The Frito Pie: A Santa Fe Food Experience

***This post contains affiliate links. Clicking on these is a win-win because it saves you precious travel research time and puts a few pennies in my pocket (and it doesn't cost you more).
Please see my full disclosure policy here for more information.

The American food experience is less like a blanket and more like a patchwork quilt.  There is not one type of taste of food that encompasses the American food experience.  If you were to pick the quintessential “American” food, what would it be?  Apple Pie?  Hamburgers?  Chicago Style Pizza?

I am always on the lookout for pieces of the American food quilt, dishes that are woven into the American experience by the unique circumstances that brought them into existence.  I found a gem in Santa Fe, NM.  Hidden in the back of a 5 and Dime store (a rare American experience in it’s own right) right in the heart of Santa Fe’s tourist drag, I had my first encounter with a Frito Pie.

Five and Dime Santa Fe

The Frito Pie was created in the 1960’s by Teresa Hernandez, who worked at the food counter at the time.  It is proudly served there today in staggering volumes, still in the Frito bag just like the original.

Santa Fe Five and Dime Menu

Visiting the lunch counter at the Five and Dime in Santa Fe is a authentic Santa Fe experience in its own right.  When I visited, it became apparent that it is a real local hangout spot.   You could get a heaping helping of local culture by just sitting down for a while and watching the steady stream of locals coming in for a cheap bite and cool place to hand out.

Santa Fe Five and Dime Counter

The whole mess arrived in my hands covered in gooey melted cheese.  Underneath the cheese, I saw hints of the spicy, crunchy goodness waiting to be uncovered in the form of a layer of Fritos covered in spicy, home made chili.


Planning a trip soon? Help Support This Blog!

Booking your hotels, apartments and tours through the following links sends a small commission my way that helps keep this blog running (and it doesn't cost you any more). - - Flipkey - Apartment Rentals - Tours through Intrepid Travel

Thanks for your support.

When I stuck my spoon in and applied its contents to my mouth, I was surprised by how spicy chili was (I guess I shouldn’t be, after the spice level of my meal the previous night.  People in New Mexico really like their food HOT!)

Santa Fe Frito Pie

When it all melted together in the bag, the Fritos softened and soaked up some of the juice from the chili, blending the flavors in a most pleasant way.

I enjoyed my iconic Santa Fe food experience underneath the warm spring sunshine in Santa Fe’s central square, soaking up absorbing its unique architecture and some great people watching at the same time.

Tags: , ,

  1. Heaven in My Mouth - Key Lime Pie in Cocoa Beach Florida | There and Back AgainThere and Back Again - January 24, 2014

    […] The Frito Pie: A Santa Fe Food Experience […]

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge