America may be a multicultural melting pot, but thriving within its most populous metropolises are ethnic neighborhoods–pockets of diversity residing in two worlds, retaining many of the cultural and culinary traditions of their motherland while integrating into and pursuing the American dream. Cities such as Chicago have long realized that these ethnic enclaves offer a treasure trove of cultural and culinary experiences. Most of these neighborhoods welcome culinary tourism–the opportunity to showcase the cuisine of their homelands.
One such example is the city of Chicago which boasts of the largest Polish population outside of Warsaw (as many as 183,000 by some estimates) in the world. Storefronts and restaurants in “Little Poland” on Chicago’s far Northwest side are bedecked in the white and red flag of Poland. They offer everything from pierogies to kielbasa. Every Labor Day weekend Chicago celebrates its Polish heritage at the Taste of Polonia festival where Polish cuisine and culture are showcased.
Obviously Albuquerque doesn’t have the population to support a “Chinatown” or a “Little Poland,” but the Duke City does offer multicultural dining diversity. Although several of the city’s ethnic restaurants are clustered throughout the International District, many others are strewn throughout the metropolitan area where they’ve integrated into the fabric of neighborhoods which may or may not have an ethnic population base.
One such restaurant is the Red Rock Deli which opened its doors in October, 2014 in a timeworn shopping center on Lomas just west of Tramway. From the outside, it wasn’t the most attractive restaurant in town (some would even call it an eyesore) but to aficionados of Polish and European comestibles, it was a perfect Bo Derek “10.” When patrons happened upon a crude “Closed” sign on the door in March, 2019, we worried about where we might sate our next pierogi fix.
Thankfully, four months later (July 16, 2019), the Red Rock Deli reopened its doors in the strip mall time that’s also home to the Southwest Savories Cafe. Though both restaurants are recessed by only one block from the heavily trafficked San Mateo Blvd. about half a mile north of its interchange with I-40, savvy diners will find and frequent them both. NOTE: During our visit in February, 2022, Mark informed us that the Red Rock Deli has outgrown its Lilliputian digs and will be relocating again. Look for the new version of the Red Rock Deli on Wyoming and Menaul next to Stripes Burritos.
If you’ve ever been blessed with the opportunity to visit Chicago’s Little Poland, the Red Rock Deli will seem very familiar once you step within its doors. As you walk in, you’ll espy shelves stocked with comestibles such as red borscht, sauerkraut, jams and so much more. Make sure to peruse the freezers where savory and sweet pierogies, stuffed cabbage and other items can be purchased. Other shelves are jam-packed with candy, cookies, beverages and other grocery items not usually found in Duke City stores.
Owner Mark Toczek spent his formative years in Poland before moving first to Germany then to Chicago (which he visits frequently to stock up on the items which grace his shelves and his deli’s menu). In 1995, he launched the Red Rock General Store in Blanca, Colorado just outside the Great Sand Dunes National Park about 1.5 hours north of Taos. The Red Rock General Store has long been TripAdvisor‘s highest rated restaurant in the area.
Mark, who launched the Red Rock Deli in October, 2014, is an effusive and hands-on owner with a high likeability quotient and a welcoming smile for everyone. In fact, for sheer customer orientation and making all guests feel welcome, he and his staff are in rarefied company with the superb staff at Joe’s Pasta House in Rio Rancho. Initially he operated the deli with the help of his sweet mother Jadwiga, but she passed away in January, 2015. Today, you’re likely to be taken care of by Mark’s son Max who’s every bit as amicable as Mark though not quite as outspoken. Max is an aspiring airline pilot once he completes high school.
In October, 2021, spiked blonde coiffure and red Camaro in tow, Guy Fieri, the Mayor of Flavortown made a triumphant return to the Duke City where an episode of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives showcased the Red Rock Deli, which Fieri described as an authentic Polish deli and true hole-in-the-wall. Fieri praised the Eastern European menu as well as the attached grocery section which allow for you to take home the goodness for later.
Owner Mark and his Ukraine-born bride Alisa prepared stuffed cabbage and Wiener schnitzel for Fieri who called the “ten times tender” schnitzel among the best he’s had. Though Eastern European cuisine isn’t what you might think of when mentioning Albuquerque, Fieri assured viewers that the Red Rock Deli is the real deal. The episode aired in January, 2022 with periodic repeats in the event you missed it the first time.
Red Rock Deli’s menu is proudly and prominently Chicago and not just the Little Poland section of the Windy City. Windy City transplants like my Kim are sure to find several things that will transport them back home to Chicago. They’ll find comfort in table tents sporting marketing fodder for Vienna Beef products. They’ll find additional succor in reading the menu where they’ll see Chicago hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, Lincoln pork sandwiches and the legendary Maxwell Street sandwich.
