Ralph Melton (ralphmelton) wrote,
Ralph Melton

New Mexico Roadfood Trip, Part 1

Thursday, September 16:

I parked at CMU and took the 28X bus to the airport. This turns out to be a pretty good airport-transportation solution. It's much cheaper than parking at the airport, and it's pretty convenient: it takes 47 minutes to get from Oakland to the airport, but it lets you out next to the baggage claim, so it's pretty competitive with driving from Oakland to the airport plus parking plus getting from the extended-term parking to the airport terminal.

I had a meal from Nature's Kitchen in the airport, which was surprisingly good: juicy jerk chicken with a strong taste of thyme and other herbs, and tasty macaroni and cheese.

Flew to Albuquerque. Got in late and tired enough that I just went to bed without joining up with any Roadfooders.

Friday, September 17:

When I joined the group congregating at 8:30, Jane Stern said, "Ralph, you're my last hope." She had bought an iPad, but wasn't able to make it work with the App Store. She offered to buy all the meals on the trip for anyone who sorted out her problem. Jon Battle and I engaged the issue. I'd like to think that I could have sorted it out eventually, but Jon was the one who eventually solved her problem.

On the bus, ChiTownDiner passed around cookies he'd gotten from Golden Crown Panaderia. The white ones are wedding cookies, sugar cookies with pecans rolled in powdered sugar. The brown ones are biscochitos, New Mexico's official state cookie. Biscochitos are anise-flavored cookies with a crumbly texture.

Our first stop was a surprise: instead of going to the Frontier Restaurant for breakfast, we were going to the Bobcat Bite. (I think Bobcat Bite hadn't been on the original schedule because a large group would overwhelm the restaurant; it seats 24, and had opened early just for us.)

The green chile cheeseburger from Bobcat Bite was thick and juicy - it's a ten-ounce burger. (I shared one with three other people.) The chiles were a fairly mild, subtle flavor; mostly this was just an excellent burger.

We also shared an order of the skillet beans, which were very bacony and tasty. The beans are only available during the summer, and we learned the reason why: during the winter, they make green chile stew, and they only have a few burners in the kitchen, so green chile stew has to usurp baked beans.

In Santa Fe, my first stop was Pasqual's, with about ten other Roadfooders. We got lucky: the big central table was open when we came in.

I ordered the fruita liquida, which turned out to be basically a smoothie. It had an orange juice base, with bananas and strawberries blended in. Very good.

Stephen Rushmore and I shared the huevos motuleños: "Eggs Over Easy on Corn Tortillas with Black Beans Topped with Sauteéd Bananas, Feta Cheese, Green Peas, Roasted Tomato-Jalapeño Salsa, Served with Green Chile or Tomatillo Salsa". It was very good, but well outside my usual experience. I particularly found the spicy bananas unusual.

I also enjoyed samples of chicken mole, smoked trout hash, and chilled tomato soup.

From there, it was just around the corner to the Five and Dime, purported originator of the Frito Pie.

Two of us shared a Frito pie, and I don't think we finished it. It was much like every other Frito pie I've had, though the chili was a bit spicier - but it didn't call out to be finished.

A little way across Santa Fe's plaza was Roque's Carnitas:

The carnitas were very tasty, with plenty of seasoning. I didn't notice much heat, but it would certainly have been too spicy for Lori.

This must be Chris Ayers taking a picture of the carnitas: my clue is the ultrafabulous Route 66 shirt he was wearing. My guess is that cousin Johnny was holding the carnitas, but I'm less certain of that.

On the walk to Santacafe, I saw this delightful sculpture in front of the Santa Fe library. A tree festooned with ice cream cones, cupcakes, hamburgers, hot dogs, and sodas seems perfectly apt for a Roadfood trip.

There's a certain subtype of upscale restaurants that tend to describe themselves like this: "Chef Whatshisname combines a focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients with a passion for culinary ingenuity to provide an original twist on classic dishes." I'm willing to believe that such a statement is mostly true, and I've had some very good meals in such places - but such places all tend to be a bit homogenous to me. It's like the way beautiful, diverse movie stars all end up looking like movie stars. The point of this ramble: Santacafe is one such restaurant, and though the food was good, it didn't enrapture me.

I believe this to be Bruce Bilmes' green chile cheeseburger. I know that I had a bite, but I don't remember the taste.

I don't think I tried the Shrimp & Spinach Dumplings w/ Tahini Sauce pictured here.

I did sample the corn and potato soup, and it was really splendid, very rich and creamy.

I ordered the Shiitake & Cactus Spring Rolls with Southwestern Ponzu. My impression is that cactus tastes like asparagus, sort of woody and green. It wasn't bad, but didn't give me nearly the pleasure of Bobcat Bite.

A view from the bus back to Albuquerque:

Next up: New Mexico State Fair
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