Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico

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

Hugh Jackman at the 2013 premier of Wolverine in London, Photo Paul Bird, Paul Bird Photography

Hugh Jackman at the 2013 premier of “Wolverine” in London, photo Paul Bird, Paul Bird Photography

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.

Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico - Fire tower from the set of Juarez the new Wolverine film, photo Billie Frank

Fire tower from the set of “Juarez,” the new “Wolverine film”, photo/Billie Frank

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.

Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico - El Paso sign with mileage to the Juarez crossing photo Billie Frank

El Paso sign with mileage to the Juarez crossing, photo/Billie Frank

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

Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico - El Farolito in tiny downtown El Rito, photo Steve Collins

El Farolito in tiny downtown El Rito, photo/Steve Collins

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.

Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico -

The abandoned Martin’s across the road from in El Farlito, photo Steve Collins

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.

Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico - El Farolito's dining room, photo Billie Frank

El Farolito’s dining room, photo/Billie Frank

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.

Green chile cheeseburger at El FarolitoNM photo Gil Garduño NM Gastronome

Green chile cheeseburger at El Farolito, photo/Gil Garduño NM Gastronome

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.

Photo credits:
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.

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12 Responses to “Stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico”

  1. Janice Chung
    August 8, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    What a cool outing. I’d do that for sure to “stalk” Hugh Jackman! Interesting thing about El Farolito that it was in Travel and Leisure magazine. i guess “atmosphere” and interior weren’t part of their review! Maybe it’s really the green chile cheeseburger that’s the star.
    Janice Chung recently posted..A Tale Of Two Hikes In The French Alps: What You Need To KnowMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      August 8, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

      I think El Farolito got a lot of attention as it’s been around a long time, people think it’s a find because it’s in this tiny somewhat remote village and it definitely reflects the local culture. The green chile cheeseburger is a bonus.

  2. Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields
    August 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    I’m sorry we didn’t know about this when we were in New Mexico a few years ago. Jackman was born, bred and went to school and university only a few kilometres from where David and I live. Although I am not really a fan of his Wolverine character, it would have been fun to walk in his footsteps.
    Lyn aka The Travelling Lindfields recently posted..The Servant Life Tour at The Elms – a Newport MansionMy Profile

    • Billie Frank
      August 8, 2016 at 3:07 pm #

      You couldn’t have walked in these footsteps a few years ago- they’re shooting now. But, come back and you can! I haven’t seem “Wolverine” but might to see the NM locations. We went to “Cowboys and Aliens” a real bomb right after touring the western town set where much of it was filmed and it made the film ever so much more fun. I don’t know if he’s filmed here before- I think he probably has, but I couldn’t find documentation.

  3. Kristin Henning
    August 9, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    We sure are looking forward to driving around NM – and seeing you! I love the story of this adventure.

    • Billie Frank
      August 9, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

      Thanks Kristin! It was great meeting you and Tom. Check out the posts on Las Vegas and Fort Union. Enjoy your Raton adventure!

  4. Ruth Johnston
    August 9, 2016 at 4:20 pm #

    I remember literally turning a corner in Darling Harbour Sydney as Hugh Jackman jogged past us. He is quite dishy in real life!

    • Billie Frank
      August 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

      He’s pretty hunky on the screen. He’s still here, I think. Maybe I’ll run into him.

  5. jane canapini
    August 11, 2016 at 6:29 am #

    I love little road trips that head out with one objective and discover another thing along the way. The southwest seems to be full of these experiences, with or without Signor Jackman!

    • Billie Frank
      August 13, 2016 at 11:51 am #

      New Mexico is full of unexpected discoveries. We find something new just about every time we venture out into the countryside.

  6. Carole Terwilliger Meyers
    August 11, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    Next time I am stalking Hugh Jackman in New Mexico I will definitely be stopping for a green-chile cheeseburger at El Farolito!

    • Billie Frank
      August 13, 2016 at 11:51 am #

      You’ll have to hurry or wait until he shoots another film in Abiquiu-lol.

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