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Cecilia’s Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Cecilia's Cafe on 6th Street

Cecilia’s Cafe, a hidden downtown gem and one of New Mexico’s most famous and popular restaurants

Pasqual Baylon’s devotion to the Mass and the Holy Eucharist was so fervent that even when assigned kitchen duty, he remained so enraptured in adoration of the Eucharist that angels had to stir the pots to keep them from burning.  It’s deliciously ironic, therefore, that San Pasqual is the recognized patron saint of Mexican and New Mexican kitchens, a beloved saint whose smiling countenance graces many a kitchen, including the one in Cecilia’s Cafe, one of Albuquerque’s most authentic (and best) New Mexican restaurants.

On the day Cecilia opened her cafe back in 1999, she found a small retablo (a painting with a religious theme) of San Pasqual on her restaurant’s stoop.  To this day, no one knows who left that retablo which now hangs near the kitchen’s entrance.  If you’re inclined to believe in miracles…or at least in a favorable omen, San Pasqual was portend of greatness for this humble little restaurant.

Cecilia warms herself by the wood stove

The talented and terrific Cecilia Baca

When Cecilia says the secret ingredient in her cooking is love, she knows it comes from her heart, but she also doesn’t discount divine inspiration from her kitchen’s patron saint.  One meal at Cecilia’s Cafe and you’ll probably be disposed to believe her food is inspired.  If you’re a native New Mexican, you might even call it miraculous.  That’s because this is New Mexican food the way it’s been prepared by and for New Mexicans for generations.  It is unadulterated and in no way “anglicized” for touristy tastes.  This is the real thing!

Cecilia worked at several restaurants (including Little Anita’s, Garduno’s and Garcia’s) before embarking on her restaurant venture.  Because her goal is to deliver authenticity and consistency to her customers, she insists on preparing all the food herself (with Pasqual’s angels no doubt lending a hand).  The result is no less than some of the very best New Mexican food in the city–far better than the food at any of the restaurants in which she worked.

Cecilia's charming cafe

Cecilia’s comfortable restaurant

Cecilia was born and raised in Albuquerque’s North Valley and is a stickler for the details–the little things that make a difference between authenticity and a parody.  Preserving centuries old New Mexican culinary traditions is one of the reasons she opened her restaurant.  It’s also one of the reasons she insists her daughters Stephanie and Claudette work with her.  Cecilia wants to ensure they learn traditional New Mexican culinary techniques and is even teaching them how to prepare those dishes (such as meat empanadas) they might not like.  Her daughters have learned much more than cooking.  Their engaging and friendly personalities are obviously a reflection of the old-fashioned New Mexican manners they’ve learned from their mother.

Cecilia’s Cafe is the essence of an off-the-beaten path restaurant.  Situated in a hundred year old plus brick edifice a few blocks south of Central Avenue, it is both amazingly obscure and surprisingly well known.  Cecilia’s loyal clientele include white- and blue-collar workers who have frequented her cafe from the start. That clientele includes former ambassador to Spain Ed Romero, a New Mexico native.  Romero gave Cecilia the wood-burning stove that keeps her homey restaurant warm. Considering its relative anonymity until “discovered” in 2009, you might wonder if the faithful throngs wanted to keep this divine dining destination a well-kept secret.

Salsa and Chips Cecilia style

Salsa and chips at Cecilia’s Cafe

Much of Albuquerque didn’t learn about Cecilia’s until the Albuquerque Journal’s luminous restaurant critic Andrea Lin rated it three and a half stars, a rating rarely accorded by the fire-eating Wisconsin native.   Though not a native, Andrea has come to realize that true greatness in chile is rare, even in New Mexico, so for her to use that adjective to describe Cecilia’s chile, it has to be something special.

Today, Cecilia’s is no longer a well-kept secret thanks to an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives which aired on February 16th, 2009.  Host Guy Fieri couldn’t get enough of Cecilia’s chicharrones (more on those later) and appreciated the multiple layers of flavor in Cecilia’s made from pods red chile.   He even took a stab at frying sopaipillas and watching tortillas on the griddle (under Cecilia’s watchful eye, of course).  Today, a monitor on a wall shows the “Triple D” episode perpetually.

