The Blue Dragon – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

In truth, the Blue Dragon is a coffee house in the style of New Orleans or San Francisco more so than it is a Cajun restaurant, but since it serves better Cajun food than anyone else in Albuquerque, Cajun is as good a category as any in which to place it.

This Dragon serves up the best muffalatta in town, by far–just the right amount of Italian olive salad on four slices of bread (two slices if you wimp out and have only a half muffalatta) with Genoa salami, ham, baby Swiss cheese and provolone. The Dragon doesn’t use the traditional muffalatta round bread, substituting instead with Po’ Boy French bread made by the Paris Bakery just minutes away. During two visits the restaurant was out of Po’ Boy bread but the substitutes–chile cheese bread and sourdough bread–were fabulous.

Want an interesting pizza? Try the muffalatta pizza, replete with olive salad just dripping with flavor (literally). The Mediterranean pizza with Kalamata olives and feta cheese is also quite savory. Pizza can be ordered with a traditional red sauce (marinara with fresh basil, Italian herbs), a Cajun pesto sauce (pesto glaze sun dried tomato, red chile) or the white glaze sauce (garlic and herb infused). These vegan sauces, like much of the menu, emphasize healthy and fresh ingredients with an organic touch.

Several eye-opening breakfast pizzas grace the menu as well. The list of pizza toppings allows you to be as creative as your imagination will allow you to be with such exotic, non-traditional pizza choices as andouille sausage (the restaurant truly has a Cajun soul).

When on the menu, the gumbo is positively brimming with flavor and is much better than the one served at local chain Cajun restaurants. The tomato basil soup, made with crushed tomatoes and fresh basil is one of those soups you crave on cold, winter days, but it’s great any time.

The Blue Dragon features all natural soft drinks made in New Mexico including the refreshingly delicious Carrizozo cherry drink served cold over ice and several smoothies. Among the smoothies, the aptly named “Sun Salutation” is an invigorating mix of papaya, pineapple, honeydew melon with a pinch of cardamom thrown in.

The Blue Dragon is a quaint establishment frequented by ultra left-leaning students (who appreciate the wi fi capabilities) of all ages and disciplines (me, I study restaurants). The ambience is reminiscent of Maulpin’s Tales of the City. Even though eating here makes us feel old beyond our ears, conservative beyond our political bent and parental beyond our status, we love the food and the ambiance.

The Blue Dragon
1517 Girard, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 18 June 2005
COST: $$
BEST BET: Muffeletta, Carrizozo Cherry Drink

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