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 Comments on “Dining New Mexico”

  1. B-A-L,
    Check your comment, the word “yours” does not appear leaving the readers to wonder what team you play for. Or am I missing some other code words?
    Not that there is anything wrong with that, you know what I mean …………

  2. El Brute: as I noted to Jim M, plain n simple; straightforward: “I play on the other team … (i.e. yours)… so stay on your toes.” as well.

    OMG! “Yours” is not really “Yours”? You must be outing!

  3. Ho ho ho Foodie Star: Lumbre translates as Fire!
    (Please don’t spread it around, but as it is something labelled as “hot”, the Village of Los Ranchos’ Censor requires that it be kept ‘under the counter’! Otherwise its just as well historically, as many, not all, Gabachos can’t handle it!)
    Check out http://tinyurl.com/lxh5xm9 and, textually http://tinyurl.com/mumvgls (Also, it takes longer in the growing season for Lumbre to ripen.) (Eh, I had to look it up too…LOL)

    I can’t speak for all Folks who gather with familia/friends in their back yard to ‘peel’ 1 or 2 or whatever 35-40# sacks of roasted green. I’d think tho, most let their sack ‘stew’ for a couple of hours after roasting to soften/loosen the skin and cool. Then, while listening to some good music e.g. http://tinyurl.com/lwxh6qz, we enjoy a cerveza to wash down for example, a min-burrito, or several, of chicharrones in red chile, as we peel to allocate the chile ‘meat’ into qt. baggies to freeze for the year. NB: The frozen chile is commonly referred to as one’s “stash” and not to otherwise be confused with other ‘stashes’!!!

    My daughter/S-i-L and I prefer to sprinkle/mix small bits of chopped Lumbre into our pile of otherwise hot (vs mild or medium) chile to create a “surprize” while eating, i.e. often accompanied by Eyes-Wide-Open expressions of “Heehola Chihuahua!” This is particular good as an early morning ‘wake-me-up’ if you serve ‘Huevos Los Ranchos” for example.
    For Newbies: Some prefer peeling wearing surgical gloves. I prefer to go nehked while rinsing fingers in a bowl of vinegar from time to time. Otherwise, never rub your eyes and always wash your hands BEFORE using the restroom…or go girly style!
    One can buy smaller amounts of (mild,medium,hot) green chile to be roasted for peeling to e.g. try doing it to see if ya want to do “a sack” another time. I suggest ya don’t go to most places on a Sat./Sun and frustrate folks waiting for a Big Roast.)
    Hope that covers it!

  4. I am even more confused.
    Did BOTVOLR just “come out”?
    Is the Beav just a “beard”?
    Whoa, albeit (LOL) a possibility, per B-A-Ls protestations, not that there’s anything wrong with that.
    Yippee ay Oh (boy).
    Poor Gloria is about all I can say.

  5. BOTVOLR – Lumbre? For us gringos, is that extra hot chile?

    I love Rosales Lemitar chile – especially when it starts to turn red and gets some sweetness. A friend turned me on to Rosales a few years ago and it is my go-to place. Thanks for the heads-up, Bob!

  6. Ooo…Oooo! Just saw the guyz sprucing up the roadside stand for Rosales’ Chile from Lemitar so they’d have a bit more shade at 7331 4th NW just a couple of blocks south of Los Ranchos Rd in the Village of Los Ranchos!

    ~ They are targeting Friday to bring in their Chile for roasting!!!!

    (For those who like adding some Lumbre ((which is kept under the counter)) to their mix, they will have that after Labor Day however.)

    (As always, please note I’m not having a liaison with anyone therein, but am just trying to share a good source of chile with Y’all herein for your peel for your annual stash.)

  7. Alas El Brute…WallyMart carries Becks!!! but it looks like I’d have to order it using their Free Site-to-Store convenience feature. Otherwise, I see it is at Total Wine…not sure if in the single bottle section tho.
    In any event and per your observation “…you put price above all else…”, please note my previously mentioned Carlsberg is “8.99 vs your Beck’s at only $6.49!!!! Nana nana nah nah!
    Otherwise as you’ve implied, I’m a bit of a paradox. I favor sweet like in the yolk of an over-medium egg yolk, butter on an English muffin or baked potato, a strip of crisp bacon, in the meat of a watermelon slice, sweet n sour pork, but I rarely opt for a desert…albeit never to refuse a mini-cannoli nor coffee frappe. My experience with a couple of Darks is of a touch of sweet which however does not draw me to them!!!
    In regard to Vodka, and despite its roots in half my heritage, I don’t do it neat as a matter of course. Given I mix it with a Kahlua derivative and skim milk, its qualities would go unappreciated perhaps. If I were to, I’d go for Sobieski or Belvedere. Haven’t had a good Bombay Gin n Tonic in ages…usually do it when flying!
    OMG! Beck’s over ice. (A tres chic waiter!) BTW, you can get icy-balls online http://tinyurl.com/m4yzsru (albeit kinda pricey) unless its the taste of water you are after as you didn’t mention Beck’s over iced Perrier.

  8. Per, alas, albeit LOL your preference for Pabst Blue Ribbon, the point has, is, and always will be that you put price above all else. One would think that occasionly you step out of character and chance an artisan beer.
    As a former sort of regular at Peter Luger’s Steak House in Brooklyn there was only one beer that went with the best porterhouse steaks in the world, a Beck’s Dark beer, something you might want to try with your fileto from Scalos.
    Most of the time I prefer a dark beer over a tall glass of ice. I had one last evening a wedding rehearsal dinner at County Line on Tramway. After a strangish look from the waiter he said “Don’t worry I won’t tell anyone who ordered this”.
    Beer is just beer to me, I don’t taste a “finish” of huckleberries, or the taste of dark chocolate with a hint of sassafras, etc.
    It is just beer the way tabacco in a Havana Cigar is just tobacco. Now vodka and gin, I do have my faves per taste and smoothness. Is there a vodka or gin that would be called the PBR of each? Check you liquor cabinet and let me know.
    I’ll leave the embellishment of the beers to the experts.
    You know who.

