You know the feeling. You've just eaten your weight in food, and now it's gradually beginning to expand in your gut. As your pants start feeling tighter and tighter, you not only consider the social implications of sauntering around with undone pants, but also what exactly brought you to this point. If you've ever found yourself OKing that fourth hunk of meat at Tucanos, you know what we're talking about. This Downtown Brazilian buffet and meatery was voted the best place in Albuquerque not only to gorge yourself but also to throw social graces to the wind and embrace uncouth pantaloons.
1. Tucanos Brazilian Grill
2. China Star
Runners-up: Sadie's, Cracker Barrel
They might make the rest of the day a little sleepier, but to beat back the workday blues, it's always a good idea to hit up a well-stocked, reasonably priced lunch buffet. While it serves great Indian cuisine all day, Taj Mahal's lunch buffet deserves special attention. Steamy naan bread and all the tandoori chicken you can consume is impossible to pass up—and at under 10 bucks, you can't afford to.
1. Taj Mahal
2. Tomato Café
Runner-up: India Palace Cuisine of India
There's a reason why the wait time at Sadie's can be an hour-plus. It's because folks know when it comes to belly-busting New Mexican food, one needn't look any further than this longtime North Valley favorite. Start with a big bowl of chips and some of the best queso around, then chomp into a burrito packed to the gills con Billy's spicy beef with very generous sides of rice and beans. Your stomach won't grumble for a week.
Runners-up: Dos Hermanos, K and I Diner
“Don’t tell any one, but I love the Olive Garden!”
At least that’s what one anonymous voter tells us. Why are we so ashamed of our love for aggressively marketed, carbon-copied T.G.I-McFunBees? They’re reasonably priced and poised to please any grab bag of dinner companions you can round up. Flying Star Café has nine-grain toast, semolina bread, organic stuff and free trade this-and-that. And it's a chain—albeit a local one. Upon hearing this, Stephen Hawking announced he had found a definitive black hole location: Albuquerque.
1. Flying Star Café
2. Dion's Pizza, Macaroni Grill, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (tied)
Runners-up: Carrabba's Italian Grill, Applebee's, Blake's Lotaburger
Though we might argue that the best answer here is actually "more gin," you certainly can't go wrong with Frontier Restaurant, either. Tortillas are perfect for soaking up excess swill in your stomach, thus saving your liver some of the brunt of your overindulgence. Our prescription is to hit up our favorite UNM-area eatery directly after boozing at about 3 a.m. A big cup of water (thoughtfully provided in a lidded cup with straw) and some Western-style hash browns ought to do the trick. Green chile has all that vitamin C, you know. One reader specified the green chile stew at Frontier, probably for precisely that reason. Another sadist recommended ketchup, but the thought turned our stomachs. Finally, the strangest suggestion: sex. Um ... can we wait until after the nausea and splitting headache subside?
1. Frontier Restaurant (landslide)
It’s been said that pizza is like sex—even when it’s bad it’s still pretty damn good. And when they make it any way you like it, well, how can you possibly complain? Da Vinci’s Gourmet Pizza may not remind you of Mom’s home cooking in any way that makes you comfortable, but getting it hot and saucy is a comfort to many sick, sick bastards.
1. DaVinci's Gourmet Pizza
2. Flying Star Café, Frontier Restaurant (tied)
Runner-up: The Range Café and Bakery
We challenge you to name anything that doesn’t taste good covered in gravy. Yeah, that’s what we thought. Meat, potatoes or those other vegetables all taste better hidden under a heavy coating of the good stuff: meat juice emulsified with meat fat. (Gravy, to the uninitiated.) We got us a good old-fashioned three-way tie for gravy gerent. The Range Café, 66 Diner and, yes, Cracker Barrel all aim to clog your arteries with their artery-clogging offerings.
1. 66 Diner, Cracker Barrel, The Range Café and Bakery (tied)