Dining New Mexico

The A&W Burger Family in Lemitar, New Mexico
The A&W Burger Family in Lemitar, New Mexico

For nearly a quarter century, the most popular section in New Mexico Magazine (the nation’s oldest state magazine, by the way) has been a humorous column entitled “One of Our Fifty is Missing.”  The column features anecdotes submitted by readers worldwide recounting their experiences with fellow American citizens and ill-informed bureaucrats who don’t realize that New Mexico is part of the United States.

Some travelers from other states actually believe they’re leaving their nation’s borders when they cross into New Mexico.  Others think they need a passport to visit (not that they’d visit considering they’re wary of drinking our water.)  Merchants and banks throughout America have been known to reject as “foreign credit cards” American Express and Visa cards issued by New Mexico banking institutions.

The realization that it’s New Mexico, U.S.A. isn’t lost solely on ordinary citizens and bureaucrats.  Even modern pop culture has gotten into the act.

During one episode of The Simpsons, the iconic Homer Simpson didn’t know New Mexico existed until looking at a Krusty Burger map and exclaiming with surprise “Hey, there’s a New Mexico.”  Homer’s despotic boss, the Yale educated Mr. Burns wasn’t much better: “Whoa! Whoa! Slow down there mistro.  There’s a New Mexico?”

The green chile cheeseburger at the Bobcat Bite is perhaps the very best in New Mexico.
The green chile cheeseburger at the Bobcat Bite is perhaps the very best in New Mexico.

Not only is there a New Mexico, it’s being increasingly “discovered” by thousands of viewers who tune in to various shows on the Food Network.  Hardly a week goes by without one of the network’s gastronomic glitterati visiting the Land of Enchantment and salivating effusively at some culinary creation or another.

It’s not only the Food Network which has uncovered New Mexico’s gustatory gems.  It’s the Wall Street Journal, GQ magazine, Gourmet magazine and dozens of other traditional media publications.  Online, New Mexico’s cuisine is frequently feted on the popular Roadfood Web site as well as on salon.com, epicurious.com and a wealth of other Web sites.

New Mexico’s cuisine has also achieved the pinnacle of achievement in the culinary world, garnering numerous awards from the prestigious James Beard Foundation.  In recent years, the “Oscars of food” have been awarded to chefs, restaurants and cookbooks all from New Mexico.

Not every mention of New Mexico’s cuisine is “peppered” with references to chile, the capsaicin blessed staple of New Mexico home and restaurant fare.

It may surprise you to learn that an Italian restaurant (Trattoria Nostrani) in Santa Fe was lauded by Gourmet magazine as one of the 50 best restaurants in America or that the Food Network and epicurious.com selected as the best burger in the entire fruited plain, a burger crafted in a humble New Mexico café (Bobcat Bite) with seating for only 26.

The Bobcat Bite's hamburger steak with green chile.
The Bobcat Bite's hamburger steak with green chile.

Several other New Mexico restaurants have earned prestigious national accolades.  A surprising number of them are nondescript mom and pop diners with little to offer in terms of ambience but which serve outstanding food (most of it not sophisticated enough to be called cuisine).

Understandably many of New Mexico’s best restaurants are concentrated in its most populous cities, but to limit your culinary exploration to those cities is to miss out on some of the very best restaurants anywhere—many just off the “well eaten path.”

Stay on the teeming tourist traversed areas, and you won’t discover that some of the state’s best New Mexican (El Bruno) food can be found in Cuba (New Mexico)  or that its best Cuban food (Tocororo Cafe) might just be found in Madrid (also in New Mexico).  You’ll miss out on conceivably New Mexico’s best Cajun food (Callie’s), which is served from a dilapidated mobile kitchen that looks like a rejected hippie bus (or a rusty roach coach on steroids).

Within miles of one of the ten natural wonders of the world you’ll find what is arguably the state’s best barbecue and (gasp) until just a few years ago it was served at a Carlsbad Dairy Queen by an owner who took the term “independently owned” to heart.  Even though it’s on a tourist trodden path, neither the Food Network nor the guidebooks have found this one.

New Mexicans like me are a discerning and demanding lot when it comes to our disposable income and one of our favorite ways to spend our hard-earned money is by dining out.

The fictional Maggie's from the movie Wild Hogs
The fictional Maggie's from the movie Wild Hogs filmed in Madrid, New Mexico

In fiscal 2003, New Mexicans spent $1.6 billion in eating and dining establishments.  Considering the state’s median household income is just over $30,000 a year, the Land of Enchantment’s restaurants—and not just those anointed “best of” by the culinary cognoscenti—have got to be pretty good to inspire such enthusiastic patronage.

Before you check out my restaurant reviews, please review my rating system which explains how I arrive at my ratings.  It’s not exactly scientific and I don’t take into account anyone else’s opinion of the restaurants in which we dine, not even the opinion of my faithful dining companion and wife Kim whose palate has matured tremendously over the years.

Your opinions may certainly differ as there are no rights and wrongs in my ratings, just opinions–mine.

Bobcat Bite photos courtesy of my friend and colleague Andrea Lin.

