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njduchess

Albuquerque and Sante Fe Restaurants

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and dear ludja, boy is my face red. how could i have forgotten posole? every year at christmas i make a huge batch of it to serve at an open house! and carne adovada... the real stuff is absolutely amazing. i used to live in the rio grande valley in abq and there was a little mom and pop grocery store around the corner that sold marinated pork ready to be made into carne adovada. 1,000 pardons for forgetting those two favorite dishes.

I love both those dishes also. I had never had posole until I visited New Mexico. Making it for an open house is a great idea. If I may ask, do you usually use dried, frozen or canned posole? (I've only cooked from canned, but should bring back some frozen or dried next time to compare the taste and texture.)

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i use frozen nixtamal, which i can get in mexican groceries here in southern california. it doesn't have exactly the same flavor as new mexican--can't figure out why not, actually--but it works well. i rinse about half of it really well to get rid of the "corn" flavor. i'll make up about 4 or 5 pounds worth of nixtamal with a roughly equal weight of assorted pork parts and dip deeply into my stash of chimayo red. that's the overview. being a cook, i of course complicate it beyond all reckoning, making a pork stock with bones and feet, cooking the corn in the stock, adding back the meat, etc. but it's good and it is enough for the 50 or 60 people who come by.

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i use frozen nixtamal, which i can get in mexican groceries here in southern california. it doesn't have exactly the same flavor as new mexican--can't figure out why not, actually--but it works well. i rinse about half of it really well to get rid of the "corn" flavor. i'll make up about 4 or 5 pounds worth of nixtamal with a roughly equal weight of assorted pork parts and dip deeply into my stash of chimayo red. that's the overview. being a cook, i of course complicate it beyond all reckoning, making a pork stock with bones and feet, cooking the corn in the stock, adding back the meat, etc. but it's good and it is enough for the 50 or 60 people who come by.

Thanks much; I need to check around some of my Mexican groceries up here to see if I can also procure some and try something similar to your recipe.

edited to add: It was probably due to reading and posting on this thread, but I had a great yearning for red chile a few days ago. I had a bunch of potatoes at home and made a big pot of "papitas con chiltepines" substituing New Mexico red Chimayo chile for the ground chiltepines...I've been eating it with a fried egg on top for breakfast! (Saute diced raw potatoes in a butter/oil mix and then start simmering them in a bit of water. In the blender make a red chile sauce with garlic, ground red chile, water and salt; add the puree to the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and the sauce nice and thick.)


Edited by ludja (log)

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We really enjoyed dinner at Los Mayas in Santa Fe. It's on West Water St. They have an incredible appetizer called Chile en Nogada. It is a poblano pepper stuffed with ground beef, ground pork, plantain, peach, pear, pinon and almonds and topped with walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. You aren't quite sure what is going on, but your tongue knows that it is good!!!! It was a Taste of Santa Fe winner in 2005. For an entree I had the shrimp sautéed in a chipotle cream sauce was fantastic.

Enjoy!

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I came, I saw, I Graze[d]. Finally a reason to push on past Tucumcari - Graze by Jennifer James.

Stopped in for dinner after a short 12-hour stint behind the wheel. I had a glass of bubbly to celebrate the end of that, then on to. . .

Bread and butter: the former OK but unremarkable; the latter a wonderful combo of parsley and orange zest. A good omen.

Soup du jour: a Spanish-inspired blend of garlic, bread and tomatoes with a poached egg. Flawless, packed with flavor and the texture was other-worldly. I could have had several more bowls.

Scallops: Three large, perfectly done medium rare scallops with just enough carmelization to highlight their inherent sweetness. I've come to judge all scallops against those at my local (KC) go-to place (bluestem), having had better ones there than on either coast (ok, go ahead, flame me but seriously. . .). These were on a par with them. The only weakness was an incongruant pile of spinach with strawberries in the center. Spinach had been sauteed and cooled, leaving a greasy mouth-feel and the berries were too tart to eat without adversely affecting the scallops so I just steered clear after one bite.

Thanks for those who posted about the place - it was definitely the highlight of a long day!

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We had a wonderful green chile stew with posole at The Shed back in 2001, our last trip to NM. It was so good that we went back there our last night and drank Margaritas and ate lots of stew for our farewell dinner. :smile: Our best meals on that trip were at Pasqual's. Breakfast and lunch there were our favorites.

