November 30th, 2011
At his lamentably closed burger and steak joint called Independence Grill, Jerry Wright served good burgers, tasty prime rib, addicting fried pickles, and Pig Wings. Those delectable drumsticks were actually small pork shanks with all the flavor bestowed by having the bone on the premises for extra flavoring.
Well, Jerry was ahead of the Times, literally: New York Times loves Pig Wings. Apparently “shank” is not a dining public friendly word, so pig wings was the appointed moniker to pair with ranch dressing and/or barbeque sauces. I also learned that Chili’s riblets (or are those the infamous “baby back ribs”???) are actually the transverse process of the vertebrae. That’s pretty nifty, and means that Baby Back Ribs is actually a correct term. Who woulda thunk it?
Too bad the recession nailed us all when it did – or maybe the grass-roots campaign should begin now to bring back Jerry, the fried pickles, and those luscious pig wings.
August 13th, 2011
Another Saturday, another episode of Break The Chain, Ryan Scott’s laudable attempt to bring more dish to the local restaurant scene by interviewing the movers, shakers, and armchair foodies to talk about everything food in Albuquerque.
This week was Matt Rembe, owner-operator of Los Poblanos Inn and Cultural Center (not Los Poblanos Organics - that’s another entity, as I’ve been informed in the comments). That’s a mouthful! I’ve gotten weekly boxes from Los Poblanos Organics before from Monte Saarsgard and his bunch of talented crew. Their produce has always been wonderful, even if they occasionally take flak for utilizing California as a source when locally grown options are thin.
The show should be up on the archives page by now – check back and listen at your leisure! I recommend you listen while the show is live – you can comment, ask questions, or call in to be a participant.
June 10th, 2011
McDonald’s – yes, that McDonald’s, whom I love for their Egg McMuffins – is certifying its EUROPEAN locations as purveyors of M.S.C. eco-labeled sustainable fish. That’s 100 Million fish sandwiches per year. This is amazing and hopefully a sign of the times. We understand that we love fish, but there ain’t as many to go around as there used to be, not with the availability of sushi at your local grocery store and such. (Ick, but that’s my opinion) Now, this is just Europe for the moment, where standards for ‘clean’ food are already higher than in the U.S., but still a sign of progress.
Further, in the same NYTimes story, Wal-Mart has announced they will require all suppliers of seafood products to both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club to be either M.S.C certified OR “an equivalent certification”. I’m excited about this, and withholding any concern so far, like “will the equivalent certification be good?”. It is still a step in the right direction, especially as Wal-Mart has a lot to make up for with it’s participation in the utter destruction of the Chilean coastline for their unending demand for cheap salmon.
Great article, and thank you, New York Times, for bringing all of the announcements together as one story.
June 6th, 2011
Ari LeVeaux, the restaurant critic for Weekly Alibi, is taking the food section on a detour thru parts known. In rechristening the Alibi’s food corner with the name Locavore, he’d like to have less alka-seltzer in his pocket and more local beans or goat on his tongue:
“The first rule of Locovore is that I will no longer be opening my mouth to mystery meat. By “mystery meat,” I mean meat that has no story attached, no way to evaluate the meat’s ethical and ecological baggage—things like its carbon footprint or the animal’s living conditions. I’m not demanding to see the animal’s birth certificate, but the more I know about the meat, the more likely I’ll be to order it. And I’ll beat a path to the door of any restaurants I hear about that’s using local ingredients.”
Hear, hear, Ari. Thank you for stepping up and I hope this is a minor domino effect in local food chatter, from the Alibi to Local IQ and maybe – just maybe – on over to the Albuquerque Journal.
I appreciate locally grown ingredients. I adore meat raised outside of the depression of a feedlot. I also endorse eating not only better meat that had a story and possibly a face and a name, but also eating LESS of it. But there are so many other ingredients that encompass the amazing spectrum of omnivorousness, just waiting for your hungry lips and pointy forks. I can’t tell you how many folks who don’t know me well have asked me, “but aren’t you a vegetarian?” after I’ve ordered a steak when they’ve seen me eat gargantuan salads or wax poetic about some bean dish. Simply put, I adore nearly all foods when prepared well.
While this topic deserves more conversation and detail, especially as it pertains to sustainability, I will leave you with this: if only the dining public knew that the varieties of flavors, textures, and cooking techniques that apply to “meat” also applies to one of my own favorite foods, BEANS. For more beany goodness, start here: Rancho Gordo.
November 29th, 2010
Thanks to a (finally) nudging forward economy, people are opening their wallets just a little bit more, and that’s benefiting some restaurants – if they’ve managed to stay open so far. Holiday eating-out traffic is probably merely stable this year, but the seasonal uptick is still occurring, especially with things like celebratory meals and gift certificate purchases. All good!
Cecilia’s downtown (a gem worth seeking out, even after the fame of Guy Fieri’s show) is cranking out hundreds of tamales for holiday orders, and Buffett’s Candies is doing well because everyone loves sugar.
Economists talk about the “lipstick index”, meaning that lipstick sales do well in recessions because it is a small luxury that won’t be done without even when times are tight.
In the food business, you might call it the “chocolate factor” – everyone loves sweets and chocolates, candies, and other confections are a cheap way to have a little treat and remind yourself that the world has not gone entirely into the crapper. And thusly Buffett’s does well, Van Rixel Brothers is cranking along with awards all over the place, and the same goes for Cocopotamus – they’ve been featured in HUGE publications like Martha Stewart and other girly-type magazines as a healthy indulgence, and Theobroma is still one of the local torchbearers of chocolate.
All hail the locally-owned producers of deliciousness!