Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog: 5,000 Visitor Comments…And Counting

Chef Maxime Bouneou of Torinos @ Home and hostess extraordinaire Daniela Bouneou celebrate Daniela’s 39th birthday as daughter Marion looks on

On Friday, October 25th, 2013, Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog achieved a significant milestone when it received its 5000th published feedback, some sixty-one months after the blog’s launch. The main reason I migrated Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Web site to a blog on September 13, 2008 is because blogs are much more interactive than conventional Web sites. In our increasingly connected and shrinking world, blogs are community while Web sites are islands.

Because of a blog’s interactive nature, you, my dear readers, have been able to provide comments about my reviews, recommend new restaurants, and share your experiences on dining adventures good and bad. You’ve let me know when you agree with my recommendations and when you believe I’ve totally missed the mark. Some of you have been complimentary, gracious and kind. Others…not so much, over the years accusing me of being on drugs, being a racist, questioning my parentage and threatening me with bodily harm. Through it all, the blog has championed freedom of speech. For the most part, the only comments censored from the blog have been politically oriented.

Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos, the most prolific provider of perspicacious feedback
Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos, the most prolific provider of perspicacious feedback to Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

What has made me most proud is the spirited dialogue between the community of diners who are just as passionate as I am about dining in mom-and-pop restaurants. Thanks to this blog, friendships between readers have been formed and connections have been made among and between readers. I’ve been blessed to meet and befriend many wonderful people I would otherwise not have met.

It’s only fitting that the reader who submitted the 5,000th comment to the blog is Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (BOTVLR) who, by the way, has submitted 331 comments as of this posting. That’s nearly twice as many comments as the nearest commenter. Bob’s comments are insightful and informative–always unique and interesting. Bob is one of the most civic-minded people I know, a true ambassador to the Land of Enchantment. He volunteers his free time at the Albuquerque Convention & Visitor Bureau’s Info booth at the Sunport and regularly participates in fund-raising activities for curing cancer.

In celebration of the momentous occasion of achieving 5,000 comments, I asked Bob for his take on the state of dining in the Duke City over the past five years. In his inimitable style and completely unedited, here’s what Bob’s got to say:

Gil: What has been your memorable restaurant dining experience in New Mexico over the past five years?

Bob: Alas, while I’ve had some really great meals, can’t really say I’ve had a really memorable one and really don’t wish to ‘put out’ for the likes of The Rancher’s Club, Bien Sur (tho my daughter was disappointed), Vernon’s(?), the Corn Maiden, etc. Haven’t been to SFe in years, e.g. The Compound and the like. Alas, the long gone Garden Room of the Tropicana along with Binion’s Steakhouse (Ooops, ain’t been to ‘sample’ new Vegas in 10 years!) and Scandia’s in Bev Hills would be standards to compete with…LOL

Gil: What type of restaurant which currently doesn’t exist in Albuquerque would you like to see open in Albuquerque?

Bob: Ya, I could go with a basic Polish restaurant with other Slavic type dishes. After 27 years of the 2 day Folk Festival in LowellLand, the Polish booth, of the 1-2 dozen other ethnic booths, runs out of its 6,000 pierogies in a day and a half. This past year, my Sis has been volunteering with a bunch of other Polish “Panis” hand making about 20,000 pierogies for a Polish festival in Nov. Eeek, they make 3 to 4 thousand one day a week. They’ll sell ’em by baggies of a dozen for Non-Poles to make their ‘stashes’ as we do our baggies of green chile.

If it were to be, then maybe a combo spot like Dunkin Doughnuts has here with Baskin Robbins. In Lowell, the Irish/Mex mix seems to be doing well, e.g.

Gil: Red, green or Christmas?

Bob: “It depends!” e.g: Red on Breakfast Burritos, Stuffed Sopas con Chicharrones-beans, mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving, in posole; Green with a Chile Rellenos or Chimichangas.

