Following the River
The Asian variety at Mekong Ramen HouseAri LeVaux finds that the food at this Laotian-owned restaurant is just as diverse and pan-Asian as the river for which it is named.
Dark Beer and Dark Films for a Dark Weekend
Hey hop heads: This Saturday is the Winter Solstice, the darkest, longest night of the year. In preparation, Bird of Paradise (5409 Gibson SE) will be holding its first annual Dark Beer Festival tonight at 6pm, featuring a line up of black-barleyed libations for you to huddle up with while evil spirits stalk the pre-Solstice night outside. Flights of four different beers are $8 and include several special edition ales from brewers like Sierra Nevada and O'Dell.
Once you've slept off your courage stoking beer fix, you'll be ready for the Dark Matter Film Festival's Horror Bites! marathon at the Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE) on Saturday at 2pm. Horror Bites! will feature a collection of short horror and sci-fi films handpicked by such local luminaries as the Alibi's own Devin O'Leary.
I’ll Take My Hot Sauce Unleaded, Thanks
Dave_B_ via Flickr
¡Ay, no! A study recently published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health found evidence that four chile-based hot sauces imported from Mexico may contain unsafe levels of lead.
Researchers from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas bought 25 bottles of hot sauce from local venues (grocery stores, ethnic markets and the swap meet). Each bottle was shaken for 60 seconds and then checked for lead concentrations, reports the UNLV News Center.
The FDA hasn’t set a standard for the amount of lead that can be in hot sauce. However, there’s no known safe level of lead exposure, and children are particularly vulnerable to lead’s damaging effects. For candy, the FDA has set a standard for lead concentrations at 0.1 parts per million (ppm). According to Shawn Gerstenberger, one of the study’s authors, the same level should be applied toward hot sauces. He adds, “Without enforceable standards for hot sauces and condiments, manufacturers will not be encouraged to improve quality control measures designed to reduce the amounts of lead and other toxic elements before exporting.”
The four culprits in this pilot study reported to exceed the 0.1 ppm FDA standard for lead in candy are: Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero, manufactured by El Yucateco; El Pato Salsa Picante, manufactured by Walker Foods; Salsa Habanera, manufactured by Salsas Castillo and Bufalo Salsa Clasica, manufactured by Herdez.
Walker Foods has released a statement on its website pointing out that only one of seven samples used in the UNLV study contained a significant level of lead (0.23 ppm), while the other six samples were well below the study’s suggested threshold of 0.1 ppm. They are, however, discontinuing their El Pato Red Salsa Picante. So far, the other salsa manufacturers remain mum.
Though hot sauce is typically consumed in small quantities, if it’s a regular part of your or your child’s diet, you might want to be careful. It could contribute to unsafe levels of exposure to lead, especially when combined with other sources of exposure such as soil or paint manufactured before 1978.
Hundreds of Santa Feans just say no to Monsanto
To my surprise, there were over 400 people at the demonstration on the Santa Fe Railyard. This coincided with the Saturday Farmer's Market, which created a perfect audience among the Market's mostly green and liberal crowd. After a few speeches by local activists, the group marched to the state capital—waving signs, banners and carrying puppets that warned of the dangers of genetic modification. The protest culminated in live music and rants of various types. It wasn’t your typical family outing, but it was a great day for being alive nonetheless. Siempre en la lucha.
Editor’s note: Scroll on for more photos and a poem by Beata Tsosie-Peña.
