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ABQ Convention Center chow?

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Hi all! Texas hound here, will be visiting your town for a conference at the convention center (downtown). Is there anything good, or at least decent, within walking distance? Preferably cheap to medium prices, as my per diem is lousy. I'm especially looking forward to trying one of those vaunted green chile cheeseburgers while I'm there. Thanks in advance!

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  1. Hmm. Since I enjoy your state so much, I certainly want to help you find good chow that will suit your needs.

    Walking distance doesn't help your search for a good green chile cheeseburger (I'd tell you to drive an hour and a half south to the Buckhorn in San Antonio, NM for an outstanding one). I'll try to steer you only to places where I would eat.

    Near the convention center there's a decent NM place, La Esquina, in the basement of The Galleria (just S and across the street from you, at 2nd/3rd and Tijeras). There's a Brasilian churrascaria chain, Tucanos, a couple of blocks SE of you at 1st and Central - just like what you'd get at a Brasilian BBQ (my stepmother is a Brasilera). There's a decent Thai place (Crystal Thai?) on the S side of the same building as Tucanos. Another decent but inexpensive place is Nick's, a Greek/American place on the SW corner of 4th and Central. An authentic mom-n-pop NM place that I've enjoyed but that I wouldn't necessarily say is the best is Cecelia's at the SE corner of Silver and 6th or 7th - a bit more of a walk than the others I've mentioned so far, but it's muy autentico. Slate Street Cafe (go north past Lomas Blvd to Slate St, then over to between 5th & 6th on the N side of the street) has sort of "classier" lunches - it's a bit of a walk for you, but you'll escape your fellow conventiongoers (at the expense of being surrounded by lawyers).

    If you don't mind a longer walk and want to try a real authentic Albuquerque place, walk W on Tijeras until it hits Central, and then continue W to The Doghouse (1216 Central SW; 243-1019). It's inexpensive, and a footlong chili dog will leave your mouth smoking. But that's only good if you're in pretty good walking shape - further than the Doghouse isn't really do-able for most folks at lunch.

    Just FYI in case you need really cheap and fast, there's a Subway on the street level of the Galleria building just S of the Convention Center. It can get crowded.

    Please feel free to email me if you have any Qs about more specific ideas. I have an office right where you'll be on Mondays and Fridays, so I get out to eat lunch around there a fair amount.

    cheers, erich

    1. Thanks so much, Erich! I'm especially excited about trying some real NM food. I'm not a huge fan of Tex-Mex, but I do enjoy other kinds of Mexican. I wish I had more time and a car so I could really explore your city and its restaurants!

      Is there anywhere walking distance that I can get any kind of green chile cheeseburger? I've heard so much about them that I feel I shouldn't leave without trying one. I have no basis for comparison, so "decent" or even "edible" will do. (I hope that doesn't make me a bad hound!)

      1. I'm with Erich. La Esquina is terrific, but very crowded at lunch time. Tucanos is okay, but the acoustics are terrible. Its very noisy. The Dog House is pretty good, but kind of a hike from where you're going to be. Not the New Mexican cuisine you're looking for, but Tai Crystal restaurant, 109 Gold ave sw is very good (about 2 blocks from the convention center). Hope you enjoy your visit.

        1. You could get green chile on your slice of pizza at NYPD (New York Pizza Department), between 2nd & 3rd on Central...

          1. Hey PPPPPartner, if you'll be around on a Monday or a Friday, I'll DRIVE you to get a decent green chile cheeseburger.

            Otherwise, any Blake's Lotaburger will at least give you a decent one. The Owl Cafe in San Antonio claims to have originated the green chile cheeseburger, for the guys working on the Trinity device - there are a couple of Owl Cafe spinoffs in ABQ that aren't too bad. One is just N of downtown in a freeway-side strip mall location (this is where I'd propose driving us if you are around then).

            South of downtown in the Barelas neighborhood (on 4th St) is a little hole-in-the-wall burger place called the Red Ball. They will have green chile cheeseburgers. It's a bit of a hike though not the best neighborhood, though. I don't know that you could do it and be back in time if you only had a short lunch break.

            Chances are that any of the pub-type restaurants downtown could do you a green chile cheeseburger, but it wouldn't be an especially good one. I really do think that the Buckhorn has the best one I've ever had.

            1. Thanks for the kind offer, Erich! You're a truly dedicated hound. :) And thanks chilehound and tenacity for the recs. Unfortunately I've realized that most of my meals will be in meetings and such, so I might only have time for one, maybe two meals out during the weekend. So maybe I'll leave the cheeseburger to another, more leisurely trip and stick with the places you guys have recommended. Looking forward to it!

              1. Have a nice trip and ¡buen provecho!

                1. Cafe Cafe is a little restaurant on the ground level of the Galeria building that specializes in muffins and sandwiches. (La Esquina mentioned above is in the basement of the same building). Each morning they bake the bread they use for sandwiches throughout the day. Anyway, if you're in the area on Wednesday morning, try their cornbread muffin with green chile and sausage baked into it. It's big enough for a meal and they're fantastic. They're usually gone by lunchtime though and they only make them on Wednesdays.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: andreapa

                    I've lived in Albuquerque for 17 years and didn't know about this little restaurant. Sounds tempting. I'll need to go check it out. Thanks for the suggestion.

                    1. re: chilehound

                      I wonder, is that where Frank's Other Place use to be?

                      1. re: gina

                        Cafe Cafe is located inside the south tower of the Galeria building so you actually have to enter the building. If you were standing facing the bank of elevators on the ground level then Cafe Cafe is to your right. I've been working in that building since 1999 and Cafe Cafe was there when I started. Frank's Other Place's entrance is?/was? on the exterior of the building.

                        I hope that helps.

                  2. Andreapa, I work there, too! I'm in SF Tu-Th, but up on the 7th floor M&F. Maybe we ought to see if there're enough of us downtown to have a chowish lunch sometime?

                    Alas, I've never been to Cafe Cafe . . . my low carb diet doesn't leave much for me to eat there.

                    1. A chowhound lunch might be fun. If anyone else is interested, let me know. I'm in.

                      1. Maybe we ought to throw a separate post out on the board for the ABQ chowhound lunch topic. The coming holidays may put a cramp on some folks' ability to join us . . .