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.…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The Point Grill – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“Get to the point!” Archie Bunker, the irascible curmudgeon on the 70’s sitcom All in the Family frequently chided his doting wife Edith with the epithet “Get to the Point, Edith!” One of the series occasional and most memorable bits depicted Archie’s pantomime suicides, carried out while Edith rambled on and on in her nasal high-pitched voice, wholly oblivious to his dramatic gestures. In one episode Archie did himself in by tying a noose and hanging himself as Edith prattled…

Central Grill and Coffee House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Life is short. Eat more pancakes and fewer rice cakes”. ~ Unknown With an almost reverential zeal they come, their cellphone cameras at the ready. The enthusiasm for their pilgrimages has brought them to this hallowed destination from every corner of the country. Some know next to nothing about the city, save for it having been the hometown of chemistry-teacher turned meth-kingpin Walter White. They don’t regard the city with the ignominy with which it’s been portrayed, but as a…

Milly’s Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Until rather recently, if there was a wide diversity of opinion about Albuquerque’s restaurant scene, it wasn’t widely shared. Albuquerque’s two daily periodicals, the Albuquerque Journal and the Albuquerque Tribune as well as a number of alternative publications published weekly restaurant reviews, but opinions and observations expressed therein were rather one-sided. It wasn’t until about 2008 that crowd-sourced restaurant reviews really took off in the Duke City. Published in such online mediums as TripAdvisor (founded in 2000), Yelp (launched in…

Sugar Nymphs Bistro – Peñasco, New Mexico

Peñasco has always been the beautiful stepsister ignored by the dutiful suitors who prefer the company of Taos, its more glamorous sibling. Taos, the mystical art colony to which new age subscribers seem preternaturally drawn is the terminus of the high road, starting and end point of the enchanted circle and one of the most beautiful communities in the country, if not the world. Sugar Nymphs Bistro is helping Peñasco lure some of those suitors away…at least for a spectacular…

Freight House Kitchen & Tap – Bernalillo, New Mexico

Many of us look at an unused and timeworn historical building and a wave of nostalgia sweeps over us as we imagine what life was like when that building teemed with activity. Some see such a building as a pig in need of lipstick, nothing a coat of paint and a few nails can’t fix up. Others see that same edifice as having served its purpose, a structure which should be razed to make room for a modern complex. Still…

ABQ BBQ – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

“It was Kansas City but it was North Carolina I wanted; whole hog smoked low and slow over fruit woods and doused liberally with a vinegar-based sauce. It was North Carolina but it was Texas I wanted; king beef sliced into juicy brisket prepared over post oak and glistening with a sweet tomato-molasses based sauce. It was Texas but it was Memphis I wanted; unctuous pork slow smoked over hickory and served “wet” in a tomato and vinegar-based sauce. It…