Dave’s Valley Grill – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

Several years ago, Major Larry Abraham (God rest his soul) of the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque called me out, reminding me that such restaurants as Sadie’s of New Mexico, Casa de Benavidez and Vernon’s Speakeasy were located not in Albuquerque as credited on Gil’s Thrilling…, but in the village he capably served for four terms. He politely asked me to correct my oversight. Ever since Mayor Abraham’s gentle prodding, your humble blogger has been much more diligent about…

California Pastrami & More – Albuquerque, New Mexico

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 the erotic qualities of pastrami and thus, their relationship terminated. Ultimately George met up with a woman who echoed his…

2G’s Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In May, 2018, Yelp published its listing of the 50 best restaurants in Albuquerque. Only three of them came from the not-yet-done-revitalizing East Downtown (EDo) district. The two that won’t surprise anyone are The Grove Cafe & Market at number eight and Standard Diner at number forty-seven. Sandwiched between them is a relative newcomer named 2G’s Bistro which ranked twenty-first. Geographically, 2G’s Bistro is also sandwiched somewhere between The Grove and the Standard Diner on Central Avenue. My very preliminary…

Tully’s Italian Deli & Meats – Albuquerque, New Mexico

The sense of smell, more than any of our other senses, influences our ability to recall past events and experience. From among the five senses, fragrance is considered the most potent medium for conjuring up memories. True enough, some of the most enduring sensory memories of my years in the Boston area are reawakened thanks to the amazing aromas that greet me each time I visit Tully’s Italian Deli & Meats on San Mateo. It is with increased rarity that…

Coda Bakery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

JP, my former boss at Intel prides himself on consistently working “half days.” If you’re thinking you’d like a job where you work only four hours a day, you’ve misinterpreted his definition of “half days.” To him, half days is a literal term meaning twelve hours a day. When most of us are done for after only nine or ten hours, he was just starting what he calls his “second shift.” Very few of us have the stamina, initiative and…

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 that’s just passion.” Passion? I always thought he was a grouch. “Second,” he added, “you’ve got to know the process…

Leona Banh Mi – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I’m not allowed in the Vietnamese sandwich shop anymore. They decided to banh mi for life.” During an ice-breaker at what promised to be a stressful project planning meeting, all participants were asked to stand up and describe their favorite childhood Christmas gift. For the most part, favorite gifts conformed to gender stereotypes. Male colleagues waxed fondly about GI Joe action figures (don’t ever call them dolls), Star Wars Lego sets and their first bike. Females in our group described…

AK Deli – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“You’ll never be one of us,” my brother-in-law Chuck quipped in his best Baron von Trapp voice. He wasn’t talking about me being part of the family. He was talking about me being a Chicagoan. Chuck wasn’t being mean-spirited or condescending in any way. The only person not born in the Windy City whom he considers a true Chicagoan is da coach Mike Ditka. “He’s the embodiment of Chicago. It’s in his soul. It’s his attitude.” he explained. Michael Jordan?…

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 would ever see the light of day, but back then it helped sell a lot of hot dogs. Even in…

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 and reliable in contrast to Jerry’s indifference, self-absorption and forgetfulness. Gene was quiet, studious, polite and giving while his Bizarro…

Oak Tree Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

This isn’t Burger King! You can’t have it your way. You get it our way or you don’t get it at all. For some reason, human beings seem inclined to level criticism by the shovelful while apportioning praise and plaudits by the thimbleful. We seem genetically predisposed to put more stock into negativity than we are to believe the best of others. We consider compliments to be based on insincerity or ulterior motives. Even our television viewing preferences gravitate toward…

Rolls & Bowls – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“The banh mi sandwich is really the only good argument for colonialism.” ~Calvin Trillin By most historical standards, the banh mi is a rather new entrant in the world culinary stage. Its evolution into the revered sandwich we know and love today began in 1859 with the French arrival in Saigon. Along with military occupation, the French brought their c’est delicieux cuisine to Southeast Asia…although to be clear, the colonial rulers never had the benevolent intent of introducing the Vietnamese…

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 perception of uptown’s haughtiness were reenforced in “The Contest” episode of Seinfeld in which John F. Kennedy, Jr. lived in…

IKrave Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Please say it isn’t so! According to Nations Restaurant News, a highly respected trade publication “a new crop of restaurant chain entrepreneurs” believes “American diners will soon embrace the Vietnamese bánh mì sandwich as the next burrito or taco.” The notion of corporate chain megaliths setting their sights on the humble banh mi should send shudders down the spine of everyone who frequents the mom-and-pop nature of the banh mi restaurants we’ve come to know and love. Imagine a phalanx…

The Farmacy – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In this age of “fake news,” biased media slants and unabashed tell-alls, the one recent headline which has pleased me most comes from Bloomberg. Splashed in bold typeface was the eye-catching lead “Mom-and-Pop Joints Are Trouncing America’s Big Restaurant Chains.” Elaborating on this contention, the first paragraph reads: “Americans are rejecting the consistency of national restaurant chains after decades of dominance in favor of the authenticity of locally owned eateries, with their daily specials and Mom’s watercolors decorating the walls.”…