Green chile Salsa and chips

In January, 2010, the Travel Channel traveled from coast to coast to uncover the 101 tastiest places to chow down–”joints serving some of the biggest and best dishes of deliciousness around.”  The only New Mexico restaurant to make the list–at  number 45 on the chow down countdown–was Cecilia’s Cafe, a downtown Duke City institution.  The program described Cecilia’s as “where they serve up New Mexican food so messy not even a stack of napkins won’t help.”  The description aptly described the Fireman’s Burrito, “a burrito bursting with so many mouthwatering and mind-blowing fillings, they serve it with a side of…apron.”  The Travel Channel gave it a “four-napkin” rating. 

This behemoth burrito was created by Cecilia at the behest of two local firemen Cecilia describes as “characters” who came into the restaurant famished and asked for something really big.  Cecilia put together sausage, bacon, eggs and hashed browns then loaded them into a homemade tortilla and piled on red chile, green chile, beans and carne adovada.  She topped the “gloriously messy mound of chow” with cheese and red and green chile.  Cecilia says it weighs between two and a half and three pounds, depending on who makes it.  When she makes it, it’s always three pounds.  This is the Fireman’s Burrito on the menu for just over a ten spot.  There’s also a competition-size burrito which goes for $42 (as of February, 2012), but it’s yours at no charge if you can finish it in an hour.  Because it’s roughly the size of a barge (seriously–it’s the length of a table and is more than three-inches high), only one gurgitator has managed to finish it and he did so in 36 minutes.  Nearly eighty others have tried and failed.

Blue corn enchiladas with red chile and a fried egg

Enchiladas with a fried egg on top

Call it sacrilege if you will, but I believe Cecilia’s red chile is in rarefied company along with Mary & Tito’s, The Shed, La Choza and Pete’s Cafe when it comes to capturing the essence of outstanding red chile.  Cecilia uses only Chimayo red chile and has it ground specially for her.  It’s a dark, rich and earthy chile that isn’t adulterated with flour or with cumin, that accursed spoiler of chile (Cecilia and I commiserated on the use of that vermin spice cumin, both aghast that any self-respecting New Mexican cook would use it on chile). 

As has become rather common in many New Mexican salsa and chips are no longer complementary but this is one salsa worth splurging (a pittance really) for.  This salsa’s piquancy will sneak up on you and before you know it the roof of your mouth and tongue will be tingling with the spicy vibrancy of a fresh and delicious salsa.  At many New Mexican restaurants salsa is often the most piquant menu item.  That’s not the case at Cecilia’s whose chile can be quite incendiary.  Another rare treat is that Cecilia sometimes offers a green chile-based salsa.

Carne adovada

Carne Adovada Breakfast with potatoes and beans at Cecilia’s

The menu includes many New  Mexican favorites, all prepared to order.  This isn’t fast food, or worse, frozen food thawed when ordered.  Cecilia frowns on institutionalized restaurants who don’t use the freshest ingredients possible. Though I normally order my New Mexican entrees “Christmas style” so as to sample both red and green chile, Cecilia’s red chile is so good that it might be a while before I find out what the green is like.  It’s that way at Mary & Tito’s, too.

That red chile shines on blue corn enchiladas engorged with shredded roast beef and topped with a fried egg.  If it’s possible for your taste buds to be happy, this entree will do it for you.  The roast beef, like all the meats Cecilia uses, comes from Nelson’s Market, a long-time Old Coors neighborhood institution and for my money, the very best meat market in the Duke City.  The shredded roast beef is tender and delicious.

