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 V.21 No.25 | June 21 - 27, 2012 


Tía Betty Blue’s

What’s red and green and blue all over?

The deliciously chilI-dog-esque savory waffle boat
Eric Williams
The deliciously chilI-dog-esque savory waffle boat

The appeal of Tía Betty Blue’s might seem skin-deep at first. The paint is fresh. The food comes fast enough to service a drive-thru window. A collection of bottled soda pops is so vast, it could be a gimmick. And the image of a raven-haired hottie—Tía Betty Blue, presumably—stares you down from the sign, the walls, the menu. But despite its candy-coated veneer, Tía B’s means business. The food is simple but thoughtful, and it’s different. And as long as food is the priority, who cares how cute the servers are?

A fruit-filled waffle boat
Eric Williams
A fruit-filled waffle boat

Outside there’s a pleasant, shaded patio that hosts a mix of uniformed service-people on their breaks, as well as hipsters (and their dogs) hard at work on their food. The interior walls are clad with tattoo photos, Mexican archetypes, paintings invoking Día de los Muertos, a masked pro-wrestler and, of course, Frida.

The menu doesn’t mention that the blue corn in the waffle boats is organically grown. But it is, and it’s grown near Tucumcari. And yes, I did say “waffle boat.”

Eric Williams

Tía B’s baked, canoe-shaped waffles are served two ways. For sweet teeth, there’s a fruit-filled waffle topped with a choice of flavored whipped creams, including lavender. The savory boat is stuffed with eggs, chile and, for an extra dollar, carne adovada. Sprinkled with cheese—not spackled, as is the case at most New Mexican places—the dish looks vaguely like a chili dog. The waffle is airy, with a light skin, and it breaks apart nicely into the filling.

The menu doesn’t mention that the blue corn in the waffle boats is organically grown. But it is, and it’s grown near Tucumcari. And yes, I did say “waffle boat.”

An 8-ounce side of stewed local beans runs $3—but for an extra buck, you can upgrade to a 24-ounce bowl. The posole, also $4 for 24 ounces, is a bargain as well—though if you like broth, you’d better ask for it. The soup is thick with hefty pork chunks and shards of red chile pods.

Speaking of chile, there are five options: red or green sauce with meat, vegetarian red or green sauce, or simple chopped green chile. The green is from down south. The red is from the Chimayó area and hot enough to humiliate out-of-towners.

New Mexico po’boys
Eric Williams
New Mexico po’boys

In line with Tía Betty Blue’s refreshing, less-is-more approach to cheese, iced tea and hibiscus drinks are unsweetened. That can’t be said for the bottled sodas, a serious collection of root beers and out-there flavors like black pepper and PB&J. Despite warnings from the counter girl, the celery soda is interesting in a good way, with a strong, almost minty flavor.

Eric Williams

The many sandwiches options can be served as a salad instead, sans the bread or wrap. These include a New Mexico po’boy of carne adovada, pickled jalapeños and Fritos, as well as a vegan sandwich, which contains a good portion of homemade hummus—pink with red chile—and some fantastic grilled asparagus.

Tía B’s website calls the traditional cooking of Northern New Mexico “the tastiest food in the world,” and the restaurant aspires to keep those traditions alive. But in staying true to its roots, this place isn’t afraid to innovate and take the cuisine to the next level. Underneath its veneer of sassiness, the food at Tía Betty Blue’s is earnest and deep.

Eric Williams

The Alibi Recommends:

Savory waffle (with carne adovada!)

“Mediterranean” vegan sandwich


Hibiscus drink

Tía Betty Blue’s

1248 San Mateo SE (two blocks north of Gibson)
268-1955 •
Hours: 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Price range: $4 to $6.50 entrées
Vibe: Mellow and vibrant
Vegetarian and vegan options: Bueno
Extras: Free Wi-Fi, Styrofoam-free take-out containers, weekend specials


Bow & Arrow Pairing Dinner at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center


Tour the musuem and then enjoy a five-course meal, perfectly paired with beverages provided by local Native-owned Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. Reservation required.


Angels Night Out at The Cowgirl BBQ

Beerland at The Lodge at Santa Fe

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