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the only chef i can think of who actually got new mexican cooking right in a creative format was john sedlar, who had the lamented st. estephe in manhattan beach here in southern california. it was no accident that sedlar had long roots to new mexico (iirc, his aunt was georgia o'keefe's chauffeur). john was able to distill the flavors of new mexico to their essences and then re-present them in surprising ways while still being true to tradition. i vividly remember a posole he made that was essentially a perfectly clear consomme that tasted exactly like the best new mexican posole you've ever had, accented with only a few sprigs of tarragon, which melded so perfectly with the flavor of the hominy, it made you regret the herb was too tender to grow well in santa fe.

Wow - that's the first I had thought of St Estephe in a long, long time. What a fantastic place that was. What happened to Sedlar - is he still around?

I had a book I bought that was based on a (mid 80s?) PBS show called "Great Chefs Of The Southwest" and Sedler was in there. So was Mansion on Turtle Creek, Miller (I think), and I also think Border grill, back when they were on Melrose, etc., etc. I still cook out of that book, BTW, so if you ever see one in a thrift store, buy it!

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I just returned from seven days in NM. Chile heaven! We were looking at the possibility of relocating to NM early next year and tried to make the visit less of a vacation and more of a due dilligence trip.

Our first meal was lunch with our realtor in ABQ. Cafe Ting on Louisiana Blvd. This was our first experience with Vietnamese food. I tried the Pho since it seems to be a trademark of Vietnamese cooking. It wasn't bad but it wasn't memorable. The flavors weren't outstanding, just good. We also had spring rolls. Maybe we didn't try the right things, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat Vietnamese again.

Excellent dinners in ABQ were had at Ambrozia in Old Town, El Patio and Gruet Steak House. Memorable breakfasts were at Casa de Benavidez and Mary & Tito's Cafe. I thought Mary & Tito's had the absolute best red chile. It had a wonderful fire roasted flavor.

In Santa Fe good food was found at Cafe Pasqual's, Coyote Cafe and Bobcat Bite. Drinks at the bar on the roof of La Fonda provided an outstanding view of the mountains. We ate at the bar in front of the open kitchen at Coyote Cafe and had a great show and conversation with the cooks. The spiciest food of the trip was at CC!

It was a great trip and we hope things work out so we can move there in the coming year!

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Can I push this thread back to the top? (I guess I have). I'm off to Albuquerque at the end of June and will probably spend a day in Santa Fe.

Any updates or new recommendations welcomed.

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Missed your trip, Estufarian, but just wanted to point out that Jennifer James's Graze is now closed, alas. (Sort of mean to read the whole thread about how great it is, and then drop this clunker.)

But fortunately things don't change too fast in New Mexico--everything else mentioned previously is still there and perfectly delicious....

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As I recall, Jennifer James left Graze nearly a year ago. Is she involved with any existing or soon to be existing restaurants now?

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As I recall, Jennifer James left Graze nearly a year ago.  Is she involved with any existing or soon to be existing restaurants now?

I found the answer to my own question: she has now joined the folks at Chef du Jour.

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As I recall, Jennifer James left Graze nearly a year ago.  Is she involved with any existing or soon to be existing restaurants now?

I found the answer to my own question: she has now joined the folks at Chef du Jour.

That just might be old news, since Chef du Jour is where she started cooking, several years ago. It would be kind of odd for her to be back there, at this point. But, stanger things have happenend in this business.

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As I recall, Jennifer James left Graze nearly a year ago.  Is she involved with any existing or soon to be existing restaurants now?

I found the answer to my own question: she has now joined the folks at Chef du Jour.

That just might be old news, since Chef du Jour is where she started cooking, several years ago. It would be kind of odd for her to be back there, at this point. But, stanger things have happenend in this business.

She is back. We were there Friday night and the food was quite good--and inexpensive, I should add, particularly after spending a week in the Santa Fe area.

Speaking of the Santa Fe area, the best meal we had up there was at O Eating House in Pojoaque. The chef, formerly, I believe, of La Casa Sena, knows what he is doing. My coffee, chile ribeye was as intensely flavored as anything I could want and my wife's salmon was exceptional as well. No complaints about the appetizers either.

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Bumping this thread up...I'm headed to Albuquerque, where I've never been, this weekend, there through next Tuesday. Got reservations at Zinc wine bar and bistro for Saturday. What are some killer places to take people?

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Now I'm bumping this thread..  Help ideas?

 

Would like suggestions from this group?