Chicharones burrito

A humongous burrito at Cecilia’s

Having certified that Cecilia’s red chile is in exclusive company, we picked up Andrea’s gauntlet and ordered the carne adovada breakfast plate (hashed browns, two eggs any style, beans and carne adovada). The carne adovada is achingly tender and melt-in-your-mouth delicious–shredded pork marinated in luscious red chile and slow-cooked to perfection.  As my friend Becky Mercuri might say, it’s so good I’d like to comb it through my hair.  Guy Fieri called it “pulled pork gone wild” after spilling the contents of a hand-held carne adovada burrito onto his beard.   Combing it through your hair or spilling it onto your beard might let it linger a bit longer, but in your mouth is where this carne adovada belongs.  This is carne adovada you will dream about.

Not surprisingly, Cecilia’s brings authenticity to a New Mexican specialty few restaurants seem to do well any more.  That would be chicharrones or pork cracklings (not pork rinds, but deep-fried cubes of pork with maybe a bit of pork fat thrown in for flavor).  A six- or eight-ounce portion at Cecilia’s is served with just off-the comal flour tortillas.  Fieri made the mistake of declaring that chicharrones are eaten like potato chips.  “That’s pork rinds, baby.” Cecilia corrected him.  She then showed him how they’re made–four hours of meticulous preparation time.  Another venue for chicharones is in Cecilia’s chicharones and bean burrito (pictured above).  Covered in cheese and smothered in heavenly red chile, it is among the very best burritos in the city.  Guy Fieri declared them “the size of a small football.”  Utterances of “wow” punctuated each bite he took of these delicious burritos.

Huevos Rancheros served Christmas style with Chicharones, Potatoes and Beans

Desserts rotate in and out at Cecilia’s whose prowess at baking is equal to its preparation of main entrees.  Alas, sometimes the entire baking bounty is gone by noon courtesy of savvy diners buying the sweet stuff in bulk.  This is definitely a case of their gain and your loss.  One of the specialties of the house are natillas, a rich Spanish custard that is equally wonderful whether served cold or warm.  Cecilia’s rendition is reputed to be fabulous, but if you don’t get it early, you might not get it at all.  You’ll also want a cup or three of the Red Rock Roasters coffee specially ground for Cecilia.  True to its name, this Albuquerque based coffee rocks!

Visit during the Lenten or Advent seasons and Cecilia might just be serving capirotada.  To call this dessert “bread pudding” is a vast understatement.  Made well, it is a terrific dessert.  Made authentically, it can be extraordinary.  Cecilia’s capirotada is extraordinary!  Like most capirotada, its component ingredients include toasted bread, lots of butter, cheese and raisins.  Cecilia also adds New Mexican roasted piñon which gives it a subtle hint of pine and for good measure, she might throw in cranberries to lend a tart taste.  She also uses piloncillo, a Mexican brown sugar.

Capirotada

Capirotada (New Mexican Bread Pudding)

Capirotada isn’t the only traditional Lenten dish Cecilia prepares.  During Lent, her menu might include quelites (wild spinach) and torta de huevo (a light egg-based dish served on Good Friday when Catholics abstain from eating meat).  Non-Lenten desserts include some of the best chocolate brownies I’ve ever had.  My friend Mike Muller said he’d dream about them after having lustily consumed the very last one left at Cecilia’s.  Being the good friend that he is, he shared it with me.  It’s so good, I might not have shared it.

The walls at Cecilia’s Cafe are adorned with several images of San Pasqual, as appropriate an inspiration as there could be for this wonderfully authentic New Mexican restaurant.  As you partake of Cecilia’s wonderful red chile, visualizing Pasqual’s angels helping out in the kitchen won’t be much of a stretch.  Get to know Cecilia and you’ll come to the realization that working miracles is a specialty for her. 

Cecilia’s Cafe in Nob Hill

In November, 2011, Cecilia launched a second instantiation of her popular restaurant just a few blocks from the original.  Nob Hill crowds are starting to discover what the Downtown folks know.  Cecilia’s next venture is even more ambitious–opening a restaurant in Manhattan.  Don’t bet against Cecilia and her patron saint to make it a huge hit in Metropolis.