  9. Yo Hannah…Thanks for great reflections to reflect on, especially the reminder of “What’s spent on Locals, stays with Locals!”…. Well….mostly, as ‘some’ goes off (stated only as a factoid) to DC.
    ~ Alas, I guess beer has been simply used as a quencher when dining vs being ‘contemplated sorta speak, in and of itself. I.e. who can eat pizza or New Mexican without one and least of all with a Singapore Sling, Grasshopper, a Stinger or the like? I got back to PBRs on tap* as Fat Squirrel didn’t have a hard license before now and it was cheap at the former liquor store of the Quarters on Ellison, albeit ya had to walk a l l t h e w a y down to the end of the chillin’ case to find it with Schlitz, Hamm,s, Mickey’s.
    * Alas…and I must admit it was only once…. I passed a door ajar at a place and espied what was behind the wall of such an array as this http://tinyurl.com/k2hrydz ? To say I was disappointed would be an understatement, at the least, when I espied a multitude of Intertwined tubeing (like behind one’s computer) leading to one keg!
    ~ Elsewise, have enjoyed commenting herein re a stout at Nexus. Enjoyed a ‘red’ and IPA while munchin’ at IL Vecino Brewery along with some good, live music on their rustic patio where it looks like one is pulling up to a corral to hang one’s bicycle, albeit I can’t picture riding a bike after a few beers. Been to Marble St. and Kelly’s.
    Say, what kid wasn’t tempted to run home to surreptitiously pop open one a Dad’s ‘craft’ Harvard or Narragansett brewskies after watching this http://tinyurl.com/nye9mo5 movie in Cinemascope?
    ~ Lest it not be known, there is, amazingly(?), no inspection agency other than a local health department when it comes to brewing, at least according to a local brewmeister? Did you know brewers have helped in keeping the price of milk and beef down till now… http://tinyurl.com/l3l6p88

    Salud! Na Zdrowie! Slainte! http://tinyurl.com/kgl858k
    PS: I lied about the wall of “taps”; it’s just a fun ice-breaker to use with a Blond while sitting at a bar or community table. Seriously, it doesn’t work with Brunettes and I haven’t been able to try it with a Ginger yet.

  10. BOTVO:

    Just like with any food or beverage, I think the nuances of beer become apparent with experience. ABQ has some fine fine craft breweries. The ones that serve food have really decent food (e.g., Nexus [fish & chips], Chama River [burgers!]) and the ones that don’t are really instrumental in growing the respectable food truck culture that’s brewing (no pun intended) here in the Duke City.

    I’ve not really had a bad beer at any of them, but I especially enjoy Tractor and La Cumbre.

    And just like any old-fashioned “hand made” product, the scale of production can’t really allow for mass-market pricing. It’s true that you’ll pay more than you do for PBR or even national “fancy” beer brands (but close to what you’ll pay for imports, I think), but that’s money that stays in our community and fortifies it.

    When I feel like drinking beer, it makes me feel good to buy local. I think it’s worth it. And it’s very often actually superior beer.

  11. I will have to admit that back in the “good old days” when there was no such thing as a decent American beer (but none of us knew that) I often drank Pabst Blue Ribbon (the term PBR had not been invented yet. Many years after Pabst disappeared and closed all of its breweries I read that it was the new in thing so I bought some. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, microbreweries had made American beer the best in the world. The PBR I bought was swill, no better than Pearl, Coors or Budweiser. A couple of years ago I was in Golden in a grill within site of the brewery and noticed that some odd Coors was on the menu to go with my burger. I asked “What the hell is that?” I was told that it was Coors recipe from before prohibition. I have to say that if it were still in regular production I might buy some every month or two.

  12. Lo…I’ve been constantly razzed by you-know-who for my guzzling bias for Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) versus my not necessarily being enthralled by or following-the-herd-for some expensive micro, I mean, “Craft” brew. Admittedly, if truth be told, I am probably suds challenged, thinking the nuances of which my beer palate is capable of is limited albeit I can step up to the likes of a Carlsberg or Rio Grande Outlaw Lager of Moriaty even tho more expensive! As such, 98% of my beer drinking (with all due respect to the aroma from the “spillage” of Okies at University and Route 66 of yore) is used for pizza or, to gently balance sorta speak, New Mexican dishes when eating out or if I ‘do’ my version of Huevos Los Rancheros(sic) at home.

    Per relevance: I’d like to ask what are The Beer and Beer Habits of other Foodies herein as might or might not accompany (“pair with”) a restaurant’s vittles?

    Am also posting this to hopefully offset the notion that PBR is a ‘stand still’ or a fuddy-duddy beer. Actually what stimulated all this was just finding, by happenstance, this http://tinyurl.com/k2dk6w5 which I had to share to ask if anyone has run across it at Costco or Sam’s or wherever fine beer salami is sold!!!

  13. I’m sure we can be accomodated on a weekday evening but as of today it is just 3 if no spouses and 5 with.
    Haven’t heard from Gil or anyone else for thst matter. Hannah and Ed(?) seems to be interested as well. That would make it about 7′ Gil would be 8.
    If you have an idea for drumming up more FsOG let me know.
    If it is a smallish group the large round table in the front right corner would handle it.