 

I have found some great eats so far.  I need to start writing them down.

Speak easy steak house , I ate at was awesome.  Cant remember the name.

 

Paul

 

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What are you looking for? And are you in ABQ or SF?

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Hey Rob, I'm on my way to the chocolate & coffee fest in ABQ, would love any quick recc's for casual to mid-range, lots of chiles and other local specialties.  Face-melting  a plus, Mexican, New Mexican, whatever, and I've heard there might be some good Vietnamese food to be found (not that I can't get pho in Seattle). I'll have a car. Thanks!

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I've started keeping my ABQ restaurant list as a FB notes. See if THIS link works. 

My go-tos are Cafe Petit Louis if I'm wanting French bistro. Pasion because the chef is passionate and is a friend. I don't tend to go to New Mexican places since...well...I live here and cook my own, but the list is really clear about which to hit up.

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4 hours ago, gfron1 said:

What are you looking for? And are you in ABQ or SF?

 

Thanks for the in-put..  My daughter lives in Rio Rancho,  just moved there with out 3 yr old grand son.

 

Our palate is diverse and we love trying different things.

 

We will be heading to Sf  in the future..  I appreciate your thoughts and thanks for the above link.

 

Paul

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In Rio Rancho I LOVE LOVE LOVE this little Indian/Himalayan place called Namaste. I haven't been in a couple of years but really loved it.

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I'm waiting to depart ABQ, so I thought I'd share a few notes.

 

Sadies on 4th - really loved the spicy salsa and fresh crispy tortilla chips.  I had a combo with a tamale and a braised pork rib, the rib was meltingly tender.  Good flavors but an old-school gut bomb in terms of all the cheese melted over everything.

 

Monica's el Portal - lunch before going to the museum.  Nice fluffy flour tortilla on the burrito, but the carne adovada was rather dry and under-seasoned.

 

Mary & Tito's - another lunch, good beans in the burrito but otherwise not very special.

 

2000 Vietnam - had a combo bun for dinner with an assortment of really delicious meats.  I would have liked more vegetables and herbs but otherwise was happy.

 

Karibu Cafe - weird disconnect with the manager, but really good jerk chicken wings and pretty good chicken curry.  Lentils were bland.

 

Artichoke Cafe - finally someplace with a freaking salad on the menu!  I know nothing grows in the desert, but still :slight_smile:  Ceasar salad was well executed, duck breast on farrotto  with orange-cassis coulis was a highlight of the trip.  Out of my frozen dessert trio the rosemary brown butter ice cream was my favorite, the red chile caramel ice cream was disappointing, and the passion fruit sorbet was too intense to eat, tasted like the pastry chef had poured a jar of Perfect Puree passion fruit concentrate into the ice cream machine.

 

El modelo - grabbed a few bites on the way out.  Smelled amazing, I was wishing I had kept a cooler to pack full of tamales to bring home. Red chile chicken tamale was another highlight, but the carnitas in a brown paper bag were dry and disappointing.  I guess carnitas aren't really a NM thing, it's all about the adovada?

 

And the Chocolate and Coffee fest, where I was all weekend - huge event, tons of attendees but sales did not live up to other large chocolate events I've been to.  My booth was next to Ohori Coffee, who kept me awake yesterday with their nice strong pour-over.  I was kind of surprised that there were so few higher-end chocolatiers (maybe four or five of us?) but I guess it is just a different market from Seattle.  I don't know if I'll come out again next year, but it was a good excuse to get out of the rain and have a mini spring break.


Edited by pastrygirl Spelling (log)
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I could have warned you on a couple of those place. And its like I said before to you about the Fest - its a good event but effort to payout just isn't there for some reason. A lot of folks are there just for the freebies. The high end folks have stopped. I did it for 2 years, and the guy from PHX only did last. We all have the same experience that you did. Its too bad. I'm not quite sure who makes lots of money there if anyone.

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21 minutes ago, gfron1 said:

I could have warned you on a couple of those place. And its like I said before to you about the Fest - its a good event but effort to payout just isn't there for some reason. A lot of folks are there just for the freebies. The high end folks have stopped. I did it for 2 years, and the guy from PHX only did last. We all have the same experience that you did. Its too bad. I'm not quite sure who makes lots of money there if anyone.

 

Saturday was good, Sunday was a lot of lookers, just something to do after church I guess. It's the cotton candy and cherry kool-aid pickles that make it clear it's not a  strictly curated event!

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