Gil's Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico's Sesquipedalian Sybarite. 841 Restaurant Reviews, More Than 6500 Visitor Comments…And Counting!

About This Blog

Sugar Nymph's Bistro in Penasco (Photo Courtey of Deanna Nichols)

Famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti once said, “One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.”

Hola! I’m Gil Garduño.  Welcome to Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog.  I chose the site vanity “nmgastronome” because it truly reflects my passion for the cuisine of the Land of Enchantment–and hopefully describes the level to which my palate has evolved after having visited and evaluated more than 1,000 restaurants in the past ten years or so.

Gastronome - A connoisseur of good food; someone with a refined palate; a person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment (especially good food and drink); an epicure.

In this blog’s nomenclature, there is hopefully an implicit reflection of the continuous improvement of this Web site.  In the past ten years, this site has evolved from a rudimentary HTML version of an Excel table to a site in which you could find detailed, one-page reviews of many of your favorite restaurants in New Mexico.  This blog is the latest in the evolution of Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Site.

Mary & Tito's guacamole and rice filled burrito served Christmas style.

Mary & Tito’s guacamole and rice filled burrito served Christmas style.

When we moved back to New Mexico on May 15, 1995, our first priority wasn’t where to live, but where to eat.  Having been away for the better part of 18 years, there were so many old favorites with which to reacquaint ourselves and so many exciting new prospects we just had to try.  By year’s end, we had visited 75 different restaurants.

As a chronic “compiler of lists” (a consequence of being meticulously organized) I began using an Excel spreadsheet to track the various restaurants we visited.   That rudimentary spreadsheet included short “Zagat style” comments intended to serve as mnemonics that triggered what we liked or didn’t like about a particular restaurant.  Sometimes those comments were so cryptic that they meant something only to me (pretty much as intended).

In 1995, the internet was in its relative infancy, but I applied my then rudimentary HTML skills to create a Web site in which to enter my musings.  Though the format lent itself to tracking restaurant visits much better than a spreadsheet ever could, it somehow didn’t dawn on me that my reviews would be available to anyone savvy enough to use a search engine.  It didn’t take long before Gil’s Thrilling Web site was “discovered.”

I was privileged enough to have been mentioned on Roadfood.coma few years ago.  Here’s what Michael and Jane Stern of Gourmet magazine and roadfood.comhad to say about this Web site: We came across a delightful website called Gil’s Thrilling Web Site, written and maintained by Gil Garduño. It’s mostly about good Roadfood-type eating, especially in Albuquerque, and it is a joy to browse. We recommend a visit!

I’ve been mentioned on Chowhound more times than I can count and in the past two years (2007-2008), I’ve also spent some time on the phone with Food Network researchers, advocating for New Mexico’s culinary scene.

While recognition from respected local and national publications seems to give my site a modicum of validation, the biggest kick I get is in getting e-mail from adventurous diners who visit my site.  I hear most often from newcomers to the Land of Enchantment who have used my reviews to discover New Mexico’s restaurants, but appreciate e-mail just as much from lifelong New Mexico residents who recommend restaurants I may not even have heard about.

So, what qualifies me to review and write about restaurants?  I have no “professional training” that qualifies me to discern the subtle nuances inherent in various foods, nor am I by trade or practice, a professional chef.  I’m merely a gastronome, someone who loves and appreciates good food…and dining at nearly 1000 different restaurants since 1995 should give a modicum of credence to my opinion–but no more credence than YOU have.

Unlike the pretentious pundits who wax poetic about the latest epicurean trends in the culinary world (those who would, for example, describe a meal at McDonald’s as a “gustatory repast in the ubiquitous Scottish restaurant emblazoned with saffron ellipses”), I’m not particularly impressed by nouveau cuisine, the very pronunciation of which reeks condescension. I’m an ordinary guy who likes to eat good food at reasonable prices and expects to be treated relatively well while doing so.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil

Unlike some food critics (pictured), I don’t blindly acquiesce to the latest trend, turn a deaf ear to recommendations from people who don’t tread the well beaten path, and I don’t hold back in criticizing–if warranted–the “anointed” restaurants frequented by the nouveau riche.

I’ve been lucky enough to have traveled extensively and availed myself of the opportunity to partake of the finest local cuisine available in such hotbeds of culinary presentation as San Francisco, New Orleans, Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas (yes, Sin City where all the celebrity chefs go).

Please review my rating system which explains how I arrive at my ratings.  It’s not exactly scientific and I don’t take into account anyone else’s opinion of the restaurants in which we dine, not even the opinion of my faithful dining companion and wife Kim whose palate has matured tremendously over the years.  Your opinions may certainly differ as there are no rights and wrongs in my ratings, just opinions–mine.

This Web site lists only restaurants I’ve visited this century (since January 1st, 2000).  I have deleted the short synopses of restaurants (such as the dreadful Chinese buffet restaurants in Albuquerque) I have no intention of ever visiting again.  I also eliminated most reviews on corporate chain restaurants, partially in the spirit of “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

As much as possible, my reviews will begin to incorporate images of the restaurants we visit.  Mastering HTML has been easier for me than remembering to remove my camera’s lens cover before I shoot a picture.  Fortunately, much better photographers than I have shared some of their wonderful images.  The photo of the Sugar Nymphs Bistro in Peñasco, for example, is courtesy of the brilliant Deanna Nichols.