Message to Monsanto
I am my own nation, with self-determination, a voice, and my own boundaries
You cannot encroach your mad science here
There will be no splicing, dicing, forceful injections to sterilize THIS free will
Your campaign of violence will never silence,
The power and song of sovereign landscapes
Your campaign to dominate
Remaining pockets of land-based beauty will fail
Your twisted esteem has yet to see
The power of ecology, boomeranged back at you with all the breath and balance
Of pure, reciprocal pollinators
Its funny the audacity, that monoculture mentality
For it’s in our inherent biodiversity
That the hungry will be fed
It’s the garden of truth in our hearts
That will keep our encoded memories
From being bled, carried out in sterile labs
Where viruses are shot with intentional precision
Enacting double helix holocausts on seeds we are supposed to protect
Your poisoning of generations is a toxic war crime
Carried over from your shameful days
Of bombarding veterans and civilians with an an agent called orange
Whose children with disabilities have yet to see
Justice or healthcare in their daily sunrise
Your poisoning of future generations will go no further
For while capitalism feeds you
And sneaky Protection Acts shield your diabolical crew,
Well protect this Monsanto, I am boycotting you
Watch as consumers change this tide
And the world community will no longer abide
No one will care when your abominations are set ablaze
And this place will rejoice
As Indigenous seed weathers its last era of tyranny
Our desert beauty genetics are as strong as our memory
And only we know how to tend and mend,
This land where our spirit is rooted, deeper than you know
We must keep growing our own food, saving heirloom seeds
Keep demanding these basic rights
And at the very least,
change for mandatory gmo labeling is now in sight
Nature has our back, is creating round up resistant seed
Being classified by your people as a super weed
Immune to your poison, is a plant called amaranth
That has fed us through centuries of colonization
What a relief and realization
That we are indeed a living civilization
Adapting and growing amidst such violent supremacy
You can rage into oblivion, drowning in your own greed
Unless you accept your deep need
To be retaught lessons of balance with technology, that does not have to bleed
It is time for this first crop of a movement to flourish
For collective action to harvest truth on hallowed ground
Sweet fruit we inherited
Through natural law that cannot be patented
Spirit beings of all that is alive
Help us get through these times
And we’ll return to our sacred promise
Our rightful place, as stewards of creativity and land-based grace
We remember now, when it is time to become warriors
When our seed is threatened and you have hurt our mother
We’ll stand our ground,
Carry solid intention as we walk in mass
For this is our nation
With self-determination, a voice, and boundaries,
Where only those with souls
In the end shall pass.
—Beata Tsosie-Peña, 2013
A chocolate box
Theobroma is sublime reality
Imagine a barrel-sized vat filled to the brim with melted chocolate, swirling in an unending and hypnotic cycle. Luscious chocolate spins before your eyes, and your mouth begins to water. Continue picturing that, and add copious trays of chocolate-covered strawberries, truffles, candy molds in every shape imaginable and an abundance of delight. The phrase “like a kid in a candy store” resonated with me at Theobrama, as I stood in awe of all the delicious treats surrounding me.
Theobroma Chocolatier is Albuquerque’s own Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory. Located at Tramway and Montgomery, this quaint shop proffers all the goodness you could ever want. Their ingredients include bulk chocolate from the company founded by the guy who invented milk chocolate in Switzerland. It’s hard to beat that standard. For the past few weeks, I’ve reaped the benefits of having a friend working in the chocolate business. Every time I see him, I’m presented with some confectionary concoction he created that day at Theobroma. Needless to say, I’ve been beyond grateful.
It wasn’t until I visited the store that I really understood the mastery of the process. The chocolate here is virtually all handmade, from hand-dipped Oreos to caramel-filled chocolates, you can guarantee it was constructed by skilled hands. A personal favorite of mine is their signature Cortez Crunch bar, a concoction of layers of dark and milk chocolate, separated by the perfect amount of smooth caramel. It might actually be the best chocolate bar out there, and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.
I’ve sampled boxes of truffles, chocolate and caramel-covered popcorn, chocolate-mint pecans, and so much more in the past month; I cannot even begin to tell you. Theobroma creates some serious sugar cravings and exceeds at fulfilling them. Chocolate, they say, is addictive and I may need rehab, but I simply refuse. Theobroma Chocolatier has me hooked and I never plan on giving them—or their chocolates—up.
Now I understand why dogs chase cars
That was a quote from a neighboring customer, and my taste buds surely agree.
Food trucks are not a new phenomenon. They’ve been driven around cities for decades. I even grew up frequenting a taco truck on the way home from soccer practice. It was quick, easy, cheap and, above all, delicious. However, the difference between the taco truck parked in the dirt lot by I-25 and what I experienced this past week are worlds apart.
It began in Los Angeles, as Kogi Korean BBQ trucks weaved their way into the hearts of Californians through tantalizing cuisine. With instantaneous tweets updating the location of their fleet of tasty grub, I’m pretty sure this contributed to the population compulsively checking their smart phones. The whole city was glued to their mobile devices, in pursuit of that damn Kogi truck. I like to imagine a bug-eyed crowd, clutching their growling stomachs while making a rapid zombie crawl into parking lots to find the infamous truck. Needless to say, food trucks were making a gourmet comeback.
The trend soon made its way across the nation and cultures: Belgian waffles in New York City, lobster rolls in Harvard Square, crème brûlée in San Francisco and cupcakes in Philly. You can pretty much get any type of food you could ever want from a mobile kitchen. Yet, unbeknownst to many Burqueños, we too have our own collection of motorized restaurants.
