Burger Boy – Cedar Crest, New Mexico

The vividly hued threads that comprise a beautiful community tapestry are its diverse and unique characters. Some are quirky and eccentric, some are brash and loud, others are indistinct and don’t stand out, but all are essential in weaving that beautiful community tapestry, that compendium of personalities that make up a whole. One of the most vivid threads in the rich and diverse tapestry that is the alpine community of Cedar Crest, New Mexico was prolific artist, carver and tinkerer Ross Ward. Before settling in New Mexico, Ross was a show painter for carnivals, traversing the country for more than three decades. It was in Cedar Crest that Ross built Tinkertown, a folk art environment replete with an impressive array…

Havana Restaurant – Albuquerque, New Mexico

“Cuba has bread and pork, but not enough vegetables. The food we were served was never warm enough. Cuba is not a place for vegetarians, picky eaters, or the gluten free.” ~Elinor Robin, PhD On 26 April 1954, CBS-TV aired the 93rd episode of I Love Lucy.  Watching the rerun decades later was essentially my introduction to Cuban food…sort of.  In the memorable episode Ricky decides to quit show business and open up a diner in which Cuban food would be the featured fare.  The Ricardos enter into a precarious partnership with their friends and neighbors Fred and Ethel Mertz.  Because Fred and Ethel have the diner savvy and Ricky has the name that brings in diners, unequal division of…

Thicc Pizza Co. – Albuquerque, New Mexico

As you’ve read on the tagline for Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog, your humble blogger fancies himself somewhat of a sesquipedalian (a person who tends to use big words).  My logophilia (the love of vocabulary) is a lifelong affliction, both in English and in Spanish.  Despite my “affair” with words, one word-related term which just doesn’t describe me is neologist (someone who uses new words). This is especially true about slang terms in fashion among the pop-culture-oriented youth.  When it comes to such terms, I’m not far removed from groovy, bread and copacetic.  It’s certainly not that I’m not interested in such words.  It’s just that I don’t seem to know anyone young and cool enough to use such terms…

Thai Cuisine – Rio Rancho, New Mexico

New Mexican men can be so haughty.  (I don’t include New Mexican women in this categorization because they’re generally smarter.)  We laugh at what Californians, Arizonans and especially Texans call “chili.”  We pride ourselves on machismo, some of which is on display even when we eat out.  We never ask if the chile is hot.  We assume (and hope) it is so we can prove how tough we are.  We question the manhood of any New Mexican who prefers his chile “mild.”  Mild chile is for children and law enforcement officials in Uvalde, Texas.  Give us chile with the piquancy of napalm or volcanic lava.  Give us chile even Satan can’t eat.  Yeah, right!  I’ve seen New Mexican men wheeze…

Gray’s Coors Tavern – Pueblo, Colorado

Dante Alighieri’s classic poem “A Divine Comedy” recounts a spiritual journey in which the author was guided by ancient Roman poet Virgil through hell, purgatory, and paradise.  Their path takes them through the nine circles of Hell where they witness the punishments suffered for all eternity by the souls of deceased sinners.  The deepest circle of Hell, where Satan resides, is reserved for history’s worst traitors–Judas Iscariot, Brutus, Cassius…and maybe a certain New Mexico food blogger who not only admits there is wonderful green chile to be found outside the paradise that is the Land of Enchantment; he believes it’s possibly just as good, even better than some New Mexico chile.  That chile, from Pueblo, Colorado isn’t just an “it’ll…

The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern – Estes Park, Colorado

During my years at St. Anthony’s in Peñasco, I frequently tried the patience of the saintly nuns.   Thankfully capital punishment was not permissible or you wouldn’t be reading this.  It’s bad enough I wore out a few rulers and hopefully one elderly nun’s knuckles which often found their way to my head (that may explain a few things).  I wasn’t a malicious student, just one who didn’t always conform.  It wasn’t the age of “doing your own thing” though I certainly did my best to be an individual.  Albeit, I was an individual who didn’t do his homework or study for tests (but still managed to ace them all). My antics were never deliberately destructive.  In some ways I…

The Post Chicken & Beer – Estes Park, Colorado

In 1974 prolific author Stephen King and his wife Tabitha spent a night in Room 217 of The Stanley, a a 140-room Colonial Revival hotel in Estes Park, about five miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.  The hotel staff was preparing to close the hotel for the season so the Kings found themselves the only guests in the place.  King wrote about the experience on his website: “Wandering through its corridors, I thought that it seemed the perfect—maybe the archetypical—setting for a ghost story. That night I dreamed of my three-year-old son running through the corridors, looking back over his shoulder, eyes wide, screaming. He was being chased by a fire-hose. I woke up with a tremendous…

Cafe Genevieve – Jackson, Wyoming

My friend and former Intel colleague Steve Caine will forever rue the day he asked me to help him with an expense report for a business trip he made to Portland, Oregon. His itemized expense report indicated he had dined twice at Chevy’s, a middling quality Americanized Mexican restaurant which wouldn’t survive in the tough Albuquerque market. I teased him mercilessly. Worse, when my boss saw what the commotion was all about, he immediately put Steve on double-secret probation. Steve has never lived down visiting a Chevy’s in Portland where he could have had some of the country’s freshest and best seafood. When the din died down, Steve admitted somewhat sheepishly that after two days in Portland, he was missing…

Miazga’s – Jackson, Wyoming

The Jackson Hole Valley is so breathtaking that in the 1970s when the US launched Voyager II into space, scientists attached an Ansel Adams photograph of the valley as a representation of life on Earth in the event aliens discovered the vessel.  Spanning two spectacular mountain ranges (the Grand Tetons and Grand Ventres), Jackson Hole just may be the most picturesque valley on the planet.  It’s an Eden with winter.  It’s also among the most expensive and desirable havens in the universe.  Space aliens captivated by the Ansel Adams photograph and wanting to visit had better up the credit limits on their credit cards.  They might also have to lower their expectations as to  intelligent life on Earth.  The valley…

Bigwood Bread Cafe – Ketchum, Idaho

Ernest Hemingway spent much of the roaring twenties in Paris, a city whose own liberal attitudes attracted poets, painters and writers from throughout the world. Paris was a vibrant city which drew many expats from the so-called “lost generation” of cynical young people disillusioned with the materialism and individualism prevalent in society at the time.  As a young writer penning “A Moveable Feast,” Hemingway observed: “You got very hungry when you did not eat enough in Paris,” because all the bakery shops had such good things in the windows and people ate outside at tables on the sidewalk so that you saw and smelled the food.” An avid outdoorsman, Ernest Hemingway, was a Sun Valley habitué even before establishing a…

The Sawtooth Club – Ketchum, Idaho

Our server Kara (who resembles a much more attractive Maggie Gyllenhaal) reasons that The Sawtooth Club is the number one restaurant in the country.  That was news to me so I asked how she arrived at that conclusion.  Her reasoning is that the Sawtooth Club has been the highest rated restaurant in the Sun Valley for five consecutive years.  The Sun Valley is currently rated the number one ski resort in the country.  Ergo, one highest rated restaurant plus one highest rated ski resort equals the best restaurant in the country.  That’s akin to fuzzy math, but Kara is so cute I was almost inclined to agree with her. From the balcony of our rental in Ketchum, Idaho we could…