Please note that a caption will display when you run your cursor over any image.

Note: Please read “Welcome to Gil’s Thrilling Blog” for more information.

  • Bruce Schor says:

    Welcome back, Bob. I was getting worried that either we offended beyond the breaking point or you ran off with La Gloria to some romantic island.
    Either way, welcome back, you were missed..
    I’d be happy to join you at the Dog House for a tube steak with some trimmings. Passed that way recently and hoped I’d spot the Firebird and would stop in and implore you to return.

    January 24, 2014 at 3:28 PM
  • Jim Millington says:

    Hi Bob,
    I didn’t mean any of those seemingly awful things I said about you.
    I am still ready at Chez Axel (the Press Pass you know) or Tube Steak Heaven.

    January 24, 2014 at 4:03 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Yo Jim…of course! Name some times I can meet The Child Bride…uh…and yourself at Chez!
    ~ Whoa!!! just got my Press Pass renewed!!!!

    January 24, 2014 at 5:11 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Without hesitation El Brute…unless ya don’t bring Lady G…and despite Anja offering Prime Rib at Blade’s this weekend…name a time to Munch-up at The Dog House, albeit after 1 when the Tie/HHP (Hose/Heels/Pearls) crowd from Downton_ ABQ (governmental offices) has had their fill!!!!

    January 24, 2014 at 5:12 PM
    • Bruce Schor says:

      Yo, Bob,
      I have cardiac rehab Mon, Wed, and Fri and would like to work around that.
      How about 1pm on this coming Wednesday?
      The wife won’t be able to join us this time, we are leaving the next day for California and she’s meeting the dog sitter that afternoon.
      We could also wait until early February if that suits you better.

      January 25, 2014 at 9:37 AM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    Yesterday was the annual Road Runner Souper Bowl.
    Very well attended and for a great cause. it’s RRs largest fundraiser and gets great support from the many restaurants represented.
    Got to meet Jim Millington and his wife Janet and we compared heart attack stories, not what you might think was apropos to the event but discussed with the proper senses of humor for two survivors. Spent some quality time with Gil who is always the ultimate gentleman who manner belies his status as the number one food blogger in NM.
    Back to the Souper Bowl. Many chile based soups and my choices seemed to be mine alone.
    Really liked a particular tomato based soup with great flavor but have forgotten the restaurant maker. Sorry.
    Did particularly like the the creamy potato soup by Farm and Table. and I thought the best of the NM style soups was the tortilla soup from Blades Bistro.
    My favorite dessert was the macaroon from Jan’s on 4th Street. It was exceptional but was bypassed by the people’s choice award for best dessert.
    One of the fun parts of the Souper Bowl was the raffles. This year it was replaced by a silent auction and I’d be curious to know if it did as well
    for Road Runner as the raffles. $500.00 as the starting bid for a Peyton Manning autographed football with bids going up to $1200.00 seemed a tad too high, I might have been more excited by an Eli Manning football, and although she’s a hot commodity I know I wasn’t interested in the Taylor Swift photo at any price.
    The turnout was very good, the soups and desserts the same. The cause was worthy of both.
    Thank you Road Runner for what they do to try to help those hungry in NM, a daunting task.
    Hope to see you next year, again.

    January 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      Thank you, Bruce. I always enjoy spending time with you and Lady Grayce and it was a thrill meeting Jim and Janet.

      Bob, you’ve got to leave the running of the Village of Los Ranchos to Mayor Larry and plan to attend the Souper Bowl in 2015. We missed your great company.

      Here are yesterday’s winners:

      1st Place and Souper Bowl Champion:Artichoke Café
      2nd Place: The Ranchers Club of New Mexico
      3rd Place: Bocadillo’s

      People’s Choice – Vegetarian Soup
      1st Place: Flying Star
      2nd Place: Bien Shur at Sandia Resort and Casino
      3rd Place: Farm & Table

      People’s Choice – Desserts
      1st Place: The Chocolate Art Gallery
      2nd Place: Theobroma Chocolatier
      3rd Place: Nothing Bundt Cakes

      People Choice – Best Booth
      The Greenside Café

      Critics’ Choice Winners
      1st Place: Mon Amis Personal Chefs for their Caramelized Carrot Soup with Coconut Caviar
      2nd Place: The Ranchers Club of New Mexico for their Green Chile Clam Chowder
      3rd Place: Forque Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque for their Roasted Vegetable Bisque

      January 26, 2014 at 9:15 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Souper Bowl: Gil…El Brute

    a) Yes Gil, Thanks…I put the Souper Bowl in my online calendar for ’15… with a pox on my computer lest it crash! Drats your mentioning Mayor Larry….you diverted me to write him to take glee in The Village Vision newsletter he honhoes to recognize winners in our Village environs….Choc. Art Gallery and (adopted) Farm & Table!!!!

    b) Indeed El Brute, your overview of the Souper Bowl reminded me how quickly I became flummoxed re keeping track of all the soups at the Souper Bowl, given most were ultrasuperior!
    Raffles? Seriously Taylor Swift??? I can’t help but to think…even beyond keeping things Local…. a silent auction for a “Lunch with…..” our Appliance Liquidators gal, let alone Gil’s and my Fav, KASA/KRQE Jessica Garate, would give the Mannings a run for their money. Pshaw, what about Dianne Anderson, Nancy Laflin? and then there’s our very own Suzy Q let alone La Gloria lest she return! If they are really serious about $$$ raising, Blush (and who didn’t see this coming) can’t see how mega-bucks wouldn’t be raised by offering, at the least! a hand-in-hand stroll down through the new…and used…car lots with our ever-so-popular Linda Beaver! Eh, throw in a test drive! Can’t imagine if a couple’s spa treatment after hot tubing overlooking the Rio Grande in TorC or at 1,000 Waves were in its stead! Of course, let us not exclude, but highlight Ladies bidding for an offering of a Day at Uncle Cliff’s or Lunch-at-the-Dog House with Gil!!!

