All the News That's Fit to Eat
Driving east on Central from Downtown the other day I noticed a lot of comings and goings along the city's main artery. Asahi Teriyaki (at University), Spuds (at Princeton) and Red or Green (near Washington) are all gone. Among the new places sprouting up is the Swiss Alps Bakery on Harvard just south of Central. Owner Raimund Pepe has been turning out strudel at the original Swiss Alps (6607 Menaul NE) for several years. In the past year he opened then closed a location in Rio Rancho, deciding instead to try his luck near the University. The pretty yellow space with hand-made wooden furniture has a great bakery vibe to it, though in addition to breads, pastries and desserts, Swiss Alps also serves lunch and dinner. It is international menu that includes Swiss cheese quesadillas, cheese fondue, quiche and tuna sandwiches. The bratwurst and other sausages all come from the Alpine Bakery (Indian School and Girard). Check it out and don't leave without a snack from the bakery case.
I was pushing a heavily-laden shopping cart around the frozen foods section at Super Wal-Mart the other day when I thought I saw someone I knew and was suddenly terribly, deeply embarrassed. “Oh god,” I thought, “please do not let me be seen shopping at Wal-Mart.” For somebody who is so self-righteous about supporting local restaurants and local growers it would seem awfully hypocritical to get caught shopping at a monster superstore responsible for putting some of those local businesses out of business? And then the pragmatic (or whiny?) side of my brain kicked in. “But I also needed to get a flashlight and potting soil and socks. And besides, they do have the best prices on Fresca and Baked Ruffles.” (Whoa, did I just divulge an unpleasant addiction to reduced-fat snack foods? Ack.) How are we to reconcile the urge to support the local economy with not having the time or money to run all over town searching for an Albuquerque-owned store that sells flashlights and then another that sells potting soil, all before doing the grocery shopping? For me, I try to spread my money around between growers markets, flea markets, little shops and friends. I try to minimize my trips to Wal-Mart and ... well ... try not to be seen shopping there when I do go.
The science (or lack thereof) behind the taste of place in food
I often hear about fruits or vegetables grown in certain areas being superior to the same fruit or vegetable grown somewhere else, even nearby. For example, a friend who lives in Hanover County, Virginia keeps bragging about the especially wonderful tomatoes grown there. Is it all marketing hype, or can there really be something to it?
With Keith Roessler of Zinc Wine Bar and Bistro
Several of the players that made Seasons (Mountain and San Felipe) so popular have banded together to do their own thing with Zinc, a restaurant and wine bar that opens this weekend at 3009 Central, in the former Fred's Bread and Bagel location next to the Lobo Theater.