Clowndog Hot Dog Parlor – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Remember the good old days when the only taboo related to the All American hot dog was the felonious act of adding ketchup.   In the movie “Sudden Impact,”  Clint Eastwood as “Dirty Harry” Callahan declared rather emphatically “Nobody, I mean nobody puts ketchup on a hot dog.”  Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States was nearly as

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Rustico Italian Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico

What does it say about a restaurant when it runs out of food?  Nine times out of ten, you’d probably say it’s either brand new and doesn’t yet have a feel for its traffic volume or their inventory management just isn’t very good.  Our inaugural visit to Rustico Italian Kitchen on a bright Sunday morning introduced us to another reason.

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Ikigai ABQ – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While ikigai (pronounced ee-key-guy) may sound like what grade school girls called me many years ago, in Japanese the term ikigai is a Japanese concept combining the terms “iki,” meaning “alive” or “life,” and “gai,” meaning “benefit” or “worth.”  Though there is no direct English translation, when combined these terms embody “that which gives your life worth, meaning, or purpose.” 

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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

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It’s A Punjabi Affair – Amarillo, Texas

During our last full year at Intel, my friend Bill Resnik and I had the distinct honor and privilege of working on a project with a team from Microsoft comprised mostly of information technology professionals with roots in the exotic subcontinent of India.  We had expected impeccable technical expertise, but their dedication and focus was far beyond what any of

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The Big Texan Steak Ranch – Amarillo, Texas

If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of the line “I’ll be lookin’ for eight when they pull that gate” in George Strait’s classic hit Amarillo By Morning, here’s a theory you probably haven’t heard.  The country crooner was actually looking for eight brawny guys to help him finish the 72-ounce steak at Amarillo’s The Big Texan Steak Ranch.  Seriously

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Watson’s BBQ – Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Wikipedia article on Eastern New Mexico describes the region as “mostly characterized by flat featureless terrain,” even likening it to West Texas: “Like much of the Llano Estacado region, Eastern New Mexico is largely agricultural and resembles West Texas in geography, culture, economy, and demographics.”  While Eastern New Mexico may not be back-dropped by spectacular mountain ranges or bisected

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Bamboo Grill – Albuquerque, New Mexico

In his 30s, curmudgeonly London food critic Jay Rayner who’s been called the “enfant terrible (literally “terrifying child) of the gastronomic scene,” came to the realization that he hated hangovers more than he hated being drunk.  During a visit to a Vietnamese restaurant in London, he achieved an epiphany:  “huge steaming bowls of a deeply aromatic beef broth called pho,

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Marigold Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico

It’s not all parents who can give birth to two children in a six week period, but that’s precisely what Harrison and Violet did.  In early October, 2019, they welcomed into the world a beautiful bundle of love they christened Jasmine.  Just before Thanksgiving six weeks later, they greeted their second “baby” when Marigold Cafe opened its doors in the

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Haus Murphy’s – Glendale, Arizona

To some of us of a certain age and generation, the term “grandma’s food” evokes emotionally-arousing childhood memories of the foods our grandmothers would prepare. That’s especially true for those of us who no longer have those heaven-sent treasures.  Food was just one of the many ways grandma showed how much she loved her family.  Memories of grandma’s cooking sustain

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Fat Ox – Scottsdale, Arizona

In the Alpine village of Carrù in the Piedmont region of Italy stands the “Monumento al Bue Grasso” (monument to a fat ox).  Depicting two fat oxen under yoke, the monument celebrates the beast of burden so important to the region.  December’s ‘Fiera del Bue Grasso’ (festival of the fat ox) brings together tens of thousands of visitors who come

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DeFalco’s Deli: Italian Eatery & Grocery – Scottsdale, Arizona

My Kim usually leaves the recitation of movie or television quotes to me (apparently it’s a guy thing), but every once in a while she’ll surprise me with an utterance or exclamation she could have picked up only from the big screen or idiot box.  When we strode into DeFalco’s Italian Eatery & Grocery, she approached an employee and–doing her

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Barrio Cafe – Phoenix, Arizona

A neighborhood should never be defined solely by grids and lines on a map or by a physical area where people live.  Nor should a neighborhood be defined by areas made homogeneous by restrictive covenants.  Neither should it be defined by brick-and-mortar landmarks.  What truly makes a neighborhood is its diverse and unique characters. Some are quirky and eccentric, some are

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Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Tempe, Arizona

Portillo’s story is the story of the American dream, a rags to riches saga that began with a single hot dog stand opening in 1963. That single investment has blossomed into a multi-million per year chain with six different concepts and more than 40 restaurants in the Chicago area alone. The Portillo’s Restaurant Group has become, in fact, the largest

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Street Food Sensations – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Restaurant Insider, which touts itself as “your source for restaurant news, trends, information, tools and conversation” has observed that one of the catalysts most instrumental in driving a changing culinary landscape are Generation Z (anyone born between 1997 and 2010) diners.  With a spending power of over $29 Billion, Gen Z diners make up a quarter of all the people

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Duke City Taco – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Observer: You’ve said that you can do anything with a taco, except put ketchup on it? Danny Trejo: That’s it! [Laughs]. Observer: Do people try to do that? Danny Trejo: Yeah, some people think that ketchup is good on a taco. Maybe if you’re 10-years-old, you might want to put ketchup on a taco. Observer: But that’s sacrilegious! Danny Trejo:

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