  14. Yo El Brute…if not evening, I’d go along with Jim’s suggestion for a weekend time for Folks who are still out there contributing to some of ours Social Security Fund. Also, $15 (plus gratuity/beverage)too. Hopefully, tho not necessary, I lean toward family style servings so I can be enticed to gingerly experiment beyond my Sweet n Sour Pork/Orange Chicken. Thanks

  15. FOGs,
    Elsa of Budai would love to have FOG4 at the restaurant.
    Any day of our choosing, around 130PM, all we have to do is give her the date, the amount we’d like to spend (She used the figures $10, $15, $20 per person) and the special requests, dietary needs, etc and leave the rest to Hsai and her.
    She seemed genuinely excited.
    Next step is to say yes or no, tell me what you might like as part of the menu and dates that DON’T work, and an amount you might prefer spending.
    I might also add some may prefer to order off the menus and I’m sure that would work too but I imagine it’s one way or the other being tough to mix them together.
    Gil, if you know a better way to disseminate the info about FOG4 please do.

    1. I don’t know how far out you are looking but at this time we are clear except for June 11-15. 1:30pm pretty much mandates Saturday or Sunday for all the poor souls who still labor for a living. $15 seems ok and I am happy with Elsa picking the menu.

  16. El Bobo,
    Am I reading this correctly per your, alas, eating habits that you are satisfied by 6 thin potato chips rather than 6 original width potato chips? And use it as a diet aid to keep your girlish figure at a svelte 145 lbs and prevents you from blowing up to, say, 147lbs? And didn’t you say you dip them suckers in grape jelly?
    I’m heading to Budai tonite and plan to lobby Elsa for $3.99 dinner that will include white rice and duck sauce. Is that price OK by you per your shekel bank?
    I do like Scalo but haven’t been there in a few years. I wouldn’t mind some sushi. Cafe DaLat is also a favorite of mine. But, alas, you seem to want to be in charge of FOG4. Go for it.
    Hope to have more info re Budai by this evening. Maybe Gil can pass the word better than I am able to. Then I could give Elsa more info to go on.

  17. OMG Hannah…Thank you soooo much for validating my perception of ever increasing thinness of Lay’s Potato Chips. Alas, as you even included “very”, I now must ask, and just between you and me given I raised the issue noting ‘without having an agenda’, let me know if you know “Why’ as 10oz still remains noted as one size!!!! Maybe they have a stockpile of Ruffles that is approaching an expiration date and they need us to ‘have to’ buy/use Ruffles to “Dip”? Perhaps they are conspiring with the War on UNnutritional Diets….i.e. eating a handful of thin vs thicker chips cuts my “nasty” foods in half, and more so cuz I can’t get some Guac on them? As an aside, what’s with continuing to include “(283.5g)” on the bags beside the “10oz” notation? Is it to scoff at the US’s slow progress http://tinyurl.com/7d9rdy2 in getting other countries not go Metric? or to appeal to Intel Geeks!?

    Say Hannah….I read elsewhere of you/Ed delighting in LA…Glad Y’all confirm that Farmer’s Market continues as source of casual gustatorial delight…50ish yrs ago when NBC had a studio next door, ‘doing lunch’ a la fresco with the ‘stars’ was added fun. Sorry didn’t read Y’all visited Philippe’s for a yae or nay if their French Dip still has ‘it’ after 90 years. Alas and OMG…satisfactory (i.e. ‘meaty’) Fried Clams in Malibu in lieu of abalone? Did they happen to say where the clams were from?

    ~ Elsewise: I can’t get into “gourmet chips” (not just price wise…LOL, but) as they tend to be harshly crispy/crunchy to sometimes lacerate the linings of my oral cavity, altho I will admit Lays Kettle Chips, which I accidentally happened upon, are decent!

    ~ El Brute: Budai sounds fine with me. Don’t worry, I’ve already started saving for a ‘double shekel’ hit knowing it was you ‘in charge’. In terms of your asking “In the meantime let’s get some other ideas going.” you must guess I’d like to be able to have a FOG gathering at Scalo’s to elicit a ‘Yea or Nay’ on his Filetto or Luna Mansion per each having some semi-private space…albeit there are future times down the road. Weekday eves might accommodate us for Beef Wellingtons at Blade’s or Chez Bob’s altho he has a note on the website Closed til further Notice!!! Anyone know what’s up with that? Chez Axel has a private room…and then there’s La Crepe Michel. Of course no one would need to twist my arm for an Henri IV at Antiquity!!!! Am I spendable enough for ya Bubba Brute?

    ~ Say, does Reader’s Digest still have ‘Increasing Your Word Power’?…can’t help to think it helped me doing the SATs! In any event, today’s Word: Pardon my ‘bloviating’ on occassion herein!


  18. WHOOOPS that comment was for El Brute! Sorry Jim, to imply that you’re in charge of this one…it’s just you did such a good job last time! 😀

    1. No problem whatever Hannah. As I have repeatedly pointed out over my long life the prospect of taking bows for something that somebody else such as El Brute is accomplishing on his own causes me not the slightest twinge of guilt (blame for something gone wrong is an altogether different matter).

  19. Both Edward and I think Budai is an excellent choice for the next FOG dinner. My last meal there was crispy orange peel scallops and was insanely good.

    Jim M., please let me know if I can assist in some way. Gil has my email.