Cecilia’s Cafe
230 6th Street
Albuquerque, New Mexico
505 243-7070

LATEST VISIT: 11 June 2009
# OF VISITS: 4
RATING: 23
COST: $$
BEST BET: Blue Corn Enchiladas with Shredded Roast Beef, Carne Adovada, Salsa and Chips, Capirotada, Chicharones and Bean Burrito, Chocolate Brownies

Cecilia's Cafe (Downtown) on Urbanspoon

Cecilia’s Cafe
2933 Monte Vista Blvd, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
505 268-1147
LATEST VISIT: 10 February 2012
# OF VISITS: 1
RATING: *
COST: $$
BEST BET: Huevos Rancheros with chicharones, Salsa and Chips

Cecilia's Cafe (Nob Hill) on Urbanspoon

  • Lisa Bailey says:

    After watching on Food network looked so good, decided to try on 3/16/09. Food ok, not the greatest, waitress and cashier had attitude. My reccommendation, get new help, she did not seem happy to be there. Did not get drink refill, asked for additional chips and salsa, out of chips. Will not be back.

    March 17, 2009 at 7:28 PM
  • R says:

    I also went after seeing this on Guy’s show. I was sorely disappointed and will only go back to try the carne adovada they were raving about. I went on a Friday and they didn’t have any no meat specials– I had a choice between rellenos (and they were out) and a bean stuffed sopapilla. The food wasn’t spectacular and the standout was the salsa. It was supposed to be served with spanish rice, but I literally got a tablespoon.

    Our waitress was nice up until she brought out our food. We couldn’t get her attention and it wasn’t busy– no refills on water and she acted like I was inconviencing her when I asked for tortillas. The tortillas were gummy and definitely did not taste homemade. We were also going to ask regarding desserts, but we were ignored for the rest of our meal.

    The cashier was rude as well. We stood there for 5 minutes before she even acknowledged us.

    I will give this place one more chance, but will not go back if I have the same experience.

    March 23, 2009 at 1:12 PM
  • mp says:

    Cecilia’s can be delicious and the waitstaff great, the problem is both of them can be inconsistent. Here’s hoping you catch them on a good day, of which I have more often than not.

    June 14, 2009 at 5:34 PM
  • Gary Priester says:

    Gil

    It is always fascinating to see what the chips and stainless steel cup of salsa looks like. :-)

    June 20, 2009 at 5:50 PM
  • Chris says:

    I ordered the carne adovada burrito. The red chile was good – it had a nice rich color and flavor, and obviously didn’t have any thickeners added. The good flavor of the chile ON TOP of the burrito was really the only thing providing flavor and moisture to the otherwise dry meat and tortilla.

    The rice and beans were flavorful, but there were not enough of either – just enough to keep the plate from peeking through. Would have liked to have had papas on the menu.

    I initially went for the chicharrones, but, disappointingly, they were not on the menu.

    Chips were a bit thin, but flavorful, well-salted, and the salsa was very good with a nice spicy bite. Unfortunately, the serving was very small – just enough for a solo diner, but not nearly enough for two or more.

    I may go again, but I think I’ll keep trying different places. Cecilia’s was okay, but it’s no Mary and Tito’s.

    June 23, 2009 at 4:37 PM
  • Jen Senac says:

    7/12/09

    Just came from Cecilia’s. It was WONDERFUL!!! I had the chicharrones & they certainly lived up to all the hype, maybe even better. My husband had the breakfast enchiladas & just loved ‘em. We would have liked more beans/rice/potatoes on the side because they were delish. I can’t imagine anyone not loving the food, but I guess all great cooks have an off day from time to time. In any event, you owe it to yourself to give it another shot. A thousand screaming fans can’t be wrong!

    July 12, 2009 at 1:17 PM
  • vv says:

    Ate here last year and am planning a return trip this week….we ate at several (ok, 5-6) New Mexican restaurants at that time and found this to be one of the best ! The food was fabulous, wait-staff great, atmosphere fun and comfortable. Red sauce great, green great, coffe great, etc. We actually liked it better than Mary and Tito’s…although their green sauce is hard to compete with. In our opinion, this is definitely a place to eat at in Albuq. As a side note, I was born and raised in Albuq so feel myself to be somewhat an expert in this cuisine….have to brag that my husband and family likes MY green and red sauces better than any in town ! Seriously, though, this is a really good restaurant !

