Just wrapped up a 2+ week trip with the wife and pooch (Oscar the mini-dachsund). We did a driving trip from our home in Salt Lake City through Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Lousiana
for the Thanksgiving holiday. Quite a few notable Chowhound spots to mention, starting with Albuquerque:
Blue Corn - microbrewery/restaurant in a strip of chain restaurants lining I-25 (Jefferson exit).
I eat here every time I am in town. The beers are all good to excellent, and they often have nitro
brews which makes for a very creamy consistency, good with the very spicy food like they serve here.
The cuisine is Southwestern with plenty of dishes both typical and atypical for a place in New
Mexico. I always have the Corn Chipotle Soup, one of my fave soups anywhere. Nothing subtle here, a hearty chowder with plenty of whole kernels, blended with wonderfully smoky chipotles.
It's always hot, sometimes searingly so. We did a chips/salsa sampler with excellent guac and
salsas. We also had a queso with crab appetizer that was really good. Other noteworty dishes
are the Shepherd's Pie with green chile and the adovado quesadilla.
Sadie's - I first discovered this place when I read about it in The Interstate Gourmet (if anyone
has any copies of any editions of this please let me hear from you!) The restaurant was in a
bowling alley a little bit south on 4th from their present location. The new restaurant is
attractive and spacious, and I've been coming here for years.
Excellent margaritas to choose from. Chips and salsa were brought out right away...their salsa is way hot but flavorful, right up there with my fave from Herrera Cafe in Dallas. The stacked tortillas with egg and the adovada stuffed sopaipillas are both worth having, and make sure you get the papitas, fried potato cubes covered in your choice of red or green chile. I prefer the green, though I will have the earthier red on occasion just for contrast.
Perea's - A nice alternative to Sadie's...a less expensive family run coffee shop kinda place, open
for breakfast and lunch only. Possibly the best refrieds I have ever had...nice and bacony. The
food is excellent...never a bad meal here. Chips were fresh and warm and their salsa is very
flavorful, though not killer hot like Sadie's.
After traveling into Texas and Lousiana we returned to New Mexico via Las Cruces. A business associate recommended Si Señor, and he did not disappoint. They offer two types of green chile, Las Cruces is mllder than Hatch which as some kick and smoke to it. I had a combo with enchilada, tamale and taco, with the Las Cruces (you get theHatch along with sour cream dip, bean dip and salsa fresca with the chips). The wife's combo had a flauta instead of tamale, and she got the Hatch. Excellent all the way around...another place added to the list of regulars.
Saturday would be our last day together before Denise drove home and I flew on to Phoenix for a week. We got a late start towards Santa Fe so we stopped at a Blake's Lotaburger that was on our way to I-40 in Albuquerque. I've enjoyed Blake's often, but I didn't know how Denise would like it...she has a general disdain for fast food burgers (with the exception of In And Out). I ordered 2 Lotaburgers with double cheese and green chili. She liked the burger so much she grabbed another one the next day as she started the drive home.
All the way back from Santa Fe to Albuquerque we discussed where we were going to have dinner.
Sadie's? Blue Corn? There were a couple of places listed in the in-room guide book which we had noticed driving around the area. But the one we chose to check out was closed, so cruising back down the street I took a serendipitous turn in Maria Theresa, which appeared to be just another
Southwest/Mex place. It turns out that the restaurant is a more Continental/Southwest kinda place in a gorgeous old house that is in the National Registry of Historic Places. A beautiful multi-room Victorian style place with Southwestern touches.
The soup of the day was a corn/red chile concoction...the total opposite of Blue Corn's take. This was a smooth, creamy soup with very little whole corn in it. Plenty of swirls of that earthy New Mexico red chile and a nice kick. Lovely. For dinner I had yummy dish of spoonbread with carne adovado and Denise had a small plate with a pinto bean cake and more of the adovado.
Totally delicious...possibly the best adovado I've yet to enjoy. Service was a bit iffy, but overall
Maria Theresa made for a very enjoyable finale to our trip.