Our eyes immediately gravitated on the menu to the Italian Beef sandwich, a Chicago staple. Also catching our eyes was menudo, a New Mexico favorite among intrepid diners. The menu has four sections, the first of which lists three Polish sausage options. Six hot dogs (including Chicago-style and a New Yorker) precede twelve sandwich options (including Angus hamburgers) on the menu. The “specialties” section of the menu lists the Polish specialties along with the aforementioned menudo as well as blood sausage.
4 April 2015: During our second visit, Mark surprised us with a complimentary bowl of Ukrainian Borschtserved piping hot. The borscht is made by Mark’s talented wife and is as comforting and delicious as any vegetarian soup you’ll find in the Duke City. A light, savory meatless broth redolent with cabbage and beets (accounting for its reddish hue) includes potatoes, carrots, kidney beans and jut a tinge of salt and pepper. It’s a wonderful soup! As with some soups in which beets are an ingredient, there are elements of sweet and sour that make this a unique soup. It’s always served hot which makes it a very popular wintertime soup.
20 February 2022: Even better if that’s possible is Solanka (sometimes spelled solyanka) a Russian soup which translates to “food of the villager” or “villager’s stew.” Though it’s highly regarded as a hangover cure, it’s got restorative qualities that make it a wonderful soup at any time. The basis of solanka can be meat, fish or mushrooms. Max explained that Red Rock Deli’s recipe, which originated with his grandmother, calls for an assortment of sausage. Meats, he explained, are more difficult to season to everyone’s liking. Red Rock Deli’s version is replete with hardy vegetables: carrots, scallions, potatoes, olives and onions in an addictive broth seasoned with spices and herbs that imbue it with comforting qualities. It’s served with a lemon slice if you’d like your soup just a bit tangy, but this is one elixir that enchants just the way it is.
20 February 2022: It’s not often (if ever) the term Russian Roulette elicits smiles, but at the Red Rock Deli you just might find yourself drooling at the mention. Russian Roulette is a mix of six different kinds of pierogi (a sweet Russian Roulette option offers six different kinds of pierogi with sweet stuffing) from among the nine variants of savory stuffing available at Red Rock). For a pittance, you can have the Russian Roulette fried with onions and bacon. It’s a winning combination.
The pierogi are about the size of a Chinese dim sum dumpling or about two bites worth. They’re served with a generous dollop of sour cream, not that it’s needed when you can scoop them up with crispy bacon and onions fried to a pearlescent sheen. Among the nine available options with which the pierogi can be stuffed are potato, sauerkraut, ground meat, cabbage and spinach. All are very good with our very favorite being the spinach stuffing. In our increasingly cosmopolitan world in which the unusual and unique are embraced, it’s nice to enjoy old-fashioned and traditional pierogi.
4 April 2015: Pyzy, yet another form of Polish dumplings, may be difficult to pronounce (try saying pyzy five times fast), but they’re delicious to eat. Unlike the pierogies on the menu whose wrappers could pass for those used on Chinese dumplings, these are most assuredly and unmistakably potato dumplings. They even look like boiled potatoes with a doughy wrapper made from potatoes and stuffed with meat. Texturally, they’re soft and pliable as dumpling wrappers tend to be. The meat stuffing is nicely seasoned and complements the wrappers very well. Don’t forget to pay the pittance for having them fried with onions and bacon, a combination which improves everything.
21 November 2014: Of the three Polish sausage options, we couldn’t pass up the one anadiplotic name–Polish Polish, a hot dog style sandwich with Polish sausage, brown mustard and pickled jalapeños. What you’ll notice first about the Polish Polish is the bolillo-style bread which resembles the bread used on Sonoran hot dogs. Alisa bakes this bread from Colorado where the higher altitude produces bread of exceptionally quality. It’s so good you’ll want to use it on all your future sausage and hot dogs.
Alisa’s magnificent bead has a dense and crusty exterior and a soft, pillowy interior. The Polish sausage nestled within that bread is procured from Chicago and is sliced diagonally. It’s a coarse, garlicky and smoky sausage with a natural casing that snaps when you bite into it. The pearlescent onions and pickled jalapeños complement the sausage very well with inherent sweet and piquant notes that will make fire-eaters very happy.
21 November 2014: Your humble blogger (and I frequently remind my Chicago born-and-bred bride of this), fell in love with the Chicago hot dog at first bite. Despite having grown up in the Windy City and having been around Chicago hot dogs all her life, she didn’t like them until I offered her a bite of one at Albuquerque’s AK Deli. That’s all it took. Though she eschews the sport peppers (too hot), she loves the neon green relish, mustard and a Vienna Beef hot dog directly from Chicago. Vienna Beef hot dogs have a natural casing that gives them a discernible snap when you bite into them.
