albuquerque, nm and area - seeking interesting food finds
Hi! I'm heading back to Albuquerque for the first time in 7 years, lived there for a spell in college, and really want some stupendous New Mexican/Mexican food. I want authentic stuff, and am willing to drive a good drive to get to a great restaurant. After all, I am going to NM specifically to get my green chile fix this August.
I used to eat at the Frontier all the time (what kid in college in Abq didn't?!) and still plan on eating there just for nostalgia, but really want to try NM's take on offal, the "scary" food that most people shy away from and other really interesting/unusual stuff. I want this trip to be a culinary adventure with some sightseeing mixed in (Abq, Santa Fe, White Sands, etc...)
Any and all help would be appreciated!
Monroe's on Lomas has been around since 1962 and, in my humble opinion, has some of the best New Mexican food in town. It has a very unassuming atmosphere which adds to the charm. Another place not far from there is Golden Crown Panaderia, a bakery on Mountain and 11th. They make amazing green chili bread--I recommend the turkey and cheese sandwich on green chili bread which they will happily toast for you. They also make incredible pizza--you can choose from traditional, peasant crust (amazing) and green chili crust (also amazing). They also give you free biscoccitos with your order
Golden Crown Panaderia
1103 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Adelita's in Santa Fe has both tripe and tongue tacos. I dug the tongue but didn't want to try the tripe given I didn't care for menudo. The manager highly recommended them since I easily handled the tongue. Maybe next time. Nice place all around too.
Adelita's in on Cerrillos at the south end of town.
www.tandaapproved.com Restaurant reviews for Santa Fe and northern New Mexico
There's a long thread on this board somewhere about eating in Las Cruces I remember admiring, and people seem to post about Hatch occasionally, although I don't remember hearing about anything spectacular there.
If you end up in Truth or Consequences for some reason, Cafe Bellaluca was the best place in town last time I was there. Their food is pretty unusual for a small town (non-iceberg lettuce, interesting olives, a variety of meats and cheeses, etc, and they have wireless internet). La Cocina and the Hilltop Cafe are fine too, and will put green chile on pretty much anything if you ask. No offal anywhere I've seen, though.
303 Jones St, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901
La Cocina Restaurant
1 Lakeway Dr, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901
1301 N Date St, Truth or Consequences, NM 87901
Only place I've found with tasty bits of offal is the Ranch Pro Market in Albuquerque (at Central and Atrisco). Think Super Walmart only with Mexican foods and products (fresh guavas, squash blossoms. mexican cheeses and creams, mmmm). It is a great place to stop for a quick bite (lots of hot prepared foods) of lengua (tongue) in a fiery green chile and tomatillo sauce. Sit down at one of the indoor picnic tables and grab an agua de Jamaica or tamarindo and you will be a happy camper. Buen provecho
Hmm. While the Barelas Coffee House has good local style menudo, I'm not aware of any restaurants serving a traditional New Mexican take on offal.
As far as other "interesting" food, I've been mentioning "chicos" here lately, because it occurs to me that they're rarely found outside of private homes. It's a dish featuring dried (and sometimes smoked) sweet corn kernels that are reconstituted in a beef stew, often including red chile pods. Matilda's Restaurant in Española is the only place I know that has them on the menu. It's an interesting dish, with the kernels popping sweetly between your molars as you eat the stew. (Do be sure to call before you drive all the way up there - it'd be a shame if the place was closed that day or didn't have chicos on the menu or . . . you know, it's Northern New Mexico! (505) 753-3200 )
The restaurant in El Rancho hotel in Gallup has atole for breakfast, something that's unusual to see. You used to be able to get mutton stew at the KFC in Shiprock.
As far as the "regular" NM food, I agree with your rationale on the Frontier. I've never been impressed with the Frontier's food, and am of the opinion that many of the folks who love it are young, transportation-deprived, live in the area and maybe don't have the most refined palates or cultural knowledge of how chile can taste. Mary & Tito's generally has good red here, and their carne adovada is usually very good. There's so much personal preference, though - I've got friends who love Perea's, others who love Seferino's, others who love El Patio or El Pinto or Sadie's . . . or who love them all. I hope you find something to enjoy with every meal you have here. :-)