We weren’t exactly stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico. We were more stalking his film set in Abiquiu, an area northwest of Santa Fe loved by filmmakers for its spectacular (and a bit other-worldly) landscape. The latest film shooting there is Wolverine three whose working title is Juarez. After a Facebook friend posted a shot of a road sign for El Paso and the Mexican border at the Juarez crossing along with a shot of one of the sets, we set off to see these in person.
Not really stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico
If we were really stalking Hugh Jackson in New Mexico we wouldn’t have headed for the movie set. If they were shooting that day, we knew we wouldn’t have gotten close because of security. Luckily we hit it when they weren’t shooting the film.
A sign reading “to set” was misleading but following the instructions our Facebook friend had provided we found the set up a curvy dirt road with phenomenal views.
As we turned back onto the main road after scouting mission it looked like things were getting a bit more active. Crew members were moving equipment and vehicles.
The El Paso sign that we’d gotten a clear shot of fifteen minutes before was now obscured by a piece of equipment. I was glad I got the shot of it when I did. Photos in hand to share with our blog readers we headed for lunch at El Farolito in nearby El Rito.
Lunch at El Farolito
If you go to Abiquiu on a stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico mission, vary your return trip and return to Santa Fe through El Rito and Ojo Caliente. El Rito is a picturesque hamlet of about 800 citizens. El Rito was settled at the end of the 18th century by Hispanic settlers. At that time, New Mexico was still part of Spain’s extensive empire. Today, while most of the population remains Hispanic, Anglo artists and others have discovered this out-of-the-way hamlet and made it home. You can visit the town and its artists during their annual studio tour in October.
The narrow road that goes through El Rito has wonderful old buildings on either side. Most of the business buildings are deserted and look like they’ve been that way for years. If you blink, you’ll miss El Farolito, in a small building on the south side of the road. We almost did. There are about eight mismatched tables inside this funky establishment. One wall is taken up with framed clippings of press mentions including one from Travel + Leisure. El Farolito was also featured in the now-defunct Gourmet magazine, Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood as well as numerous local publications.
Why all the hoopla? I’m not totally sure. Maybe it’s the unexpectedness of finding this off-the-beaten-path eatery or perhaps the sheer hominess of it. The food is fine, but not epic, though Steve said he’d come back for the green chile cheeseburger which made 10Best’s Best Green Chile Cheeseburgers in New Mexico this year. I was consulted for the 20 places that were presented to voters for this list, but the El Farolito nomination didn’t come from me. Full confession: it was totally off my radar at the time.
There are two basic kinds of green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico. The first fairly simple, made with chopped green chile (sometimes even a piece of whole chile) and cheese. The second arrived fully dressed with mayo and mustard (the burger condiment of choice for many New Mexicans) as well as shredded lettuce, onion, chopped tomato and even pickles. El Farolito’s burgers fall into the second camp. A single burger is $3.75, but you can make it a double for an additional $2. It’s worth it! The double was so fat I could barely get my mouth around it. Steve ordered the onion rings which were quite good as a side. We asked Marisol, our server if they were made in-house and got a yes. We’d definitely come back for the burger.
Sated, we hit the road heading toward Ojo Caliente. We descended the curvy road to the valley in a torrential rain storm complete with dramatic thunder and lightning.
We had a wonderful outing stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico but even after Hugh has pulled up stakes and there’s no chance of spotting him in Abiquiu, it still makes a fantastic day trip and you can always stalk the ghost of Georgia O’Keeffe.
If you’re seriously stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico and get a siting, let us know on our Facebook page and we’ll share it.
Hugh Jackman photo was taken by Paul Bird, Paul Bird Photography and used with permission.
The green chile cheeseburger photo is from this post on NM Gastronome and used with permission.