Saigon City – Albuquerque, New Mexico

My brother in blogging Ryan Cook describes his first day in Vietnam: “So, my first stop in Vietnam was the capital, Hanoi. My honest first impressions… what the hell have I let myself in for. Seriously…The roads are chaos! The ride from the airport to the hostel was basically 40 minutes of holding my breath and cringing. How someone wasn’t

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Sal’s Ristorante & Pizzeria – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti.” ~Sophia Loren The ageless movie siren, perhaps the most voluptuous octogenarian in the world, is hardly a proponent of low carb diets, admitting to daily dosages of macaroni. She maintains her classic hourglass figure by limiting portions–never consuming too many calories in one meal–and by not overloading pasta with rich, thick cream or

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M’Tucci’s Italian Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone..” —Stanley Tucci as Segundo in Big Night With a name like M’Tucci’s Italian Restaurant, you might wonder if the Italian restaurant on the intersection of Coors and Montano is named for Academy Award nominated actor Stanley Tucci. After all, Tucci co-starred in Big Night and Julie & Julia, arguably two of the very

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Papa Nacho’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.” ~Laurie Colwin, Novelist The notion of cooking alone is unthinkable to Ignacio and Brigette “BeBe” Lopez, founders of Papa Nacho’s. Since they launched their popular

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Red or Green–New Mexico’s Food Scene is on Fire: September, 2021

September in New Mexico is indisputably chile time. The high mountain air is at its most crisp and salubrious. Foliage is adorned in a vibrant panoply of color. Magnificent cottonwoods and aspens gleam in the evening sun like the fabled cities of gold sought by Spanish explorers. Hazy smoke plumes wafting upward from giant rotating drums beckon hungry masses to

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Tako Ten – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, wasn’t kidding when he quipped “The Taco Bell taco is dead. Long live the taco.”  Boomers like me may not have grown up heading for the border, but we did grow up with the Taco Bell “taco template”–a crunchy hard-shell tortilla crammed with seasoned ground beef, chopped tomato, lettuce, a

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CAFE DALAT – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While the term “Vietnamese cuisine” is broad and overarching, any attempt to pigeonhole this very diverse and eclectic culinary culture is a failure to consider its complexities and nuances.  Even when culinary taxonomists compartmentalize Vietnamese cuisine regionally into “Northern,” “Southern” or “Central,” these wide-ranging generalizations fail to take into account the variations–often influenced by socioeconomic factors–that occur not only between

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Vintage 423 – Albuquerque, New Mexico

My friend Bill Resnik, a professional stand-up comedian for more than two decades, performs a bit in which he “translates” Spanish terms for linguistically challenged audiences.  “Paseo del Norte,” for example, translates to “Paseo of the Norte.” For Duke City residents, the “Northern Route” is no joke.  It’s the corridor from the Northeast Heights to Albuquerque’s burgeoning West side, ferrying

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Sunnyside Up Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side Keep on the sunny side of life It will help us ev’ry day, it will brighten all the way If we’ll keep on the sunny side of life.” ~Keep On The Sunny Side Lyrics According to Statistica, a leading provider of market and consumer data, in 2019 the per capita

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Big Boss Hot Links at Brew Lab 101 – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

The Oxford Dictionary defines an adage as “a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth.”  The adage “the apple does not fall far from the tree,” for example, means a child usually behaves in a similar way to his or her parents.  Sometimes, however, an adage fails to live up to the truism it purports to express.  One such example

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D. H. Lescombes Winery & Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico

There are varying accounts as to the genesis of wine-making in the United States. While it is widely acknowledged that as early as the 1500s Spanish and French Huguenot settlers in Florida began making wine with a native grape known as muscadine, efforts to plant the classic grapes used to create the great wines of Europe failed because of pests prevalent

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Blu Pig BBQ & Blues – Moab, Utah

For many of us barbecue is a noun as in “a social gathering at which barbecued food is eaten.”   For others it’s a verb (to roast or smoke food over wood using smoke at low temperatures over a long cooking time).  For the most passionate and devoted, barbecue is a way of life…even a religion.  That religion is practiced by

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TONY CAPUTO’S MARKET & DELI – Salt Lake City, Utah

Most of us know someone like Lucy Van Pelt, the irascible, bossy, highly opinionated diva in the syndicated Peanuts comic strip.   Since her debut in 1952, Lucy has been the perpetrator of two long-running gags.  One involves her holding the football (ostensibly so that Charlie Brown can kick a field goal or extra point) and pulling the ball away

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Banbury Cross Donuts – Salt Lake City, Utah

“Ride a cockhorse to Banbury Cross, To see a fine lady upon a white horse; Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, She shall have music wherever she goes.” ~The Dorling Kindersley Book of Nursery Rhymes While planning our culinary exploration of the Salt Lake City restaurant scene, there were a number of restaurants we categorized as “must

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Nomad East – Salt Lake City, Utah

A-Team leader “Hannibal” Smith (George Peppard) used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.”  We learned during our trip to Salt Lake City that sometimes baking in a little flexibility into a well thought-out plan can produce results even better than expected.  Such was the case with our trip to Salt Lake City.   Capably assisted by

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Freshie’s Lobster Co. – Salt Lake City, Utah

The best lobster in the world?  In Salt Lake City?  That’s as improbable as the Detroit Lions winning a Super Bowl, as unlikely as drivers in New Mexico developing the motor skills to use turn signals, as far-fetched as a conservative NRA member driving a Subaru in Santa Fe.  As a landlocked state some two-thousand miles from the cold New

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