Pho Lao – Albuquerque, New Mexico

One definition of audacity is “the state of being bold or daring—particularly with disregard for danger, rudeness or pressure.” Audacity is nine-year-old fourth grader Akilan Sankaran (son of my friend Sridevi) unflinchingly spelling such words as “rejoneador” and “mnemonic” to win the New Mexico Spelling bee over eighth graders who’d participated in the annual event as many as six times. Audacity is a miniature dachshund protecting its family from the menacing mailman who dares trespass daily into the family’s territory.…

Sakura Sushi Thai & Laos Cuisine – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Opinions vary as to what the next “hot” cuisine in America will be. As an independent observer of the New Mexico culinary condition, I’m more interested in how long it will take for that heat to make its way to the Land of Enchantment…and whether its sizzle will wow Duke City diners or pass us by. In 2005, Bon Appetit declared Peruvian the next hot cuisine. Apparently Albuquerque didn’t think it was so hot because Perumex, the city’s first and…

Mekong Ramen House – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In a 2009 movie entitled Ramen Girl, Abby, a wayward American girl unacculturated to life in Tokyo witnesses the radiant smiles on the faces of diners as they eat ramen and receives an epiphany that her life’s calling is to become a ramen chef. Over time she persuades a ramen restaurant’s temperamental Japanese chef to mentor her. Initially he assigns her to perform the most menial and degrading tasks, but she perseveres and eventually convinces her tyrannical mentor of her…