Thursday, August 16, 2012

If You’re Going Anywhere…

in Santa Fe, you’re either going to get on I-25 or, as an alternative, take Cerrillos Road. Most times we opt for the latter. And in so doing made a great discovery.

We were headed into town and a noticed a mass of humanity clustered around the front of a small building. A quick glance showed a packed parking lot. What is this place? It is the Pantry Restaurant, one of Santa Fe’s small local gems.

“The Pantry was founded in 1948 by George Myers; he set the standard of quality and excellence that has been associated with the Pantry for over sixty years now. With such storied roots in Santa Fe, it is impossible to say how many business deals, political decisions, and relationships have been started in the dining rooms at the Pantry. Since its inception there have been seven different owner operators or stewards of the Pantry, who have nurtured it and brought it to where it is today, including its current owner the Singley Family...” (

“(The older) Singley now has reinforcements. Son Michael graduated from Le Cordon Bleu-Scottsdale. He’s helping with operations and may eventually run The Pantry and the family’s Los Amigos taqueria” (

“…the Pantry is typically full of locals and visitors enjoying hearty home style New Mexican cuisine. When the legislature is in session, you may find yourself dining among movers and shakers who are taking a break from the state capitol just down the road” (Sue Van Sickle at
The Pantry’s menu says that “more political decisions have been made here over a bowl of green chile than down the road at the state capitol.”

“The Pantry is a diner in every sense of the word—not a trendy or sophisticated tourist attraction. But make no mistake—there is great attention to detail here. The flowers on the tables are fresh, nicely-lit original artwork adorns the walls, and the creamers are carefully

arranged in perfect concentric circles in their bowls” (Sue Van Sickle at

We arrived around 9:30 a.m. thinking that the breakfast rush would be over. Wrong. We were given a buzzer, and while we were waiting, I had the chance to observe the giant portions of food coming from the kitchen. One gentleman at the counter was shoveling down an immense breakfast burrito with sides of potatoes and beans.

We were finally seated at a table alongside of what may at one time have been a working fireplace. Above the mantle was hung a quilt—or sculptured quilt art as the plaque along side described it—depicting the restaurant by Albert Maggitti.
“Quilt artist Albert Maggitti prides himself on his ability to think outside the box. Maggitti spreads his artistic wings using non-traditional quilting fabrics like leather and unique appliqué techniques” ( (A close-up [below] shows the stitching.)

The counter gentleman’s burrito looked good, and I considered the Scrambled Egg Burrito with a choice of bacon, sausage, ham, chorizo or grilled fresh veggies and smothered in red or green chile. But there was also the Chile Relleno Omelette stuffed with a chile Relleno and smothered in chile and cheese. But instead I ordered that day’s breakfast special—a chile relleno with one egg and what are called Pantry fries.

This was a nearly perfect breakfast. No. It was the perfect breakfast. The plate contained a good-sized New Mexico green chile stuffed with cheese and then smothered in green chile. The stuffed chile was medium hot and the bright and fresh tasting green chile (as in sauce) blended perfectly with the relleno.
I ordered my egg over easy so that I would have that nice runny yolk to mix with the green chile. This was a “real” fried egg. No round egg form used here. The white was allowed to run on the flattop so that the very edges became brown and crisp.

And the potatoes. Oh, the potatoes. I have never been a fan of home fried potatoes but these could make a convert of me. I spent considerable time trying to determine how they were seasoned.
Finally I had to ask our server and she said that the boiled potato cubes were cooked on the flattop with butter, salt, and paprika. I could swear that an additional seasoning was used. Could it be the famous “secret ingredient?”

I used the flour tortilla that came with my meal to wipe every vestige of chile, egg, and potato from my plate. When I was finished, all that remained was the small parsley garnish and the green chile stem.

Chuck’s choice was the Stuffed French Toast to which he added an order of the excellent Pantry fries. At first glance, this appeared to be a small portion but the size was misleading. This was thick-cut bread dipped in an egg mixture and then breaded with corn flakes. Sandwiched between the two slices of bread was a rich cream cheese and strawberry mixture, and as a further embellishment, the toast was smothered in blueberry syrup. And even under all of this blueberry syrup, the corn flakes stayed crunchy.

As we were paying our check at the register (that’s what I call a cash register),

we noticed this small sign.

This small 5.0 Addie café really is the place that Santa Fe meets for breakfast.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

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