  20. Hannah,
    The question is which weighs more, a pound of rocks or a pound of feathers? Is Bobo inferring that Lays counts the number of chips in each bag and because they are thinner the weight is less? Or does he feel that thinner chips should be less expensive even if the weight is the same? Help me understand the point he is attempting to make. Thanks.
    On a lighter note what do you think of Budai as a meeting place for the FOG? Or do you have another suggestion?

    1. Budai is an excellent choice if Elsa can accommodate us. With enough notice perhaps Hsia can prepare a sumptuous repast such as the one described by our friend Larry at http://www.abqtopten.com/blog/foodies-night-at-budai/. That eight flavor duck sounds fantastic!

      There are so many excellent gourmet chips available that I can’t weigh in on whether or not Lays and the like are, unlike those of us who consume them, thinner.


    Since no one will give you a straight answer and you might feel like you’re alone in the world, I will say, yes, in my opinion, Lays are getting very thin.


  22. B-A-L,
    Lonely, not in the sense of physical loneliness but the loneliness of being the sole proprietor of you comments and ideas.
    I don’t really understand how you can feel cheated/scammed by changing sizes and quantities on store bought items that are always marked with sizes and quantities.
    Are you part of the group that complained and brought the class action suit because the six inch Subway was only 5 7/8″ long?
    Perhaps, per you penchant for bargains, you can get manufacturers to send you alerts when their sizes and prices change. That way you can avoid due diligence and not have to read labels and not feel scammed.
    As far as the next FOG meal. I would be more than happy to speak to Elsa at Budai and see if she could put together a price fixed meal with Hsai’s making a Chef’s meal of dishes we might not necessarily order. Sort of a Chef’s whimsy.
    Save you shekels my friend,the meal might run into the double digits……..
    In the meantime let’s get some other ideas going.

  23. ~ El Brute asked: You ever feel lonely? Nope, cuz I know I can, appreciatingly, sucker you in to make a comment! LOL
    ~ (Food) Price increases? Of course its a business owner’s option (some may say duty) as well as often necessary to increase prices in light of the price of materials (often dependent on Mother Nature) etc. so s/he can keep the business going to keep Folks employed if they choose to be. Businesses can also fake I’m getting the same amount as my last many loyal purchases per trusting they’re being an honest businessperson so I don’t have to waste time reading the label every time. If not trustworthy, I can choose not to buy per being “lied” to/scammed.
    ~ FOG: Alas it was Jim who diligently arranged for a splendiferous feast at Joe’s, not I. Alas, Jim forgets that I was voted down to be the planner for the next one as people feared they’d have to go through the trouble of finding and cutting out a coupon or get a PressPass card or suffer the indignity of being seen entering some shoddy establishment. As such, but with all due respect to you, El Brute, not being able to attend, and per your ability to frivilously throw money around, you were chosen to plan the next one! Apparently, you didn’t get the memo! As such…Andale! Vamos!…Obtener con ella!….Get busy!
    ~ Potato Chips: A non-circuitous, even simple question with no hidden agenda. Have they become thinner?

    1. You are correct Mr Bob, I do not recall anybody voting you down as the planner for the next event. Remember, this is 2014 and very few Americans have any shame left about cutting out coupons or whipping out a Press Pass. As to suffering the indignity of entering a shoddy establishment you should see some of the sleazy dives I do not hesitate to enter. Only a few obvious knife and gun clubs deter me and that is not the shoddiness, simply fear for my life.

  24. As much as I like Budai, and I do, they have their large round table with a lazy susan that might accommodate 8 diners at most. After that they have long rectangular tables in the center of the room and their booths. Not really conducive to conversation. Budai might work better for us at a late lunch where we could use the center area.
    I have not been to Los Equipales so I have no idea of their seating arrangements.
    So the ball is in B-A-L’s court and I can’t wait for his input.

  25. Bob-a-lulu,
    Do you ever feel alone, really really alone even on a blog with hundreds, if not thousands of readers?
    Anyone who fails to read the labels of what they purchase for personal consumption deserves what they end up with.
    You live in the mid 20th century by yourself and your ideas of prices vs quantities.
    Every price is subject to increase based on quantity and cost and other general inflationary reasons.
    Why does that have to be subject of your comments about punts and the like?
    Do you really expect prices to remain at 1950 prices?
    Really, Bo-a-lulu?
    And finally, chips and cheap grape jelly???? Of course I’m assuming your going for Welch’s bargain brand and not something better.
    Correct me if I’m wrong.
    You know the first rule of working in a Kosher deli in NYC is to always be able to say, after slicing your 1/8th of a pound of boiled ham, “It’s a little over, is that OK?”. That’s the mark of a great deli clerk and probably the bane of your existence.
    By the way B-A-L are you actively planning the next FOG dining experience. Based on the success of the first you will probably need a bigger venue. I’ll be happy to sit next to you this time.

    1. I agree that it is about time for Bob to begin detailed planning of this event. I offer two possible suggestion for a location:
      1. Budai does not offer a private room but does (I believe) offer special menus for groups as well as group seating.
      2. Los Equipales offers a large private room.

      I am sure that many other choices for Bob to select from abound.

