Over the years, I've received numerous tips directing me to hidden gems I'd otherwise have missed. Rarely, however, have I been more thankful than I am today to the kind reader who suggested I try Vi's in Security. Her e-mail closed with the words, "The Slopper Burger is the best in the area."
"The what?" I asked out loud. Colleagues had the same response. What's a slopper burger, and are they common? This required further investigation, and investigate I did. And happy, happy, happy I am.
Words truly cannot do Vi's Slopper ($6) adequate justice, and it must be tried to be truly appreciated. That said, it's a plate-sized, 12-ounce patty cooked to order, served open-faced atop a grilled bun, smothered with Colorado green chili sauce and gooey melted cheese.
Made from a white gravy base, as a concession to some customers, this chili rendition redefines the genre (which I normally loathe). It refuses to compromise the fluidity, tang or heat of true New Mexico green, and it pairs well with the monster slab of deliciously charred beef. It'll keep me coming back until I can't fit through the door.
But it's not the only reason I'll return. Vi's, officially called Vi's Giant Burger & More, sits in a mini-strip on the south side of Main Street in Security. Its owners, mother-daughter team Olivia Sena and Arlene Holt, hail from Albuquerque, N.M. That's where the "& More" comes in: They offer an array of down-home New Mexican treats, many built around recipes handed down by the restaurant's namesake, Olivia's mother and Arlene's grandmother, Vi.
Arlene and Olivia are clearly serious about their food. The kitchen takes up 75 percent of the space they do a brisk takeout business and an entire roll of paper towels adorns each of the three tables, which are set in a small side-room with seating for eight. White walls, brown carpet, lots of climbing indoor plants and a big window frame uninterrupted views of Pikes Peak and the dramatic dishes. Vi would surely be proud of her girls, who turn out overloaded plate after overloaded plate of meaty, cheesy, saucy happiness.
Vibrant and delicious, their red chile is the best I've had in the area, by leaps and bounds. Earthy, dusty and smoky, it's spectacular over cheese enchiladas ($1.50), French or home fries ($2.75) or a Navajo taco ($6). The latter uses a sizeable square of fluffy fry bread as the substrate for a pile of beef or chicken, beans and cheese, all covered by choice of sauce. Sopapillas, another New Mexican classic, also support taco-like presentations and a nearly obscene burger assemblage ($5.25 to $6.50).
Most everything here is made from scratch. Arlene and Olivia whip up authentic New Mexico green chili thin and spicy, with chunks of pork and tomato every Saturday. The meaty pork tamales ($2) pack a powerful punch into a tiny package. Even the chips ($2) are fried fresh to order. Plus they serve breakfast all day.
I could go on and on, but suffice it to say that Vi's is family-friendly; Arlene and Olivia willingly accommodate special requests; and I'm considering pitching a tent in their parking lot. Anything else, I encourage you to find out for yourself.
Vi's Giant Burger & More
1835 Main St., Security, 391-8257
Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.,
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.