Hurley’s Coffee, Tea and Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.” — An Irish Blessing Cynics who used to deride Irish food as the worst in the planet would have cautioned you to say a prayer before you ate it, but not necessarily in Thanksgiving for what you were about to receive.  For years the Emerald Isle has captured the imagination with its numberless shades of…

Village Grill – Moriarty, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Since the mid 1920s, New Yorker magazine has been providing insightful commentary on popular American culture in all its star-spangled idiosyncrasies.  One of its most popular features in the 1970s  was the “American Journal” written by the inimitable Calvin Trillin who traversed the continent in search of where real people ate.  The “Walt Whitman of American eats” chronicled his dining experiences with the same enthusiasm with which he ate the native cuisines most appreciated by locals.  Peppering his reviews with…

Quesada’s New Mexican Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

When we get together, native New Mexicans of my generation who grew up in the state’s mountainous regions sometimes reminisce about trudging a mile or more in feet-deep snow to get to school.  We wonder how we survived the furious snowstorms which killed  reception for weeks to all four (yeah, four) Albuquerque television stations in the dark, pre-historic days before color television (not to mention, cable), the Internet and iPhones. Mostly, we trumpet the fact that we were  weaned on chile–and not just any…

Sabroso’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

From the moment they first set foot in the Land of Enchantment, some people just “get it” or perhaps more precisely, New Mexico gets to them.  It weaves its preternatural spell and stirs something deeply in those open enough to its calling.  D. H. Lawrence said it best, “In the magnificent fierce morning of New Mexico one sprang awake, a new part of the soul woke up suddenly, and the old world gave way to a new.” Other people don’t…

The Chili Stop Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Over the years it’s been my experience that almost invariably, New Mexican restaurants which violate traditional New Mexican grammar don’t prepare the object of their grammatical faux pas very well.  The grammatical transgression of which I speak is forgetting the “i” before “e” rule and committing the piquant peccadillo of spelling New Mexico’s official state vegetable with two “i’s” and no “e’s.” It’s entirely forgivable that chile is technically a fruit, albeit one which packs an incendiary capsaicin punch, but…

Charlie’s Burgers & Mexican Food – Bernalillo, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Ashley’s Convenience Store on the ill-fated corner of Camino del Pueblo and Avenida Bernalillo achieved the type of notoriety which will be forever associated with a tragedy visited all too often upon New Mexico’s streets.  In November, 2006, a driver already inebriated during a U.S. Airways flight, purchased alcohol at the convenience store before resuming his journey home and causing a tragic head-on collision that killed five members of a Las Vegas, New Mexico family. The state of New Mexico banned the airline…

Marlene’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God. And what is it to work with love? It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth. It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house. It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,…

Sunshine Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry Sunshine on the waters looks so lovely Sunshine almost always makes me high -John Denver A gloomy, gray winter day in Minnesota was the inspiration for John Denver’s number one song “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” During a visit to the Gopher State in 1974, he experienced the type of “cabin fever” with which many New Mexicans are familiar after one gloomy winter day after another…

Athens Eclectic Greek – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

There’s an expression in Greece that all roads lead to Athens. If restaurateur Gus Petropoulos has his way, all Albuquerque streets will take diners to Athens Eclectic Greek Cuisine, the restaurant he launched in August, 2007. Petropoulos is a veteran of culinary competition, having owned six restaurants in Florida before setting up shop in the Duke City. His new venture is located in the Far North Shopping Center where, just scant years ago, this was about as far north as…

Villa del Mar – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Who hasn’t dreamt of a luxurious Mexican Villa overlooking pristine sandy beaches and translucent blue waters–a distinguished gate, thriving gardens and a capacious floor plan with earth-toned terracotta and ochre floors and walls festooned in vibrant colors? Think of it–your own personal chef preparing the briny delicacies of the sea for your every meal, the soulful voice of a Mexican singer plumbing the depths of your emotions, a fresh Pacific breeze negating the balmy climate.  It would be an idyllic…

Painted Horse Coffeehouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In the summer of 2000, prominent artists throughout the Southwest resoundingly answered the call to submit their design ideas for painting on an unconventional medium–a horse cast in a durable resin blend. This particular canvas was chosen to commemorate the introduction to North America of the horse. More than five centuries ago, Spanish Conquistadores explored New Mexico astride the noble beast. The painted ponies were intended to promote artistic excellence and for about a year, the “trail of painted ponies”…

Mis Amigos – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

For years Los Cuates has been one of the Duke City’s most revered New Mexican restaurants. One of the most popular New Mexican restaurants in the city, diners line up before its opening and late-comers wait as long as it takes for a table to come open. In February, 2003 after the death of its founder and proprietor Frank Barela, four Cuates employees struck out on their own and launched Dos Amigos at the site of a former Village Inn…

Kim’s Vietnamese Gourmet Cuisine – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

During a memorable 1974 episode of MASH, it was Hawkeye Pierce’s turn at being physician of the day. Throughout the day he treated local indigenous personnel, all of whom identified themselves as “Kim Luck” when they reported in. Eventually Hawkeye turns to Radar O’Reilly and says “Kim Luck? This is the fifth one today.” He then asks the local, “Can you identify yourself?” Patting his chest and smiling broadly, the local responds “This is me!”. Hawkeye’s retort: “This must be…

La Norteñita – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The only disappointment (and it was a minor one) we experienced during our inaugural visit to La Norteñita was in not hearing the lively Mexican polka “Mi Nortenita” crackling over the restaurant’s tinny speaker system. That would have made our visit to “Old Mexico” complete. More than most Mexican restaurants in Albuquerque, La Norteñita (the little northern girl) has the look and feel of a restaurant in one of Mexico’s northern states. That means a kitchen and wait staff (and…

505 Southwestern – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Area code 505 was one of the original area codes established in 1947 and for nearly 60 years, that sole area code sufficed to serve all of New Mexico.  With the state’s surging population, however, numbers available with the 505 prefix were eventually exhausted.  The Federal Communication Commission provided area code relief in the form of a second area code (575).     A new area code for the Albuquerque area wasn’t in the makings, but it would not have had implications for 505…