Rudy’s Country Store & Barbecue – Albuquerque, New Mexico

I first sampled Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q’s products in 1993 in Leon Springs, Texas, a San Antonio suburb on the fringes of the magnificent Texas Hill Country. At the time Rudy’s was just beginning to make inroads toward becoming a significant barbecue presence in Texas where beef and brisket are king. Back then Leon Springs appeared to be a test ground for new restaurant concepts–and in fact, it is the site of the first Romano’s Macaroni Grill and the…

Salt and Board – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Five years ago, everyone was making beer in their bathtubs, and now everyone’s making charcuterie in their garage!” ~Brian Malarkey, Chef When my friend Carlos, a punctilious polyglot conversant in four languages, asked what my Kim and I ate over the weekend, my poorly-pronounced beginner’s French response was “une assisette de charcuterie et de fromages.” “Oh, you had cold-cuts and cheese,” he responded. “No, we had charcuterie!” I emphasized, slowly pronouncing each syllable of the term: “char-cu-te-rie.” “Only the French,”…

South Bourbon Kitchen – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

“I got a plate of chicken and taters and a lot of stuff like that All, all I need is a biscuit, but I wish you’d look where they’re at I guess I could reach across the table but that’s ill-mannered, Mom always said I wish I had a biscuit, I just can’t eat without bread.” ~ Jimmy Dean: Please Pass the Biscuits Country music is renowned for songs that tug at your heart strings. The very best sad country…

Philly Steaks – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I love the dignity in the name Philadelphia, but at heart, we’re Philly.” ~Lisa Scottoline New York Times Best-Selling Author “There are a couple of things you should know about Philadelphia,” my friend Vladimir “Speedy” Gonzalez told me before my first visit to the City of Brotherly Love. “First, Philadelphians are not rude. We may be blunt and direct, but that’s just passion.” Passion? I always thought he was a grouch. “Second,” he added, “you’ve got to know the process…

Yellow Brix Restaurant – Carlsbad, New Mexico

Gastronomes (people with sensitive and discriminating culinary tastes), cerevisaphiles (aficionados of beers and ales) and oenophiles (connoisseurs of wines) have a vernacular of their own. Most of us need a universal translator to understand what they’re saying when they’re waxing eruditely about their passions. The commonality among the three is their pursuit of sensual pleasures, an indulgence of the senses. Being singularly passionate about one of these epicurean pursuits doesn’t necessarily mean you’re conversant in the vernacular of another. Case…

Red Chimney BBQ – Carlsbad, New Mexico

Depending on your lifestyle choices and temperament, some of the slogans emblazoned on bumper stickers or tee-shirts seen over the years at Rio Rancho’s annual Pork & Brew will either make you laugh or rankle your ire. “Meat is murder – tasty, tasty murder.” “Animal rights – Animals have the right to be tasty.” “Gardening: Cultivating a piece of land in order to barbecue.” “If you can’t stand the heat, go get me a beer!” Obviously no similarly themed bumper…

Danny’s Place – Carlsbad, New Mexico

For some reason, national print and online publications and even the Food Network can’t seem to fathom that the Land of Enchantment has outstanding cuisine outside the shining pinnacles of Santa Fe and Albuquerque. To some extent the media may be justified in perceiving the City Different and Duke City as offering the quintessence of what makes New Mexico a culinary Mecca. Obviously, Santa Fe and Albuquerque enthrall hungry visitors armed with voracious appetites (especially for our incendiary red and…

Big D’s Downtown Dive – Roswell, New Mexico

During a March, 2012 trip to Roswell, New Mexico President Barack Obama made the following opening remarks to his speech. “We had landed in Roswell. I announced to people when I landed that I had come in peace. (Laughter) Let me tell you – there are more nine and ten year old boys around the country when I meet them – they ask me, “Have you been to Roswell and is it true what they say? And I tell them,…

Il Bosco – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

The customer in the Italian restaurant was so pleased that he asked to speak to the chef. The owner proudly led him into the kitchen and introduced him to the chef. “Your veal parmigiana was superb,” the customer said. “I just spent a month in Italy, and yours is better than any I ever had over there.” “Naturally,” the chef said. “Over there, they use domestic cheese. Ours is imported.” While we were perusing the menu at Il Bosco, my…

Java Joe’s – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“I hate chile powder.” ~Tuco Salamanca Breaking Bad, Season 2 Duty-bound to make himself available to the citizenry of the fledgling United States, newly elected president George Washington spent the night in so many private homes and inns that “George Washington Slept Here” remains a real estate cliché and tourist draw centuries later. Perhaps the closest similarly celebrated landmarks in the Albuquerque metropolitan area are the filming sites for the 16-time Emmy Award-winning television series Breaking Bad. Never mind that…