Nexus Brewery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Set in Albuquerque, Breaking Bad, AMC’s critically acclaimed television series may have left viewers with the impression that the Duke City is a haven for meth cookery and fried chicken joints.  Had the fair city been more accurately typecast, it would have have been portrayed as a mecca for microbreweries.  The Albuquerque Beer Scene blog says it best: “It’s like Portland, but with sun,”  a comparison which shows just how much the city’s microbrewery and brewpub scene has grown–and not…

Casa Chimayo – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Chimayó is one of the most mythologized, misunderstood— and, some would say, maligned—places in New Mexico. On one hand, it holds a place in popular imagination as the Lourdes of America, a reference to the annual Good Friday pilgrimage to the Santuario de Chimayó, a nineteenth-century church. New Mexicans and visitors from afar also celebrate Chimayó’s weaving tradition, the potently flavorful chile grown there, and the local restaurant, where margaritas compete with the church’s holy dirt as a tourist draw.…

Sherman’s Deli & Bakery – Palm Springs, California

Not everyone appreciated my friend Bob’s stark honesty as much as I did. For nearly twelve years, Bob was my most trusted source for information on the Santa Fe dining scene. He was also a huge advocate for my writing, even when his reaction to one of my particularly “long way around” missives was “what?.” From a style perspective, he was a “get to the point” guy while your humble blogger sometimes (okay, okay, always) takes a circuitous, raconteur’s route…

Monte Carlo Steakhouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter That looks like Elvis.” ~George Jones Having spent much of his career in an inebriated state, Country music icon George Jones actually lived the life experiences that inspired much of his music. After one of his four divorces, Jones sat alone in a rather empty home, his ex-wife having absconded with almost everything–furniture, china, glassware and more. Among the few items left behind were a small table, a Jim…

ChocGlitz & Cream – Albuquerque, New Mexico

To whom should you turn when you want a recommendation you can trust for great ice cream? Your natural inclination is probably to ask a kid. Kids, particularly those in the age group two through twelve, consume more ice cream than any other American demographic. Alas, kids in the aforementioned age group are like Mikey in the old Life cereal commercials. They like everything (except maybe coffee flavored ice cream) and aren’t quite as discerning as ice cream paramours in…

Chocolate Maven Bakery & Cafe – Santa Fe, New Mexico

In the polytheistic world of the Mesoamerican cultures (which include the Aztecs and Mayans), Quetzalcoatl was revered as the creator deity and patron of priests, merchants and rulers. Known as the “feathered serpent,” Quetzalcoatl was also associated with the cocoa bean and with chocolate. Great temples were erected in his honor and chocolate was offered to him. Montezuma, the 16th century Aztec ruler revered him. In Montezuma’s great city of Tenochtitlan (which the Spaniards later renamed Mexico City), chocolate was…

Eli’s Place (formerly Sophia’s Place) – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Picture yourself as a first-year marketing student assigned by your professor to perform a marketing analysis of Eli’s Place and its enigmatic chef-owner Dennis Apodaca. Essentially you’ve got to figure out the rhyme and reason behind the restaurant’s success. “Easy assignment,” you think to yourself, “Eli’s Place is successful because it serves some of the best, most delicious food in Albuquerque.” Your research quickly reveals, however, that Eli’s Place actually violates many of the time-honored, trusted and fundamental marketing tenets…

Golden Crown Panaderia – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Although we pride ourselves on keeping a pulse on the local dining scene, it took a nationally syndicated Food Network cable program called Food Finds to introduce us in 2003 to the Golden Crown Panaderia, an Albuquerque fixture for nearly three decades. In an episode entitled Viewer’s Choice filmed entirely in New Mexico, hostess Sandra Pinckney visited several small-town shops, mom-and-pop stores and local vendors that pride themselves in creating specialty foods the old-fashioned way. The Golden Crown Panaderia is…

Pasion Latin Fusion – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“In my experience, food and passion always intertwine. Passion is food for the soul’s mood at any particular time.” Tammy Mollai Robert Irvine, host of the Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible show has some nerve! In an episode which first aired in March, 2014, the tough-talking British mesomorph had the audacity to tell America that Pasion Latin Fusion wasn’t the beautiful, graceful swan with which many of us had fallen in love. Although he didn’t directly call Pasion an ugly duckling…

Bocadillos Slow Roasted: A Sandwich Shop – Albuquerque, New Mexico

School cafeteria meals have probably traumatized more youth than John Carpenter’s horror movies. Lunch menus read like fine-dining, promising nutritious, healthy and delicious cuisine. Instead, they deliver what could pass for TV dinner rejects. Reject is an apropos term here. Slop buckets are overfilled with the much feared and cursed vegetable medley (also known as succotash, emphasis on the “suck” part) and the next day with chicken a la king, featuring whatever is left over of the dreaded vegetable medley.…

Tecolote Cafe – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Everyone knows the most sagacious of all creatures in nature is the owl. The owl is to whom all other creatures go to get some of life’s most pondered questions answered–questions such as “how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?” After having posed the question to a cow, a fox and a turtle, a young boy decides to ask the wise owl. “Good question, let’s find out,” the owl retorts.…

Standard Diner – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While New Mexico is most assuredly the Land of Enchantment, most locals also accept that it’s also the “land of mañana” where things that can be put off until tomorrow usually are, where the pace of life is more relaxed and slower. George Adelo, Jr., an enterprising Pecos resident even coined (and copyrighted) a phrase to describe the New Mexican way: “Carpe Mañana”–Seize Tomorrow. The spirit of Carpe Mañana was certainly prevalent in the long-awaited, much-anticipated opening of the Standard…

El Pinto – Albuquerque, New Mexico

For almost any other restaurant in New Mexico (or anywhere else for that matter), 2015 would be considered a banner year, an auspicious annum, the type of year for which every restaurateur aspires. For Albuquerque’s El Pinto, however, 2015 could be considered just another year in which praise and recognition–local and national–seem to be heaped on in abundance. It’s probably safe to say El Pinto is the most heralded and acclaimed dining establishment in the Land of Enchantment. Terms such…

Jambo Cafe – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Growing up in the 60s–the dark ages before the Internet was even a glimmer in Al Gore’s eyes and google, then spelled “googol” represented an very large number (currently being approached by America’s budget deficit)–even precocious children like me derived most of our knowledge of Africa from National Geographic magazines and Tarzan movies. We thought Africa was one large monolithic country comprised solely of stark, expansive deserts or lush, mysterious jungles. Africa’s indigenous people, we believed, had to compete for…

Back Road Pizza – Santa Fe, New Mexico

My brother George has the right idea! Rather than braving the motoring madness that is traversing New Mexico’s highways at breakneck speeds and risking life and limb contending with America’s worst drivers (according to a 2014 report by Wallet Hub), he’ll take the back roads every chance he gets. Not only does he avoid frazzled nerves and minimize potential encounters with distracted, drunk and demolition derby caliber drivers, he gets to enjoy the scenery of enchantment and arrive at his…