Crepe Crepe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Richard Olney, a cookbook author best known for his books on French country cooking described crepes thusly: “their greatest pitfalls derive, no doubt, from their versatility — not in itself a fault, but a quality that teases many a cook into overstepping the boundaries of sense and taste. One should never lose sight of the fragile and delicate, thin, tender thing that is the crepe itself.”  In his magnificent tome The French Menu Cookbook, he prefaced a recipe for Gratin of…

Rustic On The Green & Rustic Star – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Pop culture’s most famous exemplar of teenage angst may have been Napoleon Dynamite, a socially awkward daydreamer constantly tormented by bullies. Napoleon frequently lamented his ineptitude: “I don’t even have any good skills. You know, like nunchuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills. Girls only want boyfriends who have great skills.” Napoleon’s best friend Pedro, on the other hand, possessed skills Napoleon coveted: “Well, you have a sweet ride. And you’re really good at hooking up with chicks. Plus…

The Burger Stand – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“If you need good hot grillin’, Try my burger stand. If you need a slice of thrillin’, I’m the baddest in the land. Any way you want it baby, I am your burger man.” ~Burger Man by ZZ Top Those of us invited on occasion to judge competitive food events try to follow a few very sensical but ironclad rules to ensure our evaluations are fair, balanced and accurate—or at least as accurate as any largely subjective matter can be.…

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…

Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown 2018 – Santa Fe, New Mexico

New Mexico’s storied history will recall that 2009 was the year of the green chile cheeseburger.  It all started in May when Bobby Olguin, the gregarious owner of San Antonio’s Buckhorn Tavern bested Food Network celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a “green chile cheeseburger throwdown.”  Capitalizing on the momentum, Governor Bill Richardson called for a statewide green chile cheeseburger challenge to be held at the New Mexico State Fair in September.  Two months later, four-time James Beard award-winning author, the…

Christy Mae’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico

If you want to know the best places to eat in any part of any town, don’t buy a tourist guide. Don’t even consult Yelp or the local restaurant critic (even if it is a blogger gastronome). Your best bet is to ask a policeman because “everybody knows that cops always know the best places to eat.” That’s the advice of Chris Cognac, a police detective for a South Bay police department in Los Angeles. Walking his beat gave him…

1933 Brewing Co. – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

“Why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.” ~Will Rogers “I’ll drink to that.”  Such was the rampant sentiment with which Americans welcomed the repeal of the notorious 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which had prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…”  For more than a decade Prohibition had not only wrought…

M’TUCCI’S MARKET & PIZZERIA – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Greek mythology recounts the story of Tantalus, progeny of a divine parent (Zeus himself) and a mortal one. Uniquely favored among mortals by being invited to share the food of the gods, Tantalus abused that privilege by slaying his own son and feeding him to the gods as a test of their omniscience. The gods immediately figured out what Tantalus had done and in their rage condemned him to the deepest portion of the underworld where he would be forever…

Alien Brew Pub – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“If the government is covering up knowledge of aliens, they are doing a better job of it than they do at anything else.” ~Stephen Hawking An alien walked into the Alien Brew Pub and says, “take me to your liter.” Okay, that joke is admittedly a groaner. It probably wouldn’t even work in one of those countries which use the metric system, but it might work in some other planet where advanced lifeforms are ostensibly more civilized.  I say ostensibly…

GIGI ITALIAN BISTRO – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“If you can go through with what Gordon Ramsey puts you through there’s nothing much more you can do. I mean the berating from that guy is unbelievable, but the reward is even greater.” ~ Chef Robert Hesse Chef Robert Hesse isn’t the man he used to be. In fact, he’s literally and figuratively a shadow of his former self. Once tipping the scales at over 600 pounds and espousing the attitude that you should “never trust a skinny chef,”…

Bosque Burger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

As much a social commentary as a realist novel, Grapes of Wrath by author John Steinbeck immortalized Route 66 as “The Mother Road”  and “the road to flight.”  The latter and lesser known sobriquet recalls the epic odyssey of nearly a quarter of a million people migrating to California to escape the despair of the Dust Bowl.  Route 66 not only succored Americans, it symbolized a renewed spirit of optimism and beginning anew just as the nation was coming off…

Happy Chickenzz – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God.” ~Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Two things came to mind when my friend Nader and I approached Happy Chickenzz. First, I mused, “if happy cows come from California (a 2002 marketing campaign for California cheese), where do happy chickenzz come from.” My second rumination was to wonder if the ‘zz’ at the end of the word chicken is…

Copper Canyon Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“The Copper Canyon of northern Mexico–a place so huge and desolate that even today there are still some native people who have never seen an automobile.” ~Victor Villasenor Beyond Rain of Gold If you’ve ever watched the classic Humphrey Bogart movie Treasure of the Sierra Madre or read Victor Villasenor’s spell-binding tome, “Rain of Gold,” you’ve got at least a passing acquaintance with Mexico’s awe-inspiring Copper Canyon. Hidden in the Northern part of Mexico lies an astonishing system of gorges…

Nexus Brewery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Set in Albuquerque, Breaking Bad, AMC’s critically acclaimed television series may have left viewers with the impression that the Duke City is a haven for meth cookery and fried chicken joints.  Had the fair city been more accurately typecast, it would have have been portrayed as a mecca for microbreweries.  The Albuquerque Beer Scene blog says it best: “It’s like Portland, but with sun,”  a comparison which shows just how much the city’s microbrewery and brewpub scene has grown–and not…

Street Food Institute – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“The more street food we have, the more it’s embraced by every income strata, the better world we have.” ~Anthony Bourdain Jonathan Gold, the first restaurant critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, called food trucks “the new incubators of culinary innovation.” Indeed, chefs and entrepreneurs who ply their talents in food trucks and express themselves through  distinctively creative cuisine aren’t just fostering culinary trends.  They’re doing so at a rate at which their brick-and-mortar counterparts couldn’t conceive, much…