You may have heard the rumors on the morning show. They're true. At one point in my life, I was a New Mexican.

Even with all the odd True Crime Report-worthy stories that come from there, even with the grief I take from my co-hosts, I still love the place. And, though I've lived in the Sun City for over two decades now, there are some Land of Enchantment leftovers I'll never shake after spending the 80's in Albuquerque. Things like my driving.

Yes, New Mexicans have a bad reputation behind the wheel. When New Mexico had its yellow license plates, you used to be able to say "Yellow means caution." I guess you could still say "Balloons mean caution," even though it doesn't have quite the same ring.  I don't know of any other state that has balloons on its license plates, though.

So tell me this wouldn't have made the True Crime Report had anyone else been involved: as a teenager, I once ran out of gas in my old '67 Buick LeSabre at the top of a hill and thought I could coast it down to my house. Backwards.

It didn't end well. I did make a cop stifle a laugh when I explained as he was filling out the accident report, though.

I developed my warped sense of humor through some interesting life experiences in New Mexico, especially as a teen working in the sports department of the Albuquerque Journal with, among others, a sports writer who eventually was fired for being one of the most well-connected bookies in 'Burque. Made book right at his desk while he was on the job.

Conflict of interest, you say? One of the nicest guys I knew, I say. Facebook Status: "It's Complicated".

When it comes to working with characters, judging from what I'm doing for a living these day I was merely honing my job skills.

But one of the most uniquely New Mexican leopard spots I still carry -- one I wouldn't change if I could -- is a love for New Mexico's food.

Yeah, I know. Big surprise.

And now, according to this story from my media alma mater, the Journal, I won't have to travel to Las Cruces to scratch one of my favorite culinary itches soon. Blake's Lotaburger is coming to El Paso this fall!

As you can tell, I've already dropped by. They haven't even laid the slab inside the store at the corner of Resler and Mesa, much less slathered on that first bit of green chile, but I had to go see. I am here to tell you that if you're a fan of green chile, cheeseburgers and a big side of thick fries (and really, who isn't?) you are going to LOVE this place.

It's not upscale like Five Guys, by which I remain unimpressed. It is far from a "gourmet burger", whatever that even means. It is a bit to New Mexico like Chico's Tacos is to El Paso, the down-home greasy spoon everybody loves, minus the government cheese. (And I love Chico's just as much as anyone else in El Paso. Chico's turned 60 on July 4th and I'm looking forward to buying the new t-shirt!)

Here, then, are my Top Six reasons to check out Blake's Lotaburger when it opens this fall.


  • B

    B is for my belt size...

    ...which might be up a couple of notches soon. Let's just say Blake's ain't serving salads. But if you're looking for green chile cheeseburgers, chili Frito pies, pulled pork sam'iches, brownies or a chicken tender boat, they've got you covered.

    I've never actually had the chicken tender boat, but I'm betting it'll be fried with enough oil to make it float pretty well.


  • L

    L is for "Lota"...

    ...not "Lots Of". Not even "Lotta" as a made-up word like "Gotta". Make sure you get it right. It's "Lotaburger" with one "T", even though "Lota" brings to mind a vampy Bond girl with a penchant for fast cars and guns.

    Either way, you won't be living quite so dangerously with Lotaburger, even with spicy green chile and deep fryers. And you're sure to spend a lot less money on baccarat.

  • A

    A is for Angus... in Angus beef.

    Funny name, Angus. Outside of the kid from "Two and a Half Men" and Scotland, we don't know too many Anguses.

    But the breed of bovine that begets Blake's beef? It's pretty good stuff.

    It should be noted that Blake's doesn't flame-grill their meat, which to me -- outside of hiring Kate Upton to take my order -- would be one of the few things they could do to improve the experience. But start with good Angus beef, then add that green chile and something magic happens on its way to your mouth.

    Something magic may happen two or three hours later, too; but that's just the green chile saying hello. Again.

    Totally worth it.

  • K

    K is for Kaboom... in: my mind = BLOWN when I heard that, for the first time EVER, Blake's was going to open a location outside of New Mexico -- and El Paso would have the first store!

    How much of a New Mexico tradition is Blake's? Just take a look at this picture from AMC's "Breaking Bad" featuring two of the best things about the show, which is set in Albuquerque. One is the lovely Anna Gunn as Skyler White. The other? What the White family gets when they go for take-out. I'd recognize that go-cup anywhere!

    Gunn is actually a New Mexico native. I'm guessing someone could've taken this same picture back in her high school days.

    Blake's has been a tradition all over the State of New Mexico since 1952, from small towns to big city (Albuquerque's pretty much it). El Paso will become the largest market Blake's will serve.

    I think they'll like El Chuco a lot more than, say, Skyler's brother-in-law, Hank, did.


  • E

    E is for Expansion

    Not for Excellent? Excited? Sure, those too, but I don't live anywhere near Resler and Mesa, nor does most of El Paso.

    However, the Journal's article says Blake's believes in its El Paso manifest destiny. Like Lewis and Clark in reverse, they're starting in the west but coming east.

    Here's hoping they can find Loop 375 faster than Lewis and Clark found Oregon.

    Duke Keith
    Duke Keith
  • S

    S is for...


    Just kidding! Bet that got your attention, though.
    No, "S" stands for Sizzle -- as in green chile with actual heat.

    There is a certain fast-food chain in these parts that I enjoy as much as any Texan, and they, too, have a green chile cheeseburger. But the chile they put on their burgers might as well be parsley.

    It has as much taste and is about as hot as the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

    It's Bob Barker chile -- spayed and neutered.

    You can tell they're playing to the Dallas market, and that's fine. For Dallas. But El Paso eats chile for breakfast. And lunch and dinner, too!

    Worry not, Chuco -- Blake's knows how and where to get the chile with the sizzle. This is good stuff.


  • :-)

    Now, to the thrift shop. Gotta pop some tags so I can find me a candy-cane blazer and a blue top hat.

    Duke Keith
    Duke Keith