Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner: A Gathering of Gastronomes

Jim Westmoreland and family attend their first FOG Dinner

Next week the Pueblo Harvest Cafe within the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center will host a number of events during the world-renowned Gathering of Nations, but on Friday, April 22nd at 6:30, the venue belonged to the Friends of Gil (FOG) who convened for dinner at the spectacular cafe. This Gathering of Gastronomes included ten first-timers who joined us for an evening of fun, food and friendship. A good time was had by all.

FOG Members Come From Many Walks of Life

Though we were invited to enjoy music and dancing on the patio after our dinner, several of us lingered in the dining room where we continued to enjoy great conversation and even better people. This wasn’t the first FOG Dinner in which we closed the restaurant.

Perusing the menu

So what do Friends of Gil talk about? Being a well-traveled group of gastronomes, several of us swapped tales of travel to Australia. John and Kay Lucas lived there for eight years while Mary and Mack Kroner just returned from a two-week excursion. Mary, who did a tremendous job organizing the event, brought back a number of delicious Australian cheeses which she and Mack graciously shared with Kim and me. First-timers Jim and Sylvia Westmoreland also spent time in the Land Down Under.

At this table, discussion centered around traveling to Australia

Several people enjoyed the Pueblo Harvest’s version of a Tewa taco, a delightful dish featured in a recent airing of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods: Delicious Destinations. Others enjoyed such culinary delights as lamb chops, blue corn encrusted fried chicken, Jemez-style enchiladas and more.

Blue Corn Encrusted Onion Rings, a Pueblo Harvest Cafe Specialty

Look for more details on the next Friends of Gil dinner, slated for July, on this site. We hope to see you there. A great big thank you to Mary for putting together another great FOG evening.

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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40 Comments on “Friends of Gil (FOG) Dinner: A Gathering of Gastronomes”

  1. Does a “Gathering of Gastronomes” at a FOG make it a FOG GOG?
    Anywho, the meeting at the Pueblo Harvest cafe was great. Thanks to Mary for organizing irt! Great people, great conversation, and the food was pretty good as well.

    Kay suggested Torinos@home for the next FOG. Sounds good to me. In July, perhaps we could camp out on the patio.

  2. Dear Schuyler,
    I thought my comment fell somewhere between “tsk tsk, dear boy” and “Bob, you ignorant slut”. Gentle but assertive. And yes, I too missed BOTVOLR.

  3. The Dog House is my neighbor.
    It is about the grilled dogs, yes,…… but it’s really about the onions.
    Whew……….. and yes………………

  4. Bob, the hot dogs at the Dog House are a basic “ball park” or a Sabrett umbrellaed dirty water street vendor type, by no means a Coney Island type. Without the toppings it would be fairly pedestrian as far as hot dogs go, No snap to them. The only plus I can see is that they are made on a griddle. Period. With so many fine eateries to choose from you choose a mediocre hot dog emporium. By the way I have the same opinion of the iconic LA dog from Pinks where it’s all about toppings not the dog itself. Another mediocre dog.
    You need to take a trip to the real Coney Island, ride the Cyclone, hit the famous bumper cars right next door to Nathan’s Famous, then have 2 dogs with mustard and warm sauerkraut and an order of the world’s best fries and your drink of choice, perhaps a PBR. Then you can use the term Coney Island Hot Dogs and know what you’re talking about. By the way the Coney Island Mets, a minor league team owned by Mets co-owner Fred Wilpon’s, son, within shouting distance of Nathan’s, serves Nathan’s hot dogs but I’m told that the folks attending the games would rather stop at the original Nathan’s Famous rather than get a reheated dog at the ball park. Ah,that’s tube steak loyalty!

    1. The world is as it should be. After a long hiatus, Bob of the Village People is once again sharing his unique and lengthy perspectives on Gil’s Thrilling…And once again Bruce is providing his “Bob, you ignorant slut” counterpoint commentary. I have missed that.

      In the weeks (or was it months) since Bob’s last comment the most interesting comment came from San Diego Cruz. BTW, Gil, I agree with Diego that you need to have more photos of women (aren’t there female gastronomes) and fewer of Sr. Plato and Ryan Scott (and thank you for not posting photos of yourself). We need more Shawne!