    October 2, 2009 at 3:14 PM
  • Wayne & Vivian says:

    Visited Cecilia’s in Sept while on a vacation to see family. Loved the food, loved Cecilia and her family who were very friendly everytime we ate there. We were even able to purchase homemade tamales to take back to NY to carry us over til we eat there again. We know what good New Mexican food is having been born and raised there. Sure do miss it in NY….Can’t wait to return.

    January 24, 2010 at 5:06 PM
  • Nicholas says:

    The food wasn’t bad and could be found in any decent restaurant in Albuquerque. The waitress was slow and unaccommodating. The cashier was plain rude. I will not suggest anyone try this place purely due to their customer service. The food wasn’t bad but I will never return. Thanks Gil, but you obviously had better service than I did.

    March 20, 2010 at 4:12 PM
  • gwynneve says:

    never got to the food part. the first staff members i met were so rude i left before ordering. guess being famous means bad customer service.

    October 3, 2010 at 5:21 PM
  • Bill from Albuquerque Dining says:

    Great review! We just bought a Groupon deal ($10 for $20) and will be visiting Cecilia’s this weekend. I’m leaning toward carne adovada, but my girlfriend is vegetarian so we’ll have to choose a veggie dish for her. Any suggestions?

    March 30, 2011 at 1:18 AM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      Hello Bill

      Although Cecilia’s menu lists some items which appear to be vegetarian-friendly, some of them might actually be prepared in lard. I encourage you to ask Cecilia or her wait staff before ordering.

      Gil

      March 31, 2011 at 8:18 AM
  • Michael says:

    After eating at Cecilia’s, I’d have to say I wasnt impressed. Saw the place on Diners Drive Ins and Dives and they made it look good. We had breakfast and I ordered the carne adovada which was average, the hashbrowns need work and the eggs were ugly, maybe they need a good egg pan. The salsa was tasty and I got extra for my carne as it needed some heat. I haven’t been back due mostly because it’s in the heart of downtown. Average food, bad parking and the service is slow and it wasnt busy.

    April 18, 2011 at 11:52 AM
  • Barbara Tyner says:

    Your use of the term “anglosized,” especially in such a derogatory manner, is RACIST, by definition. You could have avoided alienating others by simply stating that the food is authentic in ingredients and flavours, and is not watered down or altered for tourist-tastebuds. This is careless writing, or it displays a deeper racist attitude. Either way, it does not make me want to read any more of your writing or try any of the restaurants you tout in your blog. You make choices when you write. Your words tell us who you are. Choose wisely.

    November 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      Hello Barbara

      The term “anglicized” (which I misspelled) is defined as “altering something such that it becomes English in form or character.” The oft used stereotype (one to which I don’t subscribe) about English food is that it is bland and tasteless. The comment with which you took umbrage–”It (Cecilia’s chile) is unadulterated and in no way “anglicized” for touristy tastes.”–is absolutely accurate in that Cecilia does not serve a bland and tasteless chile. Her chile is not anglicized nor is my use of the term racist!

      Not only do “words tell us who you are,” so do the ways in which people choose to react to those words. My review of Cecilia’s Cafe has been launched more than 7200 times and you are the only person to take issue with any aspect of the review (save for those who disagree with my high opinion of Cecilia’s food). You are absolutely welcome to choose to be upset about my use of a word whose connotations you did not understand, but any implications of racism are absolutely unfounded. You know nothing about me save for what I choose to share on my reviews.

      By the way, you’d better not read my review of Prime in which I write about foods white people like. You should also avoid my review of El Modelo in which I explain the roots of my “racism.”

