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looking for an outstanding NM meal for a one night stay in ALB- is it possible to have it in Old Town? and also a great breakfast!

Hi,

My husband and I will be on our way to the Lightning Fields in mid-October, and will have one evening in Albuquerque on our way there. We would like to see a bit of the city as neither of us have ever been there and have a great New Mexico meal. I have yet to choose the hotel where we'll stay and would like to pick one relatively convenient to the restaurant we choose or close to a breakfast place before our drive to Quemado (that's the kind of girl I am). Is it possible to have a great meal in Old Town?

Looking at older posts, the recommended places are Mary & Tito's, Cecilia's, el Modelo and El Pinto. Someone mentioned Monica's El Portal in Old Town but I couldn't find any other rec. Barela's seems to be a favorite, so we might want to do that for breakfast before heading out. As it seems that everything is relatively close, i wouldn't mind driving somewhere to have the right meal. Could you pitch in re your favorite places, and what to order there?

thanks!

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Monica's El Portal Restaurant
321 Rio Grande Blvd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

El Pinto
10500 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87114

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  1. I leave the Alb. recs. to the Duke Citites. Le Pinto is huge, both in servings and seating. Not my favorite. Eat at the Quemado Cafe, real home cooked food and a decent green chile cheeseburger. Don't miss the cafe in Pie Town, 10 mi from Quemado. If your in luck they'll have the apple, green chile and pinon nut pie.

    1. Of the places on your list, Mary & Tito's probably has the most flavorful food. I think it's widely considered one of the best NM places in Albuquerque. But, just so you know, they're only open until 6 most days, and until 7:30 or 8 on Friday and Saturday. I'm with Passadumkeg in not being all that crazy about El Pinto despite the lovely patio.

      Some other places you might want to consider:

      Sophia's Place (N 4th St. Somewhat divey place w/ surprisingly good food -- chef/owner used to be a cook at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, then came home to NM to start his own restaurant. Probably best for breakfast.)

      Slate Street Cafe (also for breakfast -- Not strictly NM food, but they have the fabulous Duran's red chile because the owner is the daughter of the owner of Duran's. To my taste, the food at Slate is better than Duran's.)

      El Patio -- In the University area. Other Hounds may disagree, but I like the homey flavors of their simple NM food.

      Casa Vieja -- For dinner. It's up in Corrales, so it's a trek, but I think they do a really nice job with NM classics and put an interesting twist on their other Southwestern-style food. More upscale than most Abq NM-style restaurants, but still quite casual.

      I'm surprised there aren't more responses to your question, though, Adamandeve. Is everybody out of town?

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      Sophia's Place
      6313 4th St NW, Albuquerque, NM 87107

      Slate Street Cafe
      515 Slate Ave NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

      Casa Vieja
      4541 Corrales RD, Corrales, NM 87048

      4 Replies
      1. re: ninrn

        El Patio was recommended to me by one of my Hispanic students, as the place to go for the at NM treat, the sopappailla. They are light and fluffy. I prefer the chile at Padilla's, around the corner on Girard.
        Here's an older post that you should find helpful:
        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/728171

        After a summer in Maine, we fly back into The Duke City at 9 pm on Aug. 2nd at 9 pm, my problem is where to find some good NM grub at 10 pm, before an hours drive west. I think we're stuck w/ The Frontier, a great university place for people watching, but unless you are a Lobo alum (I am.), much better NM fare can be found. Have fun. Lots of good eats just off of Central, Old Rt. 66, my old stomping grounds.

        1. re: Passadumkeg

          oh but Frontiers tortilla,, mmmmm, the best around. I still like eating at Frontier, call me a diehard.

          1. re: DebitNM

            I have a big "S" on my t-shirt for Sopappailla!
            Yes, I have a fond spot for The Frontier since 1978.
            It could be a lot worse.
            What is your single fave NM resto. in Alb.?
            It was 32 years ago today, that I left Albuquerque to Oslo. :(.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              You know we can't seem to find one spot that has it all for us.Garcia's carne adovada and red chile for hubby and their chile rellenos for me are tops [the one on 4th and Mountain is the best, no they are not all the same, minor variations]. Now if they could just serve tortillas from Frontier....

              If you want a nice breakfast, not NM, but really nice, The Grove on Central, just west of I 25 is tops.

