November 27th, 2012
It’s been a flurry filled month of restaurant changes and I am here to get them on the record for you!
First, the best little salad restaurant that could has opened a second location, right here in Albuquerque. It’s convenient to downtowners and those with easy access to the freeway, right in Old Town: Vinaigrette. I only hope that Erin Wade can keep the same amazing high standards for her food as she has been doing in Santa Fe. And, is the Duke City ready for a $17 salad? I hope so, but don’t forget she also makes some of the best pies I’ve tasted.
Hounds of the alcohol variety, know that we are also getting a new chain liquor store: Total Wine. Two of them are set to open by the end of the year, one near each major mall in town (Coronado and Cottonwood). Myself? I like Jubilation and that won’t change anytime soon.
If you love deep spice and curries, you might have dined at Raaga in Santa Fe. The chef and owner, Paddy Rawal, has also come to Albuquerque with his new spot called OM Fine Indian Dining. It is located in a former Annapurna spot, so if you were already visiting Annapurna regularly you won’t be too thrown off to find OM in its place. His specialties are basically just making kick-ass Indian food. That’s all. And that’s enough.
November 13th, 2012
Blatant promotion ahead, but don’t worry, it is nothing but good stuff.
(cover image by Sergio Salvador)
The book, Food Lovers’ Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos is now out from Globe Pequot Press and it is a soft cover handheld treasure trove of where to eat, where to buy groceries, where to get schnozzled and which road trips to take for culinary bliss, all over New Mexico.
Sold yet? The book’s website has an updated “closure list” so you’ll know where not to go, and a tantalizing selection of foods from the restaurants featured in the book.
The author would recommend that you buy from a local bookseller, like Bookworks or Collected Works or Page One, but if you must, it is also available at Amazon, right here: Food Lovers’ Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Taos.
April 21st, 2012
Local food news first, then some piggy pouting.
FIRST, Farm and Table is now open if you hadn’t heard. They’re doing relatively straightforward gourmet food in a nice building and a farm out back that should be supplying good produce by summer. So far they’re good but once they have all those veg it will be a whole ‘nother ballgame. http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/print-edition/2012/03/30/farm-to-table-restaurants-open-and.html
NEXT, downtown lost a pretty fun nightclub that made a heckuva radicchio salad: Jazzbah missed some lease payments and they closed for good around the last week of March. http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2012/04/02/landlord-closes-jazzbah-over-missing.html
A cash mob group is ramping up on Facebook and will be targeting local businesses, including restaurants, with an influx of customers and cash. Neat idea. Get a few dozen people together and all descend upon the chosen establishment, giving a direct stimulus to that place’s bottom line. http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/business/cash-mob-hits-albuquerque-business
AND, Pizza 9 is expanding to Santa Fe. I’m not the biggest fan of their “not quite Chicago-style” pies, but it is always good news when local outlets do well enough to grow. http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2012/04/10/pizza-9-expands-to-santa-fe.html
Ok, now for the piggie news. Well, it’s enough to make a foodie wish they had to stay kosher: pork is generally not a nice thing to be eating. Now, I’ve known this for some time and of course there is a spectrum of ethics from killing innocent crustaceans all the way to veal calves and the like . . . but isn’t this a place that it would do good to at least REDUCE your consumption?
I am not in favor of completely renouncing animal products, far from it. But that does not mean that it is futile to have an impact by consuming less things that are the product of an unpleasant life. Like chicken? Go kill, pluck and dress one and roast it. If you’re still OK with eating poultry after that, find your local farmers and try to buy from them when and if possible.
And eat more beans, plants, and fruits. They’re quite immune from the bleeding and screaming when harvested.
March 16th, 2012
I’m due for a “what’s happening” update!!!
Here’s what hit my radar recently. Chime in if you have more to offer or great restaurant news to share.
Restaurant marketing – so this is interesting and kind of cool. Two new companies based in Albuquerque hope to help restaurant clients make more money. One, Table Tents, works with their branding and social media strategy, and another, POSLavu offers iPad-based point-of-sale systems. The latter was even featured on the Gordon Ramsay “turn your restaurant around you f**king idiot” show.
New places opening up!
Vintage 423 – a high-falutin’ place that initially got mixed reviews, but maybe they’re coming around.
Zacatecas – in the Bumble Bees space. Same as Vintage 423 but with tacos. Hopefully service and execution are in line with the gourmet prices.
Farm and Table – ok, this one is watch-worthy. Fine casual dining in the North Valley with lots of fresh produce and not-crazy prices.
Enchiladas Loved by Canadians – found this cute round-up of local enchiladas in the Calgary newspaper. Those folks need some HEAT.
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.