Campo at Los Poblanos – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

A simple day laborer at a wealthy estate, Ysidro began his days by rising early and attending Mass. His fellow laborers complained that they had to do some of his share of the work because he lingered in church. After hearing the complaints of his farmhands, the land owner visited his fields while Ysidro was at Mass. To his astonishment, he saw two angels guiding Ysidro’s plow in his absence. Later when Ysidro returned to work, the angels stood next…

Terra – Tesuque, New Mexico

Several years ago, I asked my grandmother if she might consider aromatherapy as a treatment for the nagging aches and pains she suffered daily.  Aromatherapy, I explained was being hailed by New Age devotees in Santa Fe and Taos as a holistic healing treatment used to promote health and well-being. “Mi hijito,” she said gently, “In Northern New Mexico we are always surrounded by aromatherapy. We experience it when we bake bread in our hornos and roast chile in our…

Spencer’s Restaurant – Palm Springs, California

Dean Beck: What do you have against preachers? Clay Spencer: It’s what they preach against I’m against. Dean Beck: I’m afraid I don’t understand? Clay Spencer: They’re against everything I’m for. They don’t allow drinkin’ or smokin’, card playin’, pool shootin’, dancin’, cussin’ – or huggin’, kissin’ and lovin’. And mister, I’m for all of them things. ~Spencer’s Mountain In the family-centric 1963 movie Spencer’s Mountain, hard-drinkin’, hard-lovin’ Clay Spencer (brilliantly portrayed by Henry Fonda) dreamed of building his wife…

Scalo Northern Italian Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

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 (no chains). One of our favorite sources on where to eat was Albuquerque Monthly, a very well…

Seasons Rotisserie & Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted. – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 Despite America’s woeful economic situation, new restaurants continue to sprout faster than New Mexico’s unofficial state flower (no, not the ubiquitous orange traffic cone; the almost as omnipresent tumbleweed). Rarely does a week go by without some sparkly…

The Artichoke Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“These things are just plain annoying. After all the trouble you go to, you get about as much actual “food” out of eating an artichoke as you would from licking 30 or 40 postage stamps. Have the shrimp cocktail instead.” – Miss Piggy Miss Piggy, that shrill and garrulous walking side of bacon, may not appreciate the humble artichoke much, but among both health conscious and discerning diners, the artichoke has long been a healthful and delicious dining option. Considered…

BLADES’ BISTRO – Placitas, New Mexico

“Ask three Placitans what they like best about living in Placitas and… one will say it is being so far from everything, another, being so close to everything–and both will be right.” – The Placitas Chamber of Commerce Chamber of Commerce not withstanding, the distance from Placitas to fabulous gourmet restaurants has spanned both great mileage and the healing passage of time for residents. When hungry, the mileage between Placitas and either Santa Fe or Albuquerque has seemed interminable. When…

Jhett’s Restaurant – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In its halcyon days, the Chamisa Hills golf course and country club in Rio Rancho was considered one of the city’s crown jewels. Its undulating 18-hole championship course with strategically placed deciduous trees and challenging water hazards once hosted the Charley Pride Golf Fiesta, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the state. Built in 1970, the 212-acre development was flanked by upscale gated communities and boasted of magnificent panoramic views showcasing the reddish hues of the Sandias at sunset…

Santacafe – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Is there anything as pure and simple as the innocence of a child, especially during the most magical time of the year? When my then six-year-old niece penned a heartfelt letter to Santa Claus, there was no doubt in her mind that her letter would be delivered and her wish would be granted. After all, she had been extra good all year long and what she wanted for Christmas was so reasonable. My niece’s fondest Christmas wish was that her…

Elaine’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“They were all impressed with your Halston dress and the people that you knew at Elaine’s”. ~Big Shot by Billy Joel For nearly five decades–from 1963 through 2011–“the place to be” in Manhattan’s trendy Upper East Side was Elaine’s, perhaps the city’s most celebrated and revered A-lister’s hangout. Everyone who was anyone frequented Elaine’s, an eponymous establishment in which luminaries came to see and be seen. Celebrity habitues included glitterati from stage, screen, television, literature and politics such as Woody…

Nick & Jimmy’s Bar & Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Legendary American chef, author and television personality Julia Child was often exasperated with what she perceived as American’s propensity for culinary laziness, once commenting that “the trend in the U.S.A. was toward speed and the elimination of work.” “Americans,” she noted, equated as “gourmet” such “horrible glop” as “TV dinners, frozen vegetables, canned mushrooms, fish sticks, Jell-O salads, marshmallows and spray-can whipped cream.“ Julia Child obviously didn’t know Dave Hurayt, a good friend and fellow gastronome who’s shared some wonderful…

Soul and Vine – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.” ~Thomas Keller A recent tweet from Ortega (yes, that purveyor of “high quality Mexican products”) posed the existential question “What’s your cooking style: cooking from the soul, from your taste buds, from a book or from your gut?” While most cooks and almost all chefs would contend they cook with their souls, their assertions are belied by the absence of the qualities and experiences diners…

Anasazi Restaurant – Santa Fe, New Mexico

As you gaze in awe and wonder at the luxurious trappings surrounding you everywhere you turn at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi, you can’t help but contemplate the irony. Inn of the Anasazi? Throughout their existence the Anasazi never knew luxury or leisure, focusing solely and at all times on survival. Shelter, food and water were of paramount concern in the Four Corners area of the Southwest, a desolate environment which was often brutal and unforgiving. Amidst the ravages…

Bouche – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Career paths do not always unfold as stereotypes might dictate. Heavily recruited out of Mission, Texas, a high school football hotbed, Frans Dinklemann, a 6’6″ 241-pound defensive end, signed with the University of New Mexico where his Lobo teammates included perennial National Football League (NFL) All-Pro Brian Urlacher. By his senior year, Frans had grown to 6’7″ and 270 pounds and moved to the offensive line where he set the team weight room record for offensive linemen with a 33-inch…

Geoffrey’s Malibu – Malibu, California

The walls at Geoffrey’s Malibu are festooned with copies of whimsical framed “doodles” created by Hollywood celebrities and movie stars who have dined at the posh seaside restaurant. Most are tongue-in-cheek self-portraits which probably speak volumes about the glitterati themselves–and not just whether they lack or are blessed with an artistic talent beyond their particular medium. Thematically, all the portraits include a heart. That’s because Harvey Baskin, the restaurant’s previous owner asked the artists to donate originals for publication and…