    Speaking of which: How about your option to dine at The Dog House by letting me know a best time for when Y’all get back from CA? Speaking of munching on down-to-earth YumYums, if you be anywhere near downtown LA and have the time, please consider trying out the beef French Dipped (only $6.75) at Phillipe’s so as to report back if my memory remains intact. In just 8 years the so named samwich(sic) itself will be 100 years old since being ‘invented’ there!!!! http://www.philippes.com/history/ Don’t forget to specify “Double Dipped” !! (PS, just out of curiosity, try one of those Pickeled Eggs(?) floating in jar of a pink/purple liquid, as I could never afford one as a college student! Re all!!!: I’ll comp ya lest you find any was not up to your standards!!! For fun while down that way, there is Olvera St. within a couple of blocks…the oldest street in LA filled with artifacts from Mexico…might be interesting to compare their vitals with our New Mexican fare!!!
    “Chow!”

    January 27, 2014 at 1:52 PM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    BOTVOLR, The Double Dip sounds great but the purple pickled eggs just might bring back the A-fibrillation.
    I know we will eat the best sushi I’ve ever has at a place in Manhattan Beach.
    I will be staying in Hermosa Beach and going to the US Men’s Soccer Team in a “friendly” vs South Korea at the Stub Hub Center and would appreciate your input for dining with 10 family members including a couple of kids.
    We will set a dining date when I return and would love to have a few friends of Gil (and Gil) join us.
    Susie Q would be a welcome addition and I wouldn’t mind an appearance by La Gloria.
    Once again, good to have you back.

    January 27, 2014 at 5:20 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    LOL…Just love it’s-a-so-small world coincidence. My “1st” was from Hermosa and I lived there (in chasteness) for a year while working/saving for Grad School.
    Ooo Ooo…I’ve heard that Jazz at The (tiny) Lighthouse in the heart of downtown on Pier Ave http://www.thelighthousecafe.net/history.html is still supposed to be great. It spawned when Big Bands were dying and folks needed a new venue to work/play in.
    ~ My Daughter/Niece/G-kids just ate this summer at The CheeseCake Factory down in Redondo’s King Harbor http://locations.thecheesecakefactory.com/ca/redondo-beach-3.html and confirmed my recommendation. Despite it now has grown into a chain from its Mom-Pop roots, it was an apparently superb choice. My recommendation is to definitely make a reservation and possibly on the patio for something different but dependent on weather at the time despite their heaters. I also recommend you print out the menu so Folks don’t take forever reading through the 10 pages!!!http://locations.thecheesecakefactory.com/ca/redondo-beach-3.html While it doesn’t have an unobstructive view of the sealine horizon per looking at yatchs, it’s closest to what I know of as a nearby sunset treat. (As I’m sure I’ve said, we’re about the only state they can’t come per Dee’s Cheesecake Factory across from American furniture!)
    Otherwise for a funky time where appetites choices for 10 people will surely be satisfied, hit Farmer’s Market http://www.farmersmarketla.com/ where I’m sure you’ll also find some food of the gente given its locale’s history. Not too far away and for more sophisticated palettes, hit La Cienaga Blvd. (old Restaurant Row in its day) and shoot for The Ultra of Prime Rib at the birthplace of Lawry’s which I believe Gil would approve of!!! Alas…the Prime is all you get and keep saying “We’re not in Kansas Toto!”, i.e. take 2-3 Plastiques for your group of 10! http://www.lawrysonline.com/lawrys-primerib/beverly-hills/menu/dinner
    All in all, I’m now out-of-date when it comes to other possibilities that others on the Blog might fancy to mentin as well e.g. Sr. Plata?

    January 27, 2014 at 6:20 PM
  • Schuyler says:

    Bobo and El Bruto, congratulations on your most recent commercial for the PS4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r15rbr4nf_U). For readers who haven’t seen it, here’s a brief synopsis:

    Bobo and El Bruto, are attired in fantasy warrior battle garb and armed with various weapons. As they approach each other, a piano melody establishes the mood, inspiring Bobo and El Bruto to sing Lou Reed’s classic “Perfect Day” in the same key as fingernails scratching a blackboard. They continue to sing even as Bobo impales El Bruto with a sharp weapon. In the next scene, El Bruto forces Bobo off the track in a drag race. There’s more, but you get the gist.

    Bobo and El Bruto, your schtick is so much better when you’re insulting one another. Forget the love-fest. We want smack talk. If we want Pollyanna we’ll just read Gil’s reviews.

