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Albuquerque suggestions?

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DH and I will be in Albuquerque next week. Neither of us has spent much time in NM before. We're from the Boston area and are keen to explore the chow in the Southwest. I've been lurking on this board and checking out websites to get restaurant recommendations so we have a list of places to eat. But we're thinking of relocating to the area so we'd like to go further than that.

Can anyone suggest ethnic groceries we should visit? Or farmers markets? Are there unusual kitchenware places to explore? We're open to anything that locals find interesting and unique to the area.

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  1. Ta lin asian grocery is awesome. I now live in southern cal (San DIego) and have to go L.A. to get a close approximation to Ta Lin. Albuquerque is one of the best inexpensive food towns in all of America. Food is a recreational sport in Albuquerque.

    3 Replies
    1. re: SeanT

      Thanks SeanT, I'll put Ta lin on the list. We shop regularly at Asian groceries here so that's important info.

      This may sound too obvious, but where would I get good New Mexican or Mexican foods? I'd like to bring back some local goodies - Hatch chiles or anything else that is typically Southwestern.

      1. re: cheryl_h

        +1 for Ta Lin (88 Louisiana SE, 505-268-0206). There are other decent Asian groceries scattered around town as well (check the yellow pages when you get here if you want to do a tour).

        For a decent variety of local chiles (you, of course, know that green chile is seasonal, and this is the wrong season to get it fresh), you might try the Hi Lo Market (2513 4th NW, 505-247-0549) or any of the Fruit Basket stores (8405 4th NW/898-7367, 6343 4th NW/344-0885, or 3821 12th NW/345-3942, all area codes 505). (I've introduced several out-of-state friends to the Fruit Basket, and they now all visit on their way out of town each time.) You'll find _Mexican_ foods at a large grocery just S of Central on San Pedro (on the W side of the street) - it used to be So-Lo, but I can't recall what they're calling it now.

        Fresh Herbs (formerly B Riley Herbs, 670 Juan Tabo NE, 505-275-0902) is worth a stop as well. Mostly a restaurant supply place, they've got all kinds of stuff - a real underutilized resource for the public. Go in the morning to be sure they're open.

        There are farmers markets as well, but I'm from farm country and I've always been singularly unimpressed so I'll let others discuss those. Now We're Cooking (5901 Wyoming NE, 505-857-9625) has some interesting kitchenware, but nothing you can't find elsewhere in the country.

        I agree that ABQ has a great variety of inexpensive ethnic chow, but you've already looked into restaurants elsewhere. Please feel free to email for my phone number if you get serious about moving here and want to talk to a local about pros/cons of possible areas. Have a nice trip!

        1. re: Erich

          Thank you for the information, especially the addresses and phone numbers. I'm extending my list of places to visit. And thank you for the offer of help. If we do decide to move, it won't be for a while but we want to get some idea of what it would be like to live there. I love browsing through groceries and markets, the more local and idiosyncratic the better. We plan to eat a lot of New Mexican, Mexican and Vietnamese while I'm there, none of which we get much of in Boston. And I hope to bring back lots of chiles and other Southwestern foods.

    2. I lived in Albuquerque in the late 70's and early 80's when I was a little girl (we moved away when I was 10 in 1984), so let me start by saying that my info is not current in the least, but I do remember my time in the Burque as being full of wonderful people and delicious food. Just hearing "New Mexico" starts the mouth watering. While you are there you must must must go for a drive outside of town in reservation land, if you see a roadside stand anywhere run by Native Americans STOP AND EAT. Green chile stew with fry bread from a roadside lean-to is a joy experienced by few and something your tastebuds will remember for 23+ years (haha...as long ago as I had it). Not really sure if this is the season for it, though. I remember warm weather and summer clothes!

      3 Replies
      1. re: ballulah

        Mmm, ballulah, and how about those big corn-cob-sized tamales they used to sell up at Jemez for $3 apiece? You were handed this thing that looked like an ear of corn, but it weighed more. Wonderfully tasty "bone-stew" red chile inside - finest kind!

        1. re: Erich

          You have no idea how much I miss the food in New Mexico, and how difficult it is to find anything approximating New Mexican cuisine in the NE. You're making my mouth water. I nearly cried this weekend because of the saddest, rubberiest, soapiest tasting tortillas I've ever seen/tasted, and I miss warm tortillas straight from the griddle. And biscochitos! I need to come down there soon! ...well, not too soon, maybe in October in time for green chile season.

          1. re: ballulah

            No one should have to miss out! You should be able to approximate NM recipes with red chile powder or pods (not too hard to get - you can mail-order from the Fruit Basket) - email me if you need fundamental recipes. Alas, as for the tortillas, my mother-in-law makes good ones but HER mother-in-law (may she rest in peace) made SPECTACULAR ones. Tortillas are not in my range, but I can refer you to a cookbook that's not far off - though you'll have to experiment for a while.

            Hang in there, ballulah! And let me know if you need recipes.

