1933 Brewing Co. – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

“Why don’t they pass a constitutional amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as well as prohibition did, in five years Americans would be the smartest race of people on Earth.” ~Will Rogers “I’ll drink to that.”  Such was the rampant sentiment with which Americans welcomed the repeal of the notorious 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which had prohibited “the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors…”  For more than a decade Prohibition had not only wrought…

Alien Brew Pub – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“If the government is covering up knowledge of aliens, they are doing a better job of it than they do at anything else.” ~Stephen Hawking An alien walked into the Alien Brew Pub and says, “take me to your liter.” Okay, that joke is admittedly a groaner. It probably wouldn’t even work in one of those countries which use the metric system, but it might work in some other planet where advanced lifeforms are ostensibly more civilized.  I say ostensibly…

GIGI ITALIAN BISTRO – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“If you can go through with what Gordon Ramsey puts you through there’s nothing much more you can do. I mean the berating from that guy is unbelievable, but the reward is even greater.” ~ Chef Robert Hesse Chef Robert Hesse isn’t the man he used to be. In fact, he’s literally and figuratively a shadow of his former self. Once tipping the scales at over 600 pounds and espousing the attitude that you should “never trust a skinny chef,”…

Bosque Burger – Albuquerque, New Mexico

As much a social commentary as a realist novel, Grapes of Wrath by author John Steinbeck immortalized Route 66 as “The Mother Road”  and “the road to flight.”  The latter and lesser known sobriquet recalls the epic odyssey of nearly a quarter of a million people migrating to California to escape the despair of the Dust Bowl.  Route 66 not only succored Americans, it symbolized a renewed spirit of optimism and beginning anew just as the nation was coming off…

Happy Chickenzz – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God.” ~Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Two things came to mind when my friend Nader and I approached Happy Chickenzz. First, I mused, “if happy cows come from California (a 2002 marketing campaign for California cheese), where do happy chickenzz come from.” My second rumination was to wonder if the ‘zz’ at the end of the word chicken is…

Nexus Brewery – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Set in Albuquerque, Breaking Bad, AMC’s critically acclaimed television series may have left viewers with the impression that the Duke City is a haven for meth cookery and fried chicken joints.  Had the fair city been more accurately typecast, it would have have been portrayed as a mecca for microbreweries.  The Albuquerque Beer Scene blog says it best: “It’s like Portland, but with sun,”  a comparison which shows just how much the city’s microbrewery and brewpub scene has grown–and not…

Terra – Tesuque, New Mexico

Several years ago, I asked my grandmother if she might consider aromatherapy as a treatment for the nagging aches and pains she suffered daily.  Aromatherapy, I explained was being hailed by New Age devotees in Santa Fe and Taos as a holistic healing treatment used to promote health and well-being. “Mi hijito,” she said gently, “In Northern New Mexico we are always surrounded by aromatherapy. We experience it when we bake bread in our hornos and roast chile in our…

Tortilla Flats – Santa Fe, New Mexico

“Beans are a warm cloak against economic cold.” ~John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat In his 1935 novel Tortilla Flat, John Steinbeck introduced the literary world to the downtrodden denizens of Tortilla Flat, an impoverished barrio on the shabby hillside just outside the respectable city of Monterey, California. The quirky inhabitants of the ramshackle community were a dichotomous lot–hedonistic drunks, adulterers and thieves on one hand; on the other, paisanos with surprisingly kind-hearts who asked nothing more from life than loyal friends…

Poki Poblano Fusion Lounge – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Starting with a raucous concert in 1954, the idiom “Elvis has left the building” was uttered at the conclusion of many of Elvis Presley’s concerts to encourage rabid fans to accept that no further encores were forthcoming and that they should go home. Today, those five simple words are an oft used catchphrase and punchline used in a humorous or sarcastic vein to refer to virtually anyone who has made an exit or vacated a premises, especially in dramatic fashion.…

ABQ BBQ – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

“It was Kansas City but it was North Carolina I wanted; whole hog smoked low and slow over fruit woods and doused liberally with a vinegar-based sauce. It was North Carolina but it was Texas I wanted; king beef sliced into juicy brisket prepared over post oak and glistening with a sweet tomato-molasses based sauce. It was Texas but it was Memphis I wanted; unctuous pork slow smoked over hickory and served “wet” in a tomato and vinegar-based sauce. It…

M’Tucci’s Moderno – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere It’s up to you, New York, New York.” ~Frank Sinatra Jeff Spiegel, managing partner of the insanely popular M’Tucci’s family of restaurants has described flagship restaurant M’Tucci’s Italian Restaurant (previously M’Tucci’s Kitchina) as “as good as anything we did in New York City.” That is really saying something considering over the course of 23 years, Jeff and his wife, life and business partner Katie Gardner owned and operated eleven restaurants…

Urban 360 Pizza, Grill and Tap House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Babu: Our specials are tacos, moussaka and franks and beans. Jerry: Well, what do you recommend my good fellow? Babu:Oh, the turkey. ~”The Cafe, Seinfeld, Season 3, Episode 7 While perusing the menu at Urban 360 Pizza, Grill and Tap House, my ever-witty friend Ryan “Break the Chain” Scott commented that the menu reminded him of The Dream, the very eclectic restaurant owned and operated by Pakistan emigrant Babu Bhatt in an uproariously funny episode of Seinfeld. As Jerry Seinfeld…

Pars Cuisine – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse — and Thou Beside me singing in the Wilderness — And Wilderness is Paradise enow.” – The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam The imagery inspired by this enduring poem–most notably “a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou“–can be read on so many levels–some literal and some allegorical. In the literal sense, these few lines may evoke images of a romantic dalliance…

Toltec Brewing Co. – Albuquerque, New Mexico

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…

El Patio de Albuquerque – Albuquerque, New Mexico

For more than a quarter century, award-winning journalist Charles Kuralt had the type of job any aspiring sojourner would envy. He hit the road on a motor home, crisscrossing the fruited plains where waving fields of wheat passed in review and snow-capped mountains reached for cobalt colored skies. Observing that “thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything,” Kuralt avoided the interstates, instead traversing America’s back roads and byways…