Saigon City – Albuquerque, New Mexico

My brother in blogging Ryan Cook describes his first day in Vietnam: “So, my first stop in Vietnam was the capital, Hanoi. My honest first impressions… what the hell have I let myself in for. Seriously…The roads are chaos! The ride from the airport to the hostel was basically 40 minutes of holding my breath and cringing. How someone wasn’t

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CAFE DALAT – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While the term “Vietnamese cuisine” is broad and overarching, any attempt to pigeonhole this very diverse and eclectic culinary culture is a failure to consider its complexities and nuances.  Even when culinary taxonomists compartmentalize Vietnamese cuisine regionally into “Northern,” “Southern” or “Central,” these wide-ranging generalizations fail to take into account the variations–often influenced by socioeconomic factors–that occur not only between

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Harvest – Park City, Utah

Park City consistently ranks as Utah’s most expensive place to live with a $1.4 million median home price (as of July, 2021).   Not bad for an old mining settlement which was in danger of becoming a ghost town until a group of miners pitched the idea of a ski resort in an effort to save their town.  That was

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Sticky Rice – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Because of the mulicultural melting pot that is America, it’s impossible to name the one food that defines us as Americans, the one food universally loved by us all.  Hot dogs and apple pie?  Contrary to the aphorism “as American as hot dogs and apple pie,” even hot dogs and apple pie have their detractors.  Ditto for burgers, mashed potatoes,

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Siam Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

It’s oft been said that “you taste first with your eyes.”  Certainly sight figures in to the enjoyment of food and sets expectations, but the first sensory receptors to engage in taste is the sense of smell.  If you’ve ever experienced a pleasant aroma wafting toward you as you approach a restaurant, you’ll agree.  The Siam Cafe is quite possibly the

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Urban 360 Pizza, Grill and Tap House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Babu: Our specials are tacos, moussaka and franks and beans. Jerry: Well, what do you recommend my good fellow? Babu:Oh, the turkey. ~”The Cafe, Seinfeld, Season 3, Episode 7 While perusing the menu at Urban 360 Pizza, Grill and Tap House, my ever-witty friend Ryan “Break the Chain” Scott commented that the menu reminded him of The Dream, the very

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Tokyo Bangkok – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In 2019, Mastercard published its Global Destination Cities Index which ranked 200 cities around the world with the most international visitors.  Topping the list for the fourth consecutive year was Bangkok, Thailand which boasted of 22-million overnight visitors.  Next on the list with around 19-million international overnight visitors were Paris and London respectively.  With 13.6-million visitors, New York City was

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Ikigai ABQ – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) may sound like what grade school girls called me many years ago, in Japanese the term ikigai is a Japanese concept combining the terms “iki,” meaning “alive” or “life,” and “gai,” meaning “benefit” or “worth.”  Though there is no direct English translation, when combined these terms embody “that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.” 

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Bamboo Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In his 30s, curmudgeonly London food critic Jay Rayner who’s been called the “enfant terrible (literally “terrifying child) of the gastronomic scene,” came to the realization that he hated hangovers more than he hated being drunk.  During a visit to a Vietnamese restaurant in London, he achieved an epiphany:  “huge steaming bowls of a deeply aromatic beef broth called pho,

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Poki Poki Cevicheria – Albuquerque, New. Mexico

Having settled comfortably into middle age (perpetually 39-years old), my favorite participatory sports of basketball and tennis have been replaced by more sedentary, safe and slothful pursuits. Instead of getting my shot rejected (almost as often as the cheerleaders in Peñasco spurned my offers of a burger at Victor’s Drive-in), I now delight in catching every grammatical faux pas, malapropism

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Kamikaze Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In the 1970s and 1980s, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups commercials consisted of a series of vignettes. Each vignette depicted the collision of two daydreamers–one eating peanut butter and the other eating chocolate. The peanut butter eater would exclaim “you got chocolate on my peanut butter.” The one eating chocolate would retort “you got peanut butter on my chocolate.” The two

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Heaven Dragon – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

From Norbert, the Norwegian Ridgeback of Harry Potter lore to Smaug, the greatest and most powerful of all dragons in The Hobbit, dragons are a familiar icon in modern literature, movies, music and pop culture.  Dragons are symbols of fantasy, whimsy and magic, often representing ancient legends and far-off lands.  They range from the malevolent, fiery tempered, scaly fire-breathers (insert

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Oni Noodles – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In retrospect, the monsters and bogeymen who frightened impressionable children of my generation were pretty lame. Perhaps the most lame of them all was Frankenstein, a lumbering behemoth who walked around with his arms outstretched like a sleepwalking Shaquille O’Neal. Frankenstein snarled and growled a lot, probably because Gene Hackman poured hot soup on his lap. Then there was that

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T & T Gas N Mart – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Eat here and get gas.”  Even in more naive and innocent times, the connotation of that double-entendre wasn’t lost on adults or children, all of whom giggled when they espied the classic sign on the marquee of many a combination eatery and filling station.  In his brilliant website The Big Apple, the “restless genius of American etymology” Barry Popik points

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