Showing posts with label new mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new mexico. Show all posts

Friday, September 23, 2011

Kelly's Brewpub (Albuquerque, NM)

On my last night in Albuquerque, I had dinner with a group of friends and decided to let the local decide where to go. There were quite a few constraints. She had her kid with her so it'll have to be a place where she can bring him. My other friend wanted to check out the Nob Hill area. There has to be alcohol, and it can't be very expensive. We ended up at Kelly's Brewpub, a popular local hangout - probably partly because it's a sports bar and partly because they have 20 of their own brews at a pretty cheap price (you can also apparently make your own beer here).

The food is your typical bar food, and from the little I tried they're pretty mediocre. We did like the green chile cheese fries, because it's hard to go wrong with that.

Green Chile Fried

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Marble Brewery (Albuquerque, NM)

Because of a mishap with my car rental, I took the bus to Sophia's Place with the desert sun beating down on me. For the same reason, I had to skip my visit to Gruet Winery (wouldn't have made it in time), so I decided some cold beers are in order. Turns out, Albuquerque is home to a number of microbreweries and some were on my route back to the hotel. I picked Marble Brewery, since their reserve beer, "From the Wood" was listed of the Top 25 beers in 2010 by Draft Magazine.

The brewery and tap room was surprisingly big, with a big patio area as well.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Sophia's Place (Albuquerque, NM)

Whenever I go to New Mexico, the recommendations I've received for Albuquerque had mainly been Frontier and Sadie's. Frontier's has its own charms: it's extremely cheap and open very late, perhaps even 24 hours? Sadie's ... well, Sadie's feels a bit more like Bucca di Beppo to me. It's huge, you wait for a table with a pager, the portions huge. Then comes Sophia's Place.

Sophia's Place sits a few blocks from Sadie's, a small hole in the wall that's made more famous by being on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Sophia's Place is pretty much a breakfast and lunch place, they close at 3 pm every day. I arrived at 2:45 but they were already starting to close so I sat and ate on the patio.

The regular menu has the usual tacos and enchiladas, plus breakfast items and french toast which seems to be quite popular. I eyed the daily specials and after much indecision, ordered the Calabacitas Relleno.

The Calabacitas Relleno is a chile poblano stuffed with squash, corn, zucchini, and cheese, doused in spicy tomatillo sauce and topped with shredded cheese. Despite being a hole in the wall, this dish was more refined than many places in New Mexico, more care was taken in its preparation. Yes, it was spicy and heavy, but it wasn't overly sauced, or overly stuffed with cheese as they tend to be. I'm not sure what made me order a stuffed chile, being weak to spicy foods as I am, but I was sure glad I did.

The black beans here were quite something, too. Chipotle salsa was added to boiling beans and they are stewed and pureed into something close to a paste in texture, thick and spicy.
Sophia's Place
When you spend more than a week in New Mexico, most of the restaurants' menu started to sound the same. It becomes harder to choose a restaurant. Well, Sophia's Place should be one of your choices for lunch, just as it will be on my list for my subsequent visits to Albuquerque.

Sophia's Place
6313 4th St NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
(505) 345-3935
Sophia's Place on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 1, 2011

Green Chile Burger at Bobcat Bite (Santa Fe, NM)

The green chile burger at Bobcat Bite may be the most famous food item in Santa Fe, having been voted best burger in America by Bon Appetit, featured in Gourmet, Food Network, and many more.

Bobcat Bite is actually on the outskirts of Santa Fe and about a 20-30 minute drive down the Old Las Vegas Highway. We made the drive from the city at the urging of FoodGPS. The restaurant's name apparently came from the wild bobcats that used to wander around to get fed. I wonder if they like green chile too?

Here's the burger breakdown:
Buns from Fano bakery in Santa Fe, a juicy 10 oz patty (ground chuck), a mix of American and Swiss cheese, melted, tomato, lettuce, and of course minced green chile.

Green Chile Burger
Look at that thick juicy patty, pink in the middle:
Green Chile burger - cross section
A very satisfying burger, with a kick. If you're already in Santa Fe, it's not that far of a drive and worth visiting. Eat outside or in the low ceiling-ed dining room. It's tight, but it's part of the experience.


Bobcat Bite
420 Old Las Vegas Highway
Santa Fe, NM 87505
(505) 983-5319
Bobcat Bite Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Pantry (Santa Fe, NM): Breakfast with the Locals

The Pantry was probably the most memorable breakfast I had in Santa Fe.
The PR for Taste of Santa Fe set us up for breakfast at The Pantry. When we arrived the place was bustling with locals. The Pantry is a Santa Fe institution that first opened its doors in 1948. Since then it has changed ownerships a few times but it seems to be doing quite well under the current owners, the Singley family. The son had just graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale and is on track to take over the business.

