Anthony Bourdain in New Mexico: 4 Spots Where Tony Ate
It’s a landscape that has captured the imagination of writers, artists, and explorers for centuries: New Mexico is home to some of the most beautiful vistas in the Western U.S. It’s also where a number of cultures come together in a unique mosaic that represents the history of the region in a delicate but enduring balance.
Anthony Bourdain visited New Mexico twice, to film season 4 (episode 15, “US Southwest”) of No Reservations and again to film season 2 (episode 3) of Parts Unknown. These were his only two on-screen visits to the Land of Enchantment, but he does a good job of showcasing the variety of cultures and cuisines that make this one of the best – and most overlooked – destinations that captures the essence of the American West.
If you’re planning a trip to the Southwest – lucky you! – you might wonder about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New Mexico. Below you’ll find a guide to the different places Tony ate in New Mexico during his two trips, as well as a breakdown of the dishes he tried so you can seek them out too.
Ready to savor the flavors of New Mexico? Let’s dig in!
Want to watch the episodes where Anthony Bourdain visits New Mexico?
The No Reservations episode is available on Amazon and Hulu, and the Parts Unknown episode is available on Amazon and Apple TV.
In this post, I promote travel to a destination that is the traditional lands of the Jumanos, Pueblos, Mescalero Apache, and Ndé Kónitsąąíí Gokíyaa (Lipan Apache) peoples, among others. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
No Reservations (2008)
Tony’s first trip to the Land of Enchantment was filmed as part of his “US Southwest” episode – it was a road trip episode that included stops in California, Arizona, and West Texas, too. During this trip, he made only one stop in New Mexico.
Pepper Pot Restaurant (Hatch)
Located in Hatch, Pepper Pot is famous for its namesake: Hatch chile peppers. Here, Bourdain sits down to try the peppers in a variety of forms. In particular, he has a meal of enchiladas with both red chile and green chile sauces. While you can order one or the other, it’s also popular to order dishes like this “Christmas” style – with both red and green.
Parts Unknown (2013)
A few years later, Tony made a return trip to spend more time dedicated to New Mexico. This time, he follows Route 66 in a classic convertible Ford Galaxy, exploring the ethos of the American west through both food and activities in different cities and rural settings.
El Taco Loco Food Truck (Albuquerque)
First stop after a long flight/drive? Late night tacos – of course!
Starting out in Albuquerque, Bourdain turns his wheels toward the nearest good taco truck, settling at El Taco Loco. Here, he goes for a trio of classics: one asado (flank steak), one pastor (spiced pork shoulder), and one lengua (tongue) taco. The latter isn’t for everyone, but I’ve tried it and it’s certainly an interesting texture and taste!
Five & Dime General Store (Santa Fe)
Next, Tony heads north to the capital city; here he shoots a scene about which he later said “we got it wrong.” At the Five & Dime General Store in the heart of Santa Fe, he tries the original Frito Pie, a bag of crunchy corn chips with chili and “day-glo cheese-like substance.”
He makes several disparaging topics, but also says “I’m opposed to everything this dish stands for, and yet it is also delicious.” Having tried this myself during my first trip to Santa Fe, I agree: it’s delicious, and his negative comments totally got it wrong.
Horseman’s Haven Cafe (Santa Fe)
Tony’s final food stop in New Mexico is also in Santa Fe – though on the outskirts at a popular local’s spot. He meets up with writer and historian Dan Flores for a meal at Horseman’s Haven Cafe, where they discuss New Mexican culture and cuisine.
The pair enjoys carne adobada enchiladas (pork marinated in red chile sauce), pozole (hominy), with beans and rice, plus chips and green chile salsa, of course. Tony also enjoys sopapilla (fried pastry), a traditional Mexican dessert and an essential sweet treat to cut the heat of the chiles.
Local Dining Experiences Tony Had in New Mexico
Per usual in Parts Unknown, Bourdain had a number of local dining experiences in addition to the restaurant meals already mentioned. Here are the experiences he had in New Mexico:
- After a day on horseback, Tony settles into an evening under the moon in the Valley of Thieves with actor David Manzanares; his father, Herman Manzanares; his son, Max; and Flores again. They ate local beef with puréed green chiles, beans, potatoes, and cornbread, cooked over the campfire.
- At the home of community leader Ivan Pino in Zia Pueblo, Bourdain spends time hunting packrats before a meal of deer bone stew, red chile stew with dried elk and potatoes, pinto beans with chicos (roasted dried corn), zia chiles, and tortillas.
- Finally, Tony and crew visit Dead Horse Ranch to partake in a Matanza (traditional pig barbecue). In addition to roast pork “in multiple forms” (tacos, stewed with beans, cooked with pozole, into chili, grilled tenderloin, and others), the group enjoys plenty of tequila, beer, and margaritas.
And that’s it: a guide to the Land of Enchantment as seen through Tony’s eyes and thoughts. Have any other questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in New Mexico? Let me know in the comments below!