The Point Grill – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

“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…

Davido’s Pizza & More – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Some might call the American Realty and Petroleum Company (AMREP for short) a pioneering visionary for its early 1960s purchase of over 50,000 acres on the dusty Sandoval County plains that are now Rio Rancho. Others use different–and not necessarily as complimentary–adjectives to describe the land speculator whose clever marketing attracted hundreds of New Yorkers (among others) to the then untamed western fringes overlooking the Rio Grande. They came because Rio Rancho was a “lucrative investment” with half acre lots…

M’Tucci’s Moderno – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere It’s up to you, New York, New York.” ~Frank Sinatra Jeff Spiegel, managing partner of the insanely popular M’Tucci’s family of restaurants has described flagship restaurant M’Tucci’s Italian Restaurant (previously M’Tucci’s Kitchina) as “as good as anything we did in New York City.” That is really saying something considering over the course of 23 years, Jeff and his wife, life and business partner Katie Gardner owned and operated eleven restaurants…

JOE’S PASTA HOUSE – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Once a year, despite my protestations and whining, I agree to take my Kim to the Olive Garden. It’s a deal we have, albeit one that makes me feel like Faust in the Christopher Marlowe play. Faust, for the non-English majors among you was a scholar who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. In my case, the deal is a visit to Olive Garden once a year in exchange for all the…

Turtle Mountain Brewing Company – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

The Tewa name “Oku Pin” which translates in English to “Turtle Mountain” has three meanings of significance to the people of Okay Owingeh, one of New Mexico’s great Tewa speaking Northern New Mexico Pueblos. “Oku Pin” was the the Indian name given to Dr. Alfonso Ortiz who obtained worldwide prominence as an anthropologist and ethnologist until his death in 1998. Ortiz was born and raised in San Juan Pueblo which in 2006 officially changed its name to Okay Owingeh. “Oku…

Stack House BBQ – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

One of my Psychology professors cautioned students about the danger of “amateur diagnosis,” the practice of assigning specific psychoses and neuroses to people we meet solely on the basis of our cursory familiarity with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He explained that it often takes an experienced practicing psychiatrist several sessions to arrive at a diagnosis and many more sessions before treatment proves effective. His point–a little knowledge can be dangerous–applies in virtually every arena of knowledge…

El Agave – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

“Why, this here sauce is made in New York City!” “New York City? Git a rope!” No matter how broad-minded we may perceive ourselves to be, most of us are burdened by covert biases and prejudices that reveal themselves at inopportune times. One of mine was divulged during my inaugural visit to El Agave Mexican Restaurant in Rio Rancho. After being greeted warmly by effusive hostess Lilly Venegas (who could not possibly have been nicer), I began my usual “twenty…

Pho Garden – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

It should have been a point-counterpoint debate for the ages. My ideologically opposed and perpetually squabbling friends Carlos and Hien were arguing about the concept of American exceptionalism. Carlos took the Reaganesque position that America is the shining city on a hill. “Everything about America is great,” he proclaimed. “We have the highest standard of living and pretty much the best of everything.” Hien mirrored Obama’s stance that America does not have exclusivity in believing itself to be exceptional. Much…

Nori Ramen & Sushi Bar – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

From our home in northeast Rio Rancho, it’s about thirteen miles to the Nori Ramen & Sushi Bar on Southern Boulevard. It would have been safer to run with the bulls at Pampalona than it was driving the half hour it took me to get to Nori. In those thirty minutes, an impatient tailgater blasted her horn at me for having the audacity to come to a complete stop at a stop sign in our subdivision. As she roared passed…

El Maguey – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

On a 2010 episode of The Travel Channel’s No Reservations series, host Anthony Bourdain described pulque as “the sap of the maguey cactus” as well as “man juice” and “Mexican Viagra.” That may explain why so many aspiring middle-aged brewers across the fruited plain rushed to their local nurseries in search of the maguey plant. Although maguey may be plentiful even in the Land of Enchantment, extracting pulque is a laborious process involving four distinct steps, the first of which…

Tao Chinese Bistro – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

It’s highly unlikely ancient Chinese philosophers ever intended the concept of Tao to be used as an approach for the serial seduction of women, but that was the premise of the 2000 movie The Tao of Steve. Filmed in the Santa Fe area, this campy romantic comedy centered around a corpulent, underachieving former philosophy student who christened his approach after the somewhat stolid “cool” epitomized by three Steves: Steve McQueen, Steve McGarrett from Hawaii Five-O and Steve Austin from The…

Toro Burger – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

While watching a “sanitized for television” version of the audacious satirical comedy Blazing Saddles, my precocious six-year-old niece asked several questions with deep sociological implications: “Why is everyone in the town of Rock Ridge named Johnson? Why were all the town’s citizens white?” From her silence, you’d think my Kim was a “perp lawyering up” at a police inquiry. Rather than responding herself, she enjoyed seeing my brother and I hem and haw in trying to give accurate and age-appropriate…

Saigon 2 Restaurant – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

In Chinese and Vietnamese cultures, numerology is very important. If you’ve traveled extensively, you may have wondered why the term “Pho” followed by a number is so commonplace. Often these numbers are considered lucky–and not necessarily across an entire culture. A number may be lucky on a personal level, perhaps marking a date that’s special to the restaurant owner. Espy a restaurant named Pho 66and the number 66 may well represent the year the owner fled Vietnam during the war.…

K’Lynn’s Cuisine – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

The tethered banner in front of K’Lynn’s Cuisine in Rio Rancho lists a few of the delicious treasures available in the tiny restaurant: “catfish, BBQ, gumbo, po boys, jerk chicken, carne adovada fries & more!” Yeah, we did a double-take, too. One of those items just seemed a bit out-of-place? If you’re thinking “carne adovada fries” don’t belong on the list because they’re not Soul food, you’d be wrong. Carne adovada fries definitely belong on the list. So does jerk…

Mariscos Mazatlan – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

A rotund, ripening, red tomato is featured prominently on license plates issued in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. This is indicative of the state’s prominence in growing the “love apples” from which its rich salsas are made. In 2013, Sinaloa exported nearly one-billion tons of vegetables–primarily tomatoes–across the fruited plain, netting (mostly industrial) farmers nearly one-billion dollars. More than half the tomatoes consumed across the United States during the winter season are, in fact, grown in Sinaloa. While Sinaloan tomatoes…