    January 27, 2014 at 8:43 PM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    Schuyler,
    I am still in recovery from my cardiac episode and my surgeon thought I had a setback in the last month or so. I am usually a sarcastic SOB with regard for no one.
    I could only point to my food feud with both Bobo and the glorious, late, lamented La Gloria for my set back, cardiologically speaking.
    I had my surgeon read the backs and forths between Bobo, La Gloria and me including my mea culpa and plea for forgiveness. Dr Gerity called me a lily livered wimp and said while I was perhaps a bit over the line with Bobo he understood the attacks, however mild, on La Gloria.
    I’m feeling much better and in one or two BOTVOLR’s semi-lincoherent comments and I should be fully recovered and back in fighting form.
    With that said, do you dare give up your anonymity for an opportunity to share a GCC tube steak with some of your admirers?
    Traveling under the radar as you do our collective interest has piqued and can only be remedied by an in person meeting.
    What about it?

    January 27, 2014 at 9:16 PM
    • Schuyler says:

      It’s ironic that you used the term “under the radar” considering my Air Force background. I met Gil when we were both stationed at Kirtland half a lifetime ago. He flew a desk and I was a crew chief babysitting hangar queens (aircraft that spend more time in maintenance than they do flying). We still swap war stories now and then but no longer at Milton’s where Gil practically lived years ago.

      BTW, you’d better check “tube steak” on Urban Dictionary. Army Joe’s can pervert everything. But, I’ll be happy to meet over a hot dog with my “admirers” (you mean there are others besides my wife and three daughters). Gil thinks the world of you, Bob, Jim and so many others. He can’t believe anyone would read his rants.

      January 27, 2014 at 9:55 PM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    I know the many meanings of the term “tube steak”. Since this is a food blog I prefer the culinary meaning and my favorite is the tube steak from Nathan’s in Coney Island. I also think that Nathan’s French fries are by far the best of the best.
    I’m hoping that the Dog House has a basic Coney Island type red hot. A simple “wonder Bread” type bun, some crunchy tangy kraut with no need for being served heated and good old yellow mustard.
    I’ve never been a big fan of of pretzel buns, buns infused with huckleberries and green chile, with some manchego cheese in the batter. I had the same sentiments when I lived in Dallas TX and was offered pineapple pizza.
    I’m just a simple New Yorker with simple tastes. By the way that’s not an invitation to focus on the “simple” part.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:20 AM
  • Suzie Queue says:

    I would love to meet for lunch. Who will pay? LOL If we go to a place that Id dont like can I bring in food from some place else?

    I like most foods but once when I was forth or fifth grade I ate a baloney sanwich and choked on the red plastic that was on the outside of the balony and the softball coach had to stick her finger down my throate. I swallowed it and everything came out fine but it was scary.

    January 28, 2014 at 5:49 PM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    It’s on me if you show up!
    And that’s no baloney.

    January 28, 2014 at 7:36 PM
  • Jim Millington says:

    If Miss Susie shows up I will dash over and kiss “her” assuming that a fat ugly old geezer puckered up and running in “her” direction does not panic her. I am already in love and I haven’t met her.

    January 28, 2014 at 8:12 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Yo (Ms?)Schuyler: Thanks for giving me credit as Bobo, the Conquering Alpha male, but I must confess I never transitioned out of 2 eras into XBox etc. E.g. there was a ‘detective’ series on the intenet/CD, lest you recall its name in the late 90’s when graphics first appeared…wherein there was a scene where our very own Senator Joe Montoya was superimposed on the actually filmed scene of an extraterrestial being examined in Roswell!!!! Dang! can’t remember the name/title. Next, I did venture on to some of the exhilarating versions of MYST!!!
    So,trying to sum: You are wanting to show up at The Dog House despite the vagaries of seating/parking availability after 1. Great!!! El Bruto is going to comp Suzie Q’s FLCCD per “her” attending as well. Great!!!
    Just to clarify for El Bruto: we all are going to The DH to support you experiencing their Foot Long (NM Red)Chile Cheese con Onions and not some mamby-pamby dog with Grey Poupon and sauerkraut (which I liken to my beloved Kapusta). As such, you have “cleared” this with your Cardio-Man!!!??? Apparently The Jim with Child Bride will be showing up as well (which will not negate our possibly meeting otherwise at Chez Axel at a to be arranged time). All this is not to exclude The Gil joining us (along with The Kim who works in the neighborhood). All this is also encumbent upon El Bruto offering a time which we await upon his return from California?

    February 1, 2014 at 2:04 PM
  • Jim Millington says:

    Mr BOTVOLR , I understand your frustration. If you ask a bunch of people “What is a good day to get together, would the 19th be ok?” there will always be someone who can’t make it. Just announce that it will be the 19th. If me or thee can’t do that then TS. Some of rhe problem was however created by you when you wrote Speaking of which: How about your option to dine at The Dog House by letting me know a best time for when Y’all get back from CA?” Trying to please everybody is impossible (or pleasing them anyway, trying is possible but fruitless).

    February 1, 2014 at 9:26 PM
  • Jim Millington says:

    Mr BOTVOLR, I just reread your previous comment and realize that you were not saying what I read. I probably have a month or more of great difficulty seeing a computer screen so I once again apologize in advance for anything I type which seems to make no sense (mainly because it doesn’t).