      Best,

      Gil

      November 29, 2011 at 10:07 PM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    Where does that leave me?
    I often say that the Albuquerque Italian restaurants sometimes New Mexicanize the their attempts at marinara sauce with an addition of chile in it.
    Does that make me a RACIST too?
    Am I jingoistic when I write of my love 0f NY pizza?
    Am I being bigoted for extolling the virtues of the bagels found in hundreds of shops in NY?
    We discuss food on the wonderful blog not life and death issues.

    What’s this world coming to when we have to be PC about food and restaurants?
    It’s all about personal preferences.,
    Relax folks, make it all about green and red, not seeing red.

    November 30, 2011 at 12:36 PM
  • Nate D says:

    Barbara,
    You need to get over yourself. And as Gil points out, you should look up the definition of words before acting as if you know what they mean. I would also look up the definition of racist, since you imply you know the definition when you clearly do not. Gil’s reviews are fantastic and to react in the manner you did, without any factual basis, reflects on you and not on him. Since you won’t be going to any restaurants Gil recommends, I’d point out that he has recommended and reviewed a large number of them in Albuquerque. I guess that leaves you with relatively few dining choices. I truly feel sorry for you, for your ignorance and your childish way of expressing your misguided opinions….but most of all for the fact you’re now stuck eating at Arby’s, or someplace else Gil hasn’t reviewed because of your boycott. Enjoy the Beef N’Cheddar sandwiches…2 for $5, a great deal.

    November 30, 2011 at 1:31 PM
  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos says:

    Eeee ho la! Sorry Barbara, I’m compelled to add my two pesos, albeit belatedly.
    Alas, I didn’t read any Commentators saying they were alienated by Garduno’s use of the word “anglosized”, which, and tho Garduno now says t’was a misspelling, I like as having used it for years even tho it may not actually be a word as it doesn’t come up when I Google it!!!
    If anything however were to alienate folks, one might conjecture that his sesquipedalian bent might be the prime reason as apparently some folks can be frazzled per being hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobic. Contrawise, some might argue his blog should be “must” reading for kids preparing for the National Spelling Bee competition or taking the SATs!!!
    Similarly, lest some might say he tends to be verbose, in this instance he tries to rein himself in by using “anglosized”!! For example, check out what The Frugal Writer might say in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review http://tinyurl.com/4trgcqe regarding what you recommend he use “….by simply(?) stating that the food is authentic in ingredients and flavours (sic), and is not watered down or altered for tourist-tastebuds (sic).”
    IMHO, I’d be surprised if other Anglos, especially who’ve lived here awhile, find the reference as being derogatory or racist. I consider it a form of (and please pardon, maybe it’s just a “Guyz Thing”) joshing Newbies to NM be they tourists or residents as most of whom, in my humble experience, will chuckle at themselves per having to ‘get used to’ the “heat“ of New Mexican cuisine. Certainly…and despite many, many decades of living here as an Anglo… I can always stand to be corrected for not recognizing I’m being put down, altho none of my Anglo com(p)adres have ever brought it up as something that bugs them.
    Alas Barbara, lest Y’all be a Barbara Tyner of Fanta Se, I might ask readers to now better understand and take that into account sorta speak, where Y’all are coming from! Nevertheless! hope Y’all share some of your opinions of d i n i n g experiences as we all do (+ or -)…given that Garduno provides Comment space to even us Gabachos! Salud!

    December 1, 2011 at 4:53 PM
  • Sr Plata says:

    I don’t think I could have stated it any clearer than my friend Bob whose goal is to brighten up the quaint Village of Los Ranchos! I wonder if we ever crossed paths in the Hills of Westwood at a very old haunt from a time long-ago called Ships; another late night dining established for those who couldn’t sleep. I think Barbara has heard enough and hopefully sees the truth which is this food blog, brought to us by Gil on his own time and $, is a key to those who come from far away places making New Mexico their new home feel a bit more like they are ‘Home’. That is the case for me and other New Mexico friends who like to feast!