      2. The BEST tortilla's in ABQ are at Frontier, on Central directly across from UNM. They sell them a dozen in a bag, hot off the grill and are wonderful. Their food is also really traditional New Mexican. There won't be any farmer's markets open at this time of year, but Fruit Baskets are a good sub. While it is not NM unique, Sunflower on Alameda/RT 528 north of Cottonwood Mall has great produce {across from Hooters}, and other SW goodies.

        TaLin is excellent and has many food products from around the world, not just SW.

        505 Chile has some great salsa etc to take home, you can also eat there. 3313 Girard Blvd NE
        Albuquerque, NM 87107
        Just North of Candelaria on Girard
        (Girard is between Richmond & Vassar)
        505chile.com

        I put this together FYI. These are all places I have eaten at and consider my favorites. I have not included any national chains. I hope you can use this info. I probably missed some;
        $$ means expensive; type of food is indicated if title of restaurant isn't clear; general location given. All are in ABQ proper unless otherwise noted.

        Local chains with mulitple locations:
        Garcia's Kitchen - New Mexican
        Little Anita's - New Mexican
        Flying Star - coffee, desserts, good food; eclectic
        Dions - pizza [best chain]
        Papa Johns - pizza
        Garduno's - mexican [pretty run of the mill]
        Weck's -breakfast
        Souper Salad
        [Don't bother with seafood, chinese as these just aren't worth it here]

        Abuelita's New Mexican Kitchen [about 25 minutes north of ABQ] on the way to Santa Fe
        621 S CAMINO DEL PUEBLO
        BERNALILLO, NM
        (505)867-9988

        Al's NYPD Pizza - downtown
        (505) 766-6973
        215 Central Ave Nw

        Ambrozia Cafe $$ contemporart[Old town]
        505/242-6560
        108 Rio Grande Blvd. NW,

        Artichoke Cafe $$- eclectic, contemporary American
        (505) 243-0200
        424 Central Ave SE

        Barelas Coffee House - New Mexican Food
        (505) 843-7577
        1502 4th St SW

        Casa de benavidez New Mexican - north valley [ 20 minutes ]
        505/898-3311
        8032 4th St. NW,

        Cervantes - New Mexican Food
        (505) 262-2253
        5801 Gibson Blvd Se [near airport]

        Duran's Central Pharmacy New Mexican/SW
        [old Town; don't let name fool you]
        505/247-4141
        1815 Central Ave. NW

        El Patio New Mexican/SW [Univ area]
        505/268-4245
        142 Harvard St. NE

        El Modelo Mexican Foods
        (505) 242-1843
        1715 2nd St Sw

        El Pinto New Mexican [20 minutes north of ABQ; on way to santa Fe]
        (505) 898-1771
        10500 4th St NW

        Graze $$ contemporary [Nob Hill]
        505/268-4729
        3128 Central Ave. SE

        Gold Street Cafe - american [downtown]
        505/765-1633
        218 Gold Ave. SW

        Frontier - new mexican, across from Univ. of NM
        (505) 266-0550
        2400 Central Ave SE

        Great American Land & Cattle $$ steak
        505-292-1510
        1550 Tramway Blvd NE

        Il Vicino Wood Oven pizza - Nob hill/University area
        [also various locations]
        (505) 266-7855
        3403 Central Ave NE

        La Crepe Michelle - french, in Old Town
        (505) 242-1251
        400 San Felipe St Nw

        Los Cuates New Mexican
        (505) 255-5079
        4901 Lomas Blvd NE

        The Melting Pot - fondue; in Old Town
        (505) 843-6358
        2011 Mountain Rd Nw

        Pars - mediterranean
        (505) 345-5156
        4320 25 Way NE [near movie complex at Jefferson & I 25]

        Powdrells BBQ
        (505) 298-6766
        11301 Central Ave Ne
        and
        (505) 345-8086
        5209 4th St Nw

        Quarters - BBQ [near Airport]
        505/843-7505
        801 Yale Blvd. SE

        Ranchers Club $$
        ABQ Hilton
        505/889-8071
        1901 University Blvd. NE

        Range Cafe - new mexican and american [good]
        multiple locations
        (505) 293-2633
        4200 Wyoming Blvd Ne B2

        Robbs Ribbs BBQ
        (505) 884-7422
        3000 San Pdro Dr Ne Ste C

        Rudy's BBQ
        (505) 884-4000
        2321 Carlisle Blvd Ne

        Sadies -New Mexican
        (505) 345-5339
        6230 4th St NW

        Scalo - northern Italian $$ [Nob Hill]
        505/255-8781
        3500 Central Ave. SE

        Seasons Rotisserie & Grill $$ [Old Town]
        505/766-5100
        2031 Mountain Rd. NW,

        Yanni's - mediterranean/greek [Nob Hill/Univ area]
        (505) 268-9250
        3109 Central Ave Ne

        Zinc Wine Bar $$ contemporary [Nob Hill]
        505/254-9462
        3009 Central Ave. NE

        Rt. 66 Diner [not my favorite, but has it's fans] [west of Univ. area]
        505/247-1421
        1405 Central Ave. NE

        Enjoy!

        Debi