“When I first moved here, I thought Albuquerque was a dump,” says Christie del Castillo, laughing heartily at her own memory. “I thought there was nothing out here. But now, I love Albuquerque. It's clean, cheap to live in and has a great culture and a beauty that I always felt San Francisco had ... and snowboarding is only an hour away, at most!”
Castillo, who migrated to New Mexico from California in June of last year, came to the Duke City for her residency in emergency medicine at the University of New Mexico Hospital. Having only briefly visited the city once before when she came out for an interview, when she first arrived in the city, she felt lost.
“The most important thing I wanted to know is where the good Asian food was, especially Filipino cuisine. Then I found what I believe is the only Filipino restaurant in town: Filipino Home Cooking (533 Vermont NE), which is a very authentic, family-oriented place. You can find the Filipino community through that restaurant; on Friday night they have karaoke, and on Sundays they teach traditional Filipino folk dance.
“Another really great Asian restaurant is the May Café (111 Louisiana SE); they have awesome Vietnamese food, the same quality as restaurants in San Francisco, with a big, authentic menu. And for groceries, Talin Market (88 Louisiana SE) is a really good adaptation for a place without a huge population for any specific ethnicity.”
On a side note, Castillo also recommends Le Crepe Michel (400 San Felipe SW) in Old Town for brunch-lovers, and Ten Thousand Waves (3451 Hyde Park) in Santa Fe for anyone with a crick in their neck or a few extra hours to spare.
An insider tip: Ten Thousand Waves offers a 20 percent discount to anyone with a valid New Mexico driver's license on all days except Friday, Saturday and Sunday.