As most meals in New Mexico, The Pantry provided one big, heavy, breakfast.
After waiting a day and a half, I finally got my sopapillas!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Taste of Santa Fe 2010: Gala Dinner

Returning to the Santa Fe trip that I took along with some bloggers for Taste of Santa Fe, the annual fundraising gastronomic event for the New Mexico History Museum...

The gala dinner was actually held inside the New Mexico History Museum. The wall facing the entrance bore a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

We cannot escape history. We ... will be remembered in spite of ourselves.
The cocktail reception was delayed a bit by a short thunder storm (the locals told us this happens pretty much every day around 5-6 pm. Wow!) but once that ends attendees mingled, ate, and drank on the damp grass.
A tequila cocktail made by mixologist Daniel Gonzales from Secreto Bar at Hotel St. Francis was garnished with a parmesan crisp.
Chef John Sedlar of Rivera Restaurant in LA was a guest chef at both the gala dinner and the main event the next day. As appetizers at the gala dinner, chef Sedlar prepared his famous tortillas florales. Here he infuses flavors from the other Indian cuisine. You know, the one with the dot. One of the tortillas were topped with cucumber raita.

Chef Mick Hug from Buffalo Thunder Resort started the night off well with some appetizers:
Seared scallops served alongside crispy goat cheese with dried cherries poached in a spice wine.
During the gala dinner they had chefs from four restaurants prepare a couple of dishes each, and attendees will vote for their favorite.

We grabbed food from the different stations and went to find a table. There were quite a few people in attendance, occupying both the first and second floor of the museum.

I loved the creative centerpieces they had made with celery stalks and red chile.

The highlight of the meal was the Chile RelleƱo del Cielo from Hotel St. Francis’ Tabla de Los Santos Restaurant. The green chiles were stuffed with mushrooms and served in a pinto bean-garlic sauce.

For desserts: chocolate cupcake with local wild cherries from Embudo Station was so good, I think I had three (what? they were small!). The flavors of the cherries really came through even among the chocolate and frosting.

More coverage of Taste of Santa Fe:
TravelLady Magazine (with a lot more on the history of New Mexico and Santa Fe)

My post on the main event.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Kakawa (Santa Fe, NM): A Meso-American Chocolate House

Continuing our Taste of Santa Fe trip ...

Ever since Mattatouille pointed out the Sante Fe chocolate trail to me over breakfast, I had my mind set on visiting Kakawa, a chocolate shop featuring Meso-American style chocolates and truffles infused with chili.
There were also samples of some gluten free Aztec brownies (spiced with chile and other spices) when we entered the little adobe house. Since they were gluten free the brownies were a bit on the dry side, but the I enjoyed the heat from the spice.
I found their most interesting offerings are the Meso American chocolate "elixirs". They're much thicker and richer than hot chocolates - they're pretty much melted chocolates. They have European-style chocolate elixirs too, but this place is called Kakawa after all.

An espresso-sized cup of chocolate elixir is $3.50 which by no means is cheap, but considering how thick and rich these elixirs are, you'd understand. You're paying for the cocoa, not hot water.

After tasting quite a few, my favorite elixir was the Atole, made with blue corn atole (atole refers to a Mexican/Central American masa-based hot drink), unsweetened 99% chocolate, honey, chili, salt.
You can take most of the chocolate elixirs home in dehydrated wafer formats, and reconstitute them with a little hot water. Buying the wafers aren't much cheaper either, they're $16.95 for 3 wafers which make for 6 oz each.

Alas, the Atole isn't available in dehydrated form (apparently dehydrating it doesn't work out for this one), so I opted to take home the Mayan Full Spice instead, made with unsweetened 99% chocolate, agave nectar, chihuacle negro chili, mexican vanilla, and various herbs, flowers, nuts, and spices.

Read Food GPS' review here.

Kakawa Chocolate House
1050 E. Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 982-0388
Kakawa Chocolate House on Urbanspoon

Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM

Albuquerque Restaurant Reviews
Kelly's Brewpub
Sophia's Place

Albuquerque Breweries
Marble Brewery

Santa Fe Restaurant Reviews
BobCat Bite
Cafe Pasqual
The Shed
The Pantry


Eastside Compound - Kokopelli Real Estate and Property Management

La Chiripada Winery (Dixon)

Taste of Santa Fe 2010 - Gala Dinner
Taste of Santa Fe 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Recap: Taste of Santa Fe 2010

Taste of Santa Fe was the annual fundraiser for the New Mexico History Museum, apparently a pretty small event that had hibernated over the recent years. This year, though, they relaunched Taste of Santa Fe bigger than ever, gearing it up to be one of the premier food events in the area. For that same reason, they invited Angeleno bloggers who are willing to go to Santa Fe to join them for the event (Disclaimer: we received free tickets to the events and lodging, but paid for own transport).

