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post Flying Star Gets Star-Spangled Blather

December 11th, 2011

Flying Star DowntownI have a long history of defending Flying Star. I respect what Jean and Mark Bernstein do with local ingredients. I appreciate their ridiculously long hours, day after day (6 a.m. – 11 p.m. in most locations, most days). I am thankful for magazines I can browse while drinking refills of coffee.

I don’t like the usually burnt coffee. I whine a bit about increasing prices. Sometimes I find myself the recipient of sporadically inept hands in the kitchen.

BUT.

Flying Star, like Ari LeVaux said in his recent Alibi article, is the “friend you hang out with all the time, even though you sometimes complain about him”. And like an old friend, a heck of a lot of people would miss Flying Star if it were missing from the local dining landscape.

NINE, count ‘em, nine locations. Gorgeous interior design. Local roasting that has upsized several times. Over nearly 25 years, the operation has both grown and refined itself, finding solid ground in serving what most people want, most of the time, at prices that are perfectly fine (mostly).

Remember that organic costs more. Imported butter for great pastries costs more. Local chicken costs more. And in the middle of a recession, everybody hurts. Raw ingredient costs are up at least 25% for restaurants in the last 4 years, yet menu costs are up under 10%. That means that even though it sucks to pay more, the restaurants are sucking it up, too, and that includes Flying Star.

This is roundabout way of me congratulating Ari for his article. He appreciates what Flying Star does, even with a few grumbles thrown in.

post NEWS: Andrea Lin’s Albuquerque Restaurant Review Archives Now Available

August 6th, 2011

Filed under: announcement,Good Restaurants,restaurant review — Andrea Lin @ 5:36 pm

Wow, that took quite a while but I am building a repository of ALL the restaurant reviews I have written, starting with this year and adding more going backwards chronologically.  Eventually I’d love to include the Duke City Fix stuff, too!

Each is pdf’ed and most have website links for your ease of further research, and so far it’s just 2011 but that should give y’all a great start.

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE – call first!  A few on the 2011 list are already out of business, and I’ll annotate them when I can but “let the eater beware”.

Andrea Lin’s Albuquerque Restaurant Reviews Archive

post New York Pizza – Love Rekindled by Jon Stewart

June 2nd, 2011

Filed under: italian,restaurant review — Andrea Lin @ 11:28 am

Pizza fans are a contentious lot.  The arguments between styles of pizza are, well, rather passionate.

But I’m not here to argue one style vs. another – today it is all about New York.  The Daily Show used a segment about Sarah Palin visiting Donald Trump to showcase the latter’s inexcusable behavior towards all that is holy in Gotham – that is, PIZZA.

See below for the video, but let’s digress first, into the Albuquerque metro area. Who has the best New York style? Big slices, floppy and greasy, that must be folded to be consumed? I like a fair number of pizza joints in this town, particularly Venezia’s Pizzeria, as well as JC’s NYPD downtown. But I hear there is good NY style in Rio Rancho, too. Comment below and let me know your favorite, for they will soon get their 15 minutes in a Venue review, if they pass muster.

Meanwhile, enjoy the exuberance of Jon Stewart defending New Yorkers and their cuisine:

post No One Appreciates Raw Shrimp – AA Buffet Gets FF Rating

January 25th, 2011

Oops.  It helps if you actually cook the food in your buffet, and keep it nice and hot so that little critters don’t start growing in it.  But that wasn’t quite happening for the AA Buffet on Juan Tabo, who got a rare RED sticker on their health inspection after an eater complained of cold food.

Inspectors said they found raw shrimp on the buffet, chicken not kept hot enough, improper sanitizing and soiled and moist cloths on the kitchen counters.

Oysters, anyone?

I’m a huge fan of raw food – WHEN it is from a clean source and meant to be served raw.  That’s a big difference from a place like a buffet where dozens or  hundreds of people are looking for inexpensive belly-filling sustenance.

AA Buffet also serves sushi and oysters on the half shell – something I’d be pretty wary of, not only because their sanitation is in doubt, but because the source of the (non-oyster) fish is probably factory farms and East Asian shrimperies.  It’s hard to avoid, true, but when I *know* I can avoid meat of questionable origin, I still will do my best.

post Grand Junction: Foodie Hellhole or Needs Some Love?

December 15th, 2010

Filed under: outside albuquerque,restaurant review — Andrea Lin @ 8:50 pm

Spending a little time in Grand Junction has revealed a few good eats, and several really, really mediocre ones. I think I had been a little spoiled thinking that even mid-sized Western towns were little treasure troves of good food waiting to be found. Silver City. Tucson. Heck, even Las Cruces.

Granted, Grand Junction does have some notables, beginning and almost abruptly ending with 626 on Rood. Rood is a peculiarly named street near a downtown brimming with art and sculpture, some of it donated, some of it for sale. You’ll find a bronze dude in a bathtub, a weird lady in the “frisk me, please” position, amongst some other finds.

Chowhound forumites are not overly enthused; when asked where to eat the response was, “three places: 626 on Rood, 626 on Rood, and 626 on Rood”.

True, they are damn good for either lunch or dinner. But there are more that deserve attention, and I hope, more to be discovered yet. Described with a backdrop of Duke City eats, I present:

Dream Cafe – like Slate Street or Chocolate Cafe, an oasis of power-lunching locals dead set on tucking into not just a fancy pants mimosa but also a pile of S’mores French Toast for an extra potent sugar rush to last the rest of the afternoon. Savories also please like crepes with chicken and roasted peppers or a French Dip on one of the best baguettes I’ve ever crunched down on.

Nepal Restaurant - a menu heavy on the Indian with just a few Himalayan specialties. The “momo” dumpling dinner is pretty darn tasty, but the lentil soup blander than a wet sock.

Enstrom – for all your toffee needs. If you don’t like toffee, you will.

Naggy McGee’s – Irish Pub on par with Two Fools, with a tiny bit of additional upscale flair. Not sure that it works completely with cool boxtys stuffed with smoked salmon, but overall the food is VERY good and the service rockin’. Don’t miss the Irish Coffee. Don’t miss the Irish Coffee.

I hear there’s good sushi. Working on that….

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