294 thoughts on “Dining New Mexico”
  1. Oasis Desert Bistro – A must try in the Village of Corrales for those of you who like to eat well. This restaurant has had many makeovers over the past couple of years and I think they may have found a secret; hire a good chef, have good servers and have excellent food. I went a few weeks back and had the Corrales Burger which was a really good green chile cheese burger on Ciabatta and it was delicious. What was realy good were the french fries that you know were home made and real. They also have different menus for different times, they have a Dinner Menu and a Pub Night that allows for some overlapping. And if Larry McGoldrick likes it, it’s got to be good!

    An interesting take on the ketchup cup.
    Refined NYers would prefer the single dunk with pinkie extended.
    No excessive plunging of a piehole full of fries.
    Just the single perfect fried potato elegantly dipped.
    The few Nathan’s Famous tube steak purveyors still use the ketchup cup for the World’s Best French Fries.
    Yes, The World’s Best French Fries coupled with the World’s Best Dog.
    I guess I’ll get to the Dog House one of these days but the truth is I’ve always felt the basic tube steak with a good sauerkraut was all one needs for hot dog nirvana.
    No contest between those beauts and the funky hot dog with everything but toenail clippings piled on offered at some hot dog stands.
    It’s like pineapple pizza with buffalo chicken topping.

  3. Tips O the Day:

    For Newbies and/or those aspiring to being a Gastronome or Gastronomette as well as for you Old Hands who have been unknowingly embarrassing yourselves for years (as I) check this out!!!! http://tinyurl.com/8w2gchu

    For those of Y’all stretching your Social Security when ya have the G-kids badgering you to go to Mickey D’s: Buy some ‘toys’ at the $ Store and pre-wrap ’em in Saran wrap. Now you too can do the main Mickey D come-on, The “Especial Sauce, right there at home http://tinyurl.com/8cadn9a Voila…money left over for Bingo!!!

  4. (((Blush))) regarding “200”,
    but I give Kudos to so many Commentators here on the Local Scene…let alone yourself…who fuel my fire by their being Ambassadors of greater ABQ and especially to the Entrepreneurs who step off the ledge as they risk their savings and indebtedness, building…let alone struggle to maintain in these tough times…venues of THEIR OWN…i.e. without blueprints from “somewhere else”….creative making for us and tourists to savor/enjoy-praise or thumb-down. Re the latter, per hopefully being only for a moment in time per then doing some tweaking! It’s always a delight to read other Folks’ experiences balancing out what might be biased by a “friend” or someone catching a less than gusto moment in time!
    While I’m on, let me add this reference regarding the above note of 7/31 re the Bizarro food show lest anyone wasn’t able to catch it on TV. Stream it via this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8tPKjcqtbTo
    Lastly I ran across this today http://tinyurl.com/8lh89vr Anyone have a better Tapa Ultima? That reminds me, I really need to get back out to Cosmo Tapas http://nmgastronome.com/?p=14120 where ya can clik on the web site as well.

  5. Congratulations, BOTVLR, on being the first person to achieve the 200 comments milestone. Your comments are always thoughtful and insightful and add a great deal to this blog. You are a terrific ambassador for the city of Albuquerque and have done a tremendous job as my unofficial publicist. Keep up the great work!

  6. – While I can’t help but suspect that some of ya Gourmands are Do-it-Yourself practitioners of the art of chefary at home on occasion…a skill I admit to be lacking….thought I’d pass this on with due respect lest you may have not as yet discovered this time saver especially as we all are trying to work the Conventions into our tight time schedules!!!! So…If Y’all are vexed/frustrated by wasting time separating the components of the egg, try this: http://tinyurl.com/93e9w2k

    Aaah Simplitico! The Far East…for the many of Y’all so intrigued, while always mysterious, did they invent KISS…Keep It Simple Stupid! Look at their Art! their Ext/Int Architecture! Attire! Fortune Cookie/Chairman Mao sayings! Charlie Chan movies! multi-use chopsticks! etc!

    – Oh, while I’ve got you on-the-line and lest I be wrong, I’m thinking that being a Pro or D-i-Y chef involves exploring, which obviously involves “risk taking” that a creation will be a flop. Lest ‘risk taking’ for a heightened adrenaline rush may be the subconscious goal, as may also be the case with race drivers, hi-rise window washers, bigamists/scoundrels, etc., I fear such folks may be drawn into actual monetary gambling: As such, here’s a Tip O da Day: To go home from the casino with a small fortune, start out with a big one!!!! (Eh! its also food related per being c o r n !)

    – Psst…lest you too want to stuff some tortillas with chicharones con red as a snack for Chile Strippers during your Green Chile Peeling Fiesta with friends/familia on the back patio….Casa de Benavidez http://www.casadebenavidez.com/index.htm sells each ingredient for you to put together “out the back door”…(Remember: On Sundays they do close at 3.)

  7. It’s that time of year…to gather up family/friends/cervezas/tortillas filled with red covered chicharones along with surgical gloves for wimps or a bowl of vinegar for bare-fingered Manos in the back yard with signs put up on the bathroom wall behind the toilette saying “Wash Hands FIRST!”, to do some peelin and freezin your Green Chile stash for the year:
    My favorite the past 3 years was from Rosales of Lemitar. I haven’t tasted this year’s batch, but if the X-Hot is anything like the past 3 years and you eat a whole sack without mixing it, it would be proof: You eat Wheaties or Menudo for breakfast and are indeed marching to a different kettle of fish while being a few rungs short of a ladder or are a few tomatoes short of a marinara…IMHO

    Just $25 for a 40# sack including roasting…Where?
    Just saw their ‘roadside’ stand is now open
    On 4th NW about a block or two south of Los Ranchos Rd.

