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Aug 6, 2011 09:42 PM

cheese, bread shopping in Albuquerque?

We've just relocated to Abq from Boston and are pining for good bread and cheese. For fellow ex-Bostonians, our meccas are Formaggios, Russos, Iggys and Clear Flour. Where can we find good breads? We've tried Paris and Great Harvest and been disappointed. So far the best we've found are the demi-baguettes from La Brea that Costco sells. We're looking for a good artisanal francese bread with real crust and flavor. Also, we're sell our firstborn for good bagels.

I haven't seen any cheeses I really like. Is there a place where we can get Brie de Meaux, or a gorgonzola dolce?

Thanks much,

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  1. Welcome to Albuquerque!

    They have a pretty good cheese department at La Montanita Food Co-op in Nob Hill, but I've noticed it's getting skimpier. The cheese buyer there is very knowledgeable though, and tries to bring in as many interesting products as she can. Even if she can't get what you're looking for, she probably knows where in NM it's available. The shop Relish on Menaul used to have a fabulous cheese department, and I know for a fact they used to carry gorgonzola dolce, but they might just be a cafe now. The owner there, I think his name is Orr, is also well-versed in everything cheesy, so it might be worth a call to him, too.

    Some of the best NM bakeries have gone out of business in the last two or three years. La Quiche Parisienne downtown is still hanging in there, though. If you go to the Downtown Grower's Market Saturday mornings, you can meet the baker, Bruno, a master baker from Bordeaux, and try some samples fresh from the oven (best time to get there for bread is around 7:30am). Their light multigrain ciabatta is outstanding, and I think they have one bread that's a bit like a pane francese. You can also try a variety of artisanal goat cheeses from Old Windmill Dairy there.

    An even wider variety of breads and cheeses are available at the Santa Fe Farmer's Market (Saturdays at the Railyard) and in Santa Fe in general.

    Sadly, there's nothing here that's at all like the Boston shops you mention, and I've never had what I'd call a REALLY good bagel in all of NM, but we have the sunsets, and I bet there are at least a half dozen transplanted NM families in Boston right now willing to sell their first born for 20 lbs of Hatch green chile.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ninrn

      Thank you very much! We will check out your recommendations. A fabulous cheese department is exactly what I want, and a good ciabatta would help ease the homesickness pangs.

      If you know the Boston area, we lived down the street from Kimballs, who are regularly listed as having the best ice cream in an ice cream-mad state. My husband tears up at the mention of mocha chip.

      I'm sure we'll love living here once we get settled. Hatch chile is on our list. Sorry if I sounded whiny. The people here have been great - friendly and welcoming.

      1. re: cheryl_h

        Oh, I didn't think you sounded whiny at all. I went through the same adjustment when I moved here after having lived for eight years in NYC. And I share your husbands ice cream pangs. As my sixteen-year old niece very wisely said, 'the problem with gelato is that it doesn't have the ice part of ice cream.'

    2. As a new NMer [10 years!] from NY, I know your pain. There are lots of "east coast" things that are very hard to come by here. Businesses often open to fill the void, but due to a lack of consumer support, they fail and close shop.

      While it isn't the gourmet shop environment, Whole Food does have a nice CHEESE offering, especially the one on Academy and Wyoming.

      Bagels - well there is the bagel shop in Rio Rancho which can be a trek from ABQ proper, but they make NY style boiled bagels and they have other NY deli style goodies. It is on 528 and Southern in the Smith's shopping center. It is an independent shop, so this is the only location. In a pinch, Einstein bagels will work.

      Have your tried Golden Crown? I have never been, but often hear talk about it.

      Wait till you start looking for pizza and chinese food......

      3 Replies
      1. re: DebitNM

        Debit NM! What is this boiled bagel place of which you speak?!