  26. RE: Are potato chips thinning?
    Ketchup containers.

    As ‘everyone’ herein knows, the concave bottom of a wine bottle is called a “punt”…some say its an area to ‘trap’ sediment somehow. In any event, for the past several years this “whatchamacallit”, The Punt, has begun, lest ya hadn’t noticed, to be used to decrease portions in other products in order to maintain the perception of “same size” despite a decreasing product content….aka, deceptive packaging. Check http://tinyurl.com/ kc3mqon re e.g. peanut butter

    On occasion, I rant re the possible ‘overuse’ of salt while acknowledging it is a healthy dietary necessity. Indeed, I periodically buy a bag of chips and, believe it or not when the urge calls, I can limit myself to just a handful. Setting all that aside, do any of you think the thinness of, e.g. Lays Classic, chips has become much thinner? Long before the invention of Fritos, Tortilla Chips, and Ruffles came upon the scene to accommodate the proliferatiton of dips…remember when mixing Knorr’s powdered Vegetable soup and sour cream became the rage? let alone salsa…didn’t we basically rely on the everyday potato chip for the de rigueur and ‘only’ dip made from Lipton’s Onion Soup mix? (Today, explored dipping a chip into some grape jelly before writing this. Yum! the sweet/salty contrast without having to go through the trouble of making a toasted PB&J&Marshmallow Fluff samwich(sic) for the same effect!)

    Say, anyone enjoying the great new ‘Dip or Squeeze Ketchup’ containers http://tinyurl.com/lhngnyt How are Y’all ranking it? I’m thinking the greatest invention since the squeezable ketchup bottle! Now if only they could get rid of the embarrassing sound of an almost empty squeezable bottle! (Want to yank your Waitstaff’s chain at e.g. Joe’s, Torino’s, Budai’s etc? Ask for some ketchup when served.)

  27. BOB-a-loo,
    I found that the two most difsficult items to get in an Italian (in Italy) restaurant was ice for my gin on the rocks, coming mostly at about an inch and a half of liquid in a water glass, and red sauce for my calamari. Seems like red sauce for certain plates is not what the chef or the Italians deemed necessary. My red saucae was delivered in time to douse my tiramisu with it, so I gave up asking for it.
    Not serving salt and pepper is just silly unless in my opinion it’s asked for prior to tasting the creation.
    After tasting it’s every man for him or herself. The chef not withstanding.
    My choice for best breakfast buritto based on my limited knowledge is the Placitas Cafe version with chorizo.
    I’ll take a Pasadena on the Frontier version and the Flying Star version.
    Before I suffer the scorn of those much more experienced I have had several others and ” not memorable” is the term that comes to mind.
    I know I have to get out more, I’m working on it.o


    There is the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail, so now the NM Tourism Dept. thought this would be another Enchantment to spotlight. They note journalists around the world still inquire about The Trail.
    Currently this http://www.newmexico.org/burrito is the Nominating Site through 4/13, with a couple of hundred already nominated. With due respect to rigorous scientific polling methods, voting however will start 4/21.
    (The kickoff article was in Tuesday’s Journal. http://tinyurl.com/lq55tdp Don’t know if you can access without a subscription.)

    (Elsewise: Dining travel tips:
    Lo, how many of our Folks harassed us as a kid to clean our plates per the poor kids in China. Alas, just learned it is impolite to eat every scrap off your plate. I.e. your insulting your host implying they didn’t feed you enough.
    Don’t find salt/pepper shakers on the table while in Portugal? Besides a personal shout-out for health, don’t ask as it is deemed insulting to the the culinary skills of the Chef as!)

  29. Went to Elaine’s in Nob Hill tonight. Absolutely amazing experience, both food and service! Sweet beads, bone marrow, prosciutto chips, creamed leaks, deconstructed smoked smores. Shell I say more? Truly special place.

  30. Just as I predicted, and in coincidence with our dreary weekend weather, I’ve brought a wrath of rain drops falling on my head even tho I put in an exemption “….IF I were to whine…” which El Brute ‘overlooked’! (When I was a kid and we played ‘Tag’, there was something designated that you could go to if you were not “It” and be safe from being tagged…most typically a tree. Aha, as I’ve heard there apparently weren’t any trees in Brooklyn, apparently he couldn’t learn about “exemptions”, so I’ll give him a ‘pass’, LMAO!
    ~ Lo El Brute, a line of a song http://tinyurl.com/msyzxk3 of this Yum Yum Chicana, a contemporary of ours, has become an “earwig” * for me! In additon and being your Senior, I remember part of insuring post War recovery was continuing ‘saving’, not for environmental recycling, but as exemplified by the luking of packs of tied newspapers to school for the “paper drive”; rinsing out and stomping on tin cans; etc….so there could be a “real world” for those of Y’all’s generation to come to…LOL What I find perplexing is the AFFORDABLE Care Act was supposed to fix a gigantic “need” to provide health insurance for 30-40 million uninsured, by increasing the national debt for our kids/G-kids. Currently, it looks like only 4 million who needed the fix signed up and many of them because ACA kicked them off the insurance plans they already had shown personal responsibility for by paying out of their own budget. But alas, maybe I’m, this is drifting too off-topic and can be saved for the next FOGy gathering! LOL

    *Earwig: an insect that myth purports to enter our ear(much as a song does)and burrows itself into our brain often destroying it, at least temporarily. This has been likened to a piece of music (often not particularly cared for)being heard and driving us insane ’cause it recurs over and over and over throughout the day in our head! Some think this http://tinyurl.com/mxpujl7 is the best of the worst examples….LOL! As an aside, it is purported that our very own Maah drid was the inspiration for that wonderland’s creation when its creator visited to see its display of 100,000 lights as did thousands of others in the late ’30s/early ’40s. When it was an active coal mining town prior to “all” the workers going off to battle in WWII, they were required to create, during after work hours, wooden characters that were animated for the tourists’ delight too. (I can only wonder what that road was like in winter to travel there back then. My source are AJ articles which I believe you may need to have a subscription to to access. Try Googling tho or http://tinyurl.com/k69g3eo.)