    They also sell at 2001 Isleta SW, a few blocks south of Arenal.
    7- 5 Seven days a week
    Disclaimer: I am not compensated for passing that on nor related to nor having an affair with anyone in that family or their employ.

  8. For not watching the Bizarro Food Guy regularly, happening upon his visit in NM was an eye-opener Y’all can catch Mon 8/6/12 @ 6 pm on the Travel Channel (e.g. Comcast 231 or 56 or search for repeats.) This show offers insight into:
    Packing traditional hunting gear to gather up some prairie dogs to prepare them Indian style. Also, ‘We’ still hunt buffalo, don’t we? Bravo to the Taos Earthship folk, but only maybe in another lifetime for me. Never been to Parasol or BobCat Bite? La Matanza – ah, memories of participating in several which is how one is baptized into becoming a NMexican Gabacho IMHO. Taking advantage of my education (and lack of barrio smarts), I was typically ‘trusted’ to participate in shaving the pig, albeit with a BIC, and eventually was chief chicharones maker. At 6 on a chilly autumn morn in the SouthValley, there is no restaurant, IMHO, which beats a tortilla hot off an estufa de lena (e.g. http://tinyurl.com/c4jtp6z) wrapped around chicharones con freshly made Red and a boilermaker! Beyond that, Y’all can have the blood stuff and other YumYums!! LOL Never been? Tho not quite the same, contact the Hispano Chamber in Belen for their next public matanza or maybe try to get an invite putting an ad in http://tinyurl.com/czuckh4 or check stores on 4th NW or Pro’s Ranch at Central & Atrisco.

  9. Stop reading here if ya don’t want to read the rave of a guy who hasn’t been eating his roughage regularly…to wit: Heavens to murgatory when it started, but eateries somewhere began dancing behind listing the price of fish and especially lobstah related stuff per “Market Price” due to (understandably) cost fluctuations ala supply n demand. (Don’t know why…and I stand to be corrected… the same couldn’t be said for spinach, orange juice, coffee milk yada yada!) Be that as it may, sure hope to read here of reports of some great price reductions in local eateries when it come to the “Market Price” of lobster related goodies per the bountiful harvest this “season”….e.g. http://tinyurl.com/7uu6spw and especially in conjunction with the price of gas (shipping) being down!
    Hope some of Y’all will give your Fav a Thumbs Up report!!! Otherwise, am betting pesos to biscochitos (“Dollars to Doughnuts”) won’t get any such + reports…LOL

  10. Wishes for a Happy 4th:
    As I suspect some of Y’all will be showing off your BBQ skills tomorrow, here’s a few gratis Tips:
    Get the Right cut of meat for this day: http://tinyurl.com/7o43no9 And for getting the kids, G-kids “into” cooking: http://tinyurl.com/cuzrexp
    Don’t forget dessert http://tinyurl.com/7ha6sga and/or http://tinyurl.com/7ju6ezx
    PS: For all yaz Bucks & Buckettes of an older genre:
    It ain’t over till The Fat Lady Sings http://tinyurl.com/ykbu9as (See if you recognize the guy reading Variety being told when the song was first written by a guy named, ironically, Berlin.)
    And for us of today

  11. My Du…uuuh! moment-o’-the-day. Pico de gallo! Beak of the Rooster? Does that make sense to everyone else? Per Wikipedia: According to the late food writer Sharon Herbst, it is so called because originally (I guess before the invention of the tortilla chip) it was eaten with the thumb and forefinger, and retrieving and eating the condiment resembled the actions of a pecking rooster! Anyone have what they consider a unique recipe?

  12. Hi! Next time you are in Socorro, check out the Bodega Burger Co. and Lounge. It’s where the Roadrunner used to be on California. The food and service is excellent!

  13. As its getting to be the BYBBQ, BackYardBBQ, season and thus Pot-Luck time….e.g. tonight’s the Eclipse; Memorial & Indy-500 Day coming up with Flag Day just behind: Pop’s Day; NM Arts & Crafts Weekend; The 4th; Elect-me-for-Folderoling; etc. I would sincerely appreciate Folks sharing their Family Secret Recipes for Pot Luck Yummies or suggestions thereof (i.e. for non-chefs) from e.g. Trader Jose’s, The Tully’s, The Golden Crown Panderia, mini canolis from X or La Dolce Vita bakery, yada yada yada.
    While D A R K chocolate truffles (or ‘especial candies’) from the Candy Lady are always a hit as well as my personal recipe (avaible on request) for not-out-of-the-bottle Mai Tai “punch” is always enjoyed, I thought I, and others, would like to add to our Cachet!!!

