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eating my way around Santa Fe & ABQ - long

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eating my way around Santa Fe & ABQ - long

baltoellen | Jun 18, 2004 07:35 PM

Just got back from about my most recent trip to the Land of Enchantment. I guess I've been to ABQ a total of about 20-30 days, and SFe around 10 or so. Here are some of my thoughts from my latest trip--with some other places thrown in. I offer this FWIW, and hope for any comments.

This last trip to SFe, I went to Tomasita's. I was HUGELY disappointed. While the guac was very good, I found my order of a cheese ench sorely lacking in any real character. It just sat there, swimming in pretty good green, and mediocre red. I might want to say that the best NM food I think I've had has been Los Cuartos (sp. "the twins") in ABQ. Tomasita's just didn't compare. Weeks ago, I went to La Choza, which I also thought great, and much, much better than Tomasita's. Also, the sopapillas didn't hold up in the calories to enjoyment ratio.

On the concierge's rec, I went to some place called Mucho Gusto's, a new place, I think, since it wasn't in the yellow pages, behind the Inn at Alamada. It was not NM, but, as you might imagine, Mexican. It was very simple. I was trying to be "good," so I just had the tortilla soup which was very nice, with strong broth and good chucks of chicken, and a salad with an orange vinagrette and shrimp. (there was the option of shrimp, beef, or chicken. Silly me, being from the land of seafood, I went for shrimp, and was a bit disappointed.) Besides the disappointed seafood (really, what did I expect!) the salad was nice and refreshing.

When I've stayed at Hilton or Eldorado (which I did this week) I eat breakfast at Tia Sophia's. I love that place. I think it has to do with the simple, straightforward food, and for the fact that I imagine that it's what most of SFe was like about 30 yrs ago. I"ve had the ham roll--perfect for a big, simple breakfast, and last time, the cheese enchilada, xmas, with really great red and green. (when I stay at Inn at Loretto, I just snag a breakfast burrito from the coffee shop across the street, and sit on the little patio outside my room.) They are pretty good, but taste like they've just been nuked (which they are).

In ABQ, had dinner with a bunch of folks at Zinc. While the wine we ordered was great (it is a wine bar, afterall!) and the service very professional, I found the food a bit of a disappointment. The mushroom soup special was anything but, a tasteless concoction with fried balls of boursin cheese. Had perfectly cooked lamb, that, unfortuantley, was absolutely swimming in some sort of sweet sauce, making tasting the meat difficult, if not impossible. The dessert was pretty good, strawberry shortcake, with the berries marinated in Grand Manier, with some sort of soft cookie thing filled with cream. None of my 5 dining companions commented in any way on their food.

I continue to be incredibly impressed with Siam Cafe on San Mateo. It may be the best Thai I've ever had. On the Asian front, I've been disappointed with May Cafe. I love Saigon Garden, also on San Mateo. I was also happy with Cafe Dalat.

I'm back to lovely NM July 6-8, then again from the 20-25. I'm really hoping to get to Gerinimo's (speaking of which, have been to Swigs a bunch of times for drinks, but the food there looks great) and the Compound b/c I've read far too much not to try them. I don't know if my trips to NM will extend past July 25, so please, please let me know if there's really any other places not to be missed!

Thanks again for all the help I've gotten from the NM hounds!

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