Casa de Benavidez – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

There are restaurants throughout the Duke City that have seemingly always been “there.” They’re as much a part of the fabric of the city as the neighborhoods they serve. Casa de Benavidez is one of those restaurants, a familiar part of the landscape on North Fourth Street, some would say an institution. Despite the notion of permanence, this venerable treasure has, in fact, been around only since 1984–at least under its current name. Before there was a Casa de Benavidez,…

El Papaturro Restaurant – Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, New Mexico

Driving north on Fourth one Sunday afternoon, my sharp-eyed Kim espied a new eatery with the curious name El Papaturro. Our first inclination was that the Pappas Restaurants group had made another incursion into the Land of Enchantment. It seemed to make sense considering the Pappas Restaurant Group, a family-owned and operated restaurant company based out of Houston, is the parent restaurant of Pappadeaux which has had a presence in Albuquerque since 2004. Pappadeux, a seafood restaurant with Cajun leanings,…

Paddy Rawal’s OM- Fine Indian Dining – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

It wasn’t New Mexico’s Chamber of Commerce winter weather that enticed Chef Pramad “Paddy” Rawal to remain in the Land of Enchantment. In fact, when he first landed at Albuquerque’s International Sunport, he wondered if he had gotten on the correct flight. Albuquerque was as frigid as his home in Michigan which he had left just hours prior. Attired in clothing more appropriate for a balmy spring day, Paddy had certainly not anticipated the winter snap that kept New Mexicans…

Ezra’s Place – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

When it comes to food, most bowling alleys strike out.  Ardent keglers are subjected to such catastrophic “cuisine” as perpetually rotating hot dogs seared to a leathery sheen under a heat lamp inferno, soppy messes of nachos bathed in gloppy processed cheese topped with gelatinous jalapeños and greasy onion rings with the texture of fried rubber bands and as oily as well-slicked lanes.  Getting something edible at most bowling alleys is as tough as picking up a seven-ten split. Los Ranchos de…

Village Subs – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

To paraphrase John 15:13, “No greater love a man has than this, that a man give up his life for a….sandwich?” In an uproariously funny episode of the television show Friends, Joey, Chandler and Ross go on a ride-along with Phoebe’s policeman boyfriend. Believing a back-firing muffler was actually a gunshot, Joey (sitting in between his two friends) dives, seemingly to protect Ross from harm.  Naturally Chandler was upset that Joey would choose to protect Ross instead of him…until he…

El Camino Dining Room – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

Many of us who predate, however slightly, the explosion of institutionalized fast food retain a fondness for the remaining independent family restaurants whose arsenal in the competition for hungry diners consists of reasonable portions of great meals at budget-conscious prices. An Albuquerque restaurant which epitomizes those ideals is the El Camino Dining Room, captured brilliantly above by the fabulous photographer Deanna Nichols. The El Camino was built by Clyde H. Tyler in 1950, five years after the latest “war to…

Calico Cantina & Cafe – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The first time my friends and I visited the Calico Cafe at its original Corrales location, we wondered if the restaurant suffered from an identity crisis. Exterior signage read “Calico Cafe” but the menus indicated we were dining at “Cowgirl’s.” Apparently the restaurant was initially christened Cowgirl’s, but a name change was court-ordered after a naming dispute with Santa Fe’s long-established Cowgirls BBQ restaurant. On December 2nd, 2004, the popular and intimate lunch and breakfast restaurant owned by Corrales residents…