Marley’s Barbecue – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“In Central Texas, Barbecue is more than a way to cook meat – it’s a way of life, a path to salvation, and a sure-fire way to start an argument at the dinner table.” ~Central Texas Barbecue Texans hold certain truths to be self-evident: everything is bigger (and better) in Texas, the Dallas Cowboys are America’s team (who can argue with that?), George Strait is the king of country music, Nolan Ryan was the greatest baseball pitcher who ever lived…

Papaburgers – Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, New Mexico

Back in the 1960s, A&W’s Papa Burger was a rite of passage for me. By age nine, I had surmounted the phased progression through A&Ws burger family–Baby Burger, Mama Burger and Teen Burger–and was ready to prove my mettle with the largest of A&Ws burger family, one beefy behemoth only my dad, a paragon of masculinity, had ever ordered. Earning the right to order one was acknowledgement that I was growing into a man. Polishing one off brought newfound respect…

Irrational Pie – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Jethro Bodine, the country bumpkin with diverse career aspirations (brain surgeon, street car conductor, ‘double-naught’ spy, Hollywood producer, soda jerk, and bookkeeper) on the Beverly Hillbillies television comedy graduated highest in his class by a whole foot or more. You couldn’t get much past the sixth grade educated “six-foot stomach.” When a math teacher posited the theory of π r2 (pi r squared), Jethro wasn’t fooled: “Uncle Jed, them teachers is tryin’ to tell us that pie are square. Shoot,…

Kitchen Se7ven – Albuquerque, 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 cousin liked the idea so much she decided to name her own child Seven. Even as the cousin was being wheeled by an orderly into the delivery room, George tried in vain to convince her to name the child something else. Six,…

ECLECTIC URBAN PIZZERIA AND TAP HOUSE – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Looking around our table, my friend Ryan “Break the Chain” Scott astutely pointed out the relative scarcity of pizza at our table. Considering the Eclectic Urban Pizzeria and Tap Room may have been the most eagerly awaited pizzeria to open in Albuquerque in years, you’d think a phalanx of foodies would be devouring our weight in pizza…and while three pulchritudinous pies did grace our table, so did such eclectic fare as pho, chicken wings, roasted chicken and Chimichurri skirt steak…

El Maguey – Rio Rancho, New Mexico (CLOSED)

On a 2010 episode of The Travel Channel’s No Reservations series, host Anthony Bourdain described pulque as “the sap of the maguey cactus” as well as “man juice” and “Mexican Viagra.” That may explain why so many aspiring middle-aged brewers across the fruited plain rushed to their local nurseries in search of the maguey plant. Although maguey may be plentiful even in the Land of Enchantment, extracting pulque is a laborious process involving four distinct steps, the first of which…

Thai Heritage – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Who among us hasn’t learned at least one thing about Thai culinary heritage from The Big Bang Theory? In a 2011 episode, for example, we learned that according to Thai tradition the last morsel of food, the greng jie, goes to the most important person in the room. At least that’s what Sheldon tells Penny when she reaches for the last remaining dumpling. Thanking everyone for the honor, she devours the dumpling. Sheldon’s retort: “I’ve seen pictures of your mother.…

Eli’s Place (formerly Sophia’s Place) – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Picture yourself as a first-year marketing student assigned by your professor to perform a marketing analysis of Eli’s Place and its enigmatic chef-owner Dennis Apodaca. Essentially you’ve got to figure out the rhyme and reason behind the restaurant’s success. “Easy assignment,” you think to yourself, “Eli’s Place is successful because it serves some of the best, most delicious food in Albuquerque.” Your research quickly reveals, however, that Eli’s Place actually violates many of the time-honored, trusted and fundamental marketing tenets…

Bricklight Dive – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

If we really are what we eat, I’m fast, cheap and easy. Fast, cheap and easy. That would certainly describe the stereotypical college diet, especially for freshmen. On their own for the first time, freshmen eat what they want when they want it. They load up their trays with junk food in heaping helpings so mountainous it would make Dagwood Bumstead envious. They fuel marathon study sessions with sugary snacks. Exercise consists of sixteen-ounce curls, clicking the remote and fork…

Pasion Latin Fusion – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“In my experience, food and passion always intertwine. Passion is food for the soul’s mood at any particular time.” Tammy Mollai Robert Irvine, host of the Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible show has some nerve! In an episode which first aired in March, 2014, the tough-talking British mesomorph had the audacity to tell America that Pasion Latin Fusion wasn’t the beautiful, graceful swan with which many of us had fallen in love. Although he didn’t directly call Pasion an ugly duckling…

Olive Branch Bistro – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The depiction of a dove in flight with an olive branch in its beak is common in early Christian art and tradition. The dove symbolizes the Holy Spirit while the olive branch is seen as a symbol of peace. Christian tradition, as chronicled in Genesis 8:11, describes a dove carrying an olive branch to signal the cessation of flooding throughout the world after forty days and forty nights of rain: “And the dove came in to him in the evening;…

Bucketheadz – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“I think it’s easy to dismiss Southern food as nothing but grease and grits. I happen to like both grease and grits, And if you call them lardo and polenta, no one would have a problem with it.” ~John T. Edge Author John T. Edge acknowledges that negative stereotypes are rampant about Southern food, crediting some of those perceptions to how Southern food is marketed. Instead of Southern food being presented as one of America’s great culinary traditions, all too…

Karibu Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

During the dry season in Africa, the protective shade of majestic trees casting their cooling shadows are prized–and not only for their impressive and assiduous statures. For generations, the “palaver tree” has served as a meeting place in which the community comes together to discuss issues of common interest, listen to stories and resolve problems and conflicts. Unlike many of the conference room melees…er, meetings of contemporary work life, meetings under the palaver tree are conducted with the utmost of…

Kasey’s Restaurant & Pub – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Thematically, it’s usually pretty easy to tell what some restaurants have to offer. Seafood restaurants, for example, tend to have nautical-themed “tells” such as fish nets, buoys and oars designed to evoke the salty, briny look and feel of the sea. The “template” for barbecue restaurants seems to include red and white checkered cloth tablecloths adorning oak tables, cute ceramic pig figurines on the counters and country music blaring from a tinny stereo. Irish pubs typically are accentuated with dark…

Cafe Bella Luca – Truth or Consequences, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“The qualities of an exceptional cook are akin to those of a successful tightrope walker; an abiding passion for the task, courage to go out on a limb and an impeccable sense of balance” – Bryan Miller Former New York Times food critic The qualities of a truly exceptional cook do not include plying his or her trade under the spotlight of a heavily trafficked metropolitan restaurant frequented by the glitterati and anointed by the cognoscenti or the Food Network.…