      1. We all missed Bob. He’s one of the Duke City’s brightest ambassadors and the unofficial public relations manager for this blog. Everyone should be so fortunate as to break bread with this brilliant man.

        It’s funny that the feedback from “Diego Cruz” (whom an IP search couldn’t find) would evoke further comments. I purposely didn’t share his other comments because they were far too ribald for this PG blog.

        While several people have responded to Diego’s comments, no reader has commented about the larger photographs I’m now adding to my blog posts. Are they just larger representations of out-of-focus and bleary images reflective of my poor camera skills? Should I revert back to the smaller sized images? This blogger would like to know.

  5. Yo Kit, I really don’t mean to be gauche, but I must question your sensibilities by moving out of ABQ! (LOL)

    Be all that as it may, looks like you’ve got some great suggestions so far from Jim, Larry, and FGFABQ, but hope Y’all will consider some others to “remember” ABQ, with a bit of “funk” in mind:

    For a warmish day’s Lunch:
    a) The 1/2 rack of Red Chile Ribs with baked potato (it comes with a full plate salad with strips of avocado) on the Fiesta Patio (it is the one to the right of the Hostess area) along with at least one House Margarita. I do not know where-else makes them by grilling and then lathering and then baking them. I’ll bet Y’all will still take some home for….breakfast!
    b) Again on a lush patio (not overlooking a parking lot or street): Casa de Benavidez: The Stuffed Sopapilla con Chicharrones y beans with Red and extra onions and House Margarita. (Chicharrones??? Seriously? Yes!!! ask any New Mexican Vecino: great for longevity as well as one’s complexion being “of an age”.

    Eat inside, but after 1pm: The Route 66 Icon since the mid ’50s and more recently a backdrop for Br Ba, ya gotta “do” The Dog House for its Foot Long (NM Red-not Tex-Mex/Coney Island type of) Chile CheeseDog con onions, paired with their Orange (not cola) soda. (Rest assured that despite its dive/hole-in-the-wall facade http://tinyurl.com/qa73naf) I’ve never had an “upset” or used it as a colonoscopic prep having had around 580+feet of ’em! Lest some of your Comadres wince about hot dogs, just remind them that nobody really knows what’s in ’em!!!! It could be vegan for all that anyone knows. Think of the most exotic dishes in all of the US: Hawaii right? Where is the most (and maligned) SPAM sold? Hawaii!!!!!

    As Le Troquet has only recently been opened, I have not dined yet. But as I’ve munched on the Chef/owner’s offering before and as I trust Gil’s palate https://www.nmgastronome.com/?p=39159, I’d suggest it as well. Given your being a “group”, might want to make reservations for 11/11:30

    Y’all didn’t specify what Lunch is is!!! nor how heavy or light it be. As such, and for nostalgic memories of a part of what makes ABQ ABQ, contemplate the purple-majesty coloring of the Sandia’s or the fiery or soft hues over what will eventually be the Pacific shoreline from here http://tinyurl.com/o25ebfq over a “Late Lunch!

    If truth be told, I do not eat lunch, let alone breakfast…LOL. As such I’m light on recommendations, but would like to suggest this place as being a unique remembrance of having dined in “The High Desert” per its out-of-place facade http://tinyurl.com/h235vap and ambiance http://tinyurl.com/hz7f6ux for an early eve dinner….its only 22.5 minutes from The Big I. http://lunamansion.com/history/

    Again, but after 5: http://www.antiquityrestaurant.com/ Voted Most Romantic (for ABQ with good eats) most often in various “people” surveys. Recommended? That Classic: Henry IVth; and a reservation.

    Hasta….

    1. Bob forgot to mention that the patio to which he referred is at El Pinto, home of the 55 gallon drums of house made salsa. It’s Bob’s one trick pony of local eateries.
      Hope you like ribs in a piquant red chile sauce……… Bob does.

  6. Re suggestions:
    The Grove – A terrific roast beef sandwich among other great items.
    Cafe De Lat – excellent Vietnamese including my favorite Bahn Mi.
    Torinos @ Home (it just changed hands and my hope is that it remains as good as it was.)
    Lupe’s Antojitos – best chile rellenos
    Vinaigrette
    Blade’s Bistro – Sunday Brunch, especially the corned beef hash and eggs, house made and the best.
    Laguna Burger, maybe, just maybe the best GCCB locally, but short on ambiance.
    La Quiche Parisienne Bistro – great omelettes and a great charcuterie platter.
    Joe’s Pasta House – best red sauce Italian food, all the Parms, great salads.
    M’Tucci’s – great lunches and by far the most authentic fresh mozzarella this side of any little Italy.
    Good luck in Alabama, watch out for the philandering Governor, don’t accept lunch invites from him.