The main event took place at the Santa Fe Railyard Park on July 17.

It was a hot afternoon in Santa Fe (about 94 degrees!), and having been spoiled in Southern California, we had a hard time bearing with the sun and the heat. That's why I immediately veered towards to gelato booth and got the Blackberry Cabernet Sorbetto from O-Gelato, which had just opened on July 3.
Their other flavors included Ispaha, made with Parisian rosewater and raspberry, and Harry's Peach Bellini.

Mole and taquitos were abound, but there were more than New Mexican cuisine to be found at Taste of Santa Fe, although of course many incorporate ingredients and influences from the area. The resorts and fine dining restaurants participated with offerings such as seared tuna.

A non-VIP ticket to Taste of Santa Fe only gave us one drink, which was unfortunate considering the weather. I had to choose carefully. Since the wines weren't local and I tried many of the beers from the Santa Fe Brewing Co., I opted for the Chicken Killer Barley Wine Ale (yes, partly due to its awesome name).
This was fairly balanced with a bit of both maltiness and hop without being too bitter for me.
You can buy fork up cash for more drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, though we didn't do so that day.

A sample of the homemade lemonade from Flying Star Cafe was such a lifesaver in the sweltering heat, I even stopped by the actual cafe to buy a full glass.

One of my favorite tastes that day was this BBQ ribs with red chile honey glaze and green chile cole slaw from Josh's Barbecue.

This year's event brought Chef John Sedlar of Rivera Restaurant in LA for a cooking demonstration. Chef Sedlar grew up in Santa Fe and has also given us some restaurant recommendations for the area.
He prepared a dish called Scallops Arabesque which calls for Vadouvan, an Indian spice blend.
Chef Sedlar suggests using grapeseed oil since it can go to high temperature and doesn't burn.

Since Chef Sedlar had also made this dish for a Los Angeles Mag's event, you can find the full recipe for it here.

Chile, both red and green, can be found everywhere, including on your kettle corn. Kernel's Kettle Corn which normally parks its cart on the Plaza, offers three flavors: original, red chile, and green chile. Both sweet and spicy, these were actually pretty addictive.

Can you see the red chili powder?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

La Chiripada Winery (Dixon, New Mexico)

Seems like almost every state makes their own wine now, and New Mexico certainly is no exception. In fact, Albuquerque's Gruet Winery is pretty well known for their sparkling wines. Put a group of graduate students in Los Alamos for 2 weeks and we won't fail to take advantage of the weekends to go wine tasting.

A quick research on the smartphone brought us to La Chiripada.

La Chiripada is a quaint and modest winery in Dixon (50 miles north of Santa Fe) marked by a small adobe structure, where casual wine tastings are held. We walked in with hair still wet from the rafting trip that morning. You can do that in New Mexico, it's just that kind of lifestyle.

Surrounded by the beautiful landscape of New Mexico

La Chiripada was started in 1977 in the Rio Embudo Valley of NM and now produces a variety of red, white, and dessert wines. Many of the red varieties are local, including Canoncito and their most popular, Rio Embudo Red, a local Leon Millot French hybrid grape variety.
Most of the reds weren't "quite there yet" for me being perfectly drinkable and enjoyable but without enough depth. Keep in mind we tried young wines during the tasting, though I did enjoy the Reserve selection.

The whites fared better, on the other hand, with the crispness I tend to look for in my whites.
Since the tasting fee is waived when you buy a bottle, I took home a bottle of the Special Reserve Riesling.

La Chiripada Winery
Hwy 75 (3 miles East of the Hwy 68 and Hwy 75 junction)
Dixon, NM

Friday, August 14, 2009

Los Alamos, in a Nutshell

I spent the last three weeks in New Mexico - mostly in Los Alamos - for a summer program. (That's also why I haven't been blogging/tweeting much, for those of you that missed me! Anyone? No?)

The first day there I was taken aback when my Yelp list of "highest rated" restaurants in Los Alamos yielded Sonic's Drive-In for #5 and McDonald's as #6! Thankfully there are actual good places to eat around town. This post is for those of you who may find yourself in Los Alamos one day for whatever reason.

