Sandwich of the Week: Exploring New Mexico's Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail

Sampling three distinct styles of green chile cheeseburgers

New Mexico is so proud of their regional riff on the hamburger that the New Mexican Tourism Board has posted a map charting more than 80 of the natives' favorite places to get their green chile cheeseburger fix. Forget about getting your kicks on Route 66 (which also runs through Albuquerque), the GCCB Trail should be referred to as the stairway to heaven. On my recent trip to Santa Fe I was determined to get a representative experience of this Darwinian burger mutation. Though my family wouldn't let me hit all 80, I sampled three distinct styles of green chile cheeseburger in and around Santa Fe.

Since the mid-50's, Bert's Burger Bowl has been family owned and proudly boasts but one location nationwide. Though they have recently added Kobe beef, ostrich, and as options, the traditional beef burgers are the way to go for less than five bucks. The green chiles add a nice kick hidden as they always are under their cheese blanket, which in Bert's case appears to be the same bright orange American cheese found on any fast food burger. Ketchup or other condiments are superfluous.

Bert's, which may have a legitimate claim to having invented the green chile cheeseburger, charcoal-grills each burger as ordered. As a result, there's a 10 to 12 minute wait, the resulting decent-sized, backyard barbecue tasting burger is worth every second.

They also have a fairly extensive menu extending from breakfast burritos to fried chicken (including gizzards) to grilled ham and cheese sandwiches (including green chile grilled ham and cheese). I'm fond of their chicken-stuffed flautas — think Mexican chicken stuffed, fried mini-cannolis served with a tortilla bowl filled with guacamole, salsa, and a side of green chiles. Bert's has lifelong devotees. (Photos courtesy Yelp: janel a. and L.S. Love)