    1. Thank you for the recommendations! I was recently at Torinos (didn’t know it had changed hands) and the food was excellent as always but the service was a bit off. I’ll have to try it again just to be sure …

      Obviously there isn’t time for me to eat everywhere that has been recommended, but I think we should definitely start at M’Tucci’s since it is on everyone’s list.

  7. Last night represented the largest attendance since the institution of FOG dinners, over 30 loyal followers, both old and new. All dedicated to the Thrilling and Filling blog and all looking for the best Albuquerque has to offer food wise.
    We dined at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe and Bakery. My wife and I sat with the Millingtons and MaryAnn Spencer. BOTVOLR made an appearance after a brief absence from his always interesting comments and I was glad to see him.
    The food was very good especially the appetizer my wife and I split, a Red Chile Ahi Tuna Tartare. Excellent.
    My main was the Blue Corn Crusted Fried Chicken on a bed of sweet potato mash and spinach. Also very good even though my preference in fried chicken is the pieces of a whole bird not just the breast. Such is the economics of restaurant chicken.
    My wife enjoyed her vegetarian Relleno.
    Service, considering we were somewhat spread over 3 different sized tables, was excellent.
    It may be the strangest “bakery” I’ve ever been in because it was like the miniature Starbucks that can be found in hospitals with some local native American items like loaves of bread. A small distraction from what was otherwise a great evening with many like minded folks.
    I see an upward trend in attendance from the 7 or 8 of us who convened at the famous Dog House on Central about 2 years ago. Newcomers are welcomed and encouraged to attend.
    We will need our own private room soon. And that’s great.

  8. Whoa! From a snowy day in ’14 when six of us “just met up” at The Dog House http://tinyurl.com/gtl7vps, FOG dining Gatherings were born and have quintupled(!) in attendance per last evening at The Indian Pueblo Cultural Centers’ Pueblo Harvest Cafe. T’was very enjoyable meeting up with several ‘Old Timers’ and while my proposed stratagem for some sort of musical chairs was sadly nixed (LOL), I did manage to “get up” to at least (awkwardly) say Hello to about a dozen newcomers. (Lest…per Los Anos…I repeat myself: Giving out tourist info for the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau, I’m delightfully surprised that Comments people make e.g. on Trip Advisor https://www.tripadvisor.com/ or elsewhere, are often reported to be what partly drew Folks to stop in ABQ (and spend money supporting Local eateries) rather than just passing-on-through to CA or Santa Fe/Taos. As such, I’d like to encourage Folks herein, to please share Comments about your experiences you’ve had at places Gil visits (or others) as he often gets referenced/read on many sites. Like he says/emphasizes, his and Kim’s visits are but a “snapshot in time” and your opine creates a collage, an insightful panoply as it were.
    – RE last night: a very pleasant, not overdone, setting with an eye to highlight SouthWest Indian ambiance for Local & Tourists dining pleasure. A “capacious” space, but nicely and physically separated into spaces accommodating some more tete-a-tete space here and there.
    Had The (humongous) Tewa Taco (ground beef and pueblo beans, served on top of homemade frybread and garnished with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and choice of red or green chile ((elsewhere may find as The Navajo Taco).) (Dang it! Didn’t have an egg this Saturday AM to top off my take-home!) Service? Fine, but might wish to review procedure for a mapping of the serving of who’s seated where/getting what and how the tablets used for efficient billing work. Yes, we were a large group, but the mandatory 20% gratuity (for a group ala separate checks) should’ve covered that.)
    – Patio: on leaving, exited through the patio where a great sounding combo backed-up a hip chanteuse singing a nicely, more(?) mellow version of Hotel California http://tinyurl.com/nu9taru (for a faux Tango on their dance floor?) in contrast to more Princely music. (Alas, but you-know-who had to leave the gathering early.)
    -Indeed…Kudos y Gracias to Mary K for pulling off the arrangements!

      1. Me too. (:-(
        Will look forward to next time. ):-)
        (Hope there was nothing untoward for which you had to leave early.)