  14. Heeholah…..when I went off to college and hit the ‘hip’ west coast coming from the buttoned-up east coast, I ran smack dab into 1) my 1st taco! at a stand on LA’s South Vermont and 2) a music genre the frat brothers were ‘suggesting’ a switch to from the new ‘n emerging Rock n Roll which had been displacing the Big Band sound. Is there any semblance of a segue here? Yes, refer to the opening refrains of http://tinyurl.com/7cvlrty in asking who’s responsible for New Mexico not making “The 10 Best Tacos in America” list http://tinyurl.com/bsw7l5u or do we indeed deserve this ignominy? Come to think of it, I see no ‘NM Taco Trail’ list herein!!!! (BTW, Kudos to Old El Paso for their “no brainer” The Stand n Stuff Taco Shell http://tinyurl.com/6lop4qs ….something has indeed beat out “sliced bread” as the greatest invention !)
    Salud y Feliz Cinco de Mayo

    1. Muy interesante, Roberto

      During its Mexican food week in March this year, Zagat compiled a list of 10 Crazy Tacos From Around the U.S. On the list was the Navaho (sic) Taco from Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe which the Zagat writer described as a “disc of Navaho fry bread covered with beans, cheese, chilies (sic), shredded lettuce, tomato and usually a salsa. For most New Mexicans, the only thing crazy about these tacos is how Zagat spelled Navaho.

      As if to add insult to injury, Zagat also declared “Southwestern” style Mexican food in Arizona and New Mexico as “pretty darn similar,” that reasoning based on the fact that they’re both on the border of Mexico’s Sonora state. With all due apologies to our neighbors to our west, Arizona style Mexican food is nothing (not nearly as good) like New Mexican cuisine.


  15. I am inspired. I will post my list, too…. eventually. 😉 For now I am just blatantly using everyone else’s for fodder and trip ideas.

  16. Thanks Roland!!…like several I found Googling, ‘yours’ also involved oven-baking, grilling, and making various pastes to reportedly enhance juiciness without an overwhelming saltiness. Then, on the page you suggested, I recalled one of the first wisdoms I learned in college….’If while reading the assignment and you find something you do not understand, simply turn the page!!!!!” (At that time in life, I couldn’t help but be awed by that and to wonder if such wisdom was only proffered at such high tuition schools that my folks were indulging me in going to (USC was a Grand at the time!!!**) But Alas! to this day, if nothing else, it once again is paying off as by so doing with your suggestion, I found “How to Fry a Steak on Salt”, i.e. stove-top wise!!! Indeed, that instruction also referenced a caution re ‘smoke’ which flashes back into mind as having filled the kitchen at first….LOL. Again, Thanks! **This is actually a sarcasm regarding the outlandish, IMHO, tuitions that currently exist in so many schools. Using an online Inflation Calculator, tuition today should be a mere $7,500…ya right, try finding ‘name’ colleges for that given the salaries of Prezes, Athletic Coaches/Directors yada yada, even if ya 2/3Xs inflation….LOL

  17. Bob, Go to Google. Type in “Steak in Salt Crust”. You will be taken to a plethora of websites describing (some with photos) of steaks cooked in salt and herbal salt crusts and in cast iron pans.

  18. Hola Anybody!
    Somewhere back in the ‘60s in the boonies of Kansas of all places…tho there is nothing wrong with them thar boonies….a wife at the time prepared steaks by cooking them on a bed of salt in a cast iron skillet (ya know, one of them reddish-orange colored ones like from Scandinavia) possibly being inspired from a feature in Sunset mag. Indeed, as a Sodium Vigilante nowadays, I do not recall nary a hint of salt taste, but the steaks were absolutely…well actually beyond absolutely….delicious and tender if the truth be told! Is anyone familiar with this? Does it have a name? Why don’t we hear of/experience it today???? Why is this being covered up!!!!!

  19. Jim,

    Thanks for the history lesson, I had no idea this dish had roots in England. Now I’ll have something to do tonight after work.

  20. Dan, You have clearly pointed out how advanced old age has been so cruel to my memory. I have Pork cutlet curry from Kokoro on a pretty regular basis and agree that it is wonderful and belongs on my list. I have to remove another though and cannot bring myself to do it. We will just call it number 11 (in random order).
    This would be one of the rare instances where one of the great cuisines of this world basically steals its most popular home prepared dish from the British.
    My understanding (and I know this part is true) is that the Japanese were once hopeless Anglophiles thunderstruck with admiration for the influence of such a small island nation (imagine that). I am inclined to believe the second part, that at the turn of the 20th century the Royal Navy served the sailers the English version of curry (borrowed obviously from the Empire). When Japanese Naval Officers dined aboard Royal Navy ships docked in Japan they decided to copy the tradition in the Japanese Navy. The sailers loved it so much that they took the idea home.

  21. Thanks Schuyler for the great laugh. Don’t forget about the
    Chichingone Burrito at Taco Hell
    Twice-chewed pork at PF Changes
    Okra Winfree at Furrs Cafeteria
    Spam on-a-spit at Toocanos
    Bird-drop Soup at Fortune Cooky
    Pasta al Forno at Forno Kates
    Hickory Smoked Crawfish Brisk at Pappadrells
    Golden Shower Shrimp at Pay Way

    Cheers and Merry Christmas!

  22. “two halluces up”!!!!!
    What a treat for me.
    Between BOTVOLR and Gil’s Thrilling and ……… I have found both great food and my Dictionary.
    Thanks to Schuyler I look forward to Potato Nookie with a side of Steamed Craps as we celebrate Halluces, our 8 day festival of lights.
    And a Merry Festivus to all.

