Dave’s Valley Grill – Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, New Mexico

Several years ago, Major Larry Abraham (God rest his soul) of the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque called me out, reminding me that such restaurants as Sadie’s of New Mexico, Casa de Benavidez and Vernon’s Speakeasy were located not in Albuquerque as credited on Gil’s Thrilling…, but in the village he capably served for four terms. He politely asked me to correct my oversight. Ever since Mayor Abraham’s gentle prodding, your humble blogger has been much more diligent about…

Las Ristras Restaurant – Corrales, New Mexico

Based on interviews conducted with Hollywood luminaries who’ve starred in movies or television shows shot in New Mexico, you might think our state either doesn’t have a symbol of hospitality or that symbol is something as poorly representative of the Land of Enchantment as crack (Josh Brolin), tire stores (Jonathan Banks), shirtless drivers (Seth McFarlane), Walmart (Jessica Alba) or loudness (Tommy Lee Jones). With all the tax breaks and enticements afforded film production companies, shouldn’t its most visible beneficiaries at…

Seared – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While you might not be able to judge a book by its cover, sometimes a book title will resonate deeply and you know you’re going to enjoy reading it very much. That’s especially true when a book title warmly reminds you of nostalgic memories long buried in your past. Such was the case when I espied Where There’s Smoke, There’s Dinner: Stories of a Seared Childhood by award-winning raconteur Regi Carpenter. That title aptly described daily life for the long…

Cafe 6855 – Albuquerque, New Mexico

The cover page of the May 20, 2013 edition of Time Magazine depicts a twenty-something woman sprawled on the floor taking a selfie. In large type above the photo is the caption “The Me Me Me Generation” subtitled with “Millennials are lazy, entitled narcissists who still live with their parents.” If you believe the monolithic label “millennial” (typically assigned to a person born between 1981 and 2001) defines all young people and that popular characterizations and stereotypes about millennials are…

Monte Carlo Steakhouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Last night I broke the seal on a Jim Beam decanter That looks like Elvis.” ~George Jones Having spent much of his career in an inebriated state, Country music icon George Jones actually lived the life experiences that inspired much of his music. After one of his four divorces, Jones sat alone in a rather empty home, his ex-wife having absconded with almost everything–furniture, china, glassware and more. Among the few items left behind were a small table, a Jim…

Ruth’s Chris Steak House – Albuquerque, New Mexico

During a recent Friends of Gil (FOG) outing, a newcomer asked how my Kim and I can afford to eat out as often as we do (about three times week on average). The practice of “dating your mate” is something we began half a lifetime ago when we were stationed in Mississippi and my Air Force salary was, to put it conservatively, considerably less than one-thousand dollars for every year of my life. Despite the fact that I’d been handpicked…

Western View Diner & Steakhouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Since the 1930s, neon signage has been a prominent and vital part of Route 66 as it meanders through Albuquerque. From the foothills of the Sandias in the east to the parched desert expanse of the west, Route 66 is festooned with vibrant neon signage that cuts a luminous swath through the city. The nocturnal spectacle of glowing neon might be the siren’s call that has drawn generations of “cruisers” to Central Avenue. One of Albuquerque’s most prominent neon spangled…

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…

The Luna Mansion Landmark Steakhouse – Los Lunas, New Mexico

New Mexico is truly a dichotomous land, a state in which seemingly contrasting qualities exist in symbiotic harmony with each other. While most of those contrasts exist spectacularly in nature, the Land of Enchantment’s architecture is no stranger to contradictions. One such example is the Luna Mansion, a stately manor built in the Southern Colonial architectural style, but whose basic construction material is adobe. The Luna Mansion was built in 1880 by the Santa Fe Railroad Company in exchange for…

Los Arcos Steakhouse & Bar – Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

Because of the geothermal mineral springs which issue from the ground, the city of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico was originally named “Hot Springs.” Seeking to distinguish itself from other cities of the same name and to advertise its plentiful resources, city residents voted to rename the city in response to a challenge rendered by a successful 1950s NBC television show called Truth or Consequences. The rest, as they say, is history. This small resort town with an year round…

Rancher’s Club of New Mexico – Albuquerque, New Mexico

While the Ranchers Club of New Mexico may evoke images of J. R. Ewing holding court with fellow oil barons and business magnates in Dallas, this magnificent milieu is, at its core and essence, unabashedly New Mexican in its attitude and spirit. Don’t let its ostentatious trappings–a sophisticated big city opulence meets a decidedly westernized look and feel–fool you. Sophisticated doesn’t mean haughty and ostentatious doesn’t mean exclusive. The Land of Mañana’s well-renowned inclusiveness means more than just the one-percenters…

High Noon Restaurant & Saloon – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Oh, to be torn twixt love and duty Supposin’ I love my fair haired beauty Look at that big hand movin’ round Nearin’ high noon.” ~ Tex Ritter The 1952 Academy Award winning movie High Noon follows taciturn marshal Will Kane as he single-handedly prepares to face a posse of murderers hellbent on revenge when the clock strikes twelve. Though the memorable showdown between Marshal Kane and the villainous scourges lasts only a few minutes, viewers are held spellbound by…

David Burke’s Primehouse – Chicago, Illinois

By day, my friend James Sorenham was an architect of his business group’s data warehouse and business intelligence strategies.  By night and on weekends, James was a gentleman farmer tending to a small herd at his Broke Again ranch outside Portland, Oregon.  James took immense pride in raising prized beef cattle and kept his colleagues apprised of their progress through his weekly status reports.  Alas, his writing skills weren’t in the same zip code as his data management skills so…

The Town House Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

America’s highway system expansion which began in the 1930s not only “shrank” America, it introduced the entertaining, educational–some might say bizarre–phenomenon of the roadside attraction.  Entrepreneurs competed with each other to create gawk-inspiring, curiosity motivating, must-see-to-believe attractions to snare the attention of motorists and motivate them to part with some of their money.  Neon lights festooned Route 66 while fiberglass and concrete statues became part-and-parcel of America’s highways and byways.  This was true roadside art which became a part of…

Marcello’s Chophouse – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Steak–even the word conjures stereotypes of power brokers in suits and ties. There’s just something about sizzling, flame-kissed beef that seems to appeal to the wheelers and dealers and movers and shakers among us. Steak may just be the ultimate power food!  That power is also wielded in the ultimate thumbing of the nose at vegetarians when carnivores emphasize that they didn’t claw their way to the top of the food ladder only to eat vegetables. Vegetarians may retort that…