The saga continues...
Sitting on the plane - headed back to the Albuquerque desert. Yes, it must be love. I can think of no other single thing that would draw me back here.
Look, I'm a firm believer in diversity. As my dear old friend Vanessa says (in relation to relationships- but still, it applies here) "there is a lid for every jar." I can see why people are drawn to the desert, to the starkness of it all. I don't want to put down anybodies hometown, truly. And I do count myself lucky to say there is another place on this Earth that I have been blessed to see. But there is not much about Albuquerque that would make me yearn to come back again.
Having said all that...here I am. Sitting on a plane winging my way back.
Forecast? Windy and dry with a chance of gut wrenching turbulence. But, on this day, the Gods have smiled upon me. Two bloody mary's later I am on the ground and looking upon the face of my love. Food, on this day, was not of the utmost concern. We were just anxious to spend some serious quality time together.
But upon waking the next day - there was food to be had and basketball to be watched.
Normally, I tend to be the one to make executive decisions about where we'll eat. But for the time being, I was content to drift along with popular opinion. And when it comes to basketball, well, beer is in order. Which led us to a place about a mile down the road.
Chama River Brewery is, not surprisingly, a brew pub. Here in Southern California we have BJ's. Same kind of deal. It's a burger, ribs and fries kind of place. A few televisions going and of course the beer.
I enjoyed how they described their brews in the same way wineries explain a fine vintage: "Light and dry with a touch of honey sweetness and a floral bouquet finish." That's how they talked up their Broken Spoke Honey Wheat Ale.
I liked it. I'm a big fan of the Strawberry Blonde beer that Pete's Wicked Ale makes, and I thought it was a bit like that.
Our basketball viewing cohort, Dave, tried the Copper John Pale Ale which he said was good and Todd took a liking to the Chama River Amber Ale.
To go with our beer we got an order of the Truffle Bleu Cheese Fries.
Okay. I'm not gonna lie, my expectations were not high and I was pleasantly surprised. A good French Fry? Stop it. I'm done. Yummy. Delicious. Goodness. These were mixed with bleu cheese, scallions and truffle oil. If they had been a tad bit crispier they would have been French Fry Heaven. As it stood, they were still pretty damn tasty.
Since it was a burger and fry kind of place, we in turn, ordered a burger and a Po Boy for the table.
Again, I'm down with the love of diversity. But a po boy? Fried shrimp on a bun? Seriously? It's just not the kind of thing I'd ever think to order. But, it looked pretty good. The sweet potato fries were definitely yummy, yes they were. And Dave seemed to think that the Po boy didn't suck at all. Good enough for me.
I went for the Green Chili Burger.
I will say this, it was cooked to a perfect medium rare and the green chilies were great. The spiced pecans they put on the side salad that came with the burger were a nice touch. Is it going to win best meal of the year award? Nope. But it was fresh, satisfying, and all in all, a tasty trio of beer, burger and fries.
After that food fest, dinner was going to have to be light.
As I prepped for round 2 of my Albuquerque adventure, I had visions of New Mexican food. Piquant chili sauces and traditional carne adovada. This would have to wait until another day.
On this night, after a good hot shower and a nice long nap, we were craving a little pizza. It was 10pm by the time we were finally ready for dinner so there weren't alot of choices. We landed at a chain called Bravo Cucina Italiana.
If I were to relate it, once more, to a Southern Cali staple, I'd say it's like Macaroni Grill. There are about 40 of these chains sprinkled across the country but this was my first time.
Their Fennel and Arugula Salad with Buffalo Mozzarella was better in concept then execution. It had roasted tomatoes and a light vinaigrette. I thought the fennel would have added to the salad better had they roasted it instead of serving it raw. But the pizza we ordered was another story altogether.
This was really good. It was topped with Fontina cheese, generous amounts of portabella mushrooms and finished off with a nice drizzle of truffle oil. (I guess they like the truffle oil here in ABQ.) I have to mention the crust because it was delicious.
I've heard it's a cities water that makes or breaks pizza crust. If so, there must be something in the water here that lends it's self to good crust, 'cause this is the 2nd exceptionally good pizza I've had in this town. (the first being at Il Vicino in Nob Hill.)
With the pizza and the salad behind us it was time to call it a night. The plan for the next day was to head out to Santa Fe and see what culinary delights we might stumble upon there.