Every Wednesday in the Talin Market parking lot, an array of eclectic vehicles serve up delicious nosh. In the mood for some comfort food? Head on over the The Supper Truck for some good ol’ shrimp and grits or maybe some catfish tacos. What about pierogies? The Gedunk Food Truck can sate that craving in a savory second. Needless to say, Albuquerque is not lacking in diversity. This makes choosing what to eat so much more difficult, but that’s not a problem I’m too upset about having.
The variety and temptation of the trucks did have me wandering around the parking lot for a good 15 minutes, unsure of what delectable dish I was going to have during my lunch break. I finally settled on The Boiler Monkey. This refurbished bus caught my eye with one simple word: crêpe. Whether you want sweet—think Nutella with banana, cinnamon with baked apples—or savory—maybe the Burque Turkey interests you—there will be a crêpe specifically created to suit your tastes. As much of a sweet freak as I am, I opted for savory and went with The Farm. Complete with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and feta, and topped with a balsamic reduction sauce, I was in taste bud heaven.
Ty Takes a Meal
Congrats to commenter 27eh for identifying Christy Mae's Restaurant from the Tricarico family portrait (it turns out that Christy Mae hasn't been involved in the place for a couple of decades now).
After a month of some seriously top-notch guessing, the moment you've all been waiting for has arrived. I've retrieved the Randomizer 3000 from its secured underground vault, deactivated the incredibly dangerous biological booby traps that prevent it from being misused by unscrupulous randomizers, and entered the PhotoGuesser names into its sophisticated data bank.
Emptyv. LundyJ. Okeefine. 27eh. Who will walk away with the big prize? Close your eyes and picture a swirling array of blinking LED lights, hear the click and hum of a thousand powerful ASIC circuits tabulating the probabilities and reticulating the splines.
*Bing!* It's done. The lovely Geoffrey Plant, Circulation Manager and contributing writer, receives the results:
LUNDYJ! You have won two $10 Alibi Bucks certificates to Mirai Light and Healthy Japanese Cuisine, Sake and Beer!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must deactivate the Randomizer 3000, which involves a team of four technicians, 25 pounds of dry ice and a six pack of beer.
Ty Takes a Meal
Our weekly photo game
Congratulations to emptyv for identifying the wood stove in Cecilia's downtown dining room!
I get the feeling that this week's restaurant might be a little more challenging for you guys (the clientele seemed a bit more ... midwestern than I peg our readership [that's a hint]), but feel free to prove me wrong.
A quick rules run down: See the picture? It's from a restaurant that I've been to recently. Figure out where it is and post your answer in a comment below (not on Facebook, don't email them to my Alibi account, don't tap it out in code on the wall of your prison cell; put them in the comments section or you won't win). The first person to do so with the correct answer will be declared Dark Lord of the PhotoGuessers for the Week AND, at the end of the month, will be entered into a drawing for an Alibi Bucks prize along with the other Dark Lords of the PhotoGuessers.
Now, one more thing. If you win, I'll be notifying you via Alibi.com's message feature, which some of you may not know about. Look at the upper-right hand corner of the screen. See that block of red text that tells you if you're logged in, etc.? If I send you a message, that block will also display a notification along the lines of "2 messages." Click on it, and it will take you to your inbox where a cheery "YOU ARE A WINNER" message may very well be waiting. Read it and then write back to me to acknowledge that you've received it. You can also get to your inbox through the "my alibi" drop down menu.
Ty Takes a Meal
Our weekly photo game
Congratulations to Okeefine for correctly identifying O'Niell's Irish Pub in Nob Hill (and even spelling the name right) from some table-side metalwork. Now, send me a message Okeefine (email@example.com)
A quick reminder of what this contest is all about. See the picture I've posted there? It's of an Albuquerque restaurant. If you are the first one to name it correctly in a comment below, you will be declared Grand Moff PhotoGuesser of the week, and what's more, you'll be eligible for our prize drawing (free Alibi bucks to a local restaurant!) at the end of the month. Not too, shabby eh?
So, get to it! Figure out which restaurant I've been to recently!
One more thing: If you win, I'll be sending a short message to your Alibi.com mail account. Look in the upper right hand corner of the screen; if you're logged in and you've got a message, you'll be notified in that little block of text up there. It's important that you write me back after you've won so that I can notify you if you win the big prize at the end of the month.