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Albuquerque - we live here

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Albuquerque - we live here

by Steve A » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:38 pm

If you ever plan to motor west, there are a few things you should know about food in Albuquerque, and New Mexico. Having moved here from Louisville a little over a year ago we’re not experts, but we’ve been able to start forming opinions about our adopted cuisine.

The first thing you learn here is New Mexico has an official state question “red or green?” Acceptable answers are “red”, “green” or “Christmas.” This refers to the type of chile (NOT “chili”) pepper served. Simply put, red is the matured and dried version of green chile, and Christmas is what you ask for if you want both. Most places will accommodate chile on the side, if you’re so inclined.

Which is a hotter, red or green? It depends. There are different cultivars of the fruit available here, and to my palate most are similar to the Anaheim variety. In finished form it’s perfectly good okay to ask the server about heat levels, as in some cases the red’s spicier, and in others it’s the green. Oh, and they’re available as a complement to all food groups, including Mexican dishes, burgers and even sushi.

You can find elements of Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Tex Mex in the food here. Chile Rellenos are a big thing, as are enchiladas and burritos. New Mexican dishes are usually sauced with the chiles themselves, without a tomato base. You’ll also find whole pinto beans as a substitute for refrieds. A local meat standout is carne adovada, pork cooked in a garlic and zippy red chile garlic sauce. It’s common to find four tortillas as a bread option with meals, and sopapillas served with (sometimes fake) honey will be delivered to the table after your meal at many restaurants.

Though New Mexican flavors are dominant, thanks to our Asian population we have decent Vietnamese, Thai and Sushi restaurants. The Indian subcontinent is also well-represented with full buffets. Fast food is available by the likes of Blake’s Lotaburgers, a local franchise with most of their 75 locations in the state. And yes, they sell a delicious green chile cheeseburger.

If you’re looking for the local quaff, there are a few microbreweries here, as well as local wineries and a handful of local distilleries.
Their product stands up pretty well to the rest of the country.

Since restaurants come and go, your best bet for specific suggestions are local review websites. Top on my list are Gil's Thrilling (And Filling) Blog, and Alibi, the local alt-weekly. Of course you can always drop me a line if you’re looking for more info.
"It ain't a matter of pork 'n beans that's gonna justify your soul
Just don't try to lay no boogie woogie on the king of rock and roll."
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Re: Albuquerque - we live here

by Steve A » Tue Jul 21, 2020 12:41 pm

As you might have guessed, my main post was written before the COVID pandemic. Though we seemed to be spared by the virus early on, in recent weeks there has been an upward trend in cases. Our Native American population has been hit pretty hard, and people here in Albuquerque have let their guard down a bit. With New Mexico situated between two COVID hotspots of Texas and Arizona, we also find ourselves with regional vacationers who don’t particularly follow the self-quarantine orders.

Unfortunately, our restaurants have been hit pretty hard, as well. They were shut down early on, allowing only order pickup and delivery. When our numbers were still on the downswing they were allowed to reopen, first for outdoor dining, then limited indoors. Because of the latest spike, our governor decided to once again shut restaurants down for inside dining. The NM Restaurant Assn. sued in a local court and won a short reprieve which only lasted a few hours before the state supremes reversed that decision.

If there’s a bright spot, it’s that the city of Albuquerque is offering restaurants options for expedited outdoor dining licenses, as well of the possibility of the use of city property and street closures. Grants are available through the city to help pay for tents for outdoor dining. So far, I believe that 70 restaurants or so have taken them up on the offer.

I hope all of our Louisville buddies stay healthy and safe!
"It ain't a matter of pork 'n beans that's gonna justify your soul
Just don't try to lay no boogie woogie on the king of rock and roll."
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Re: Albuquerque - we live here

by Robin Garr » Tue Jul 21, 2020 3:12 pm

Nice to "see" you, Steve!
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Re: Albuquerque - we live here

by Robin F. » Sat Aug 29, 2020 5:03 pm

We took a cooking class in Santa Fe about 10 years ago and learned to make pork adovado! Yummy!

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