Fork & Fig – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Listen to Billy Joel’s 1983 doo wop hit Uptown Girl and you’ll probably get the impression that uptown is synonymous with uppity or at least upscale. The lyrics describe a working-class downtown man (ostensibly Joel himself who’s originally from blue-collar Long Island) trying to win the heart of a wealthy, white bred uptown girl (Joel’s future wife Christie Brinkley). The

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TONY CAPUTO’S MARKET & DELI – Salt Lake City, Utah

Most of us know someone like Lucy Van Pelt, the irascible, bossy, highly opinionated diva in the syndicated Peanuts comic strip.   Since her debut in 1952, Lucy has been the perpetrator of two long-running gags.  One involves her holding the football (ostensibly so that Charlie Brown can kick a field goal or extra point) and pulling the ball away

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Freshie’s Lobster Co. – Salt Lake City, Utah

The best lobster in the world?  In Salt Lake City?  That’s as improbable as the Detroit Lions winning a Super Bowl, as unlikely as drivers in New Mexico developing the motor skills to use turn signals, as far-fetched as a conservative NRA member driving a Subaru in Santa Fe.  As a landlocked state some two-thousand miles from the cold New

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Dogos VIP – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Thanks largely to a 1974 Chevrolet commercial and its catchy tune, the phrase “As American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie” has purportedly defined what Americans hold most sacrosanct.  Never mind that hot dogs are derivative of European sausages, they’re inextricably part of the fabric of the fruited plain. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, there is

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Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Remember the good old days when the only taboo related to the All American hot dog was the felonious act of adding ketchup.   In the movie “Sudden Impact,”  Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry” Callahan declared rather emphatically “Nobody, I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog.”  Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States was nearly as

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Alicea’s NY Bagels & Subs – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Imagine a world without sandwiches! That daunting premise would make a pretty fatalistic post-apocalyptic movie in which Dystopian societies exist in a nightmare of deprivation, hopelessness, terror and processed food rations (Soylent Green anyone?). No sandwiches–it’s just too incomprehensible to imagine, especially considering everywhere you turn there’s another Subway. Frankly, my own post-apocalyptic nightmare would be a world in which

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Tempe, Arizona

Portillo’s story is the story of the American dream, a rags to riches saga that began with a single hot dog stand opening in 1963. That single investment has blossomed into a multi-million per year chain with six different concepts and more than 40 restaurants in the Chicago area alone. The Portillo’s Restaurant Group has become, in fact, the largest

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AK Pizza – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I hate it. I think it’s an abomination. There are so many awesome things here, I don’t know why that should be featured. It’s leading with your weakness. So much other great stuff.” ~Anthony Bourdain What could have rankled the ire of the world renowned celebrity chef, master raconteur and social activist?  Was it an injustice in dire need of

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Street Food Sensations – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Restaurant Insider, which touts itself as “your source for restaurant news, trends, information, tools and conversation” has observed that one of the catalysts most instrumental in driving a changing culinary landscape are Generation Z (anyone born between 1997 and 2010) diners.  With a spending power of over $29 Billion, Gen Z diners make up a quarter of all the people

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Pig + Fig Cafe – White Rock, New Mexico

In its eighth season, the brilliant sitcom Seinfeld helped introduce casual comic book fans to the concept of Bizarro world, a setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite of expectations. In other words, a Bizarro world is a mirror image of conventionality, logic and reality, everything being reversed. Jerry Seinfeld’s polar opposite Kevin, for example, was depicted as kind, selfless

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Guava Tree Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

A few years ago, my friend Bill Hanson, a gastronome of the first order, was hosting several of his Costa Rican employees at Intel’s Ocotillo (Arizona) plant. Like me, Bill delights in introducing his friends to new culinary adventures. Unfortunately, not all our colleagues were similarly inclined (despite one of Intel’s corporate values being “risk-taking”). One of them convinced the

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Urban Hotdog Company – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks Tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox love hot dogs. Armour Hot Dog Commercial, 1960s Advertising standards in the 1960s were quite a bit more lax than they are today. In today’s culture of American political correctness, there’s no way an earworm-inspiring jingle such as the Armour Hotdog commercial

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Slice & Dice – Albuquerque, New Mexico

You might remember a 2004 documentary called Supersize Me in which writer-producer Morgan Spurlock explored the consequences on his health of a diet consisting solely of McDonald’s food for one month.  Spurlock has nothing on Dan Janssen who as of 2019 had eaten almost nothing but pizza for nearly thirty years.  That’s pizza for lunch and dinner every day of

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California Pastrami & More – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

During a 1997 episode of Seinfeld, the “show about nothing,” George Costanza and his girlfriend du jour discussed the possibility of incorporating food into their lovemaking–not as a post-coital meal, but in flagrante delicto. George listed as potential food candidates: strawberries, chocolate sauce, honey and…pastrami on rye with mustard. Yes, that’s pastrami on rye. His girlfriend, unfortunately, failed to appreciate

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The Shop Breakfast & Lunch – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In the 60s and early 70s, movies and television programs would have you believe all spies were hard-drinking, fast-driving, woman-chasing playboys as good with their fists as they were with a gun. They were worldly, sophisticated and charming, but could just as easily use guile and deception to get the job done. Bob Ayers, who worked in intelligence for 30

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Philly Steaks – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I love the dignity in the name Philadelphia, but at heart, we’re Philly.” ~Lisa Scottoline New York Times Best-Selling Author “There are a couple of things you should know about Philadelphia,” my friend Vladimir “Speedy” Gonzalez told me before my first visit to the City of Brotherly Love. “First, Philadelphians are not rude. We may be blunt and direct, but

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