Siam Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

It’s oft been said that “you taste first with your eyes.”  Certainly sight figures in to the enjoyment of food and sets expectations, but the first sensory receptors to engage in taste is the sense of smell.  If you’ve ever experienced a pleasant aroma wafting toward you as you approach a restaurant, you’ll agree.  The Siam Cafe is quite possibly the

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The Grove Cafe & Market – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Voracious readers*, avid aficionados of art and those aflame with a musical ardor know that great books, art and music are imbued with the power to transport them to another time and place. A recent influx of contemporary restaurants in Albuquerque also has that power. If you think about it, having a meal at most Duke City restaurants–transcendent though some

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Ms. Gennie’s House of Chicken – Albuquerque, New Mexico

My Air Force friend and colleague Al Garcia once shared one of those amusing anecdotes that will leave your head shaking in disbelief even as you’re practically rolling on the floor with laughter.  According to Al who grew up in the Socorro area, his parents had to make a daylong trip to the big city (Albuquerque), leaving him and his

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Richardson’s Cuisine of New Mexico – Phoenix, Arizona

My friend and former Intel colleague Steve Caine will forever rue the day he asked me to help him with an expense report for a business trip he made to Portland, Oregon. His itemized expense report indicated he had dined twice at Chevy’s, a middling quality Americanized Mexican restaurant which wouldn’t survive in the tough Albuquerque market.   I teased

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Tempe, Arizona

Portillo’s story is the story of the American dream, a rags to riches saga that began with a single hot dog stand opening in 1963. That single investment has blossomed into a multi-million per year chain with six different concepts and more than 40 restaurants in the Chicago area alone. The Portillo’s Restaurant Group has become, in fact, the largest

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Poki Poki Cevicheria – Albuquerque, New. Mexico

Having settled comfortably into middle age (perpetually 39-years old), my favorite participatory sports of basketball and tennis have been replaced by more sedentary, safe and slothful pursuits. Instead of getting my shot rejected (almost as often as the cheerleaders in Peñasco spurned my offers of a burger at Victor’s Drive-in), I now delight in catching every grammatical faux pas, malapropism

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Flamez Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Hold the pickles Hold the lettuce Special orders don’t upset us All we ask is that you let us serve it your way In 1974, Burger King introduced its most successful and long-standing advertising campaign, the heart of which was “Have It Your Way,” a catchy jingle designed to contrast just how flexible Burger King is compared to its largest

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Tia Betty Blue’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Tia Betty.  If the name conjures images of a dowdy old woman, a face etched with wrinkles and thinning grey hair pulled back neatly into a bun, you’re probably not alone.  Not even the youthfully ribald nonagenarian Betty White can alter the contemporary stereotypes ascribed to the increasingly anachronistic name Betty.  It wasn’t always the case.  In fact, there was

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El Patio de Albuquerque – Albuquerque, New Mexico

For more than a quarter century, award-winning journalist Charles Kuralt had the type of job any aspiring sojourner would envy. He hit the road on a motor home, crisscrossing the fruited plains where waving fields of wheat passed in review and snow-capped mountains reached for cobalt colored skies. Observing that “thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible

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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

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Perea’s Tijuana Bar & Restaurant – Corrales, New Mexico

The curious appellation “Tijuana Bar” dates back to the 1920s when the 18th amendment to the Constitution established Prohibition in the United States during the period 1920 to 1933. Because Prohibition forbade the sale of alcoholic beverages, many Americans got their alcohol illegally or they went to Mexico. Tijuana was a popular vacation and honeymoon destination and it happens to

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The Safari Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“The wild dogs cry out in the night As they grow restless longing for some solitary company I know that I must do what’s right Sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti I seek to cure what’s deep inside, frightened of this thing that I’ve become.” ~ Africa by Toto Shrouded in mist and steeped in myth and

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Saigon 2 Restaurant – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

In Chinese and Vietnamese cultures, numerology is very important. If you’ve traveled extensively, you may have wondered why the term “Pho” followed by a number is so commonplace. Often these numbers are considered lucky–and not necessarily across an entire culture. A number may be lucky on a personal level, perhaps marking a date that’s special to the restaurant owner. Espy

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Red Rock Deli – Albuquerque, New Mexico

America may be a multicultural melting pot, but thriving within its most populous metropolises are ethnic neighborhoods–pockets of diversity residing in two worlds, retaining many of the cultural and culinary traditions of their motherland while integrating into and pursuing the American dream. Cities such as Chicago have long realized that these ethnic enclaves offer a treasure trove of cultural and

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P’Tit Louis Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” –Ernest Hemingway I’ve often wondered if Ernest Hemingway would have felt at home in Taos during the “roaring twenties,” a period of dynamic artistic, societal and

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

The Food Network’s television cameras just love Chef Marie Yniguez who’s been showcased on not one, not two, not even three, but four of its prime-time programs. Aficionados of her cooking will tell you that in three of those programs she even upstaged Guy Fieri, the spiky-coiffed chef-glitterati.  Marie is a larger-than-life personality whose irreverent sense of humor, Burque pride

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