  23. Well Schuyler, that deservedly deserves two halluces up. I was going to try to add to it but then decided it was incomparably complete. Pardon, I must go change my Depends now.

  24. Suzie Queue, as usual your food choices prove your palate is unlike any other in Albuquerque. I have some suggestions you should try. I predict they will make your “best of” list for 2012:

    1. Tacos al Cabron from Bandido Hideout
    2. Stripped bass from Dessert Fish
    3. Potato nookie from Olive Garden
    4. Spinich quickie from Ches Axhole
    5. Hummer with peta from Safara Middle Easturn Etery
    6. Steamed craps from Ming Dienasty
    7. Winner Schnitsol from Dagmar’s
    8. Chimichingadas from Gardunios
    9. Pastrumi sandwitch from Jasons Deli
    10. Colored greens seasoned with hammocks from Peppers Barbicue

  25. I just had to jump in, good lists all around! Hard to hand out just 10 but in no particular order…

    1. Crispy Founder in black vinegar and honey sauce — Budai Gourmet Chinese (and just about anything else here)

    2. Carnitas and Chicarones and lengua and carne asada tacos — Taqueria Mexico (not to mention the BEST, made to order piping hot chips and salsa!)

    3. BUN BO HUE — Kim Long Asian cuisine: gotta love that blood cake thingy!

    4. Chicken Mole with a side of red chile — El Norteno (and equally the shrimp cocktail when made by Monica!)

    5. Seafood Crepes — Café Jean Pierre (absolute must have!)

    6. Beef Shawarma – San Pedro Mart

    7. Rueben Snadwich – Fat Squirrel

    8. Pork cutlet curry and Nabeyaki Udon – Kokoro (maybe the best curry in town!)

    9. Build your own burger Mid Rare – Holy Cow

    10. Combination Italian beef and sausage with hot gardinera – Pizza 9

    This is my right now list, but I have not been to J James 101 in a long time and a few other perpetual favs.

  26. Sophie, if you go through Ruidoso, I have some suggestions. Roswell is not much of a culinary mecca. They used to have a Mexican-themed restaurant called Tia Juana’s. It was passable, which, as memory serves, is about as good as good gets in Roswell.

    If Gil doesn’t have any ideas, you may want to search on Yelp.com. Good luck!

    1. Hello Sophie

      In its April 2010 issue, New Mexico Magazine published an article called Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner in Roswell. The fact that the restaurant featured for breakfast was McDonald’s may be a bit telling.

      The New Mexico Tourism Department’s “Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail” lists only one trail-worthy restaurant in Roswell. It’s Pepper’s Grill & Bar which is reputed to have the very best burger in Roswell.

      One detour I highly recommend is a southerly jaunt to Carlsbad, home of Danny’s Barbecue which may just well be the very best ‘cue in New Mexico.

      The historical Tinnie Silver Dollar north of Roswell is also worth a visit.

      I wholly agree with Morgain that Ruidoso has several excellent dining destinations.


  27. Any suggestions for south-eastern NM? We are driving from New Orleans and hitting Roswell first. I can’t seem to find much food talk for this part of the state?

  28. I shouldn’t do this but I have to. My top 10 Albuquerque dishes are listed in a less than absolute order. If I try again in 30-days I would probably come up with a slightly different list as choices are many.
    1. Cafe Dalat-Spicy Beef Soup. I am sure that there is a bad Vietnamese restaurant somewhere in this big wide world but, in all my travels, I have never been unfortunate enough to step into one. This dish though is the best of the great. It is followed closely by:
    2. Kim Long-Vermicelli with minced crab meat, fried tofu and tomatoes. Actually almost any decent Pho should be on the top 10 list but we must leave room for other things.
    3. Torinos @ Home-Stuffed Calamari
    4. Petit Louis Bistro-Moules Roquefort
    5. Budai Gourmet Chinese-Lion’s Head
    6. Gecko’s Bar & Tapas-Lovell’s Reuben
    7. Los Equipales-Camarones al Tequila
    8. Farina Pizzaria-Formaggio di Capra
    9. San Pedro Middle Eastern-Shisk Kafta Platter:
    10. Desert Fish-Cioppino

    I intentionally listed only one dish from each restaurant but in the best places many are in contention.

    It is fun to see how different everyone’s lists are. They are probably all “right”

  29. Suz,
    You have raised my cholesterol level with your Top Ten.
    I hope for your sake the Southwest Egg Rolls and the sopapilla had some GREEN chile with them.
    At least the margarita had some citrus in it.
    The 10 sound pretty good, especially the meatloaf and gravy.
    You have managed to combine only 2 or 3 food groups into 10 dishes.
    A new record.
    By the way Lovelace has been represented at the Road Runner Souper Bowl with their soup. Their recipe, though, usually begins “Bring 5 gallons of water to a boil.”
    They need to cut it down. To serve 6 to 8 not the entire hospital.

  30. What is my top tens list for Burquie? Well I would have to say:
    1 The stuffed sopadilla at Sadies
    2 Chicken Fried Steak at Crqacker Berrel
    3 Chicken Fried Steak at Villiage Inn
    4 Spagetti and Meatballs at Trombinos
    5 Margerita at El Pintos
    6 The beef barley soup at Lovelace Hospital (Not kidding, it’s real good)
    7 Triple Meat Lotta Burger
    8 Chop Suey or Sweat and Sour Pork at the Fortune Cookie. There fried rice is good too.
    9 Chilis southwestern egg rolls
    10 Meatloaf and gravy at Golden Corrall – all you can eat!

