Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

The Frontier burrito from the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, NM.

The Frontier burrito from the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque, NM.

Our kids made it home safely, and more important, they stopped at the Frontier Restaurant in Albuquerque for lunch on their way. I think Court has just heard me talk one time too many about the sheer deliciousness of the Frontier Burrito to not stop and try it for himself. His conclusion: “It was delicious.”

That’s an understatement.

The Frontier Restaurant sits on a corner right across the street from the University of New Mexico. There is not one thing even remotely glamorous about it. It is long and narrow, consisting of three or four rooms divided by doorways, giving the feeling of an old house to which the owners kept adding rooms as their family grew. On the wall are examples of western art and artifacts, some amazingly good and some, well, not so good. The clientele is a mixture of students, professors, and locals looking for a bowl of the good green stuff.

You order at the counter. There is almost always a line, especially when school is in session. When it is your turn to order, you watch for the green light to go on above the person who is available to take your order. Green means go.

After ordering and paying, you sit down and wait for your number to appear on the omnipresent displays all around the restaurant. When your number comes up, you go pick up your food from another counter.

If you are in the know, you then move over to the vats of green chili stew available to pour over your already smothered meat and bean burrito. It is hot enough that if your nose doesn’t run and your eyes aren’t watering, you better check your pulse.

Exquisite yumminess for sure.

The Frontier sells their homemade tortillas and green chili stew. Bill and I stop at the Frontier no matter which way we’re going and no matter the time of day – breakfast, lunch, or dinner. When we are heading south to Arizona, we always buy four dozen fresh tortillas, one dozen for Maggie, one dozen for my brother Dave, one dozen for Beckie, and one for us. I believe my family fakes their joy at seeing us but are really joyful to see the tortillas. For some reason, we have never bought the green chili stew, though it is so delicious it nearly makes me cry! I guess that’s because no matter which direction we’re going, we always have a seven hour drive ahead of us and, well, you know, salmonella and all…

Anyway, there are about a million reasons I was glad about our weekend visitors, but not the least among the reasons is that they could try all of our favorite foods, restaurants, and sights.

Which brings me to a funny story.

I have mentioned before that despite the fact that I spend much of my time at the foot of the glorious Rocky Mountains, Superstition Mountain right here in the East Valley of Phoenix is my favorite mountain. I love the desert, and the mountain is typical of our desert terrain, complete with its smoky pink color and the saguaro cacti that poke up all over its base.


So I was happy that our Colorado family got to see it up close Sunday when we spent the day at Dave and Sami’s house. We took separate cars, so when I heard their car drive up, I hurried out to greet them. When 6-year-old Kaiya got out of the car, I turned her towards the Superstition Mountain and asked her, “Kaiya, isn’t that the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen?”

She looked at it for a few moments, then turned to me, wholly unimpressed.

“Nana, there’s nothing special about that. It’s just ONE mountain,” she sniffed.

Spoken like a true Colorado native.

Here is a copycat version of Frontier’s Green Chile Stew. I haven’t tried it yet, so I can’t confirm that it is even close. Sounds like it is, though.

Frontier Green Chile Stew 2


3 thoughts on “Making a Mountain Out of a Molehill

  1. I think the Frontier building was originally a mess hall. Or something along those lines. Best restaurant in NM!

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