The same delightful buns used on the Polish Polish sheath the hot dog which extends beyond the bun by a good inch on both sides. The Chicago hot dog also includes onions, tomatoes and jalapeños, not the “sport peppers” used in Chicago. It’s the only thing on Red Rock Deli’s Chicago hot dog she doesn’t love. As with the Italian beef sandwich, she’s come to the realization that a better version of the Chicago hot dog can be had at the Red Rock than at the fabled Portillo’s.
20 February 2022: Among the foods most expatriated Chicagoans tend to miss most–no matter where they may settle–is the uniquely Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich, about which Thrillist wrote “Some cities were built on rock ‘n’ roll, but Chicago was built on big, greasy meat mountains on rolls.” The Italian Beef sandwich features thinly-sliced, slow-roasted roast beef dripping with homemade Italian gravy on a dense, long Italian-style roll. There are at least four Duke City eateries now serving Italian Beef sandwiches and the Red Rock Deli is second to none.
Quite simply, it’s got all the elements of an authentic Chicago Italian beef sandwich and can be prepared with your choice of sweet or hot peppers (or both). It’s Chicago good–even if it’s not served “wet” (dipped into the absolutely delicious seasoned au jus). For one thing, the house-baked bread is superior (I never thought I’d say that). My dearly departed friend Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the perspicacious palate, made the case that Red Rock Deli’s Italian beef sandwich is even better than the Italian beef sandwich at Chicago’s legendary Portillo’s. After a December, 2021 visit to Tempe, my Kim finally agreed. “Much better,” she declared about the Italian beef sandwich at the Red Rock Deli. Who am I to argue?
4 April 2015: One of the more interesting items on a very interesting menu has the curious name “Lincoln Pork Sandwich.” It’s easy for Chicago transplants (and those of us married to them) to assume this sandwich is named for Lincoln Park, a community area in northeast Chicago bordering Lake Michigan. Instead, Mark will explain, the sandwich has everything to do with the cost of pork. When pork was a relatively inexpensive meat, he could afford to sell the sandwich for five dollars, the denomination sporting Abe Lincoln’s stoic countenance. Today the sandwich is priced at just south of eight dollars. When the rising cost of pork forces a price escalation to ten dollars, the sandwich will be renamed the Hamilton Pork Sandwich. Alexander Hamilton is the face on the ten dollar bill.
The Lincoln Pork Sandwich is terrific! At its essence it’s a breaded pork cutlet nestled on a gilded bun. If that sounds pretty boring, count on Mark to embellish the sandwich with excitement courtesy of mustard, mayo, pickles, jalapeños and lettuce. It’s a winning formula. The pork cutlet is pounded thin and not even Sherlock Holmes would be able to find fat or sinew. The combination of jalapeños, mustard and mayo provides bold and contrasting flavors while the may adds a touch of richness. My Kim, who usually has an aversion to breaded anything, enjoyed this delightfully delicious sandwich as much as I did.
4 April 2015: Chicago’s Greektown district has a distinctive dining and nightlife scene that celebrates the culture and cuisine of the Greek population. To assume you can find excellent gyros is an understatement. Some of the very best gyros you’ll ever find in the fruited plain are prepared and served in this area. Mark imports both the lamb-beef amalgam and the pita bread from Chicago and the quality shows. That quality is also evident in the thick, sour-tangy Tzatziki with its pronounced yogurt and cucumber flavor profile. The pita is moist and pliable and didn’t dry up and harden as some pita is apt to do. Just a modicum of hopped onions and tomatoes makes this a sandwich as opposed to a salad with meat. The gyros is accompanied by baked potato skin chips, my new favorite potato chip.
5 September 2019: If you’ve ever traveled through Germany (especially during Oktoberfest) it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that Germany consumes more sausage than any other country in Europe with 1.5 metric tons consumed between 2014 and 2019. Also not surprising is that the second-largest consumer of sausages was neighboring Poland with 574K metric tons. Germany’s consumption was nearly three times that of Poland which tells you they’re serious about sausage.
So is the Red Rock Deli whose menu includes a Polish German Platter (Polish sausage and beer brat served together with your choice of potato salad, sauerkraut or sauerkraut stew) that might transport you to the old country. With its strong garlic flavor married with pimentos, cloves, marjoram and smoke, the Polish sausage edged out the beer brat (with subtle notes of caraway seeds, coriander, ginger or maybe nutmeg) for our affections though it was close. The sauerkraut and sauerkraut stew (yes, we asked for both) weren’t quite one note, but didn’t really distinguish themselves as separate entities. Both were terrific as was the potato salad.
20 February 2022: According to 247wallst.com, in 2020, New Mexico ranked ninth among the fifty states for the number of hamburgers consumed annually per capita with 248. Multiply that by the average lifespan (about 78 years) means New Mexicans enjoy about 19,344 hamburgers in a lifetime. Despite such a Brobdingnagian number, not many burgers (save for the sacrosanct green chile cheeseburger) truly distinguish themselves by their memorable qualities. Trust me on this one. Red Rock Deli’s kraut burger (lettuce, mayo, pickles, onions and mustard served with sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and topped with Swiss cheese) is one you’ll remember for a long time. It’s one of the very best burgers I’ve enjoyed in years that didn’t include green chile. It’s so good, I’ve been plotting a return trip to have another (or maybe three).
