garnish atop.
The red chile on its own seems hot, but mixed in it complements and blends in with its smooth and bright red peppery taste and overall medium heat. The green chile is the reason we’re here! This is the reason Garduno’s goes back in my family history. No one knows this green like dad. When my sister and I were little we’d get the green on the side, maybe taste a little, and then dad would proceed to pour any leftover/available over his already-green-chile-laden plate. The green today has that same fresh lightly roasted medium heat taste that is appropriate to eat with anything you wish. I understand in a profound way why dad did what he did (and still does!)
I mentioned yellow corn chips and perfect consistency salsa, homemade and delicious, fresh and take-home-able. This is brought out as soon as I sit at the table. The other complementary item is the homemade sopapilla. Tasty enough that I eat half with the meal, and the other half with honey. One of my favorite desserts- pure and simple. During my years away from Albuquerque, living in a handful of different states, I always was perplexed at why the Mexican restaurants don’t bring out sopapillas automatically.
Coffee is fresh and service is good, as always. A friend calls me and asks why I’m not drinking a margarita… it is difficult to answer this question, but today is not the day for margarita(s), though Garduno’s knows how to make ’em. It is a huevos day. That’s the answer.