Ravioli Italian Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The older I get, the more my favorite part of the Academy Awards every year is the teary-eyed tribute to all the famous screen legends who passed away during the preceding twelve months.  The montage of glitterati greatness on the “In Memoriam” segment not only provides a much-needed respite from self-absorbed acceptance speeches and tedious dance numbers, it  evokes a flood of memories and emotions as viewers pause to remember the movie makers who have touched us all. Similarly, the…

Miss Saigon Bar & Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

When it closed on Broadway in 2001, the three-time Tony Award-winning musical Miss Saigon had been seen by some six million people during a running of 4,092 performances, making it the sixth longest running show in Broadway history.  Outside of Broadway, Miss Saigon was opened by 26 theater companies worldwide, translated into eleven different languages and played in 23 countries throughout the world.  The epic musical even had an eight performance run in Albuquerque’s Popejoy Hall in 2003.  During of…

Mamba’s Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

When my friend Ryan “Break the Chain” Scott and I first visited Mamba’s Kitchen, we deliberated the genesis of the restaurant’s name. The possibilities were intriguing. The restaurant must be named for the black mamba, one of the world’s most venomous snakes, I thought. Ryan surmised then quickly dismissed the notion that the restaurant’s name honors Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers star who calls himself the “Mamba” because he wants to have the type of basketball precision the snake…

Just A Bite! – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

An April, 2009 article in the Taos News reveals just how much cultural attitudes have changed in the county in which I grew up toward men in the kitchen.  The article profiled a Taos High School culinary arts team–comprised of three boys and one young lady–which triumphed over 16 other New Mexico schools in a state-wide cooking competition to earn a berth on the national stage. In the dark ages when I attended high school, any male student deigning to admit to enjoy cooking…

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

My friend Carrie Seidman, the elegant and erstwhile restaurant critic for the Albuquerque Tribune prefaced one restaurant review by saying “sometimes pleasure comes with a price tag.” That pithy aphorism should probably be appended by paraphrasing Luke 12:48: “from those who charge a lot, much will be expected.”   Expensive meals come with  expectations of intoxicating aromas and tastes, impeccable service and a classy, relaxed milieu in which to bask in the glory of a decadent, memorable meal.  Such meals are…

Pacific Rim Asian Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In 1520, after sailing past South America’s Tierra del Fuego and through a perilous strait which he named for himself, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan laid eyes on the expansive South Sea. At the time, the waters were calm and peaceful. He renamed it the Pacific Ocean (from the Latin Mare Pacificum which means “peaceful sea.”) Magellan vastly underestimated the Pacific, thinking he would be able to cross it in a matter of days to reach his goal, the Spice Islands.…

Gregorio’s Italian Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

 “The definitive recipe for any Italian dish has not yet appeared. We are still creating.” Luigi Barzini The categorization and labeling some diners tend to ascribe to Italian restaurants bespeaks not only of strong emotional preferences, but of an unwillingness to assign any merits to the “other side.”  At one side of the spectrum are the old-fashioned “red sauce” restaurants and at the other are Northern Italian restaurants.  To those who love red sauce Italian restaurants, they represent Italian comfort…

4 Aces Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

As a proud native New Mexican, my chest still swells with pride whenever I travel outside the Land of Enchantment (even to Texas, Arizona and Colorado) and espy a vehicle displaying the license plate of the great state of New Mexico.  I’m not the only one.  While stopping for gas in Iowa a few years ago, a couple from Roswell noticed our license plate and excitedly came over to find out where in New Mexico we were from.  We wound…

Señor Dog – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

H. K. Duff VIII:  Why not break your fast with our brand-new Isotope Dog Supreme? [Homer sniffs the hot dog.] Homer Simpson:  Oh, so hard to resist. Mesquite-grilled onions. Jalapeño relish. … Wait a minute, those are Southwestern ingredients. … Mango-lime salsa? That’s the kind of bold flavor they enjoy in … Albuquerque! Lenny: He’s right. Moe:  Yeah … and the wrapper says “Albuquerque Isotopes”! Within three months after the Duke City’s Triple-A baseball team, the Albuquerque Isotopes, co-opted its…

Jo’s Place – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

By their fruits ye shall know them. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? -Matthew 7:16 As Americans are often prone to judge fruit by the pleasingness of its appearance, the fragrance of its bouquet and the sweetness of its flavor, huitlacoche may not stand a chance.  A fungus which forms on the ears of corns, huitlacoche resembles a malignant tumor with postulous  black secretions  Worse, its name translates from Nahuatl, the ancient language…

Real Food Nation – Santa Fe, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“Come on, you know you want it!”  Television commercials, movies and especially cartoons frequently depict temptation as a battle being waged by two miniature versions of the person being tempted. Faced with a crisis of conscience–doing the right or the wrong thing–a devil-self (complete with horns and a pitchfork) suddenly pops up on the left (or sinister) shoulder and an angel-self on the right.  Quite naturally, the devil-self prods and prompts for the person to do the wrong thing while…

Vivace – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

NOTE: After serving Albuquerque for more than sixteen years, Vivace closed its doors for the last time on May26, 2012. Patrons of the Santa Fe Opera recognize Vivace as a musical composition or movement in a lively, brisk or vivid tempo.  The rest of us whose only experiences with classical music come from from watching a wascally wabbit being pursued by a red-faced Elmer Fudd may have heard the fast tempo of Vivace numerous times, but had no clue what…

Hakata Asian Cuisine & Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“Grrr!  What’s wrong with those Vietnamese?”  That’s not a bad bowl of  pho prompting a xenophobic rant on my part.  Those were the words of my friend Huu Vu when I told him a new Vietnamese restaurant by the name Hakata Asian Grill had opened up on Albuquerque’s west side.  A proud native of Vietnam, Huu wasn’t upset at the launch of  another restaurant showcasing the cuisine of his homeland.  He was unhappy about the name. Hakata Asian Cuisine &…

Amici – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“There are two laws of the universe — gravity, and everyone likes Italian food.” Neil Simon, American playwright and screenwriter A 2007 Harris Poll declared Italian food the most popular ethnic food in America, revealing that when Americans eat out, the cuisine of choice for nearly a quarter of them is Italian food.  Among the youngest group of respondents, those aged 18-30, the percentage is even higher.  Famous oenophile and food writer Dino Romano believes Italian food is so popular…

Josh’s Barbecue – Santa Fe, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Perhaps indicative of the world becoming more broad-minded and accepting, “peasant food” (which usually includes traditional foods of specific regions) is now looked upon as a culinary art form in which skillful cooks are celebrated for employing the wisdom of the ages to prepare wonderful meals using inexpensive, generally home-grown, ingredients. In France, the term peasant food is actually translated as “food of the country” because it is usually associated with poor rural farmers.  In Laos, Vietnam and Thailand, peasant food…