Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner III: Magnificent Mexican Food for Fabulous Foodies

Contented group awaiting dessert

People who love to eat are always the best people.”
Julia Child

When Friends of Gil (FOG) get together, good food happens. So do good times and great conversation among some of the most passionate gastronomes in the Duke City area. El Norteño was the site of the most recent FOG dinner shared by nineteen. Guests included five of the ten most prolific commentators on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog: Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos, Bruce Schor (with Lady Grayce), Jim Millington (with Janet, the Child Bride), Larry McGoldrick (with the pulchritudinous Chase girls, Barbara and Linda) and John Lucas (with fabulous Kay).

We were also graced with the presence of FOG newcomers Sarah and Rolk Dolk. No strangers to the hospitality industry, Sarah and Rol own and operate the Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast which is very close to Old Town shopping, museums and downtown night life. Joe and Kazzie Guzzardi, the much loved proprietors of Joe’s Pasta House in Rio Rancho joined just as we were about to order dessert. As far as we know, the infamous Suzie Queue was not in attendance.

The lull between dinner and dessert

While some of the FOG hadn’t ever dined at El Norteño, others of us visit frequently. As one of the most long-lived and beloved Mexican restaurants in the Duke City, El Norteño has been a perennial winner of “Best Mexican” restaurant honors in various publications. Instead of a fixed price meal as we’ve had in previous FOG dinners, guests ordered from the menu. Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the perspicacious palate not only ordered the most tongue-twisting dish on the menu (Huachinango a la Veracruzana), he was able to pronounce it like a native.

Our thanks to Mary Ann Spencer for organizing a very fun and enjoyable event. The stunning Shawne volunteered to organize FOG IV which is tentatively slated for November. We hope many more of you are able to join us.

A great time was had by one and all

About Gil Garduno

Since 2008, the tagline on Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog has invited you to “Follow the Culinary Ruminations of New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.” To date, nearly 1 million visitors have trusted (or at least visited) my recommendations on nearly 1,100 restaurant reviews. Please take a few minutes to tell me what you think. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear about it.

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92 Comments on “Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner III: Magnificent Mexican Food for Fabulous Foodies”

  1. Alas Jim, Thank you for your FOG-Efforts.
    Indeed, I’ve put Fri April 10 @ 7 in my calendar.
    Folks can pre-screen the menu at http://www.kitchinaabq.com/dinner.html which includes a notation: “Ask about gluten free pasta, vegetarian, and other special requests”.
    Lest one is unfamiliar, M’Tucci’s Kitchina is in the south-end of the shopping area which spans a couple of blocks of the NE corner of Coors & Montano NW http://tinyurl.com/pohnl9v
    “Chow!”
    PS: For Folks interested in “Deli” stuff for take home, don’t forget just a few doors south is their Deli! https://www.nmgastronome.com/?p=35107

  2. In response to several expressed problems with the March 27 date for FOG IV, the reservation has been rescheduled for 7:00pm, April 10. In my experience for every person who finds this an improvement 0.625 people will find it a disimprovement so I apologize to those 5/8 persons.

  3. Well that is sad to read: No Lady Graycee nor Ms. Jen!!! While ya can put me down for the 27th Jim and without wishing to flummox things up for ya, I can twist/spin dates a few days into April, at present, if need be.

  4. I have contacted Jeff Spiegel at M’Tucci’s Kitchina, 6001 Winter Haven Road, N.W., Albuquerque, NM and made reservations for FOG IV, 20 people in the Grotto in the NE corner of the restaurant. This reservation is for 7:00pm, March 27, 2015. I have promised to give him a final count on March 26.

    There is no special menu, we will be ordering off the standard menu at one of the finest restaurants in Albuquerque. Read Gil’s review.

    They do not have a banquet room but the Grotto is somewhat isolated from the rest of this very popular restaurant. On a Friday night there is a better than even chance that every table will be taken so please respond by the 26th if you plan to attend and please attend if you say you will. It has been a long time since FOG III.

    1. Mea culpa, John. I dropped the ball on this one. Because of all the holiday parties, it’s probably best to wait until 2015 before we revisit future FOG dinners. A number of FOGeys have provided excellent suggestions on venues which don’t require up-front guarantees. We’ll look into those next year.