18 February 2016: If there’s one traditional New Mexican dish that has not transcended generations, it’s menudo, the dish constructed from yellowish, spongy, honeycomb-structured “innards” (can you say tripe) and chile. Young folks (and not just millennials) find the texture, aroma and flavor more than a bit off-putting, a phenomena that generally occurs when you tell them what menudo is a tripe dish. Even more “seasoned” diners don’t often list menudo as a favorite dish.
We found it very interesting that a Polish restaurant would offer a variation on menudo. What makes it Polish is the infusion of Hungarian spicy paprika, a seasoning that imparts a pleasantly piquant personality. Texturally, the tripe is thinner than what you’d find in New Mexican menudo, but it’s just a bit on the chewy side (though not quite rubbery). This is an interesting variation on a traditional dish not everyone loves.
21 November 2014: Dessert options include the aforementioned sweet pierogi and nalesniki, crepes stuffed with sweet farmer cheese fried in butter and served with sour cream and powdered sugar. Texturally similar to cottage cheese, farmer cheese is a fresh, dry-curd cheese with a tangy flavor. Stuffed into crepes topped with powdered sugar, this dessert is rich and delicious without the cloying flavor found on some crepes.
4 April 2015: The premise of Russian Roulette, a potentially lethal game of chance, is frightening, but at the Red Rock Deli, Russian Roulette may forever change what you think of the term. Sweet Russian Roulette, a mix of six different types of pierogies stuffed with a sweet filling and topped with sour cream and (usually) powdered sugar is more like a Russian dream. When available, the sweet pierogies are spritzed with “forest sauce,” a tangy-sweet, light syrupy sauce made from berries which grow in the forest. The pierogies are stuffed with such delicious fillings as cranberries, plum and farmer’s cheese. There are few desserts quite as exciting and delicious, especially when forest sauce is drizzled generously.
18 February 2016: It was a given that my friends and fellow gastronomes Larry McGoldrick and Dazzling Deanell would also enjoy the Sweet Russian Roulette as they had its savory counterpart. What I could not have predicted is that they would introduce savory elements to a dessert entree that needs no amelioration. Perhaps as a lark, Larry, the esteemed professor with the perspicacious palate, wondered out loud what the sweet pierogi he described as “OMG delicious” would taste like with the fried bacon and onions used on the savory pierogi. It turns out the bacon and onion combination goes very well with the sweet pierogi. Is it any wonder Professor Larry was such an innovative software engineer and oceanographer before sharing his savvy insights online.
The Red Rock Deli is a welcome addition to Albuquerque’s increasingly diverse culinary scene. You need not know anything about Polish cuisine. If you love a great hot dog, a terrific sandwich or a Chicago style deli, you’ll be right at home.
Red Rock Deli
2414 San Mateo Place, N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Website | Facebook Page
LATEST VISIT: 20 February 2022
1st VISIT: 21 November 2014
# OF VISITS: 5
COST: $ – $$
BEST BET: Italian Beef Sandwich, Classic Hotdog, Polish Polish, Nalesniki, Russian Roulette (Sweet and Savory Pierogies), Gyros, Lincoln Pork Sandwich, German Polish Platter, Kraut Burger, Solanka
36 thoughts on “Red Rock Deli – Albuquerque, New Mexico”
Gosh, I can’t believe no one has commented lately! Do yourself a favor folks. Run, don’t walk to this restaurant as soon as you can. Every time I plan to go, I have to think about what I’m going to order the whole day before. There are so many contenders. Hence this menu for you. If anyone can honestly say that nothing on it tempts them, well, I just am out of words. (Okay, who’s applauding?!)
Location update: staying at San Mateo Pl, expanding into the unit next door. Good news for everyone! The kitchen will be removed from the seating area. Mark is looking forward to more space. Happy to report that the food is still delicious and Mark is still affable. I made a comment about Guy’s visit while pointing to the poster for his show and Mark replied, “Oh, you mean the employee of the month?!” Accompanied by a big smile of course.
Drove by there the other day and, though closed at the time, it appears Red Rock Deli is still off San Mateo and Menaul. There was a sign apologizing for the wait times as they were very short staffed. I had to laugh at that, because while I’m aware of the current issues with staffing in general these days, Mark’s concept of time is a little different from mine…or dare I say, most peoples. I first met him at the Lomas/Tramway location. Huz is a hamburger person and needs an HFCS free bun, so he asked about the bread. Mark knew what was desired, apologized for being out of it at the moment, but said if we weren’t in a hurry he could resolve the issue. We weren’t in a hurry; Mark and Max took off on a road trip. I can’t say exactly how much time passed, but enough for me to study each item in their grocery…more than once. Fast forward to the food being (finally) brought to the table. While I hungrily devoured my sausages and pierogies, huz devoured his hamburger. Mark sat and chatted with us the entire time. That time went well past the end of main food consumption. I digested and was hungry for dessert pierogies, which were quite tasty! It was an odd time of day, there were no other diners, and Mark loved the fact that we were very interested in Poland. Huz said it was one of the best hamburgers he had ever had.
