Namaste Restaurant – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Several years ago while leading my organization’s e-business marketing and communication effort at Intel, I had the great fortune of hiring a phenomenal Web developer recently arrived from India. In the process of filling out one of our complicated employment forms he transposed his name, writing his last name then his middle initial and first name instead of the way hinted at on the complicated form. As a result, during the entire time he worked for us we all called…

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…

Ahh! Sushi – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED: 2015)

The year was 1997. Recently thawed from a thirty year cryogenic state, Dr. Evil addressed the United Nations about his diabolical scheme to hold the world ransom: “ In a little while you’ll notice that the Kreplachistani warhead has gone missing. If you want it back, you’re going to have to pay me…one million dollars.” After the United Nations officials erupted in laughter, Dr. Evil quickly corrected himself “sorry…one hundred billion dollars.” When our mere pittance of a bill arrived…

La Fonda Del Bosque – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In the millennium year, after years of planning and lobbying, the dream was finally realized of a haven  dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and advancement of Hispanic culture, arts, and humanities. In 2000, the National Hispanic Cultural Center (NHCC), launched along the Camino Real in the Albuquerque’s historic Barela’s neighborhood.  The Center is an architectural anomaly in a largely adobe-hued area, its unique structures including a renovated hacienda-style school, a stylized Mayan pyramid with interior elements modeled on Romanesque architecture…

India Palace – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

When many of us think of romantic destinations to visit or in which to honeymoon, our choices probably mirror closely those of US News & World Report which listed among their 22 best honeymoon destinations such exotic locations as Kauai, Maui, Florence, Crete, Santorini and even Las Vegas, Nevada.  The authors apparently didn’t think enchantment is synonymous with romance or wedded  bliss because no New Mexico locations made the list,  Surprisingly, neither did any destination in India.  Not everyone equates…

Tomato Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

You like potato and I like potahto, You like tomato and I like tomahto Potato, potahto, Tomato, tomahto, Let’s call the whole thing off – Ira & George Gershwin Let’s call the whole thing off.  If the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century had had its way, the tomato might not be a ubiquitous ingredient in the cooking of many cultures today.  So, just what is it about the seemingly innocuous tomato that once earned it a scurrilous reputation in…

Santa Ana Cafe – Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico

As you gaze in awe at the sheer opulence of the expansive Tamaya hospitality complex and resort and consider the Santa Ana Pueblo’s Vegas-style, high-stakes gaming center or 27-hole, championship golf course, you have to conclude that the Pueblo’s tribal enterprises are flourishing–and you would be right. An entrepreneurial spirit is nothing new to the Santa Ana people. The Santa Ana (Tamaya) Pueblo has a long and storied history of forward-thinking and self-reliance. To increase its land base and agricultural…

Evergreen Buffet – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

America held hostage!  That was the aptly named title of an ABC late-night news program anchored by Ted Koppel from November, 1979 through January 20, 2001.  For 444 days, the mighty United States of America was indeed paralyzed while 52 Americans were held hostage–tied and blindfolded–in the U.S. Embassy in Iran.  The captors were student revolutionaries incensed at the United States decision to admit Iran’s deposed Shah for medical treatment. The moment Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, those…

Sweet Tomatoes – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In the early 1980s, Albuquerque native and Tokyo Olympian Buster Quist (whose brother Terry I worked for at the time) launched within the Coronado mall, one of the Duke City’s very first salad bars.  The salad bar concept was a few years ahead of its time and the restaurant venture went belly up—a condition portly Americans have, not coincidentally, experienced en masse (no pun intended) over the years. Salad has been a popular dietary staple for a long time, but…

Bellagio Buffet – Las Vegas, Nevada

Comparing the Bellagio Buffet to the buffets proffered at other casino hotels isn’t quite akin to comparing a Bacchanalian festival to a swinish feeding troth, but it might be close.  That’s because the difference in quality between the Bellagio Buffet and its nearest competitor is several degrees of magnitude. It’s the one buffet in Vegas in which you might actually see the gentrified and the affluent condescend to mingle with the rabble.  It’s also the one buffet in which some…

Taj Palace – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Indian cuisine is one of the world’s most diverse and sophisticated cuisines, fashioned over time by ancient traditions, diversity of religion, climatic variety and the influence of neighboring countries. It is so diverse, in fact, that the characterization “Indian cuisine” would be wholly inaccurate. There are more Indian cuisines than there are regions in this ethnically diverse subcontinent comprising 17.5 percent of the world’s population. While categorization by geographical region–North Indian, South Indian, East Indian and West Indian–is prevalent, such…

Tucanos Brazilian Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Many New Mexico born Hispanics of my generation grew up watching not only American “shoot ’em up” Westerns featuring rugged cowboys, rowdy rustlers, round-ups and home on the range, but the Mexican equivalent–movies featuring the exploits of charros, the traditional cowboys of central and northern Mexico. My friends and I could only dream about overcoming marauding Indians, desperate rustlers and flooding rivers as we drove our cattle to the stockyards in Abilene just like our white hat wearing heroes.  It’s conceivable…

Asado Brazilian Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

When it comes to diplomatic coups, one of the least known for which President George Herbert Walker Bush is credited is the introduction to the United States of the popular Brazilian Churrascaria (steakhouse) Fogo de Chão (literally Fire of the Ground). During a visit to São Paulo, Brazil, the 41st President of the United States was so impressed by the unique dining concept that he told the owners a restaurant like theirs would go over big in his home state…

Yen Ching – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Have a yen for Chinese or Korean cuisine? Can your appetite be sated only by the nasal-clearing, smoldering heat of Szechwan style cooking? Are the cravings that consume you affixed on succulent sushi and eye-watering wasabi. If all four of these options sound good but you can’t make up your mind, there’s only one dining destination that–under one roof–can satisfy your appetite for all these palate-pleasing Asian cuisines. Yen Ching, a popular Northeast Heights restaurant named for a city in…