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 V.16 No.41 | October 11 - 17, 2007 

Feature

State Treasures

Best New Mexican Restaurant

There were more votes in this category than dream catchers in an Old Town tourist shop. But at the end of the day, you chose Los Cuates. "The Twins" have been an Albuquerque institution for almost 15 years, endearing you with their royal rellenos, their signature salsa and their soft, pillowy sopaipillas. And some trippy photorealistic paintings of dancing children.

1. Los Cuates

2. Sadie's

Runner-up: Duran's Central Pharmacy

Best Chile Relleno

OK. The thing is, it's a New Mexico chile pepper that's been stuffed with melted cheese, batter-dipped and deep-fried. Are you falling out of your chair yet? No? Then you haven't tried the rellenos at Duran's. We'd feel sorry for you, but we're too busy eating one to muster any emotion beside pure bliss.

1. Duran's Central Pharmacy

2. Los Cuates

Runner-up: Garcia's Kitchen

Best Green Chile Cheeseburger

What is it about chopped green chile on an American classic that has even McDonald's taking notice and permanently localizing its New Mexico menus? It could be the moisture or the spice, but the Owl Cafe's strategy seems to be: If some green chile is good, than a boatload of green chile is better. The Owl slathers its handmade burgers in the state's vegetable of choice and tops it with tangy mustard. Add fries and a shake and you've got a little piece of Southwestern-Americana heaven.

1. Owl Café

2. Blake's Lotaburger

Runner-up: Bob's Burgers

Best Frito Pie

The State Fair isn't the only place to find this dish of crispy, cheesy, beefy goodness. Plenty of places around town serve it with warm melted cheese, cool lettuce and juicy tomatoes. The ever-present challenge of a Frito pie is to consume it quickly, risking whatever vicious heartburn may follow, in order to insure the Fritos remain as crunchy as possible. Bob's Burgers is the winner in this category, and although it's perhaps most famous for the "ranchero burger," the Frito pie is clearly a fan favorite as well.

1. Bob's Burgers

2. Dog House Drive-In

Runner-up: Five and Dime General Store in Santa Fe

Best Huevos Rancheros

Many New Mexicans judge our namesake restaurants by the quality of their huevos. Are the papas shredded, quartered or mashed? The beans black or pinto? The chile hot? And, perhaps most importantly, do they know how to fry an egg? Our readers seem to hold all of these culinary characteristics in high esteem at The Range Café, which took top marks in this category. This diner’s brand of huevos is clean and light, with blue corn tortillas accented by white cheddar.

1. The Range Café and Bakery

2. Frontier Restaurant

Runners-up: Barelas Coffee House, Duran's Central Pharmacy, El Camino Dining Room, Garcia's Kitchen

Best Green Chile

This is a trick question. Of course the best green chile is yours, your mom's, your cousin's, your grandma's, your great aunt's and so on. You're right. It is the best. But for the rest of us who don't have access to your gastronomically gifted family tree, we're going to get ours at Frontier. (And while we're at it, please feel free to send your recipes to us here at the Alibi.)

1. Frontier Restaurant

2. El Patio

Runner-up: Duran's Central Pharmacy

Best Red Chile

Happiness is a bowl of red chile with beans and potatoes at Duran's Central Pharmacy. The flavor of Duran's red chile is what makes it stand out as a favorite in a city with really fine chile. Some days, the pungent taste of garlic takes the huevos rancheros to another level of delicious. On others, the heat of the New Mexico sun pours off the plate, making those chicken enchiladas sear with taste. A fluctuating yet consistently tasty red chile is a sign of greatness.

1. Duran's Central Pharmacy

2. Cervantes

Runners-up: El Modelo, Frontier Restaurant, Mary and Tito's Café, Sadie's

Best Tortillas

They’re round and flat, and they are the foundation of Southwestern cuisine. That’s right, we're talking tortillas. You can cover them with cheese, wrap them around frijoles, or layer them with chile. They are the versatile building blocks that make New Mexico what it is. Frontier makes them on-site with a crafty contraption that captures the attention of diners faster than a public display of 2 a.m. drunken affection.

1. Frontier Restaurant

2. Duran's Central Pharmacy

Runners-up: Albuquerque Tortilla Company, Dos Hermanos, El Modelo, Taco Cabana

Best Tamales

If there's a perfect lunchtime food, the tamale is it. It covers all the food groups (meat, chile, cheese and corn), is completely self-contained for portable eating and is quick as it is yummy. Likewise, if there's a perfect place to get those lunchtime tamales, it's El Modelo. Alibi food scientists have tried for years to figure what it is that makes the tamales so friggin' good there. All we can say is, if we told you, we'd have to roll you in a corn husk and steam you.

1. El Modelo

2. Dos Hermanos

Runners-up: Little Anita's, Los Cuates, Sadie's

Best Sopaipillas

Fried, fluffy carbohydrates. What's not to love? Whether they come before, during or after the meal, whether you eat them plain, soaked in chile or drizzled in honey, there's no denying that sopaipillas are worth spending an extra half-hour on the treadmill. You like them at Sadie's best of all.

1. Sadie's

2. Garduño's of Old Mexico

Runners-up: El Patio, El Pinto, Padilla's, Los Cuates

Best Enchiladas

There are a lot of good enchiladas in this city, and while every personal favorite was probably voted for at least once or twice, it turns out that Duran's Central Pharmacy is thought by Albuquerqueans to have the most coveted enchiladas. And rightly so. There is definitely something about Duran's particular combination of chile, cheese and corn tortilla. The friendly little New Mexican restaurant, inside of the charming old-fashioned pharmacy, has some freakin' good enchiladas .

1. Duran's Central Pharmacy

2. El Patio

Runner-up: Sadie's

Best Chips and Salsa

Sadie's is on the shopping list of every heat-lovin' salsa eater this side of the Texas border. (And if those Texans knew what was good for ’em, they'd have it on their list, too.) Known for its kick, Sadie's doesn't mind serving up an endless amount of its signature sauce when you sit down for a burrito con papitas. And what's a super spicy salsa without fresh, salted chips to accompany it? Nothing. So piles of crispy chips you shall getjust have something on hand to cool your chops before the main course arrives.

1. Sadie's

2. Los Cuates

Runner-up: Garduño's of Old Mexico

Best Green Chile Stew

The Frontier has the best green chile stew in town, no question. Frontier won this category with a whopping five times the number of votes as the runner up. Could it be the scrumptious little potatoes? The tiny morsels of flavorful meat? The tender green chile? It's all of that. All of that and more.

1. Frontier Restaurant

2. Garcia's Kitchen

Runner-up: Pueblo Harvest Café

Best Posole

You might have to be a New Mexican to fully understand posole, as Barelas Coffee House does. It's not just a chile-based soup with hominy and meat. Posole is a whole bundle of memories going back to childhood Christmases, sick days and rising-before-dawn adventures. It's like liquid sunshine in its ability to brighten a rainy day or soothe a broken heart. And the taste is just as good.

1. Barelas Coffee House

2. Las Mañanitas, Tomato Café (tied)

Runner-up: Golden Pride BBQ Chicken and Ribs

 

Today's Events

Friday Filmmakers Coffee at Jean Cocteau Cinema

Friday Filmmakers Coffee

A get-together for professional filmmakers who are actively working in the industry in New Mexico.

Coffee Tasting at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm

¡Globalquerque!: Beto Jamaica • Los Texmaniacs • Los Primos with Lenore Armijo • DVA and more at National Hispanic Cultural Center

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