        1. re: ninrn

          As I said, it is on 528 in Rio Rancho. At the intersection of Southern, in the Smiths shopping center. It isn't pretty but they bagels are damn good.
          Bagel Deli Bakery
          1330 Rio Rancho Boulevard Southeast, Rio Rancho,

          1. re: DebitNM

            Sorry about that. Somehow I missed the whole sentence with the address in it when reading your initial post.

            I've tried Golden Crown Panaderia, by the way. I thought their bread wasn't that great. They use lots of sugar even in their savory breads (maybe to make the dough rise faster?). I don't like biscochitos, but people who do say theirs are great. I saw a lot of people buying pizzas there, too, and they sell both their white and whole wheat pizza dough raw as well, which is a nice thing.

            Golden Crown Panaderia
            1103 Mountain Rd NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

      2. When you visit Santa Fe be sure to check the cheese selection at Whole Foods. We haven't been back in about 2 years but at the time it was better than any place we'd found in ABQ, including those mentioned in other replies.


        2 Replies
        1. re: FishTales

          Cheese is the only thing I buy at the Whole Foods in Alb. The Alpine Sausage House sells the baguettes from La Quiche, the son works the counter. I went on a herring hunt last week. Six different varities.

          Don't think Boston; think that you cn comparison shop for tortillas. It could be a lot worse. I've moved from Maine to Grants, the home of The Boarded Storefront Festival, where there is no edible bread. We make trips to Alb. and load up on TJ's breads and other foods.
          ps don't look for chowder.

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Keller's butcher shop has a decent variety of cheeses - don't know if it has what you're looking for. I don't really eat bread so can't give much of a rec there.

        2. Thanks for all your recs. We are compiling lists of places to check out. Thank you also for your welcome and the good humor. Passadumkeg I'll be sure not to look for chowder or go to Grants to shop for groceries, lol! If I can find an acceptable bagel, I'll be reasonably happy. Or we'll have to haul back suitcases of bagels when we go east. Hope Einstein turns out a good bagel. I love farmer's markets so I will find the cheese and bread vendors when we do our market tour.

          So far we're happy with the restaurants. Thanks to this board, we discovered Mary & Tito's, Budai and Torinos on earlier visits. I found Street Food (next to Flying Star on Central) by accident. I've been to the Whole Foods on Academy and found great produce. We're looking forward to the Friday night dinners at Torinos and exploring Zinc and Savoy.

          Thanks all!

          6300 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109

          1 Reply
          1. re: cheryl_h

            I greww up in Joisey. I don't even think of bagels. I've lived nearly 15 years in NmM off and on. I try to squeeze every single drop of Hispanic/Native/American/ cowboy cookin' I can while I'm being enchanted.
            This morning' mutton stew at a flea market. I lived overseas for 17 years and learned to tap the local cuisines and not long for foods I couldn't get. A very healthy and happy philosophy.
            when I firest arrived in '69, there was no interstate, no Rio Rancho, not much eastern food in a city of 80 k. Perspective.

          2. Lived in Boston for 10 years, been in NM for the past 2. I'll agree that Whole Foods is your best bet, which is too bad, but they do have a reasonable selection, including harder-to-find stuff like burrata imported from Puglia.

            If you ever make it up to Santa Fe, check out Clafoutis, a respectable French boulangerie. Their baguettes and croissants don't quite set the international bar, but they're nothing if not competent.

            402 N Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

            2 Replies
            1. re: finlero

              The manager of the WF cheese dept. told me he would order special cheeses if I wanted and knew the source.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                Well right, I'd imagine a number of places will do that (Talin World Market is good about that for random international stuff). That said, the thing I love about a place like Formaggio in Cambridge is the in-house selection and expertise. Ideally, I don't want to be the expert; I don't know enough stuff. I want a cheesemonger who knows way more than I do so I'll be introduced to all sorts of new stuff, including tasting something in the store that I *don't* like, but not having had to order an $80 wheel to figure it out (I realize I wouldn't be on the hook for the whole wheel, but I'd feel bad if I didn't at least walk out with a wedge).