Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the cock and I, for one, have decided it's high time we all started taking the Chinese zodiac a little more seriously. So forget Valentine's Day—I'll be eating kung pao chicken all weekend long, and I suggest you do the same. May you all have wealth and prosper.
Blue Corn Café and Brewery has undergone a total transformation, from concept, to atmosphere and menu. It is now called Chama River Brewing Company, an homage to the Rio Chama Steakhouse in Santa Fe, which is owned by the same folks. Gone is any pretense of a New Mexico theme, instead the menu is more broad. They've kept the well-made beers, added more wines, and a cigar room, to make Chama River one of the more appealing choices for dining near the Century Rio 24 movie theaters.
St. Java's Coffee Company is coming to the courtyard of La Bella Plaza at Coors and Alameda. The shop, which is expected to open soon, will have Wi-Fi access so patrons can catch up on their Chinese horoscopes ... er ... work and stuff, while they enjoy coffees, espressos, pastries or meals from the breakfast and lunch menu. There's already a Satellite over there, and I hear Satellite's parent company Flying Star is moving into the neighborhood soon. Westsiders sure won't be lacking for coffee, or competition. Maybe if it really heats up, we'll invite all the baristas to a cappuccino competition—at high noon, in the middle of Alameda.
Love that chicken from Popeye's! Actually, I haven't had Popeye's chicken in so long I can't even remember if I loved it or not. But I do seem to have their theme song burned into the back of my mind. And every time I look at their press release I find myself singing, I hope that jingle writer is still getting residuals. Has Albuquerque ever tasted that lovable chicken? Not sure, but there doesn't seem to be a shortage of fried chicken here. Anyway, after you Westsiders are fully loaded on caffeine, you'll soon be able to head on over to Coors and 7-Bar Loop for a bucket of chicken and biscuits. The local franchisors are hoping to open seven locations in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho by 2010.