In answering a query elsewhere in Gil’s block, am (Pardon) compelled to include here:
RE Where have all the Latke gone: I called https://www.yelp.com/biz/red-rock-deli-albuquerque-2 this AM and the Gal who answered said they’re sorta on the menu, i.e. phone when you have the urge for some. Yo, by coincidence RE latke, read the Yelper’s comment of 12/7/19!!!!
For others…per the Season…. phone also RE having some Wigilia dishes that are part of the traditional Christmas Eve meal of Polish folks, much akin to the Meal of the Seven Fishes of the Italians, and the like. Alas, for Catholics, they’ve run out of Oplatek…IMHO, check the internet for some sources.
Indeed: Heee’s back! There must be a joke herein, but “No”, sociable Mark has relocated. I didn’t pry why, but assume it’s to be more centrally located to offer his home cooked table-fare and packaged items of old world yummies. Indeed, it is markedly less space, but it amazes how he uses it to the max. He noted he is getting….I think he said a pallet of… even more merchandise via Chicago as I wondered where he’s going to put it…LOL Indeed, like the former store, this Guy goes all out trying to bring exotic or not so readily found items for our palate’s enjoyment. (As an after thought, I will suggest next time that it might spur/help us language challenged Folks if he might eventually put little descriptors as might be found elsewhere for wines/liqueurs e.g. https://tinyurl.com/y4ue7gka)
In any event, I went for the Lincoln sangwich(sic) but they were out. Instead, Gyros caught my eye as I haven’t had one in eons. As such it is hard to compare, but this was humongous with lots of sauce. The meat had that familiar, i.e. spicy, taste associated with a Gyro and was ample enough for me to take some home along with some tsatziki sauce and a couple regular chips. Anyway, there continues to be frozen pierogi for take-home with a few new additional flavors/combos as well as some frozen breads as well as varieties of Kielbasi (e.g. Polish, Hungarian, etc. smoked sausage). Ya know, with, for example, football season in full swing along with or per a nip in the air just around the corner…can’tcha smell pinion in the air some nights…Polish yummies are just what ya want. Are you one to sometimes ”hit” our Craft/Micro Brew Pubs…slice up a baggie of Kielbasi, maybe some mustard for dipping, to bring along for sharing by being https://tinyurl.com/y3u9nlxf at your pub!
We missed out on all that hospitality. Was waited on a young man who clearly was put out by our being there. After he annoyed us with his eye-rolling attitude, he went around back and got into an argument with the cook. The place was stuffy warm and eerie quiet so we could hear it all. Yeech. I wanted to leave after five minutes. We stayed, though, and managed to enjoy the pierogi with that bacon and onion topping. Very nice plate. The Italian Beef sandwich and the Polish platter were OK, nothing special. Maybe we’ll try the place again. Maybe not.
This all looks great, Gil! And I’ll be much more likely to try it in its new location. But what did you think of the Polish German Platter? Or did I somehow miss its description?
Your vision is still 20/20, Sarita. It’s my memory that needs a little help. I somehow forgot to say anything about the Polish/German Platter (Schlezjan Polish Sausage, beer brat, potato salad, sauerkraut and kapusta (sauerkraut stew)). Two sauerkraut dishes on one platter made it a bit one note, but the sausages and the accompanying deli mustard were excellent. Let me know when you’re feeling adventurous and I’ll be happy to join you at the Red Rock Deli.
The new location is great.
New to me and the dazzler is the Lithuanian Borscht. This cold kefir-based delight is loaded with earthy red beets, and has become my new favorite soup in New Mexico.
The photograph on my Facebook page may look like Pepto Bismol, but you will get past that at first lovin spoonful.
And the Italian Beef is still better than that at Portillos (or Big Al’s #1 for that matter.)
Alas, I had the Op to send a “Polish” recipe off to a friend today and as such felt compelled to share it here even tho the dish is not familiar (i.e. the reason for the ” “) to the enclave of Polonia I grew up with in MA which has existed over 120 years.
And the relevance? I am therefore compelled, per the Polish connection, to confess that I have first hand info that Mark is working hard to relocate closer-in here in ABQ!!!!
