Turquoise Desert – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

A 2016 online survey conducted by Statista asked 719 adult respondents “What is the maximum length of time that you would drive to a place to eat?” More than half (51-percent) of the respondents indicated they would travel 16 to 30 minutes to a restaurant. The limit for another 26-percent was 30 minutes to an hour.  Only five percent said they would travel more than one-hour.  Even the most prolific driving diners don’t have anything on David Schuler of Mississippi.  To sate his cravings for his favorite pizza in Massachusetts, Mr. Schuler drove over 1,400 miles and through 16 states.  Even that distance pales in comparison to humpback whales who travel as much as five thousand miles to get their…

Quarter Celtic Brewpub – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In 1913, French mathematician Émile Borel introduced a thought experiment that has come to be known as the infinite monkey theorem. Essentially, the theorem posits that a single monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will eventually type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare. Espying a sign bearing the name Llanfairpwll-gwyngyllgogerychwyrndrob-wllllantysiliogogogoch when we visited the island of Anglesey in Wales, we wondered if that monkey had been set loose on the sign bearing the village’s name. When Kim asked me to try pronouncing the 58-character name (which actually translates to “Saint Mary’s Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church…

Rowley Farmhouse Ales – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Only in John Denver’s hit song “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” is life on the farm “kinda laid back.” In actuality, farm life can be downright arduous, requiring back-breaking work in climatic extremes for low wages. It was much worse in colonial days when life on a farm generally meant very few luxuries outside of a warm fire and a tankard (or ten) of house-brewed ale. Beer was brewed not only to refresh, sustain and comfort hard-working farmers, but because during sanitation-deprived colonial times, it was safer than water. Farm-brewed beer was created with what was on hand, whether it be wheat, hops, barley or rye supplemented with such ingredients as evergreen boughs, juniper berries, honey and fruit. Because…

The Local Brewhouse – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Before reading any further, the biggest take-away from this review is that the Local Brewhouse serves the best burger in Rio Rancho.  That’s not only what the marquee says.  It’s what City of Vision diners know.  My Kim and I, too.   “Service is horrible”  “The management has to train there employees.”  “Worst service ever! I can’t stress on how bad the service was.”  “Nice views. Lousy service and rude staff.”  “Service sucks. Waited 20mins between beers.”   Those are one-star reviews on Yelp for The Local Brewhouse in Rio Rancho.  At the extreme opposite are five star reviews extolling the service some Yelp reviewers found unacceptable: “Shout out to Rhiannon, our server for friendly, prompt, and efficient service.”  “Had…

Big Boss Hot Links at Brew Lab 101 – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

The Oxford Dictionary defines an adage as “a proverb or short statement expressing a general truth.”  The adage “the apple does not fall far from the tree,” for example, means a child usually behaves in a similar way to his or her parents.  Sometimes, however, an adage fails to live up to the truism it purports to express.  One such example is the vast chasm that exists between patriarch Martin Crane (John Mahoney) and his sons Frasier (Kelsey Grammer) and Niles (David Hyde Pierce).  Where Martin was portrayed as an everyman with whom many of us can identify, Frasier and Niles were pretentious and condescending snobs.   In one episode the Brothers Crane decide to broaden their father’s horizons by taking…

Hollow Spirits Distillery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“The winner is the chef who takes the same ingredients as everyone else and produces the best results.” ~Edward De Bono The Land of Enchantment boasts of some 3,500 restaurants, more than 1,000 of which are members of the New Mexico Restaurant Association (NMRA).  Keen competition from among hundreds of outstanding chefs throughout the Land of Enchantment makes being named the NMRA’s Chef of the Year quite an honor.  Read the resume of 2020 Chef of the Year recipient Tristin Rogers  and you just might conclude he didn’t just deserve Chef of the Year honors; he’s worthy of “person of the year” recognition, too.  He doesn’t just transform great ingredients into great meals.  He’s transforming lives and bettering the community.…

Sobremesa Restaurant & Brewery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In June, 2021, Eater.com published a list of “the 21 Essential Restaurants in Albuquerque.” Unlike so many “clickbait” articles from national publications purporting to tell New Mexicans which restaurants across the Land of Enchantment serve the “best this” and the “best that,” the Eater feature was penned by Justin De La Rosa who actually knows this state very well.  In fact, in 2015 Justin earned a “Local Hero Award” from Edible New Mexico as “best food writer.”   If you’re wondering what constitutes an “Essential Restaurant,” Eater’s erstwhile national critic Bill Addison defined the term to mean “indispensable to their neighborhoods, and eventually to their towns and whole regions,” to “ultimately become vital to how we understand ourselves, and others, at…

Two Cranes Bistro and Brew – Albuquerque, New Mexico

As we wended our way along meandering Rio Grande Boulevard, I commented to my Kim, “I sure miss Ichabod and Katrina.”  “Colleagues of yours at UNM?,” she asked.  “No, not colleagues,” I replied pointing to a large, verdant field, “Ichabod and Katrina were the two sandhill cranes who used to feed in those fields.”  “Oh, I get it,” she responded, “you’re talking about Ichabod and Katrina Crane from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”  She then asked why I’ve always had such a great admiration for Ichabod Crane, a fictional character who basically embodied all the seven deadly sins: greed, glutton, sloth, indolence, wrath, lust and envy. “Yeah, I understand all of that,” I explained, “but Ichabod Crane was a man…

Bosque North Brewery & Taproom – Bernalillo, New Mexico

“Are you going to explain how to pronounce “bosque?,” my Kim asked when she espied me working on this review.  Though her Spanish vocabulary is rather limited, she pronounces the five or six hundred Spanish words she knows like a native speaker. For that she credits legendary Associated Press sportswriter Pete Herrera with whom she worked for years.  Explaining that correct pronunciation is part of being respectful of other languages, Pete patiently taught her the nuances and fine points of Spanish.   Today it rankles her ire to hear television talking heads on the local news–especially those with Spanish surnames–mispronouncing rudimentary Spanish words such as bosque.  “Why is it not one single television reporter can pronounce bosque?” my Kim often laments. …

Lava Rock Brewing Company – Albuquerque, New Mexico

NOTE:  The Lava Rock Brewing Company is no longer affiliated with M’Tucci’s.  The review below remains online for your reading pleasure, but please don’t use it as a guide to the restaurant’s menu. Mark Twain, who quit school at age twelve after having completed the sixth grade, would go on to be widely acknowledged as the father of American literature.  Despite being largely self-taught–valedictorian of the school of hard knocks and salutatorian of street smarts–Twain acknowledged in his posthumously published essay “Taming the Bicycle” that the self-taught man “seldom knows anything accurately” and “does not know a tenth of as much as he could have known if he had worked under teachers.”   That would have been especially true if…

Toltec Brewing Co. – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Vincent: And you know what they call a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris? Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese? Vincent: No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn’t know what the #%*&! a Quarter Pounder is. Jules: What’d they call it? Vincent: They call it Royale with cheese. Jules: Royale with Cheese. What’d they call a Big Mac? Vincent: Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it Le Big Mac. ~Pulp Fiction 265 “f-bombs,” copious racist slurs, torrents of extreme language and some of the most weighty dialogue ever spoken in an American movie. That was Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 apotheosis Pulp Fiction, a low-brow pastiche the cognoscenti consider one of the most quotable…