Here's the low-down on Los Alamos restaurants:
Bob's Bodacious BBQ/ Hill Diner/ Blue Window/ Origami/ Pyramid Cafe/ Daniel's Cafe/ Central Ave Grill/ Coffee House/ Canyon Bar and Grill

Bob's Bodacious BBQBob's Bodacious BBQ on Urbanspoon
3801 Arkansas Ave
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-4227

Probably the best bet for your money in this town. A pulled pork sandwich will set you back $5.99 while half a rack of tender ribs will cost you $9.99 -- both items are at the top of my list for Los Alamos fares. Three different bbq sauces are available table side and there's a special pork sauce available for your pulled pork.

Bonus: Plenty of bottled beers here including what local microbreweries are churning out.

Hill DinerHill Diner on Urbanspoon
1315 Trinity Dr
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-9745

A great 50's style dinner dishing up comfort foods with a New Mexican kick. You can find things from chicken fried steak to tortilla burger with sides like fried okra or fried green beans.

What's a tortilla burger you ask? Why, it is a burger patty wrapped in flour tortilla of course, topped with melted cheddar cheese and doused generously with green chile.

Blue WindowBlue Window on Urbanspoon
813 Central Ave
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-6305
Relatively pricey compared to the other restaurants in the same strip mall, but a cute place for a nice dinner. New Mex food is not the focus here - blue corn enchilada was stuffed with tons of meat but was dry and undersauced. Instead go with items like the southwest chicken.

OrigamiOrigami on Urbanspoon
182 Central Park Sq
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 661-2592

Because one needs Asian food at least once every two weeks. Don't expect traditional sushi but do expect sometimes-spicy, sometimes-creamy rolls including a fun one called TNT fired up at your table (pictured below).

Besides sushi rolls there are also udon plus the usual popular Japanese fares like teriyaki and tonkatsu. Also available are soon dubu and a few other korean items (Korean-run restaurant, perhaps?). Coming from LA this place is just a-ok but it's a quick-fix for my Asian food cravings.

Daniel's CafeDaniel's Cafe on Urbanspoon
800 Trinity Dr Ste D
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-3131

There's a big Haagen Dazs sign out front, but don't be fooled, this place does more than scooping ice cream. For lunch get a salad or a nice sandwich like a beer brat topped with cheese and sauerkraut. The ingredients here are key and high quality. The brat had a great bite to it and hey, it helped my hangover.

Pyramid CafePyramid Cafe on Urbanspoon
751 Central Ave
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 661-1717

It's nice to know there are other options besides enchiladas and burgers in town. Pyramid Cafe serves solid Mediterranean food with a decent selection of beer and wines (they also have wi-fi if you want to live-blog. Oooh). If you get lucky you can catch a dance show here. The lamb shank is purportedly excellent but you can also go light and healthy with a vegetarian couscous. And yes, that is a fried whole green chili on top.

Central Ave GrillCentral Avenue Grill on Urbanspoon
1789 Central Ave Ste 1
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-2005

The "fancy" restaurant in town, the entrees here do run for a higher price and the portions are smaller (which might actually be a welcomed change after a while). That said, the food is also more refined. Sit on the patio for a casual dinner or inside for a more business-like or date dinner. There's a bar in the back called Quark where (they claim) "your big problems become small particles of matter" (ha!). I said it's a bar but they still close at 8:30 pm anyway.

The CoffeeHouse CafeThe CoffeeHouse Cafe on Urbanspoon
723 Central Ave
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-2233

With a good hot chocolate, good gelato and sorbet, and free wi-fi, this place became my hangout. The limoncello sorbet was so refreshing and the chocolate gelato was dark and rich. The Mexican hot chocolate is not spicy enough, unfortunately. They also serve food with an extensive menu and enlarged portions. During "happy hour" before 7 pm get the daily dish for a discounted price. Their lasagna was too runny to stand up but tasty nonetheless and their gigantic enchilada is enough for 2. Or maybe 3. They're open later than the surrounding restaurants, which really just means they're open til 9 pm instead of 8:30.

Canyon Bar and GrillCanyon Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon
163 Central Park Sq
Los Alamos, NM 87544
(505) 662-3333

The only real bar in town (besides the one at the Best Western hotel). Draft beers, good tequila selection, bottled beers both imported and local New Mexican beers.
Pros: Two pool tables ($0.50 per play), dart board, and the fact that cocktails cost $4.25! (hey, coming from Los Angeles, that's uber cheap).
Cons: For music you need to pay and pick at the jukebox. They also close at midnight even on Friday nights, which means last call is at 11:45 pm.

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