With that said, here is the bountiful Kelly O (who, despite her…if I were to profile… Polish appearance.. is an Irish Lass!) who owns 2 restaurants in Pittsburgh and has been featured on Fiero’s DDD!!!!! showing off making what I’d be curious to hear of anyone’s homemade attempts! I.e. I hear it is fantabulous when I query Folks from Pittsburg as I pass out ABQ/NM tourist info.
OMG, before I forget, here is Haluski*… Buen provecho! http://tinyurl.com/mp7zhhz
* Typically spelled with a line through the letter “L” = hałuski. As such, the “L” has a “woh” sound as in “word/water”.
Visited Thursday 3/21/19. Crude “Closed” sign. All gonee. Kaput. RIP.
Thank you for letting us know. Albuquerque is a poorer city for having lost such a great Polish deli.
Red Rock Deli re-opened at 2414 San Mateo on 7/16/19! It’s as delicious as ever.
That’s great news! Thank you very much for letting us know.
Do you have Kielbasa. Can’t find it anywhere. Very expensive to import from NY.
Yes, in the past he has had several varieties. Perhaps give them a call 332-9656 to ask which ones.
Thank Goodness had reason to be over on that side of town to stop in for a stash of Hungarian Kielbasa!
Blush! Mark has accessorized the place with some bountiful shelving (vs e.g. Gil’s opening pic) of delectable Yum Yums from various countries of Eastern Europe including more refrigerated stuff. If Y’all don’t know what’s what, he has hired a most Yummy “Clerk”, with a braid that goes on and on, to assist you. Where does he come up with these Chicas? Surprise her ala what I just taught her phonetically: Yak shay mash! She is most hospitable. Speaking of which, I hadn’t met Mark’s, as we might say here as “Vieja”, his would be “Staruszka” which I never knew as a kid till now….hopefully he’ll take it as lovingly slang!!! Anyway, she is a delight in patiently putting up with my bit of Polish humor.
Bottom line? If you’ve never been cuz ya think it is too far, go to get some canned/packaged delights as well as e.g. some frozen pierogies or pastries to combine with a stop at so so many of Gil’s recommendations per “that” side of town.
I just tried the Red Rock Deli today. The food took me right back to my Polish grandmother’s kitchen in Milwaukee. The sausages were fantastic and the house-made sauerkraut and bigos (sauerkraut stew) and potato salad complemented them perfectly. I will return to work my way all through the tantalizing menu.
Gil, it should come as no surprise that I love the combination of sweet and savory. It was you who introduced me to Capirotada at Cecilia’s and El Paragua. ‘-)
While it’s still Lent, shall we go have some?
Absolutely, my friend. Capirotada with red chile is a winning combo.
Just dropped in for my cross town stash of addictive Hungarian Kielbasa and frozen Polish Pierogi. For variety, got meat filled as well as mushroom/kapusta !!! OMG… also this time, I espied some fruited pierogies, but as my Babcia and Ciotki never made them, I couldn’t get into/imagine them yet, but I’ve vowed to get some next time. Checked with my 85 yo uncle who said he never heard of them either, but later I can find “Martha’s (Polish) Mom” making some!
-RRD continues well stocked with jams, cookies, chocolates, “canned” veggies, etc. from various countries. As before, there were several Folks “dining in”.
– Addendum re using frozen pierogi: As the package indicates, you will boil them for about 4 minutes (some eat ’em that way). Then drain ’em and saute ’em in melted butter/marg, diced onions, and diced bacon. In lieu of real stuff, I recently upgraded to using a sprinkle of Knorr’s French Onion soup mix as well as McCormick Bac’n Pieces instead! Re the Fruited one’s, I’ve read: “In a large pot, bring water seasoned with salt to a boil. Place a few of the pierogi in the water. Don’t overfill. Stir gently. Once the pierogi rise, cook for an additional 2 minutes to heat the filling. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pierogi to a serving dish. Place dabs of softened butter over the pierogi, drizzle with heavy cream, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.” Martha alludes to some sour cream alternate “toppings”: http://tinyurl.com/o4cvxag
– (Easy access off Tramway or I-40: http://tinyurl.com/o8uhwms)
– Unfortunately, Mark was out at the moment.
oh and also the young man you have working there with the blonde hair and blue eyes I think you guys should give him a raise(:
wow I cannot believe your guyses customer service and how nice you guys are you guys have the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted and almost everything else inside of there you guys are friendly and nice and you now on my favorite little restaurant to go to whenever I need relaxing
This past May 1st, Andrea Lin…a well known Commentator of Restaurant Dining for the Albuquerque Journal, put forth her review of the RRD. As some Folks herein may no longer subscribe, thought Y’all, and Newbies to this Blog, might like to read a confirmation of what Gil has presented: http://tinyurl.com/k3ghayb
I had dinner with the lovely Andrea the evening before she visited Red Rock Deli. I told her to set her expectations high, that Mark and his crew would deliver. It was great to see how much she enjoyed her visit. If the Red Rock Deli was any closer, I’d move in and would probably weigh 400 pounds.