    February 2, 2014 at 3:35 PM
  • Bruce schor says:

    Friends of Gil,
    I’ll be back Tuesday afternoon and both wednesday after one is good as is Friday same general time.
    I hope that is convenient for all including suzie Q who will be my guest.
    If none of those dates work we can look further down the calendar until we all are in agreement.
    Looking forward to the gathering. Perhaps la gloria is sneaking peeks at this blog and will show up.
    One can only hope.

    February 2, 2014 at 7:23 PM
  • Jim Millington says:

    1pm Wednesday is great here.

    February 2, 2014 at 9:40 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    LMAO:
    Jim: I hear ya re your astute observation of 2/1. Can’t recall who first said it, but this certainly would have outdone some of the ads I watched yesterday as exemplified here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pk7yqlTMvp8
    Re your not ‘reading’ what I wrote: Please! don’t feed El Brute’s fodder that he has to re-re-read what I compose to understand it.

    Jim & El Brute et al: Wednesday at 1 sounds Great. BTW, a Grape emailed me on-the-side so I’m on to youz guyz lest ya try to feign ya didn’t know they only take cash!!! Be-that-as-it may, I’m willing to chip in for the Suzee Q & the Shy-Guy if need be. On the other hand, I especially feel comfortable chancing another Foot Long Chile Cheese Dog con onions knowing there will be two portable D-fibrilators at the ready…FYI, I checked, and my Presbyterian Plan will cover regardless of anyone’s religion or absence thereof!!!! (I just pray the NSA isn’t reading this Blog!!!)

    February 3, 2014 at 2:01 PM
  • Bruce Schor says:

    BOTVOLR,
    First and foremost I admit to re-re-rereading some of your comments.
    Let’s admit that there are readers who give up after one attempt…….. i’m just saying…..
    I will be carrying my nitro glycerin, so you better not mess with me, I’ll take out the entire Friends of Gil meeting if I have to.
    Nice of you to-offer to chip in for Suzie Q’s lunch bill (if I’m reading you comment correctly) but you are in your own with Shy Guy, whomever that is.
    You will be expected to make the keynote address and the hope here is that you keep it under 45 minutes or until the gcc tube steak goes cold, which ever comes first.
    Here’s to a fibrulation free meal.
    See you Wednesday.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:29 PM
  • Sr Plata says:

    Bruce, if you are still in L.A. on the West side or possibly the S.F. Valley, here are some places to try if you havent already: 1) Deli, Beverly Hills ‘Nate & Als’, maybe you will see Larry King there. 2) Cuban, Versaille, Great roasted chicken with garlic & onion served with of course black beans, rice and plantain. 3) Persian, near Westwood on Westwood Blvd, great steak kabobs, interesting salad and a variety of rice including Cherry Rice, Cilentro/Garlic/Seasonsing, etc. the the GEM station on their TVs coming out of Dubai and a slew of other good places in west L.A. There is always Lawry’s where you must ask for extra Yorkshire Pudding, quite amazing. Hope you are having a great time there…Sr. P.

    February 3, 2014 at 3:59 PM
  • Jim Millington says:

    Dear Mr Bob, I can assure you that I was not ganging up. My difficulty with correctly reading your comment was entirely my eyesight. It is not a tragic problem but one which will soon be resolved (I hope). I will admit however, as previously stated, that what you alluded to is sometimes the case. I am assuming that we are all on for Wednesday, 02/05/04. I thought after the Souperbowl (not because of you) that we were on last Wednesday and postponed another engagement which I cannot do again. Gill, are you on?

    February 3, 2014 at 5:11 PM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      I’ll do my best to be there, Jim, but much of it will depend on the weather. There must be one and a half inches of snow on the ground.

      February 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Jim: “Bob…I was not ganging up…”
    Never took it that way in the least!
    I’m “on” for Wednesday 2/5 at 1 PM INSIDE the Dog House on the south side of Central, aka Route 66, between 12th and 13th St. with Gil’s Blogger’s regardless of Kistler Collister’s models from Fredrick’s of Hollywood being on Central Downtown or outside the San Mateo and Menaul store!!! Lo that anyone might leak that to Jessica Garate of KASA/KRQE !!!

    February 3, 2014 at 6:01 PM
  • FactWino says:

    Gil,
    Love the site, long time reader etc. Never gotten a bad recommendation. I also like the way you’ve made the index easier to use with more categories. Tonight I was looking for restaurants that deliver and I was thinking that might be a good tag to add in the future, as if you didn’t have enough to do already with all the reviews. Thank you for your writing and keep up the good work.

    April 20, 2014 at 8:04 PM
  • TJ Frouge says:

    Hola,

    It would be great if you added a line to your reviews regarding an establishment’s vegetarian friendliness…. or simply a “Veggie Friendly” notation.

    Cheers!

    June 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM
  • Dave Griffith says:

    We visit Albuquerque quite often (we’re from S. Dakota) and usually make it to the Church Street Cafe (Casa de Ruiz) during our stays. We have not noted your review of that spot. Did we miss it or have you not eaten there?

    We enjoy your posts; we frequently use your site to find restaurants to explore.

    July 28, 2014 at 4:12 PM
  • Leland Hagen says:

    Gil,it’s been a while since I checked your blog. It would be great to grt together with you and Kim again and try out some of your great dining establishments for some great food. Compared to the food we dined on in England I’m sure most food in New Mexico is much tastier.

