January 31st, 2013
Howdy, everyone. I often find myself in a place wondering, “what in the heck is going on with new restaurants around town?”
At that point I need to use my Google-Fu and start digging for information. You know that often gossip is inaccurate, so how can we find good information? I have a few tips on how to find what you want. Here we go:
1. Urbanspoon’s “new restaurants” list. This is a hidden search on Urbanspoon’s page, but handy if you only want to see what has been added to their database lately. Here’s how to find it: in urbanspoon.com, you’ll be on the main page where it shows you the hip/hot/featured restaurants for your city. This is the address of that page: http://www.urbanspoon.com/c/60/Albuquerque-restaurants.html
Scroll down until you see the stuff in the left-most column come to an end. You’ll see a tiny link that looks like this:
…and it’s URL is this: http://www.urbanspoon.com/lb/60/best-restaurants-Albuquerque?sort=date
To make sure you can always get back to this page, just bookmark it! Done.
2. foodloversnm.com – this is a tumblr site with lots of drool-worthy photos of New Mexico food. However, there are also links to a list of recent restaurant closures, as well as a way to buy the book called “Food Lovers’ Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos” – a brand-new compendium of over 300 food spots all over from restaurants to stores to breweries. Yes, I’m biased. But YES it is an amazing resource and you should have one in your glove box.
3. Email me! Need a tip? Just get in contact using my easy-peasy email address. It’s my name AT andrea <dash> lin <dot> com. Translate that into an email and you’re all set. Or send an email to that chick over at item #2. We have strikingly similar knowledge sets.
September 15th, 2012
It seems like just yesterday that Julia Child turned 100. Oh yeah, that was last month. Sorry.
But now I’m back and have all the latest news and gossip that my ears and googlers have turned up. First up, minimum wage hits a stall? Looks like a new minimum wage act might either be stalled by restaurant owners who are reluctant to have someone else dictating when they give raises to staff, or it could be stalled by something as simple as a typo. Not just any typo, mind you – a typo that says that restaurant owners have to pay themselves more but not necessarily their employees. Weird. Here’s the story from HuffPo and referencing an Albuquerque Journal article (if you have access): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/albuquerque-minimum-wage-typo_n_1862240.html
Next, great news for foo-foo salad lovers – You’d better veg out, you’d better not cry. You’d be foolish to pout – I’m tellin’ you why: Vinaigrette is coming to town! It’s like Santa Claus but with lettuce and beets, nearby in Old Town. I’m excited and hope that the quality is the same as in Santa Fe, regardless the price point Erin needs to hit to make a go of it here in the Duke City. Read the scoop on the NM Business Weekly: http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2012/09/06/vinaigrette-restaurant-to-open-near.html
Want to know which restaurants did OK on their inspections and which ones had complaints? The city is making things even more transparent (though not by going to a letter grading system like many cities use) by putting all historical inspection data online. It is not pretty, yet, but the full spreadsheet of data is yours to download, right here (look for restaurant inspections): http://www.cabq.gov/abq-data
Finally, your local restaurant association is holding a hospitality banquet to honor those that kick ass in their field of providing excellent service and giving back to the community. On September 24th, the event takes place in Old Town at the Hotel Albuquerque. It’s not cheap but is a chance to meet and greet the players in the local food scene. https://m360.nmrestaurants.org/event.aspx?eventID=54120&instance=0
February 29th, 2012
A few new tidbits have made my radar – stay with me and we’ll explore all of this new fun stuff together!
FIRST, do not forget that this weekend is the Fiery Foods Festival at the Sandia Resort & Casino. More Scoville units than you can shake a tall glass of milk at and all the outstanding vendors that make hot stuff!
For the show, local favorites El Pinto have created the WORLD’S HOTTEST SALSA. Even CNN got in on the reporting of this story.
Ha. We’ll see about that.
Next, in the space formerly occupied by Delicia’s Diner (where I had some darn good tamales a few years ago), there will be Jamon’s Frybread Cabana – this sounds really interesting. Chef James Trujillo, formerly of the restaurant at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, is going to offer Frybread, of course, but also “Brasilian Street Food”. His heritage just couldn’t be contained any longer and I’ll tell ya, this is awesome news.
The children are our future…chefs! At the end of March (the 28th), the New Mexico Restaurant organization will be putting on a competition for high school culinary wizards where they compete for huge scholarships and the chance to compete nationally. The ProStart Invitational looks for excellence in cooking and restaurant management. Cooking skills = life skills, regardless your future career.
February 9th, 2012
La Hacienda in Old Town is (“temporarily”) kaput. Pretty much every time I see temporarily on a close notice, it’s for good. Sorry.
Apparently we don’t grow enough of our own chile here…. that’s a shame. “The New Mexico Chile Association said countries like China are trying to corner some chile markets. Currently, imports account for 82 percent of the U.S. consumption of chile, officials said.”
El Pinto gets vote as best New Mexican restaurant. That is, by New Mexico magazine. Pretty durn cool.
And….. after a much hyped waiting period, the former Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill has been taken over by yet another set of Santa Feans and again as a Mexican joint with tacos and such. It’s owned by Mark Kiffin of The Compound. The Compound. That’s serious cred. I hope that Zacatecas Tacos & Tequila does ok, in the end. The talent is certainly there, but is the execution? (And that “Z” looks a little too much like the Getrude Zachary Z…. or is that just me?)
February 5th, 2012
There’s a problem on Urbanspoon that is growing worse – it used to affect Yelp even more so but the ascendance of Urbanspoon has brought it back: any and all reviews that are posted by someone AS THEIR FIRST REVIEW should be suspect, even disregarded completely.
Consider a new Urbanspoon user. Why are they there? Often it is because they have signed up for an account in the heat of the moment – ANGER or ELATION about a restaurant. Many signup from mobile devices, even while they are at the restaurant, lobbing comments about the overall experience without the details that lead to their conclusion.
Based on observation rather than rigorous data collection, most wildly negative or wildly positive reviews are left by users that will never review again. But what builds credibility as a reviewer? EXPERIENCE. And not just general eating experience, but experience sharing one’s opinions with the world in appropriate detail. A review that simply says, “this is great” or “this sucks” is useless. In that case the “reviewer” should just mark the place as “I like” or “I don’t like” and be done with it.
Keep that in mind when you see things like this (one negative, one positive):
Then, do everyone a service and mark their review as “not helpful”. We all appreciate it and the quality and reliability of websites like Urbanspoon and Yelp can get better.