I recently received word from an expert on things Polish (a classmate from a Polish grammar school) that the plural form of “pierogi” is “pierogi” and not, as I’ve been prone to blabber, “pierogies”. The singular? “pierog”!
Whoa! After reading my take on “22”, a friend “back East” chided me about what I was mixing with my Moxie while writing that!!! Whoa…as I couldn’t imagine such a thing given the taste of Moxie, I Googled and found several website offerings including this http://tinyurl.com/klo4lgc which includes one using tequila!!! which, to be PC, one might try calling it a Moxirita when any of Y’all visit this year!!!
Whoa re “22 Things…..” So sorry!!! I started writing a response, but saved it in Drafts and, alas, forgot and never finished!!! (Eh…don’t chastize! A ‘Pass’ is a “perk” of aging!!!)
Per my count re 22 Things: Don’t forget, in terms of your time in MA, t’was eons after mine….LOL
~Necco Wafers: Bah! contrary to the author, these were a great treat cuz in contrast to a delicious Clark baah, there were so many of them for a nickel as well! Some kids delighted in using them to practice, albeit sacrilegiously, being priests!!!!
~Moxie: Invented in my hometown of all places in 1876!!! originally as a patent medicine. Like one has to be a Manly-Man to eat Menudo in NM, you have to have been the same http://tinyurl.com/p9c7pdr with lots of moxie to drink Moxie. (Whoa! What a coincidence re the menudo reference!!! Ted was 1/2 Mexican!!!) Appreciating Moxie is probably a great example of my harangue about palates being physically different/unique tastewise. Yo, Moxie has survived to this day and is the ‘legal’ State “soda” of Maine!
~Friendly’s Buffalo chicken tenders etc. Hadn’t spread to my part of MA till after I left. I’da thunk the Orange Roofed Howard Johnsons which included 28 ice cream flavors since way back when http://tinyurl.com/kqnhfxh would have been more representative of NE.
~Coffee Milk…my addiction was indeed Coffee Time Syrup as carried over to favoring White Russians today…LOL Bless my Mom’s soul: she sent me a freekin case my first year off in college in CA!!!
~FlufferNutter sandwich…I guess we were richer cuz we added Welsh’s Grape Jelly for a threesome and had a toaster…LOL
~Hoodsie Cups: They used to have pics of movie stars under the lid as a “trading card” come-on. A Hoodsie was also slang for a Tween gal who frothed for a teen Guy with a car as she would lean/sit on his car’s hood in provocative adoration.
~Wachusett or Cape Cod Potato Chips…Uh, I’m retasting nicely greasily and salted Wise Potato Chips with an owl on the clear cellophane bag was Primo as it is today. Cape Cod just came on the scene circa 1980!!!! A Yuppie thing.
~Frappes: “This is what we call milkshakes, except something about calling them “frappes” makes them taste better.” Again I question the author’s firsthand experience vs reading things off the internet!: Milkshakes were milk, ice cream, and syrup (vanilla, choc. etc.) mixed briefly with this http://tinyurl.com/l59877t. They are a thick mush usually to be eaten with a spoon. A Frappe was blended more vigorously whereby it had an aerated quality and could be readily sipped including through a straw. If you tilted a glass thereof and tapped part of the bottom edge on the counter, it gave a unique vibration feel.
~ Ocean Spray Cran-everything: Still can recall my embarrassment watching a college classmate’s CA (enuf said) Mom open a bag of ‘berries’, from the bogs of southern MA of all places, and not open a can from which to “slice” cranberry sauce for a Thanksgiving dinner…LOL
~Lobster Rolls: Again, this author is out of it! Look at that roll and this specially made one with its “shaved” side to be butterily-grilled http://tinyurl.com/lvcv5ms including the mayoed contents!!
~American chop suey (ACS): Of course, my first intro to Chinese Chop Suey! I love coincidences: Just yesterday my Sis said she had to pick up some “home made” ACS for just one of the 3 G-daughters they’ll be child-caring for this week, when they pick up their own supply of Rochette’s (i.e. note not Baahstan) Bean’s for their own Saturday night ritual. Who says The Chains are the destroyer of the neighborhood store? This one’s been around 100 years in a neighborhood of The Irish and Greeks, then the Canucks, then the PRs, and now southeast Asians through its savvy of offering what people want and value. http://tinyurl.com/kfa6alm Of course having a mega parking lot (and especially during New England snow falls), doesn’t hurt!!!! http://tinyurl.com/kyqd7e5 Aaah yes….Beans, Beans, the magical fruit, the more ya eat, the more ya……toot!