Gil: Five favorite restaurants?

Bob: Is there such a thing? Favorite for what? Pardon, pretty mundane, not very edgy Faves…LOL

  • Scalo’s: I’ve never tasted their ‘pastas’, but go for the City’s primo Filetto per The 3 Ts: Taste/Texture/Tenderness for under $30; nice ambiance/wait staff.
  • Antiquity: Henry the IVth and the cozy/funky-gently worn, casually romantic ambiance; superb wait staff.
  • Blade’s: It’s “Let’s-get-out-of-Dodge time” to enjoy an Especial with its welcoming hospitality and waitstaff attentiveness in a neo-casual setting.
  • The Dog House: Nostalgic ambiance to enjoy over 500 feet of Foot long NM red chile cheese dogs con onions and Orange Drink. I’ve gotta try their Frito Pie one of these days!
  • Luna Mansion: Indeed such a gracious ambiance Ms. Delilah, which in itself can nourish the soul just as much as a good slab/hunk of meat! Alas, I keep forgetting it only takes as much time to trans ABQ!!!
  • Fat Squirrel: Fish n (Chips, when they’re less wimpy/limpy)
  • Casa de Benavidez – Stuffed Sopa con Chicharrones-beans out the back door or in the 2nd best patio.
  • El Pinto – only for the exclusive(?) 1/2 rack of red chile ribs (salad and potato) con House Margarita on ABQ’s primo patio…The Fiesta.
  • Mr. Tokyo: Shrimp Tempura/miso/rice for under 10 bucks (going on a dozen years!) in comfortably, simple surroundings (sans fluorescence).
  • Red Lobster for its Kid’s Claws (salad/potato) for under a sawbuck too!

Ooopsy, while obviously I’m math challenged, I never colored outside the lines as a kid!!!!

Gil: Three most underrated restaurants?

Bob: Kokoro (albeit a parental illness has sidelined the owner having it closed for now till possibly the new year.)

Bocadillos (and especially after watching the pains this diligent businesswoman goes to ala the recent vignette on Diners/Drive-Ins/Dives.)

Paddy Rawal’s OM (albeit, I haven’t been since the reported change of ownership.)

Thank you to everyone who’s visited Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog over the past five years. Whether or not you’ve participated in our culinary dialogue, I appreciate and value all of you.

11 thoughts on “Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog: 5,000 Visitor Comments…And Counting

  1. Gil, you might want to try “Il Bosco” Italian Bistro. In the spot “La Bouche” used to occupy on Coors. I have delared their meatballs the best in New Mexico.

    1. Thank you, Randolph. You had me at “meatballs.” Your email came in just as we were contemplating where to go for lunch this lazy Sunday afternoon. Il Bosco is a tremendous find, a great new Italian restaurant. It’s so unlike any other Italian restaurant in the metropolitan area. Look for my review soon.

      With recommendations like Il Bosco, I hope we hear from you more often.

  2. You get so many user comments and reactions because you are the best food blogger (or best blogger of any kind, regardless of genre) that I’ve ever read. Your labor of love is a help to us all. THANK YOU!

  3. Bruce.
    I am stunned and impressed by the loss of 85 Lb. I gradually lost a little weight after my experience when I concentrated on Italian food as the food in Italy seemed delicious and low fat.Then I retired (very happy about that) and became a more enthusiastic reader of Gil’s blog (a good and bad influence). I gained weight. I noticed that traveling in Asia (we now travel a lot) I lose large amounts of weight fast despite eating like a pig but quickly regain it plus some on return despite eating far less, often at Asian restaurants. American Italian and Asian restaurants are really not like those there. The 85 pounds still amazes me.

  4. It’s Bruce, Jim.
    The pot roast was on the Heart Institute’s menu and I couldn’t resist.
    After days of feeding “gack” it was the best I could do.
    I have no other option but to be diligent about my diet.
    I had lost 85 lbs prior to this episode so I was being as good as possible.
    My cardiologist has said everything in moderation and I will abide by that mantra.

