l’m no skier, but most of my mutual friends are fanatical about the sport. After Halloween, no dinner conversation escapes at least a mention of fresh powder; my coffee table is littered with snow porn (ski magazines); and my spare bedroom resembles a post-apocalyptic loading dock at REI. While I don’t quite understand the draw of high-altitude self-abuse, 1 certainly can relate to the healthy appetites of its practitioners. For skiers, eating on the cheap leaves more expendable income for life’s true necessities: lift tickets, gasoline, and Alpine equipment. So, for an apres-ski nosh or early-morning fueling, I have scoured Cerrillos Road to find one of the best motel-dining options that might be unfamiliar to locals and tourists alike.
During my early days in the restaurant business in Santa Fe, there was no better (or faster) sustenance to be had between shifts than a Real Burger at the hut of the same name on Don Gaspar Avenue. The menu, while sparse, was executed with an efficiency usually associated with the fast-food set. But don’t get me wrong: the burgers, while efficiently and consistently prepared, were, well, real.
A few months ago, while trolling Cerrillos Road for a new spot to enjoy lunch, I saw\v a sign: “Moongazerz – Home of the Real Burger.” Before I continue, let me first apologize to the row of cars behind me on that fateful day. In the future, 1 will apply a bumper sticker that explains my erratic behavior: “This truck makes sudden stops – mostly for ground-beef patties.” Moongazerz, connected to the Park Inn amp; Suites, is indeed the new home of the Real Burger. Divine in its simplicity, owner John Chavez’s well-seasoned quarter-pound beef patty is cooked to order. Tucked inside a toasty seeded bun with requisite garnish (tomato, dill pickle, lettuce, etc.) and served with fries, no better burger can be had for the price south of St. Michael’s Drive. If you’rc really hungry, you can add a second beef patty (the Super Real Burger) for just a dollar.
While the burgers are heavenly, sometimes you just want to graze. Not a problem. Seven days a week, Moongazerz offers an affordable lunch buffet that is perfect for on-the-go skiers and others. Enjoy local favorites like calabacitas, posóle, enchilada casserole, beef or chicken hard-shell tacos (with garnish bar), and some of the best house-made green-chile stew I’ve ever slurped. Wash it all down with any number of cold domestic and imported beers available by the bottle, or stick to good, old-fashioned iced tea.
If it’s traditional white-bread American comfort food you seek, fear not. Juicy fried chicken and mashed potatoes with cream gravy, fried cod, pork roast, rolls, salad, and slices of pie abound. While the friendly service may have you feeling like royalty, most offerings can be had at a pauper’s pittance; Moongazerz is a grazer’s paradise. Moongazerz is located at 2907 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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