    This will be my last meal if I am ever caught for murder or something.

  31. Larry’s Albuquerque Metro Ten Favorite Dishes of 2011
    Random order.
    You need to see my Top Ten List and Hall of Fame at http://anqtopten.com
    1. Orvietto Pasta—Nicky V’s
    2. Cubano Sandwich—Guava Tree Café
    3. Sweetbreads—Blade’s Bistro (Placitas)
    4. Corned Beef and Cabbage—The Fat Squirrel
    5. Carne Adovada Sruffed Sopaipilla Smothered in Red—Mary & Titos
    6. The Wooly Pig (Mangalitsa Pork)—Jennifer James 101
    7. Pulled Pork with Sauce #4 (spicy and vinegarish)—The Whole Hog
    8. Carnitas ala Mex—El Bruno’s (4th St.)
    9. Ribeye—Monte Carlo Steak House
    10. Talus Ranch Rack Of Lamb—Bien Shur at Sandia Resort
    11. Sous Vide Kurobuta Pork Chop—Bien Shur
    12. Dong Bo Pork (by Su Shi: 13th century)—Budai
    (So I can’t count)

    1. Anything ay Jennifer James 101. Crazy Good.
    2. Anything at Mary & Tito’s
    3. Anything created bu Marc Quiñones at Bien Shur

    Larry’s New Mexico Ten Favorite Dishes of 2011
    1. Green Chile Cheeseburger—Sparky’s (Hatch)
    2. Rum Sauce Bread Pudding—Lambert’s (Taos)
    3. Carne Asada—Pasqual’s (Santa Fe)
    4. Menudo Rojo—La Cocina de Doña Clara (Santa Fe). Get chicharrones on the side.
    5. Anything at Dragonfly Café (Taos). Tell Karen I sent you.
    6. Posole—Plaza Café Downtown (Santa Fe)
    7. Moroccan Chicken—Laughing Lizard (Jemez Springs)
    8. Steak Quesadilla—Sugar Nymph’s Bistro (Peñasco)
    9. Green Chile Cheeseburger—The Horseman’s Haven (Santa Fe)
    10. Green Chile Cheeseburger—Cowgirl Café (Santa Fe). Good live bluegrass jam on Saturday afternoons, too
    11. Carne Adovada Stuffed Sopaipilla—Rancho de Chimayo

    It’s been a good year.

  32. Since BOTVOLR and Sr. Plata went for 10 I have tried to find 5 more memorables.
    I’m up to 8 with these 3 additions
    Housemade Corned Beef Hash and Eggs at the Santa Ana Cafe at Tamaya.
    I’m embarrassed to admit I like canned corned beef hash and I’m prepared for the subsequent loss of what little credibility I might have. The housemade version at the Santa Ana is excellent and it kills any other version. I did have Vic’s canned version about a week ago. It’ll do in a pinch.

    Antipasti Plate at Torino’s@home.
    Perfect. From the cheeses, to the proscuitto, the speck, olives, the grapes. Perfect.
    Add a bowl of their Pasta Fagioli, white variety and you have one fine meal.

    Chicken Parm @ Joe’s Pasta House. Let me know if I’m on violation of the ABQ only policy.
    Simple, top notch Italian comfort food just like my Italian grandmother (if I had an Italian grandmother,,,,I don’t) used to make.

  33. Sometimes we look, but we don’t see!
    Yo…did ya ever notice those great ‘panorams’ across the top of this Blog?
    While checking Comments about the Quesadilla Grille I happened to click on the “Boomer” sig and (blush) was transported to a website http://www.lillydigital.com/ which features him as an apparent Local photographer!!! (lest we need one sometime.) Whoa….the ‘picture’ became complete when I scrolled down to the bottom of the opening of Gil’s pages to confirm what I’d thought I’d seen previously…. 2+2 gives us where those ‘header’ pics must come from….LOL

    For those of Y’all who’ve heard there are ‘Spirits’…well hey Ghosts…. in Old Town and want to prove that to friends and kin you might be having out here over the holidays, check this http://tinyurl.com/78hrev8 Is that not the Wind Spirit blowing things in two opposite directions at once!!?? that the Boomer has (unwittingly?) captured?


    So The Bruce and El Sr. Plata throw down their Best Restaurant Dishes in response to what the folks at the Local Flavor Magazine have to offer eh
    http://www.localflavormagazine.com/issue.html Click on the arrowhead on its side and you’ll get to page 12/13. If you click on the page it will enlarge a bit and then you need to Right click your mouse to click ‘zoom in’ to enlarge that to read if you be so inclined!

    Anyway, for those so needing, here’s My Top Ten Thingies in random order per their own uniquenesses:

    Scalo’s for its ‘Bless Me Ultima’ Filetto (as well as its most generous participation in the Journal’s PressPass program!) Seriously, any readers from The Home can forget the Fix-O-Dent; they can simply gum-it tonight!!!)