~~~ Again, pardon, Thanks for indulging me rattling on, but to hopefully promote a visit to my historic hometown for some of Y’all who may be planning vacations to Baahstan and New England this summaah, let alone Fall for Leaf-Peeping!!! http://www.yankeemagazine.com/
PS…Ooops: Tip o da Day! When I was going to saute up some of the frozen pierogies Mark offers therein, i.e. after letting them thaw out, I forgot to get an onion to mix with the butter. Eh! for me, sprinkling in some contents from a pouch of Lipton Onion Soup was a great quick fix!!! In the meantime, got to get me some Bac-Os! LOL
Thank you so much for spreading the word about Polish food available at Red Rock Deli!
Ania from New Mexico Polonia blog 🙂
Finally…made it! As a kid I did not, unfortunately, learn about the nuances of what Polish food had to offer, so was a bit awed by the variety of imported stuff Mark is stocking…including a Concha from Bimbo’s …LOL. Besides what Gil noted, much of it is imported from Poland like chocolate…sorry, am drooling per a bit of dark with a cherry center am eating right now. I also picked up a Blackcurrent nectar from a 1936 company which I’m chilling as I’m out of vodka. (Oh! lest not known, vodka was invented in Poland, not Russia as is stereotyped.)(99 wrds Marker…LOL…Sorry!)
Pardon, am back….had to slice off a couple of slivers of (addictive) kielbasa. Bot a “stick” of Hungarian, one of 4 samples tried, vs an “original”. Mark suggested my choice might be due to my now acculturated New Mexican palate…Hmm. Per recent heads up by my 85 yr old Uncle, I’m thinking my exposure to kielbasa was that of ‘smoked’ per how my Dziadzu made his in the cellar of his tiny meat market.
For in house, ordered the Russian Roulette Pierogies. Alas, while 3/4 the size my Babcia (c=ch) made, I’d say the gestalt was similar, especially as I asked Mark to fry ’em up in the buttery onion/bacon mix. Whoa, am outta shape as I couldn’t eat my six…i.e. per their rich-stick-to-the-ribs quality…..altho I did plan to save a couple for the Golumpki (l=w) (rice/hamburg stuffed cabbage leaf) ‘plate’ I ordered to go.
Alas, can’t report more on Mark as other folks kept coming in per the Sat. noon hour. Was fun however in chatting with a transplanted Pole from Milwaukee per being a 90 yr old WW II Vet and then a Pani (by marriage) from NY out visiting her son. Bottom line: while it might give the appearance of being a ‘fast food’ restaurant, it is not. It’s a place to ‘chill out’ just a few moments while Mark sautes up your Pierogi or preps your Golumpki or other dishes!!! That day he was also breaking-in a clean cut Manzano High (ROTC) teen.
While it may seem a trip, I think it’s worth it being only “a hop, skip” (not even a jump) west off Tramway which, besides it’s swift MPH, offers a chance for Grande views of the Valle to enjoy. Oh, in addition…for variety of tastes…it’s next to the Ali Baba’s which I’ve not tried. Who doesn’t remember “O p e n Sesame!!!”??
Indeed, while I can’t claim exuberance over the physical ambiance either (albeit it is clean/tidy), the human ambiance of Mark overcomes that. While I often bemoan decor, I will not be encouraging an ‘investement’ of money in order he doesn’t feel anchored preventing moving closer in!!! In the meantime, he gets A+ for the food I’ve had so far and his work ethic, e.g. driving to sources in Chicago from the 3 to the 8th Dec. to replenish supplies. Hopefully, he may bring back a few pieces of Oplatek for those in the know. In the meantime, I’ll ruminate about the possibility of green chile stew stuffed pierogies or chile infused stuffed golumpkies! Wesołych Świąt!!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the Red Rock Deli. For far too long Polish food has been unavailable to Duke City diners with diverse palates. Mark should be knighted for bringing great Polish cuisine to Albuquerque. You might also be interested in visiting the New Mexico Polonia blog for more information about Polish culture and presence in New Mexico.
I’m also curious to see how many of the “22 Things You’ve Definitely Eaten if You Grew up in New England” you’ve tried. In my two years living in the area, I managed to sample more than half of them.
Strip mall food joints are not unusual, but this one is definitely on the lower end of the spectrum. My concern when up a few more notches when I took in the interior which can best be described as in need of serious renovation.
That said, major kudos to the owner. While I was waiting for my Italian Beef sandwich, he pulled a big pot of sweet peppers off the stove top and showed me that he didn’t use canned ingredients. He also wanted me to sample his sausages! The sandwich was great.
Apparently, he is making another run up to Chicago, so the store will be closed this week.
We would never have heard of this place because we live on the west side. We tried it today and will definitely return. My wife had the Russian roulette (pirogues) and I had the Polish plate. It consisted of a Polish sausage with potato salad. The owner also let me taste the sauerkraut and the sauerkraut stew. Both were quite good. I agree with Gil’s review.
Great review Gil! Love the pictures! What restaurant have you had the best hotdogs? Remember to add it to your Besty List! http://www.thebesty.com/gilgarduno