  31. Bob, Bob, Bob
    What about the part of the story which clearly states the ACA won’t affect these companies for a year?
    Sounds like more money in the pockets of management.
    And when 20 cents on a $22 bill is enough to disturb you and affect you dining out habits you really must take a deep breath and enter the real world.
    You problem just sounds so sad. Right?

  32. Alas, I was recently taken to task for whining about a restauranteur’s price increase per the cost of ‘lettuce’. Certainly I can only imagine what wrath might rain upon me IF I were to whine about the “uppage” of my restaurant tab by an “Affordable Care Act” surcharge!!! as is occuring elsewhere!!!! http://tinyurl.com/nw6c6aj and will certainly mind my Ps & Qs…LOL!

  33. Speaking of Sterling WaitStaff Service:
    This is getting creepy: Are we so far behind what at one time might have been considered a “3rd World Country” is now the leading world Trend Maker?, e.g. its existance was never pointed out in my grammar school geography class! http://tinyurl.com/lw96la9

    Ya right…that will never happen here! A guy will always have to check my oil, wash my windshield and pump my gas!!! After all, who would do it otherwise? Any one remember when there were 3 guys working a ‘garbage’ truck? Mail”Men” delivering twice a day residentially? “Change Gals” who counted out bills into your sweaty palm for jackpots in Vegas! I wait for the day of the robotic colonoscopy so as I don’t have to vacillate over whether to accept having a male or female doc doing it!
    Heaven forbid (no pun intended), Rome might be looking into this to deal with the priest shortage!!! E.g. remember the days of 3 priests to a parish? Now you can tap the screen for your particular sins (don’t worry; they’ll have ’em all!) and their frequency and get a computer generated penance which is based on the current nationwide frequency rating of that sin!!!
    Well at least we”all can take solace that certainly nothing can take the place of Gil’s erudite insights nor those of his succinct Commentators…ya right!

  34. I don’t watch “Tony” and if some of Y’all do not either I thought “we” still might want to take a look cuz of our ‘love’ of NM Cuisine: check out his show this Sunday, 9/29/13, at 7PM MDST, on CNN for your comparative opinions…LOL Hype on the ‘page’ of his 1 minute preview-video:

    “New Mexico: “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown” takes a close look at the mash-up of cultures that comprise this uniquely American state.
    Tony drives along old Route 66, which runs through New Mexico “like a collapsed vein” through Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
    Tony and crew sample New Mexico’s food — a combination of Spanish, Mediterranean, Mexican, Pueblo and even chuck-wagon influences. New Mexico is also a land of drugs, guns, monster vehicles (BOTVOLR asks: Now is all that really necessary?), and possibly extraterrestrials. It may also be the perfect place to investigate the underside of the Western cowboy ideal.”
    Go here, http://tinyurl.com/d9q5apn ; scroll down to the video icon re ‘Looking for Tacos on Old Route 66’. There you will find a couple of more clip- promos, e.g. have you ever had a Frito Pie at the classic Five & Dime next to the Haagen-Daz shoppe which was the former Zook’s Pharmacy on the south Plaza in Fanta Se? Speaking of which, do you know of the KGB guy seducing the pharmacist’s daughter (no pun intended!) where the assassination of Trotsky was planned! One source: http://tinyurl.com/oy5nwy2 (BTW, if ya read Held’s intriguing book, make a list of the spy’s and their code names at the outset to keep an easier track as ya go along!! (Even more intrigued? Just up from Holy Cow burgers, check this out http://tinyurl.com/4wg4hz9 AND the link at the bottom!)

  35. Yo BOTVOLR,
    Antojitos Lupe has reopened, finally, in the Desiboo’s former location on 550.
    It has been months since the sign was posted in the window heralding the reopening.
    My wife and I have looked forward to this seemingly forever.
    Re Blades soups, they are all good, from the watermelon gazpacho, the french onion, the clam chowder, and what is arguably the number one cream of mushroom in the Land of Enchantment.
    And Sweetbreads are back!

  36. Sorry, just heard at noon: the ‘Ask a Mexican’ columnist will be appearing at the ABQ Museum of Art and History (19th & Mountain Road north of Olde Town), tonight 9/19, @ 7pm as the (great) Estampa de la Raza exhibit will be soon wrapping up. Can’t find a title for his talk, but he is also the author of ‘Taco USA, How Mexican Food Conquered America’.

    – A bit early, but a heads-up in case some wish to diet in anticipation of pigging out (no pun intended) at the Southwest Bacon Fest!!! See
    http://www.southwestbaconfest.com/ then click ‘On the Menu’ for Who’s Who. Kind of akin to a Chocoholics Fiesta? And you can even enter your own ‘fixin’ in a contest or EVEN a poem!

    –Yo Brooklyn Bruce: Thanks for the Clam Chowder reminder at Blade’s. Most times going for the Especial, I have not needed to look at the menu, let alone its Soup o the Day cuz I’d go for Chef Kevin’s Onion if gonna do a Soup!

  37. Yo Vecinos…if Y’all are into peeling your own sack of roasted Green Chile for your yearly…ahem…stash and would like to surreptitiously sit around in late afternoon on a clandestine patio in Rio Rancho with a few others doing the same on this 8th, email Gil by Friday to email me for the time and place so I can plan on how much chicharones/red chile/tortillas/cervezas to bring to snack on. Yo! if ya wanna go nekid peelin as I do, we’ve got an adequate supply of vinegar to dip in!!! Otherwise, if you be kinky into latex…aka “gloves”, that’s up to Y’all!