    Monte Carlo Steakhouse per Shish-Kabobs which you’ll swear were made by that Mexican, Zorba, himself as he danced around in the movie in ’64!

    Blade’s Bistro for its Yum Beef Wellington or Oscars in its chic setting getting-us-away-from-it-all. As they’re Especials, its best to sign up for a weekly email http://www.bladesbistro.com/join.htm where they get announced, altho other fare are great as well.

    Chez Axel for its Cordon Bleu with an optional side of French Onion. Caution: if you are close to popping the question, but not quite ready, do not take your “Fifi” here.

    The Dog House per its Foot Long…NM red-like….Chili(sic) Cheese Dog con Onions & Orange drink!
    (Sadly, they recently took off the paneling and tin-stamped ‘plates’ from the ’70s and painted the blocks of the wall in colors…Oooeee! Ask the “Hostess” to let the Owner know you are not pleased per violating its iconic Route 66 ambiance.)

    Mr. Tokyo for its Shrimp Tempura (con veggies) at an everyday-man’s price for quality/quantity for oodles of years…a true family-run place.

    Fiesta Restaurant & Lounge for its munificent [carne adovada] Chimichangas.

    Fat Squirrel for its no other-like Fish (batter) n (seasoned) Chips; waitstaff are pretty good too.

    Paul’s Monterrey Inn, Luna Mansion, and Antiquity for their classic offerings in settings that are mannered, let alone time-tested! Caution: you do not need to take a Cialis etc. tonight!

    Pardon to classic places I must get to this New Year! and pray The Phoenix of Casa Vieja (of the ’70s!) will once again arise and twinkle and beckon us along Corrales Road as a Premier dining experience for Metro ABQ!


    Alas, I betcha here’s something we’ll never get to enjoy doing in ABQ…even putting out our Top 3 choices in a ZAGAT’s Food-Truck Extravaganza ! http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/recipe?id=13753584
    (Not the slider recipe per say and pardon the advertisement.)

  34. Hey Bruce, thanks for bringing the challenge, it will be great to hear the favorites of foods for those who follow Sensei. Its been a good year checking out foods I never thought existed in our fair state and I am more impressed by those bold restauranteurs who take a chance to feed us well. I also thanks my fellow bloggers and my NM Friends who Feast for their words of wisdom for without them and without Gil, we would starve…

    Sr Plata’s Top 10 Choices of foods he enjoys in NM and not in any particular order:
    1) Shish Kabob and hummus – San Pedro Middle East Restaurant
    2) Molcajete Lupe – Antojitos Lupe (Bernalillo)
    3) CheeseSteak – Quesadilla Grille, Itsa Italian Ice and Posthumously to Pettitos
    4) Chicken & Fries – Pollito Con Papas
    5) Green Chile Cheese Burger – Bobcat Bite
    6) Breakfast burrito with hamburger meat instead of swine – LotaBurger
    7) Sophia’s pancake of the week
    8) Pumpkin empanadas and blue corn crust pizza – Golden Crown Panaderia
    9) Shepherd’s Pie Pizza – Nicky V’s
    10) Con Queso – Chope’s
    Check out the rest of Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog

  35. The December – January issue of Local Flavor has an article entitled YOP TEN Restaurant Dishes of 2011.
    A bold title for any culinary compilation.
    I only wish it was titled MY TOP TEN DISHES.
    It would better represent the gist of the article.
    Yes, Ms. Chisholm does offer up HER list subject as she states “to the whims of my collection of cravings”.
    With the exception of Cafe Guiseppi I have dined at the other 9 establishments and have no complaints about any of them.
    I take exception to the inference by its title that these dishes are THE TOP TEN.
    Again, I would have been happier with MY TOP TEN.
    I much prefer these lists take into consideration the tastes and whims of a panel of foodies that ends in a consensus.
    I wonder how her list of best dishes compares to that of the bloggers on Gil’s Thrilling.
    Here are 5 of mine
    1. Sweetbreads at Blades Bistro
    2. Steamed Pork Buns or Dong Bo Pork at Budai (take your pick, you can’t lose)
    3. Any foie gras at Jennifer James 101.
    4. Chile Rellenos at Antojitos Lupe.
    5. The Roast Beef sandwich at The Grove.

    1. Great, great lists one and all! Here’s mine–listing only items enjoyed in the Albuquerque Metropolitan area during 2011 (in no particular order):

      (1) Red chile at Mary & Tito’s: the gold standard for red chile!
      (2) Foie Gras Au Torchon at Torinos @ Home: decadent deliciousness
      (3) Atun Ceviche at Pasion Latin Fusion: ceviche all grown-up
      (4) Bibimbap at Fu Yuang: magnificent melange
      (5) Tabbouli Salad, Baba Ghanoug and Bakdunecea Salad at the San Pedro Middle East Restaurant: A foodgasm at every visit
      (6) Green Chile Philly at Itsa Italian Ice: my favorite sandwich in Albuquerque
      (7) Dong Bo Pork and Lion’s Head at Budai Gourmet Chinese: Makes you weak in the knees food served by the wonderful Elsa
      (8) Fried Flour Cake with Egg and Green Onion at Kim Long Asian Cuisine: Simple and elegant excellence
      (9) Borscht at Blades’ Bistro: Wondrous winter soup
      (10) Gajar ka Halwa at Namaste: Carrot dessert Bugs Bunny would kill for!

