California Witches – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

California Witches, “where you can taste California” is the brainchild of two Korean born California transplants who happen to like witches–not the Wiccans who practice ritual observances of seasonal and life cycles or the repulsive old women credited with usually malignant supernatural powers. They assured us they don’t practice the arcane arts, but like “white” magic as practiced by television characters such as Sabrina. Our hope was that they were practitioners of culinary magic. Chef Rachel Park owns three other California Witches restaurants in Los Angeles so she and her owner cousin must be doing something right.

A great start to a meal at Witches is one of the 20 boba teas and slushes. The bottom of each glass is lined with tapioca globules you suck up through an oversized straw. Those globules have the consistency of gummy bears that have been soaking in liquid (which they have). Both the green apple and mango slushes were refreshing, delicious and will make for a great summer drink.

Witches’ menu is unconventional–not quite Asian, not quite American, but as eclectic as the state of California. That menu includes salads, curries, cutlets, pastas, pesto, snow cones and parfait. A surprisingly good pasta dish is the carbonara with rich heavy cream and bacon.

If you are a curry connoisseur, the curried hot pot seafood cheese with rice dish is an interesting option. It’s a hodgepodge of ingredients–two types of cheese, potatoes, carrots, green beans, rice, green lip mussels, scallops and shrimp–served with a Japanese curry (not as sweet as Thai curry or as pungent as Indian curry). I expressed such an admiration for that curry that the owner brought me a gravy bowlful with which to finish off the remaining rice.

Complementary palate cleansing pickled ginger, pearlescent onions and bean sprouts accompanied our meals and were reminiscent of the small vegetable dishes often served with Korean meals. California Witches has begun to cast its spell on Albuquerque diners and should ensnare many of them with meals that have delicious, if not magical properties.

California Witches
7202 Menaul, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT:12 February 2005
COST: $$
BEST BET: Boba Slush (Green Apple & Mango); Curried Hot Pot Seafood Cheese With Rice

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