    August 13, 2014 at 3:55 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Hello? Isn’t it “Boomer”, as aka Lilly Digital at the bottom of the page, who treats us to some NEW landscapes floating by the top of each page?
    Kudos to some great Eye-Candy that entices us to run Hither & Yon to enjoy our enchanting Reality NM Autumn which…Eeek! starts today!

    September 22, 2014 at 3:32 PM
  • BOTVOLR says:

    Looking for Red Ristras? Congenial Folks at Rosales’ (of Lemitar) ‘stand’ on 4th NW, a bit south of Los Ranchos Rd NW, do have some hefty two footers for 20. He hopes to have some $10 one footers in next week. Problem, many pickers who also ‘strand’ the ristras, have left their fields (and others) per recent rains making fields ‘muddy’ contributing to the overall problems of having pickers.

    While many of us regale/extol our NM GCCBs and other such vittles, and without trying to be “political” herein about whether you should bend the ear of our US CongressFolk about whether NM Chile will attain the prominence and legislation afforded the Silvery Minnow and save Chile as well from extinction, I simply include this article to read or not for your own contemplation given so many acquaintances have abandoned the Journal, i.e. pardon this presumptive inclusion:

    Chile farmers face an aging workforce
    By Lauren Villagran / Journal Staff Writer – Las Cruces Bureau
    PUBLISHED: Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 12:02 am
    David Esparza picks green chile in a Hatch Valley field. Growers say many of their farmworkers are aging out of the workforce. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
    David Esparza picks green chile in a Hatch Valley field. Growers say many of their farmworkers are aging out of the workforce. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
    Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal

    HATCH – New Mexico’s chile fields are graying.

    The generation of farmworkers on which producers have long depended are aging out of the workforce. Farmers say local youth are loathe to take their place picking delicate green chile under a scorching sun, while tough border security and a lack of immigration reform has kept Mexican workers away.

    Growers across the nation from Washington to South Carolina have long complained of a labor shortage, and they often blame their distance from the border with Mexico, which for decades supplied this country’s agriculture workforce.

    But New Mexico’s Hatch Valley – an hour’s drive from the Mexican border – is in the same boat, even though a skilled picker can make considerably more than the guaranteed state minimum wage of $7.50.

    MAP MASTER“Our state depends on a crop like chile and, without labor, we will be limited on how much we can produce,” said Chris Franzoy, president of Young Guns Produce, one of New Mexico’s largest chile producers, based in Hatch. “We’ve reached that point this year, where labor dictates how much we’ll be able to harvest.”

    Doña Ana and Luna counties, which border Mexico, harvest more chile than all other New Mexico counties combined – three-quarters of the state’s crop. The two counties hired some 5,200 farmworkers in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture census.

    Statewide, land dedicated to chile dropped to a low of 8,600 harvested acres in 2013, according to the USDA. That compares with a peak of 34,500 harvested acres in 1992.

    But improvements over the past two decades, such as drip irrigation, pushed production in 2013 to 65,000 tons, compared with the roughly 53,000 tons produced when harvested acreage was at its highest in 1992.

    Despite production gains, Hatch Valley farmers say they are worried about the survival of their industry – one that defines New Mexican cuisine and culture.

    Experiments in mechanizing the green chile harvest remain imperfect, farmers say; immigration reform that could match foreign labor with local demand lies in the hands of federal lawmakers who appear far from a compromise; and Mexican farms are amping competition with low-cost exports.

    “It’s already becoming a pretty serious problem,” said Terry Adams of Adams Produce. “If we can’t bring in some quality people to work, we’ll definitely have to cut back.”

    Migrant labor scarce

    Juan Carlos Soto hunches over knee-high chile plants at the Adams farm in the Hatch Valley, where green fields of chile, corn and pinto beans stretch to the base of the brown Uvas mountains.

    He came to the U.S. illegally as a farmworker in 1984, he said, and earned citizenship through the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to millions of undocumented foreign workers but did little to change the framework for legal immigration of workers going forward.

    Soto carefully snaps long green chiles off their stems with eye-catching velocity – a skill that only experienced chile pickers have, farmers say.

    “This is where I have worked my whole life,” he said, explaining that he taught his daughter to work the chile fields but adding proudly that she became a nurse. “The youngsters want to work in the shade.”

    Soto’s experience is emblematic: While his immigrant generation ages out of field work, many of their U.S.-born children continued their studies and became professionals.

    Workers pick green chile at a field in the Hatch Valley. Tougher border security and a lack of interest in field work among younger workers has growers worried about a labor shortage. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
    Workers pick green chile at a field in the Hatch Valley. Tougher border security and a lack of interest in field work among younger workers has growers worried about a labor shortage. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
    Chile pickers paid by the barrel can earn between $80 and $125 per day, or $11 to $17 an hour for a roughly seven-hour day, according to farmers and workers. The work is seasonal, running from late summer into the fall, although Adams says there is additional field work with the onion crop.

    The USDA reports real hourly wages for farmworkers climbed from $9 in 1990 to nearly $11 in 2012, or about 0.8 percent per year.

    These days, even undocumented migrant labor is hard to find: Immigration from Mexico fell to net zero in 2012, according to Pew Research – meaning the number of people illegally entering the U.S. roughly equaled the number leaving voluntarily because of the recession or by deportation.