      Favorite dishes in 2011 outside the Duke City Metropolitan area:

      (1) Pollo Borachon at Gutiz in El Prado: Drunken chicken with intoxicating flavors
      (2) Green Chile Cheeseburger at Sparky’s Burgers, Barbecue & Espresso in Hatch: Soon to be legendary!
      (3) Con Queso with Flour Tortillas at Chope’s in La Mesa: Best in New Mexico (ergo the universe)
      (4) Curried black bean and sweet potato soup at Jambo in Santa Fe: A vat wouldn’t be enough.
      (5) Roast Leg of Lamb Burrito at Atrisco Cafe & Bar in Santa Fe: Luscious lamb!
      (6) Three Salad Plate at Real Food Nation in Santa Fe: Would make a diet pleasurable
      (7) Caprese Sundae at Luminaria in Santa Fe: Surprising twists with explosive flavors
      (8) Peppery Elk Tenderloin at Geronimo: no better steak anywhere!
      (9) Chile Rellenos en Nogada at Los Potrillos in Santa Fe: Poblano perfection
      (10) Green Chile Cheeseburger at El Farolito in El Rito: They’re called farolitos, not luminarias!

      The gastronomic gauntlet’s been thrown down. Let’s hear from some of our other frequent eaters: Larry, Jim, John L, Morgain, Lobo59, etc.

  36. I am very much looking forward to reading your blog from top to bottom. I’m visiting new Mexico for 17 days next year–my first time–and covering a lot of ground, not just visiting the typical ABQ-SF-Taos corridor.

    I, too, avoid chains at all costs, and prefer to dine where the locals do.

    So your recommendations will weigh heavily on my choices.

    Can’t wait to eat my way throught the Land of Enchantment!



    Boston, MA

  37. Yo Bruce, if I may…in order to make up for my often hitting ‘Send’ before adding in websites (or in a recent case I didn’t put in this as the correct addy http://tinyurl.com/3pl8tre where one can see/DVR when The Brink’s Job is playing on Comcast in NM, not MA…let me add http://tinyurl.com/886f8d6 where folks can see the participating restaurants etc. and the link to buy tickets for the Souper Bowl.
    (In the meantime, if anyone is headed up to Rio Rancho for lunch at a “place” of Gil’s and is eager to share some food goodies or a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving, it can be done at St. Felix Pantry between 7-Noon http://tinyurl.com/7jcpn73 !)

  38. A reminder….
    Once again we all have a wonderful opportunity for a ” twofer”.
    In January Road Runner Food Bank holds it’s annual Souper Bowl featuring soup specialties prepared by some of ABQs best chefs.
    There is a contest to determine the People’s Choice and also an All Star panel of experts to determine their choice as well.
    There is also a dessert competition featuring great creations which in the past included cannolis, cupcakes and more.
    Gil Garduno has been sighted there as well as a guest judge.
    The twofer aspect comes into play because we get to try dozens of soups all under one roof AND our ticket price goes toward feeding NMs hungry.
    It is the ultimate win/win situation for local food lovers.
    Go online and get your tickets.
    It’ll feel good at least twice.

  39. Well Dudes n Dudettes, if it follows that anyone who is the 2011 NM Chef of the Year (as deemed by the NM Restaurant Association (11/6 Journal B1)…in contrast to the erudite folks herein) cooks up the bestest of Yum YUms, then we all be off to living in The Home!!! In this case La Vida Llena….a retirement community where Chef Stan Wacker holds forth with tongs/spatula/herbs/spices. “Chow!”

  40. Ruben,

    I believe Gil is referring to Danny’s Place in Carlsbad. I haven’t actually been there, but I’ve heard the cue there is very, very good.

  41. Gil,

    I note that your blog provides reviews throughout New Mexico. In the spring of 2008 my wife and I traveled to NM South to get away from the junipers. Here are a couple of restaurants you might want to check out if you get down that way.

    T or C — Cafe Bella Luca — It is the heart of downtown and is one of the best Italian restaurants I have eaten at in NM. It was a real suprise. It has ambiance, good service and great food. Its actually worth an overnight (with spa) or short vacation.

    Deming — Irma’s — If you are looking for New Mexican, it has excellent muy piquant green chile and good medium hot red chile, and is inexpensive to boot.


  42. Gil, do yourself a great favor. Head to 7th and Hull in Clovis. Go into the mobile home looking place called Flo’s. Go in and tell the lady behind all the pots what you would like to eat. If you get really lucky it will be chicken and dumpling day. Get the greens. Flo’s is a true New Mexico treasure. Ralph

  43. So what IS the name of the elusive best bbq in New Mexico that is served in one of the biggest fast food chains (???) in America? Next to one of the 10 (?) wonders of the world? Or should we guess?

  44. Hi Gil,

    We are putting together a trip for this summer and will be staying between Albuquerque and Santa Fe in the town of Bernalillo. Anything that you would recommend or have reviewed around there?

    Love your site and it’s helping us a lot.

    Many thanks,

  45. Hi Gil,

    Quick question. If I wanted to eat midway between ABQ and Silver City (friends from those 2 places), would you have a suggestion(s) as to where?


    (From New Hampshire, fish and ice cream capital of the US!)

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