Multi-instrumentalist, The Grave of Nobody’s Darling, Phantom Lake, Veery and more
Best Mustard Ever
Lusty Monk’s "Original Sin" is no ordinary condiment. This is no-nonsense, full-on, front-of-the-line, off-the-chart, step-aside mustard. You might be fooled into thinking there's horseradish or wasabi in there, but no. It's all mustard, all the time. The pesky thing about "Original Sin" is that once you try it, nothing else will do.
Best Unexpected View of Downtown Albuquerque
N 35.38396, W 106.53902
Best Kept Secret Oasis on the Westside
A few years ago, I attended an event called "Tai Chi with the Cranes" with my Sifu and fellow Tai Chi classmates from Jade Tiger (Rio Rancho). Driving down Coors, I was initially convinced that I was completely lost; no way there was a nature center anywhere near that busy road. But I soon discovered my directions were spot on. Doing Tai Chi next to hundreds of giant birds on a cold morning, facing east towards the mountains and the climbing sun, turned out to be pure magic. And what a find! Albuquerque Open Space Visitors Center is a beautiful collection of art galleries, trails, outdoor rooms, teaching gardens, amazing vantage points and more. Sitting just west of the Rio Grande, this is the perfect oasis for sketching, reading, photographing wildlife and watching Sandhill cranes during the spring and fall. The visitors center also hosts some great workshops, events and lectures. Every time I'm there, I discover something new about this wonderful place.
Best Local Bar
The first time I visited Sandia Bar, the walls and ceiling were covered in autographed one dollar bills, and there was a definite, easy, Midwest-meets-Southwest vibe throughout the place. Musicians, artists, doctors, farmers, students, drinkers, dreamers and storytellers, all. I love a good story. There's an unassuming familiarity about this place. Even the building takes me right back to the old cabins and ancient barns from my childhood. I'm originally from the Midwest, but some of my family lived here in Albuquerque and over in Golden, N.M., and this place just feels like it stepped right out of some forgotten family tale. Turns out one of the bartenders even went to school with my husband, way back in Wisconsin. This place always reminds me of one of the things I love best about Albuquerque and New Mexico in general; serendipity is always right around the corner.