  38. Gil!!! Hello!! I am back in New Mexico.. Long 8 mos run…I want to start my business up again.. However, I need an investor. I have been through the ringer this past 8 mos. The only thing i know to do is make my products. But i need capital. If you know of any one that is interested in investing in a win win business, Please let me know… can you post this to your site please.
    Thank you for your help and time,
    Victoria Smith
    Not Cha Mama’s Pickles

  39. Thanks, Gil.
    Sounds like a plan,except for the “perusing”.
    That could increase the cost of the egg cream by ten fold at least.
    It is, after all, the humble egg cream.

  40. The classic egg cream has neither egg nor cream.
    It is made with milk, seltzer, and Fox’s U-Bet syrup. Not Hershey’s, not any other chocolate interloper.
    It is sold in Albertson’s but one must look in the Kosher food section near the gefilte fish and the matzo.

    No gimmicks, no Linda Beaver to serve up the egg cream and wow ya!

    My method?
    Tall glass.
    Start with an inch or three of cold milk.
    Add seltzer while stirring to create a thick white foam.
    When foam is formed add more seltzer down the side of the glass so thick frothy foam stays on top and is not incorporated into mixture. Very important step.
    Add Fox’s U-Bet syrup to the seltzer and slowly stir it in.
    The result should be a chocolate bottom topped by the white frothy milk.
    Voila, the classic Egg Cream!
    Might go well with a PB&J lunch or a Devil Dog.
    I haven’t tried it with sweetbreads.

  41. LOL Brooklyn B…indeed, my Comment was unintentionally more convoluted than usual! If I understand myself correctly, I was saying that no matter what the retail price is, most of us who have been Easterners and have tasted lobstah rolls, are going to pay regardless of the off-the-boat price of lobstah and especially as we can’t get a Lobstah Roll (nor e.g. decent Fried Clams), out here!!! (Perhaps Y’all might say the same re a Classic Egg Cream http://tinyurl.com/2g8laz, altho I’ve never had one.)

    (The reference to the El Vado was just added shtick…spouting off…about how ridiculous that whole situation is, albeit IMHO, as it’s coming back into local news trying to figure out what to do with it. Sorry…I was composing a comment for the Journal’s Speak-Up section while writing the other comment…clearly I can’t fish and chew gum at the same time!)

  42. BOTVOLR,
    You finished your post with the words “Eh…but I’m just saying.”
    What are you saying?
    We shouldn’t go back east?
    We should go but should avoid “lobstah rolls” and The Beav lookalikes?
    Invest in tuna salad futures?
    Spend a night in an antiquated Rte 66 motel for the sheer experience?
    Please help those of us who don’t speak or understand BOTVOLRese…
    I’m just saying…

  43. If Y’all have never been ‘back East’ Stop! don’t waste yer time.

    Otherwise, these be Idiots reporting this http://tinyurl.com/n5ylfep and those so commenting (tho LOL)for those of us who may Lust after any semblance of a Lobstah Roll!!!! let alone Fried Clams, decent Fish n Chips, maybe even a tuna fish salad sandwich, let alone decent French Fries. Man o Man if I be those ABQ City councilors who have finally got around to thinking about ‘doing’ something this past week with the El Vado motel of the ’50s Route 66 just before the Rio Grande… was it Mayor Marty who bot it lest an entreprenuer wanted to risk his own money doing something with it?… if I could have just 3 Linda Beaver clones as Wait-Galz, add in any flavored Frappe, a Foot Long Chile Cheez Dog, and potato/onion/kapusta/cheez pierogies as menu items….we’ll be $$$ rich to be able to add a trolley up Central; city-wide, pre-natal schooling; replacement of all cottonwoods; as well as a home-to-work monorail serving all of Rio Rancho saving millions designated for the reconstruction of I-25/Paseo!!!
    Eh…but I’m just saying!

  44. USA Today has a section of Readers Choice Best of (this or that). Currently you can vote on Best Iconic American Foods http://tinyurl.com/m4wa3oy . NM Mexico’s Green Chile ‘sauce’ is currently leading the pack of Icons. If Y’all favor that, consider taking a moment to click on it for your vote you can do once each day till the 22nd July. At least its one list we might not be at the bottom thereon.

  45. We have the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show; a Pork & Brew Gathering; the great Food Bank fundraiser; the Chocolate fundraiser et al which certainly give us a chance to taste beyond Chile. Given that ‘some’ folks here are Eastern transplants, would seem some of us would jump at the chance to sample/vote on an apparent variety of ways to serve up a Lobstaah Roll which I don’t believe exists in ABQ or NM. For those who know and constantly supress fond memories, try this out:
    Alas, I dug further to find: A General Admission ticket ($150) grants you entry to the Rumble Main Event from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. (rolls till 9:00, bars till 10:00), where you’ll sample 20 lobster rolls, savory sides, desserts presented by Häagen-Dazs and open bars pouring Tequila Don Julio cocktails, Stella Artois beer, Fuze refreshments and wine.

  46. – Whoa! For unknown reasons, I missed Gil’s illumination above. Thanks. However, no one has chimed in about ‘the need’ or refraining thereof, of salting a New Mexican dish!!!
    -Moving on:
    Say, anybody out here happen to attend the “Buen Provecho” breakfast gathering who could give us a nightcap…er…recap of what went on, e.g. including how many and who were there; why is Commish O’Malley involved; anything planned in the future?

    While I’ve got ya looking: here’s a potpourri, a melange of some may say ‘nonsense’ lest ya dare proceed!!! Please note, they are all food related!