              To

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              Grove Cafe & Market
              600 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque, NM

      2. I had a great meal at Seasons in Albuquerque. It's in Old Town. We also stayed at Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town, which was adjacent to Seasons and we walked over. Old Town offers some more casual New Mexican places, most of which are probably mentioned above. Seasons is more about local seasonal foods.

        http://www.seasonsabq.com/

        http://www.hotelabq.com/

        15 Replies
        1. re: Lambowner

          thanks everyone for the recs. I am definitively looking for a place where we can eat closer to 8 pm! Maybe I'll repost later one, as people must indeed be out of town! :)

          1. re: adamandeve

            Did you find my Chowhound thread helpful? It's a pretty good list and there are a few more. I'll post them if want.

            1. re: Passadumkeg

              yes! Thanks. I am intrigued by Frontier, Ezra and Casa Vieja. How far is the drive from the airport to Casa Vieja? Would you recommend that over more 'traditional' NM places given that my husband has never had NM food?

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              Casa Vieja
              4541 Corrales RD, Corrales, NM 87048

              1. re: adamandeve

                Airport to Frontier is 15 mins tops. I think it really should be a required stop for all arriving passengers!

                1. re: DebitNM

                  More like 5, straight down Yale. W/ late flights, little choice, but not unhappy. The UNM gym used to across the street w/ the football stadium behind it! Oooolllldddd!

                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                      Going to have to update that list one of these days. Thanks for bringing it up!

                      1. re: DebitNM

                        We just finished 17 lbs of steamed clams. OD'ing on seafood before the return to The Land of the Enchanting Red & Green Chile. I've got an elk permit, so maybe some good eats!

                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                          I completely understand - I downed a 1.5# lobster on my last night in East Hampton a few weeks back, Could have done a bigger one!

                      2. re: Passadumkeg

                        OK- please mark your TOP choice for DINNER from the following:

                        Abuelita's New Mexican Kitchen
                        Barelas Coffee House
                        Casa de benavidez
                        Cervantes -
                        Duran's Central Pharmacy
                        El Patio New Mexican/SW
                        El Modelo Mexican Foods
                        Frontier
                        Los Cuates New Mexican
                        Sadies

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                        Barelas Coffee House
                        1502 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

                        Los Cuates
                        4901 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

                        El Modelo Mexican Foods
                        1715 2nd St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

                        1. re: adamandeve

                          Abuelita's New Mexican Kitchen - not in ABQ proper [Bernalillo and I think Isleta]
                          Barelas Coffee House - don't think it's open for dinner
                          Casa de benavidez -good, in the north valley - about 15 - 20 min drive.
                          Cervantes - meh, pass
                          Duran's Central Pharmacy - don't think it is open for dinner.
                          El Patio New Mexican/SW
                          El Modelo Mexican Foods -
                          Frontier - solid
                          Los Cuates New Mexican
                          Sadies

                          -----
                          Barelas Coffee House
                          1502 4th St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

                          Los Cuates
                          4901 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110

                          El Modelo Mexican Foods
                          1715 2nd St SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

                          1. re: adamandeve

                            I'm pretty sure Barelas is only open until around 3. Duran Central Pharmacy and El Modelo close around 6:30. I'd give somewhere between a meh and a blech to both Cervantes and Sadie's. So, if you've ruled out Casa Vieja, I'm voting for El Patio. Even though their chile isn't the very best in town, I think they give a nice all-round representation of Northern NM food.

                            1. re: adamandeve

                              You could go to Padilla's. I think they're open at least until 8:00 PM, maybe even a little later. You probably should call to check on their hours if you decide to go there or maybe someone here on Chowhound can provide better info on their hours.

                              I don't think I'd give Padilla's top marks on any particular item they do, but Padilla's is pretty solid overall.

                      3. re: adamandeve

                        In response to your questions several posts above, Casa Vieja is probably about 25 minutes or so from the airport if you get on I-25 and go North until Alameda. While it's not at all total NM (a sample menu is posted on their website), the NM things they do make are better than most NM-only places. Their enchiladas and green chile stew are outstanding. I think their version of "Christmas-style" enchiladas would be a great intro to NM cooking for your husband, even if people at the next table are having halibut and mushroom strudel.

                        Ezra's is also not NM-only, and is basically an extension of Sophia's Place (same chef-owner and right across the street). I haven't eaten there, but they get raves for breakfast. It is in a bowling alley, though, so at night it's got all the related ambience and sound effects. Still, from what I've had at Sophia's, that guy is a pretty great chef and, in a big break from the NM restaurant tradition, he actually has vegetables on the menu beyond chile and pico de gallo.

                        Have you seen this local food blog? Maybe it will help: http://nmgastronome.com