    Pew Research estimates that, nationwide, one in four farmworkers is an unauthorized immigrant. Local experts say that, while precise statistics don’t exist for the region, that estimate rings true for southern New Mexico.

    Owners often labor long hours alongside their workers to help make up for the gap.

    Faron Lytle, who is the fourth generation to run Lytle Farms, bagged gunny sacks of green chile alongside a worker wearing a sombrero and gray mustache. He loaded, tied and tossed the bags onto tall stacks. “I’m afraid in five or six years there won’t be any more workers,” he said.

    Stagnant prices

    Farm wages have risen as the labor shortage has worsened over the past decade, according to Jay Lillywhite, a professor of agricultural economics at New Mexico State University. That may drive the chile industry more quickly toward mechanization or encourage increased imports, according to a recent working paper on the issue.

    Mario Orozco stacks sacks of green chile at a Hatch processor. Farmers say farm workers are getting harder and harder to find. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
    Mario Orozco stacks sacks of green chile at a Hatch processor. Farmers say farm workers are getting harder and harder to find. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)
    Meanwhile, product prices have stagnated, squeezing what farmers earn.

    The value of the chile crop in 1992, when acreage peaked but tonnage was lighter, totaled $67.4 million, the USDA reports. In 2013, the USDA valued the much larger chile crop at $49 million.

    Yet the wages don’t draw enough local workers into the fields. The same holds true for farms across the country whose fragile crops require a steady hand: apples and cherries in Washington, peaches in South Carolina.

    A federal guestworker program for foreign labor, known as the H-2A visa, is viewed by farmers as expensive, inefficient and cumbersome. One Hatch Valley farmer said the state labor department prevented the company from applying for H-2A workers because of high unemployment in the region – 7.1 percent in Doña Ana County and 15 percent in Luna County, according to the Department of Workforce Solutions.

    The American Farm Bureau Federation has lobbied Congress for reform that “deals with the current unauthorized and experienced agricultural workforce and ensures that future needs are met.”

    With few hands to harvest the fruit, will New Mexico’s chile fields continue to dwindle?

    “I don’t think anybody in New Mexico would swallow that with ease,” said Chad Smith, chief executive of the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau. “We’re the chile capital. As native New Mexicans, that’s part of our culture. Can you imagine the chile fields going dormant?”

    ~ Comments/Perceptions/Suggestions welcomed.

    October 1, 2014 at 10:56 AM
  • FGFABQ says:

    We tried in vain to get Tesla here but don’t seem to want to help our chile farms. We seem to put our eggs in the wrong basket.
    We have protected our Chile industry from the onslaught of foreign (read Chinese) interlopers and that is a start but obviously we need to do more. Hatch chiles have attained national prominence and that is a very good thing but hopefully on a state level we won’t take them for granted. We don’t need Nero fiddling while Hatch burns.
    Let the immigrants come out of the shadows, raise the wages so the jobs are more attractive to all, and perhaps some sort of tax break for youngsters in school who opt to do the picking.
    I’m not a politician, I just play one on TV. But obviously I have my own opinions.

    October 2, 2014 at 2:39 AM
  • Carol Zinser says:

    Love this site, thank you. Stumbled upon it looking for authentic Italian mail order food to send to my brother in Mescalero for the holidays. He is italian guy from NY that loves his life in NM but misses Momma’s/Grandpa’s home cooking. Can you recommend place to order cheese/pasta/sauce to send?
    Sincerely,
    Carol

    November 26, 2014 at 5:27 PM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      Hi Carol

      Joe’s Pasta House in Rio Rancho offers a number of wonderful imported foods and confections your brother might enjoy. Contact Joe and Kassie Guzzardi at (505) 892-3333 for more details.

      Today (1 December 2014), Jeff Spiegel and Katie Gartner launched M’Tucci’s Market and Deli, an Italian-style deli which will offer homemade meats (cured in-house), cheeses, breads, pastas and other deli staples. You can reach them at (505) 503-7327.

      Gil

      December 1, 2014 at 7:49 PM
      • Don't forget Tully's says:

        Don’t forget Tully’s. I’m a fan of their marinara sauce…

        December 2, 2014 at 5:42 PM
  • susanne says:

    We LOVE Tully’s and Joe’s Pasta House.We don’t live near Tully’s unfortunately so don’t frequent it as much as we’d like to.

    December 2, 2014 at 5:58 PM
  • FGFABQ says:

    Tully’s is a great source for Italian goods. It is a mom and pop operation and a full service butcher shop. I personally don’t know of another source of veal in and around ABQ. It’s pricey at around $23 per pound but that price can be blunted by the $12 coupon worth @20 from either Groupon or Living Social.
    I really like thier sweet sausage but find their hot sausage a bit too hot.
    Good selection of pastas, sauces, rtice, olive oils and imported cheeses along with house made frozen entrees.. And they operate Saratori’s Italian Bakery in the same strip mall. I asked one of the owners if the family came from a town called Saratori in Italy, he laughed and said it was a combination of his two daughters’ names.
    The mom of the mom and pop operation drives a car with a licence plate that reads “Stu Gatz” a classic Italian term of endearment.

