Pizzeria Mozza – Newport Beach, California

“Breadmaking is one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells –there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music throbbing chapel that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” ~M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating For those of us geriatrically advanced enough to have had moms who actually baked bread in their ovens, the singular joy of those incredible yeasty bouquets wafting toward us is a treasured memory, one we relive when we visit old-fashioned bakeries. The sense of smell, more than any of our other senses, influences our ability to recall past…

El Guero Canelo – Tucson, Arizona

If asked to participate in a word association exercise, any well-traveled foodie undergoing psychoanalysis would find it easy to name the first food that comes to mind when a city is mentioned: Philadelphia – the Philly cheesesteak sandwich; Boston – baked beans; Chicago – Italian beef sandwiches; San Francisco – sourdough bread; Milwaukee – butter burgers; San Antonio, New Mexico – green chile cheeseburgers.  You get the point.  Some foodies might not know that Philadelphia is the birthplace of liberty, but they know about Geno’s and Pat’s King of Steaks and their decades-long battle for Philly cheesesteak supremacy. You might find it strange that seemingly pedestrian foods would be the defining cuisine of burgeoning cosmopolitan cities, historically significant metropolises and…

The Patio – Deming, New Mexico

Drive past Deming on the interstate and you’ll be bypassing one of New Mexico’s little known gems, a city once bestowed the nickname “New Chicago” in anticipation of its burgeoning growth with the surge of railroad usage.  Although the population boom never happened, there is still much about Deming to enjoy as rock hunters, history buffs and anthropologists will attest.  One of its charms are the duck crossings on the main street through the city.  Deming is home to the great American duck race, an annual event for more than three decades. One thing for which Deming has not been known is its burgers.  In fact, other than the ubiquitous LotaBurger,  there wasn’t a single burger joint representative on the…

Ancient Spirits Bar & Grille – Bernalillo, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“Ancient spirits dwell in New Mexico, since before the existence of humanity.” – The Husband: A Novel by Dean Koontz FROM THE ANCIENT SPIRITS BLOG ON JULY 17:  Due to unforeseen circumstances Ancient Spirits Bar and Grille has had to close its doors. We have lost one of our owner/investors and are searching for someone to take his place. We are hoping that this is only a temporary setback and that we will be able to open back up very soon. Sorry for the inconvenience and thank you for your support. The presence of ancient spirits is ubiquitous throughout New Mexico.  It’s a presence as palpable as a soft caress or a small, still voice.  You can feel that presence…

The Smokehouse Barbecue Restaurant (CLOSED)

The very best restaurants–those we’re proud to call our favorites–aren’t always the swankiest and most elegant venues.  They’re not even usually the restaurants you visit on special occasions.  They’re our favorites because for the duration of our meal, all our cares dissipate and our faith that everything will be okay is restored as we’re fed comforting, delicious food by servers we know and trust.  The Smokehouse has been such a refuge to hundreds of Rio Rancho area residents for nearly two and a half decades.  The Smokehouse’s last full day of operation was Saturday, June 22nd, 2013.  Then on Sunday night, June 23rd at 6PM, owner Gary West invited guests to a farewell soiree where he  exhausted his remaining food…

Rafiki Cafe – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“Let us break bread and celebrate our diversity.” ~Desmond Tutu Peruvian cuisine…been there, done that!  Moroccan meals…that’s so yesterday.  Persian food…it’s had its day.  Pan Asian dining…erstwhile eating.  Never mind Italian regional cuisine and Spanish tapas.  Once fresh and nouveau, they’re now practically prehistoric.  Who would have thought ten years ago that the Duke City would become so cosmopolitan, so open to multicultural culinary elements from all over the world?  Who would have guessed that cuisine once considered exotic and alien would become just another welcome part of the culinary climate? In contemporary times fashioned by an interconnected world, a community of intrepid diners in Albuquerque has become very receptive and accepting of new foods. We embrace diversity, craving adventurous…

Lumpy’s Burgers – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Of all the adjectives that can be used to describe something or someone, lumpy is certainly not one of the most complimentary.  Think of all the Archie Bunker-like tantrums thrown during holiday meals when lumpy mashed potatoes are served or the breakfast battles that ensue when the oatmeal is lumpy. In fits of pique, seven-time Academy Award nominated actor Richard Burton often called his voluptuous wife Elizabeth Taylor “lumpy,” perhaps one of the reasons Hollywood’s most volatile couple was twice divorced and their relationship generally tumultuous. Perhaps worse than describing something as “lumpy” is giving someone that nickname. Consider the Saturday Night Live skit which poked fun at former University of New Mexico golfer and current PGA tour pro Tim…