  9. Whoa! OMG..am running as fast as I can to catch up as I’ve been off contemplating my navel. Alas, to no avail.
    Whoa! Another FOG!
    OMG! I hope the invite to sit by The Shawne is still in the offing!
    I am also thankful to read that hatchets are withheld and, while appreciative, if I may, I’ll graciously opt out of the comping of eats.
    As such, I’d like to tender my reservation and look forward to meeting up with some New as well as Old FOGGERS!!!
    Hasta….!

  10. I have wanted to attend one I of these ever since you started doing them. Would it be ok if I came a bit late? I have to put the little ones to bed first…

      1. Sadly, I’m out a babysitter for the night so I won’t be able to attend. But if I may pose a question to the group …

        If you had only five weeks left in Albuquerque, where would you go to eat for lunch? I’ve been doing lunch with a group for the past few months but several of us are moving out of Albuquerque this summer so we want to get some really good eats in before leaving. Here’s where we’ve been so far:

        Savory Fare
        Ajiaco
        Banh Mi Coda
        Pollito con Papas
        La Quiche Parisienne
        Street Food Asia
        Guava Tree Cafe
        Tia B’s Waffleria
        Vinaigrette
        Cheese & Coffee Cafe
        And we are headed to Am Spices of India this week …

        Any suggestions?

    1. In response to your requests for lunch suggestions before you move to some culinary wasteland like NYC or San Francisco I wold suggest the following but a lot depends on your taste buds:

      1. P’tit Louis Bistro (Get the mussels)
      2. M’Tucci’s (Go for anything except the pizza-it isn’t bad but others are much better)
      3. Saigon (Many great choices but the plain old Pho is the best around)
      4. Nexus Brewery (Fish and Chips or Cajun Burger)
      5. Naruto (Ramen)
      6. Naka Sushi
      7. Pasion Latin Fusion
      8. Budai

      Where are you going?

      1. Thank you for the recommendations! I’ve been to Budai and Naruto on my own many times, but the others are on my list … will try to fit them all in before I leave.

        I’m headed to a small town in Alabama, so there’s added incentive to eat as much good food as I can before being exiled from this great city 🙂

      2. Kit:

        Five weeks is thirty-five lunches. I won’t make that many recommendations.

        Your list and Jim’s suggestions contain many of the places that I would recommend, so without further duplication, here I go:

        Mary & Tito’s. Simply the best. .
        M’Tucci’s Market and Deli. I have been there 46 times.
        Indigo Crow in Corrales. Their GCCB is one of Top Tens.
        Delish. Great soups, salads, and sandwiches.
        Desert grows Kitchen. Very fresh and inventive.
        May Cafe for Singapore Noodles.
        Joe’s Pasta House. Heavenly eggplant parm.
        Pad Thai Cafe. Gil and I rave about this place.
        Magokoro. Get the eel on Thursday & Saturday.
        Namaste. Best Indian in town, Great buffet every day.
        Pho #1. My fave Pho in the state.
        Bucket Headz. Outstanding soul Food.
        Safari Grill. Unique Indian/Tanzanian spicing.
        Tlly’s. Best authentic Italian subs in the state.
        Mariscos Mazatlan. Genuine Mexican seafood.
        Piatanzi. Mushroom pizza is unbelievable.
        Cafe Bella Coffee. I’m here at least once every week.
        The Point Grill. Shrimp Po’ boy is fabulous.

        I would go to any of these places at the drop of a hat.

        Why would anyone leave ABQ when we can eat like this?

        Good luck.

        Larry

    2. Kit, If your “small town in Alabama” is Jackson I am very, very sorry but it isn’t a very long drive to Mobile which has several good restaurants (try Noja) but not a pile of great ones.

      Much Sympathy,

      Jim

    1. Jim Westmoreland and wife would like to add two more people to their group, which will increase their total attendees to four (4) to the dining list. Please acknowledge that you have a total of four attending. Thank you.

  11. Grayce and I will be there.
    I have reached out to BOTVOLR and offered to have him as my guest hoping that the invitation to be close to Shawne coupled with a freebie would be more than enough enticement to get him to show up.

  12. Bob of the Village People to the white courtesy phone, please… I hope I get to sit by you this time and catch up! You are attending, right?

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