    December 2, 2014 at 7:02 PM
  • Schuyler says:

    Just got around to reading my subscription copy of Albuquerque The Magazine’s ‘best of’ issue. It’s disheartening to see Duke City voters stuffing the ballots for El Pinto (Best New Mexican) and Trombino’s (Best Italian), but compared to Alibi or Local IQ voters, ATM voters are geniuses.

    Most disheartening to see that you were ‘bridesmaid” again–runner-up as city’s best blogger. I know you’d just as soon not attend the ATM party, but you really deserve many kudos and congratulations for all you do for Burque.

    December 4, 2014 at 12:12 PM
    • Gil Garduno says:

      Thanks, Sky

      Considering the number of high-quality bloggers in Albuquerque, runner-up is quite an honor.

      December 4, 2014 at 1:39 PM
  • FGFABQ says:

    One simple question: How can the 8th best food blog in the USA, and probably the world, be the number 2 food blog in the Duke City? Does that mean the number 1 in ABQ is the 7th or 6th or 5th (get the picture?) in the USA?
    It says to me that either there is rigging going on or the folks in Albuquerque haven’t taken the time to read Gil’s reviews.
    These folks regularly vote for a chain GCCB as best in show.
    By the way I have noticed that ABQ the Mag seems to have ads from the chosen restaurants in the issues that have the results of the polls. Hmm? Coincidence?

    December 4, 2014 at 1:44 PM
  • Schuyler says:

    It’s worse than that, Bruce. Albuquerque’s best blog, as selected by ATM readers, is a fashionista blog. I would have advised Gil to convert his blog from food-centric to fashion, but the world isn’t ready for Gil Garduno’s J.C. Penny Husky Boy collection.

    BTW, Gil’s blog is now the 9th highest rated food blog in the WORLD according to Urbanspoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/bgs/w. That’s no small feat considering Urbanspoon rates 11,015 food blogs.

    December 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM
  • FGFABQ says:

    If there is one thing that proves either the claim of ballot stuffing or worse yet the repeated rumor that ATM more than likely selects winners from their advertisers in the Duke City it is the second place finish in the food blogger category by Gil. I hope the staff at ATM is duly embarrased by their selection. But that’s me talking not the class act that is Gil. He is the consumate gentleman and would never carp or bitch about being 2nd on his home turf saying it is “quite an honor”.
    All while being ranked in the TOP TEN in the world of 11,015 food blogs.
    Gil gets his points across, both positive or negative without the need to use the hammer approach. While I personally don’t like being chided Gil can make me feel almost good with his chiding as he did during the Bobo vs el Brute bruhaha.
    Let me say that if I was Gil I just might use my blog as a bully pulpit to get even with ATM.
    Gil is too much of a gentleman to stoop to my level. I, on the other hand, live on that level and have no qualms about stating my displeasure at the poll that rates the 9th (out of 11,015) best food blogger in the world as the 2nd best in Albuquerque. t
    Albuquerque The Magazine looks very, very foolish.

    December 5, 2014 at 12:01 AM
    • Tom Sandford says:

      FGFABQ,

      My name is Tom Sandford (575) 313-5020, and I’m one of the two staff writers at Albuquerque the Magazine. I can assure you that our voting process is 100% honest and true. Thus, I am not embarrassed by the results. I am a big fan of Gil and consult him every now and then for articles I write, so when your comment popped into my queue, I was a bit shocked and disappointed.

      The selection process is 100% separate from the sales side of the house, which is why the editorial team handles the counting. I would appreciate if you would seek me out for more info in the future before making such bold, wild claims.

      I invite you to come into our office and meet with me over a cup of coffee. I can explain to you how this “unbiased voting” thing works. Seriously, call me.

      Best,
      Tom

      I am one of the two people responsible for counting up all the votes–I have to go through and add them all up in a process that takes about a week. We use a custom-made poll created by Duke City Software to accept all the votes throughout the two-month period on our website. It only accepts one vote per IP address–thus, ballot-stuffing isn’t an issue.

      December 5, 2014 at 8:20 AM
  • FGFABQ says:

    Tom, this is much less aboiut you and the rules to which you adhere. It reminds me of the shows like American Idol and the Voice where “It’s up to you America” as far as who wins and loses but the results are as secret as a CIA operation.
    A commentor on Gil’s stated that the winning blog was a “fashionista” blog. So many of the food winners are advertisers in the Magazine. It is not like the people have spoken but more like a gerrymandered congressional vote. There is so much more that could be done for balance and to attempt to lead those diners out of the woods to a brighter dining experience but that is not happening.
    I have bought ATM when there was something I wanted to read but my general impression is that advertising seems more important than non advertising content and seems to be more prevelant.
    I haven’t read the whole article, I’m not in NM right now but I can’t hide my disasppointment in any poll that has Gil’s blog anywhere but in first place. In the last few months his blog was rated TOP TEN in the USA and TOP TEN of 11015 in the world. But second to a “fashionista” blog in Albuquerque. Havng not read the article I’m wondering if that fact warranted a footnote by the editors?
    You Tom deserve some credit for reading Gil’s blog, shows some good taste and judgement on your part.

    December 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM
    • Tom Sandford says:

      FGFABQ,

      That is definitely food for thought–perhaps a footnote on voting would be a good idea for next year–I’ll talk to my editor about that!

      Thank you for reading,

      Tom

      December 5, 2014 at 11:11 AM

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