  5. FGFABQ, I was going with the turnout numbers of past FOG dinners, and I estimated about twenty, which would necessitate reserving their special event room. Reserving this room at Seasons requires a tight number of attendees to ensure server coverage and enough of the specified food items, and there is a contract involved as well as a (large) minimum dollar amount committed, guaranteed against someone’s credit card. I have organized large dinners in the past, but with those, I had more to work with (a list of emails to rely upon for follow-up) instead of a loose RSVP system based on blog comments.

    Yes, eight had committed, but I thought that more would probably come forward as more details emerged, getting us closer to that twenty-something number that was the tipping point. I hope this explanation answers your questions as to why Seasons didn’t work out.

  6. Even though I can’t attend and my wife and I do like Seasons I can’t figure out why just 8 FsOG couldn’t call Seasons and make a rez for that number of diners? Is it the difference of a fixed price dinner and an ala carte one? I know my wife arranges the venues for her Out to Lunch Bunch and gets an ala carte lunch for as many as 15, 16, sometiomes more folks, all with seperate checks and Seasons was one of the places accomodating the group.
    Just curious what’s up. Jen has it under control, and BOTVOLR has suggested every retaurant between here and Baja California. What’s up with that?

  7. BOTVLR: I apologize for the Seasons venue not working out for this event. In the future, I’ll do better research and find places that are better suited to the scheduling limitations of this group. We do have an alternative setting in the works, and I think we’ll all be more than satisfied with it. Stay tuned…

  8. Yo…to muddy the waters of the nearby muddy Rio Grande, I count 8 at present who’ve committed. If a couple of more sign-in by the 25th, t’would seem that 10-12 would be an every-day/walk-in-off-the-street reservation???? they might accommodate without ‘strings’??? If not, I’m game for many local places, e.g. Monte Carlo, Antiquity, High Noon, Blade’s (but maybe better during the week), Scalo’s (e.g. upper level on the Central side), Cafe Axel, Luna Mansion, (El Pinto’s Red Chile Ribs…LOL), Family style at Nicky V’s.

  9. Kay and I will be there so put us down for 2. Like Plated Dinner #2 with chicken, strip loin medallions, and salmon as entrees. We need a good count. We never finish a meal at Seasons and want to be able to take home our left overs

    1. Hello John

      Unfortunately we’re going to have to explore options other than Seasons. As with many restaurants, Seasons has some strict, but very reasonable expectations we are unable to fulfill–largely because we can’t commit to a specific number of guests. Experience has taught us that people sign up to attend, but life gets in the way and not all of them can make it. It would be entirely unfair for us to stipulate a specific number for which the restaurant has to “staff up” only for us to show up with far fewer guests than for which the restaurant prepared. In such cases, restaurants should be remunerated in full for the number of guests we stipulated.

      Gil

  10. No No El Brute: The Wet Blanket reference referred to “me” per not wishing to be seen negatively per noting some Folk may have some $$$ concerns in signing up…kinda in response to Jim’s concern about no sign ups being seen.
    Ah, this is complex and subtle! Was trying to take the focus off anyone in particular while using You playfully for your past references to playfully chiding me for my somewhat less than spendthrift ways of dining or being pecuniarily obsessed when it comes to e.g. choice of a PBR. (While not previously explained, the choice partially had to do with the fact I am not particularly a beer guy and as FS at the time only offered Beer/Wine, I thought the beer was a more appropriate choice for Fish n Chips than wine and didn’t care to spend money on something, beer, I didn’t really care for to laviate my palate instead of with plain old water!) As you had not signed up at the time, my fuzzy memory was thinking Y’all would be coming to the FOG Gathering as your G-child would, theoretically, have been born prior to that…and therefore it was a mystery why you hadn’t. Alas, reflecting about it now and given you hadn’t responded to going to FOG yet, I must have muddled that with actually being Jim and the Child Bride going off to the Orient…LOL. Sorry for the confusion it created in your mind per not comprehending what the point was/is!!!!

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