Java Joe’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I hate chile powder.” ~Tuco Salamanca Breaking Bad, Season 2 Duty-bound to make himself available to the citizenry of the fledgling United States, newly elected president George Washington spent the night in so many private homes and inns that “George Washington Slept Here” remains a real estate cliché and tourist draw centuries later. Perhaps the closest similarly celebrated landmarks in the Albuquerque metropolitan area are the filming sites for the 16-time Emmy Award-winning television series Breaking Bad. Never mind that…

Rebel Donut – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Many years ago if someone proposed a wager of “dollars to donuts,” you might have been well advised to take it. The phrase “dollars to donuts” essentially meant the person proposing the wager thought he or she had a sure thing, that he or she was willing to to risk a dollar to win a dollar’s worth of donuts. Donuts weren’t worth much at the time (and they weren’t very good either) so winning a bet might result in being…

Loyola’s Family Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

You might think that the etymology of the name Loyola has always been tied to the quality of being loyal and faithful. Instead, the name has its genesis in a Basque term meaning “mud” and only over time did the name come to represent the honorable qualities of loyalty and faithfulness. When it comes to Loyola’s Family Restaurant on Central Avenue in Albuquerque, an association with those qualities just makes sense. Not only are Duke City diners loyal to this…

Perea’s New Mexican Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Note: In the twenty years or so in which Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has worked hard to earn your trust, I’ve shared with you my impression of many different dishes. One that hadn’t crossed my lips until rather recently is a rather foul-tasting, hard-to-swallow dish called crow, an odious carrion that no chef can transform into a palatable dish. Several years ago on my review of Perea’s New Mexican Restaurant, I whined with my usual rancor about the foul…

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 may be–is just so…Albuquerque. There’s an almost boring consistency and sameness about many local restaurants. Their sole distinctiveness comes from…

Taco Sal New Mexican Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Rachael Ray, the hyper-bubbly kitchen diva recently divulged that casinos pipe in the fragrance of cumin because it causes gamblers to lose their inhibitions and gamble without guilt. Cigarette smoke and cumin…that doesn’t sound like an olfactory arousing aroma combination to me, much less one which would lure anyone to a purlieu of poker and slots. Now, if casinos figured out how to pipe in the intoxicating aroma of chile being roasted, New Mexicans might never leave. Marcia Nordyke, the…

Sai Gon Sandwich – Albuquerque, New Mexico

If ever there was a culinary Kobayashi Maru (for the non-Trekkies among you, that’s a no-win scenario), it might well be naming the best sandwich (or best food of any kind) in the world. Imagine the challenge. There are potentially hundreds of thousands of delicious candidates, many worthy of acclaim as the very best in their block, city, state or province…but the world’s an awfully big place. A lifetime might not be enough to sample but a few thousand sandwiches. Any…

Garduño’s of Mexico – Albuquerque, New Mexico

All too often faulty premises are based on a lack of information or experience. Take for example, British author Simon Majumdar, a recurring judge on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef competition who once declared “given how abysmal Mexican food is in London, I always thought that it was a cuisine made up of remains from the back of the fridge.” It wasn’t until Majumdar experienced tacos de tripa at a restaurant in Guadalajara, Mexico that he achieved an epiphany…

Savoy Bar & Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In 1881, the Savoy Theater in London’s trendy West End was built to showcase the brilliant Victorian era collaboration of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan who composed fourteen comic operas.  The Savoy was the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity.  It also has the distinction of being fronted by the only road in Britain where traffic is required by law to drive on the right-hand side. In 2006, the Savoy Bar & Grill was…

Dog House Drive In – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Culinary history is in dispute as to the origin of the term “hot dog” to describe frankfurters, a cooked sausage named for the city of Frankfurt, Germany.  Some historians mistakenly credit a newspaper cartoonist for coining the term “hot dog” when, according to a popular urban myth, he used it in the caption of a 1906 cartoon depicting barking dachshund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure how to spell “dachshund” he simply wrote “hot dog!” My good friend Becky…

Blake’s Lotaburger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Blake’s Lotaburger is a New Mexico only institution founded in 1952 by long-time proprietor Blake Chanslor who owned it for half a century before selling it in 2003. While the marquee may still carry Blake’s name, the 76 store franchise with a presence in most of New Mexico’s larger cities and towns (23 in all) is now owned by Brian Rule, an Albuquerque resident.  On April 10, 2009, Chanslor passed away, having left a legacy based not only on having…

Marble Brewery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

During a recent visit to The Grill restaurant on Menaul, my friend and fellow culinary sensuist Larry McGoldrick received a very warm greeting from proprietor Phil Chavez who mistook Larry for me (not that Phil wouldn’t otherwise have welcomed Larry warmly as he does all his guests).  My good-natured friend didn’t return Phil’s warm welcome with a frosty retort as some people might have done.  It was, after all, an honest case of mistaken identity.  Larry and I are practically…

Paul’s Monterey Inn – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The year was 1971. Albuquerque’s population had reached a quarter of a million. The San Juan-Chama project, a system of diversion structures and tunnels for trans-mountain movement of water from the San Juan River Basin to the Rio Grande Basin, was completed. The area’s three military installations: Kirtland, Manzano and Sandia Bases merged under Air Force jurisdiction. Civil unrest was in the air in pastoral Roosevelt Park where a riot ensued that saw more than 130 arrested and more than…