    December 1, 2011 at 6:45 PM
  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos says:

    Gracias Sr P…Alas, never been in a Ship’s as can be seen on the internet http://tinyurl.com/7e927w9
    Having to come ‘across town’ on a Vespa to enjoy the ambiance of Westwood, the only spot that stands out is a hole-in-the-wall place called Konditori…a place featuring shamefully decadent Scandanavian pastries with coffee in a simple but elegant, chic, perhaps avant gard setting for its time!

    December 1, 2011 at 8:50 PM
  • charris says:

    About the worst service I’ve experienced. 1) We had to ask for chips and salsa–out of chips, 2)lemon in our water–out of lemon. 3) One of our party ordered coffee–it never came. When our food came we had to ask for silverware. The sopapillas we ordered that were supposed to be hot were cold and when we inquired were told that “she was sure they were made in the last 10 minutes!” Of course had to ask for honey. Food was good but not outstanding. The carne adovada was incendiary. When we asked about dessert? The owner hadn’t made any. Can’t recommend.

    December 16, 2011 at 8:32 PM
  • Vvaughn says:

    I am a white girl who was born and raised in abq….I have had great ‘Mexican’ food all over New Mexico and love love love Cecelia’s .. We are there every time we return to the city ! We have always had great service and great food .

    January 8, 2012 at 10:49 PM
  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos says:

    Finally (blush)got here per choosing it as one of my monthly ‘Summer Breakfast with my Gals (daughters)’ treats of a Dad’s Day present!

    a) hopefully Gil can figure a way to put ‘Most Recent Comments’ (of here and elsewhere) first. b)Plenty of parking on Silver on a Saturday @ 10 AM (albeit parking meters) c)Inside, a steady in-out stream of just about full house(10ish? booths) during our next hour there. (i.e. the early pajarito gets the seat, at least on a Saturday AM!) Never felt being rushed out the door, tho. d)Eek…we apparently missed ‘the rude server’ of 3 who were in perpetual/polite hustle e)Thumbs-Up is what I got from the couple of abutting booths I asked re patronage f)while my ‘green’ was mild today on my otherwise fine eggs/potato/beans dish, I did manage to purloin a “few” ‘red’samples off my Daughters’ carne adovada dishes and, with all due respect to Ravers of Mary & Tito’s and The James (i.e. Beard), must say this (today’s)Red was Muy Sabrosa and Mucho CALIENTE…IMHO!

    If Y’all are looking for fine…tea-service… breakfast/lunch dining, Y’all are going to miss out going elsewhere for that. If Y’all are from the “East” and enjoy eating at a Diner, this is about THE Best we’all have to offer, SouthWest Style!!!!

    Surprisingly per being “downtown”, ABQ has little (I stand to be corrected) to recommend when a person attending the Convention Center asks for a “New Mexican” lunch spot close by….Alas, this is it!!!!

    July 30, 2012 at 7:10 PM
  • Calango Verde says:

    I read some of the comments and was reminded that some people just gotta hate. I am sorry that as a burqueno that I haven’t been frequenting this place for decades. My first go was today, I was concerned that like all the other “New Mexican” restaurants I would have to grill the waitstaff on what does and does not have meat or monteca. To my wonderous surprise it was both veggie red and green, veggie rice veggie beans!
    On a Friday at lunch, it was busy and I had to wait outside until a table opened. In my situation it was springtime, what the heck, if I can’t enjoy an ABQ springtime, I probably won’t enjoy anything.
    The waitstaff was business like, but it was busy. I was warned that nobody could eat the red chile. Challenge accepted, cheese enchiladas smothered in red and a side of green. Flavor and presentation 10/10. Spiciness of chile ( using my own thai rating) I gave it a 7.5/10. Which means, runny nose and not quite a tear drop. I was offered plenty of refills and I was rewarded with a big basket of sopaipillas. Sorry Senores Garcia y Garduno… Spenca Senora Sadie… Dona Cecilia es la reina de la comida Nuevo Mexicano! P.S. La reina promised me a 10 on spiciness for my next visit!

    April 11, 2014 at 2:14 PM

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