Guicho’s Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

There have been Mexican restaurants in the Land of Enchantment for as long as there have been restaurants.  While the distinction between Mexican restaurants and New Mexican restaurants has become less obfuscated over time, there is still a tendency among many casual diners to think “a Mexican restaurant is a Mexican restaurant.”  That errant thinking is probably due to the preponderance on this side of the border of Mexican restaurants from the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua. The cuisine of Chihuahua is…

Rocco’s Pizzeria – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In an age of sensory bombardment, we all occasionally experience a phenomenon known as an “earworm.” Earworm is a literal translation of a German term for a song (particularly an annoying one) stuck in someone’s head. For some it’s the Gilligan’s Island theme song. For others, it might be “It’s a Small World” or the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” In the 1960s, one television commercial was responsible for an earworm that afflicted many of us in the Albuquerque viewing area. It…

The Cajun Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Note:  After 24 years of serving Albuquerque in two locations, the Cajun Kitchen closed its doors on Friday, March 11, 2011.  On a notice in the menu, the Hebert family wrote, “It has been a privilege serving the Albuquerque community and have been equally blessed by the support of those who have graced our tables making the restaurant the institution it has become.” When we moved back to Albuquerque in 1995 after eight years of living in the Mississippi Gulf…

Outlook Cafe – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Some would argue that the city of Rio Rancho was spawned as a dubious marketing ploy designed to bilk gullible New Yorkers out of their savings by enticing them to a vast wasteland under the pretext  that their  “lucrative investment” would  ensure a comfortable retirement in “among the greenest, most fertile valleys in the world.”  Others see those pioneers who sought to civilize the wilderness on the plateaus west of Albuquerque as visionaries possessing a clarity and prescience that escapes…

GoNuts Donuts – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Their Points of View. ‘Twixt optimist and pessimist The difference is droll; The optimist the doughnut sees – The pessimist the hole. – New York Sun, 1904 It’s almost deliciously ironic that the “Optimist’s Creed” references the oft-maligned donut. In recent years, donuts and their high-carb brethren have been damned and all but banned by the “nutritionally correct” who believe America should supplant these decadent orbs of sugary deliciousness with tofu, celery sticks, carrots and beef juice.  Donuts went through…

Sevyn’s Cafe – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

During a 1996 episode of Seinfeld, George Costanza, a self-proclaimed “short, balding, unattractive man” made the mistake of telling his fiancee he wanted to name his child “Seven” after his idol Mickey Mantle.  To George’s chagrin, his fiancee’s cousins liked the idea so much they decided to name their own child Seven.  Even as the female cousin was being wheeled by an orderly into the delivery room, George tried in vain to convince them to name the child something else. …

Wings ‘N Things – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The “language of love.”  It can reduce the most eloquent of women to twaddling teeny boppers and the most macho of men to cooing grade schoolers.  It is most active–some would say most infantile–when the biochemical pathways of love are waxing to a peak during the relationship stages between infatuation and falling in love.  It’s when cute nicknames–those mushy, syrupy terms of endearment–are created and used in place of actual names, when phone calls don’t end because neither party can…

Rodeo Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“Who’s gonna fill their shoes?,” laments the legendary Country music crooner George Jones over the loudspeakers at the Rodeo Grill.  “Who’s gonna stand that tall? Who’s gonna play the Opry and the Wabash Cannonball?  Who’s gonna give their heart and soul to get to me and you?  Lord I wonder, who’s gonna fill their shoes.” Ironically I was thinking something similar as we stepped into the kitschy and brash restaurant on Wyoming which purports to feature “nuevo vaquero chow.”  My…

Frattellis – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

In New York City, pizza by the slice is as ubiquitous as towering skyscrapers. Many of the city’s nearly 3,000 pizzerias serve pizza by the slice. Most have been doing so since the end of WWII when recently returned American veterans who served in Italy craved the sliced pizza they had enjoyed during their service. Heck, in the Big Apple, you can even find pizza by the slice proffered by sidewalk vendors. At about two bucks a slice, it’s usually…

Coronado Grill – Bernalillo, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In 1540 while searching for the fabled seven Cities of Gold, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado camped with his soldiers near the ancient Pueblo of Kuaua on the western banks of the Rio Grande where the city of Bernalillo exists today. Coronado never did locate the mythical Cities, finding instead a thriving agricultural village inhabited since 1300. Only the partially reconstructed ruins of Kuaua (a Tiwa word for “evergreen”) remain today, but the “City of Coronado” still celebrates the Spanish explorer…

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…

Evergreen Buffet – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

America held hostage!  That was the aptly named title of an ABC late-night news program anchored by Ted Koppel from November, 1979 through January 20, 2001.  For 444 days, the mighty United States of America was indeed paralyzed while 52 Americans were held hostage–tied and blindfolded–in the U.S. Embassy in Iran.  The captors were student revolutionaries incensed at the United States decision to admit Iran’s deposed Shah for medical treatment. The moment Ronald Reagan took the oath of office, those…

Cafe Choroni – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In the late 1970s before political correctness taught us how racist we all are, it seems every man born to the last name Gonzalez, whether or not they liked it, sported the nickname “Speedy.”  Speedy was, of course, the “fastest mouse in all of Mexico” in the popular Looney Tunes animated series.  The premise of the cartoon was that Sylvester, a tuxedo cat with an exaggerated lisp, terrorized a horde of mice trying to abscond with cheese from the cheese…

Los Mayas – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Diego de Landa Calderón, the former Bishop of Yucatán, is a dichotomous figure in the history of the new world.  On one hand, he is recognized as an invaluable source of information on pre-Columbian Mayan civilizations, but on the other, he was directly responsible for destroying much of that civilization’s history, literature and traditions. Given the responsibility of converting the indigenous Maya to Roman Catholicism, he instituted an Inquisition that ultimately ended with the notorious auto de fé, a ritual of public penance for…

Rosemary’s Restaurant – Las Vegas, Nevada (CLOSED)

You might think that a chef and proprietor whose restaurant has garnered almost every conceivable accolade might be almost unapproachable, perhaps even haughty and aloof…that being among the gastronomic glitterati, he wouldn’t make time for admirers of his culinary craft. We learned during a June, 2006 visit that THE Michael Jordan (the other one was a pretty fair basketball player) is one of the nicest, most unassuming and genuinely endearing celebrity chefs we’ve ever met. We had the great fortune…