    Per the bromide-like comment or protestation often put forth: “Well, We’re ALL created equal!” here’s some tidbits of possible interest: http://shine.yahoo.com/healthy-living/7-foods-bizarre-side-effects-135000124.html which may explain why some folks give different reflection of experiences when eating the same dishes….i.e. based on the ‘physical’ differences of one’s ‘senses’ (let alone the physical makeup of one’s brain) despite the physical-measureable sameness of the food!!!

    Unfortunately, I asked one of the Commentators herein who purported to be an artist if he could paint me a pic of one of our enchanting sunsets. How dumb was I???? http://tinyurl.com/lesvogq

    Ya know, even tho so many malign Taco Bell, shouldn’t we give them some credit in trying to move the grand concept of being a ‘melting pot’ nation forward with their latest addition? http://tinyurl.com/qdnknl2

    Did you know when buying avocados, that Y’all need to make sure the “nub” is still on to prevent ‘browning’? I did not know that!

    For those of Y’all who do home cooking and are into “Lavender”:
    At the Farmer’s Market in the parking lot
    6718 Rio Grande Blvd NW
    adjacent to the Village Hall of Los Ranchos
    Special Events:
    Sat. 13 July: Lavender & Garlic Celebration as part of Lavender in the Village ( http://www.lavenderinthevillage.com/);
    The market will feature fresh cut lavender bouquets, lavender plants, companion plants, special lavender products, various types of garlic, and special products featuring garlic.
    * 4-H Students will have a booth with face painting and tattoos!
    * Ask the Expert Tent:
    7:45 – 8:15 am: Cooking with Lavender & Garlic (Savory) – Mia Maes

    8:30 – 9:00 am: Growing Lavender & Companion Plants – Jennifer Timms-Hobson

    9:15 – 10:30 am: Using Lavender/ Lavender Wand demonstration & Workshop – Monica Canaris

    10:45 – 11:15 am: Growing Garlic – Ray Arrowsmith

    11:30 – 12 noon: Cooking with Lavender (Sweets) – Randy Shamlian

    12:15 – 12:45 pm: Cooking with Lavender & Garlic (Savory) – Mia Maes

    Lastly, If you’re into making guac, herein lies (besides an interesting recipe) what may give Gingers a bad name!!
    (Pardon me, as this soulfully brings to mind some vivid eye candy of my youth which was one of most beautiful gals I ever saw who was a Ginger chanteuse in an emerald (not to be confused with chartreuse) gown in a ‘lounge/cabaret’ in Tijuana causing wonder if she’d ever be ‘recognized’ in the greater scheme of things, for her beautiful voice.)

    Now…”Chow!”….go take a cold shower! (For contextual understanding for those reading this at a future time: we are currently in a 100 degree heat wave.)

  47. Rattling Y‘all‘s cages; yanking your Chains (LOL):

    a) What are Y’all YumYum wise, when it comes to Mexican restaurants in New Mexico? Is a Mex vs New Mex distinction too blurred in NM; of benefit; too pedantic-like? Are the Shed and El Modelo, Mexican or New Mexican per your taste buds? Did New Mexico get lost in the shuffle when it comes to an article of the 30 Best Mexican Restaurants in the US as deemed by Travel Leisure magazine http://tinyurl.com/b3phzsp? Should the NM Dept. of Tourism be alerted to speak up to the mag? (The Shed is #10; El Modelo comes in at #27 of 30.) (Apparently, and if I can apologize for our Secretary of the Dept of Tourism Monique Jocobson, she is apparently too busy to receive your emails, so Y’all might try susan.kavanaugh@state.nm.us her Executive Assistant.)

    b) Yo, maybe I’m foggy, but I think in the past someone lamented the loss of GodFather’s Pizza chain. Lest ya missed it in the media, 4 are planned in ABQ over the next 2 years. Was that the one with honky-tonk piano players?

    c) For those of Y’all who scoff at Hot Dogs and refuse to step into the iconic-66, locally owned Dog House, for example, I’ll bet, albeit I haven’t tasted one yet, half of yaz will be doing these http://tinyurl.com/d5jq9my surreptitiously in your backyard if you are a True Foodie! Be advised, The Drones will be watching!

    d) When a New Mexican dish is set down in front of Y‘all, should it be necessary to salt it?
    IMHO, the often multitude of flavors from the tortilla, avocado, various forms of green or red chile, etc. (let alone salt the Chef might add along the way) should be sufficient.

    Pardon, am off to have some roughage!!1

    1. Hola Roberto

      There is a definite blurring of distinction between Mexican and New Mexican food…at least in the way they are perceived. Not everyone seems to recognize that New Mexican cuisine is its own distinctive entity, a fusion of Spanish, Mexican and Puebloan influences. All too often our food is mischaracterized with one national publication even declaring that there isn’t much difference between New Mexican food and the Sonoran influenced food of southern Arizona. Worse, our cuisine has also been labeled as a sub-set of Tex-Mex.

      Travel & Leisure adds to the confusion by declaring The Shed as a Mexican restaurant. Because The Shed deigns to serve toasted French bread instead of sopaipillas, it’s only a matter of time before some yahoo declares The Shed’s cuisine as a fusion of Mexican and French cuisines.

      While it’s rumored that Godfather’s Pizza will be making a return to Albuquerque, those of us who eschew chains are much more excited about something impresario Michael Baird is doing. Baird, who owns Vernon’s Hidden Valley Steakhouse and Prime restaurants in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque will be launching a new pizza concept called Wise Pies Pizza. Wise Pies is a build-your-own pizza concept. No word as to whether you’ll be able to add cucumbers to your pizza ala Cosmo Kramer.



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