  5. Mr. Schor,
    We share a common experience except that I got it in the more traditional order. My last meal BEFORE my 2am flashing red light run to the cardiac cauterization lab at Pres was a Yankee Pot Roast at (brace yourself for culinary excellence) Black Eyed Pea. You aren’t supposed to eat that type of thing after the experience though I have to admit that, after several years of diligence, I am becoming increasingly more lax. I had better knock it off and so should you.

  6. Hi Bob,
    I’m home for about three weeks past surgery, doing well, in cardiac rehab. It was a surreal experience to say the least.
    We will have to share a meal and I’ll fill you in with what I remember and Miss Grayce can fill in the huge gaps in my memory.
    You may be suffering from ROATMD (took a moment to figure that out) but I must admit I do look forward to your comments.
    Gil’s work is every foodies dream. Who among us wouldn’t want it as a paid job!
    And Gil does it for the sheer joy and good eats.
    Even though I was hooked up to all kinds of tubes and wires Thrilling and Filling was my go to reading.
    Keep those comments coming.

  7. (Yo The Bruce: your taste offerings are indeed appreciated to give me pause! Whoa, hope that Heart Institute visit wasn’t recent!!)
    Re Gil’s 5K Comment:
    OMG: Now that’s embarrassing…my blathering… when that should be focusing on Gil’s writing engendering 5K comments, i.e. recognizing the many hours which must go into Gil making the Blog what it is: an educational experience. I.e.. it’s not only about the food, (Any Blogger can easily say “I had a great meal at San Pasqual’s Diner. The asparaguses were perfectly al dente and verdant!”. How many tho give us an erudite ‘etymology’ of a restaurant or its name along with that of it’s offerings? And Vocabulary…who doesn’t recall Reader’s Digest ”Word Power’? Rumor has it that there was an uptick in the graduation rate and SAT scores of APS Hi-School pupils for a time when his Blog was briefly made “required reading” in English classes before some radicals fretted it might also, understandably per Gil’s mouth watering descriptions therein, contribute to the obesity epidemic!
    Lo, the Blog serves the common good.
    But I’m just saying…”Chow!”
    Oh! PS: Kudos to you other Commentators who enchant my dining experiences as well!
    Full Disclosure per my ‘numbers’ and concerns I’m a shill. Yes, Gil and I shared a sopapilla once a couple of years ago; otherwise, I suffer from ROATMD and like to blabber.

  8. I hope I’m not stepping over the line but Gil’s questions to BOTVOLR inspired me to think about my answers.
    Memorable meals……..
    Sweetbreads at Blades, where everybody knows your name. An atmosphere of fine food, friends and family.
    Anything at Budai that Elsa recommends. But always the steamed pork bums and preferably the special green of the day, like hallow heart.
    Anything at Torino’s., including the fresh pasta made by my wife and me while 3 couples took a cooking lesson from Daniela, and eaten in the quiet of a closed restaurant.
    The spectacular chicharones at El Meze in Taos followed by an heirloom tomato salad.
    The chile rellenos at the old Lupes and hopefully the newly reopened Lupes on US550 in Bernalillo.
    A simple breakfast of papas con chorizo at the range.
    And indulge me this last one: My meal of pot roast with mashed potatoes, fruit salad and iced tea after spending about 10 days on a feeding tube while I recovered from open heart surgery at the Heart Institue of Albuquerque.

  9. 5000 responses!!!
    Wow, Gil, you have the best blog, the best followers and simply the best reviews.
    I don’t know what to say besides keep up the terrific labor of love.
    Albuquerque is better for having you as the Ambassador of good eats.
    I refer anyone who wants the best advice about all things food in the Duke City to Gil’s Thrilling.
    Please send BOTVOLR my congrats on being number 5000.

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