Have You Eaten at Bumble Bee's Baja Grill Yet?—Well, you should. The award-winning Santa Fe import has been around for five weeks in Albuquerque, and Duke City converts are swarming around the new spot at San Mateo and Montgomery. Bumble Bee's food is fast-casual Californian/Mexican that uses no lard, MSG, freezers or microwaves. It's similar in concept to California's Baja Fresh chain—right down to the self-serve salsa bar—but without the corporate heebie-jeebies. It's 100-percent local and seriously good eats. Watch for a second Bumble Bee's in Albuquerque, set to open in Nob Hill at the start of 2006.
A New Nest for the Owl Café—Just in time for our yearly holiday shopping free-for-all, a fourth Owl Café opened last week at 2325 San Pedro NE, across the street from Macy's at Coronado Mall. Hours for the new San Pedro location are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m, Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends. Call 830-2015.
Scalo Welcomes Italian Guest Chef—Celebrated Northern Italian Chef (and I do mean from Italy) Enrico Marzaroli will bring his authentic culinary expertise to Scalo Northern Italian Grill though the end of December. Guest Chef Marzaroli specializes in the fresh fish and aged cheeses that are native to his home near Venice—catch him while you can!
Do Check Out the Wine Bar at Artichoke Café—It's a slim sidebar that packs a mighty wallop—the wine list is actually a big, leather-bound tome with a massive assortment of wines. Prices start at a decent $28 or $30 a bottle and zoom up into the upper stratospheres of frivolity, but you can also order select vintages by the half-bottle or glass. You'll love the front-facing "big city" windows, curvy wooden bar and comfortable seats. They're open until 11 p.m. on the weekends, but beware; the kitchen stops serving at 10 p.m.—far too early for an after-theater bite, as I discovered this weekend. A separate bar menu isn't available just yet, but, as our server suggested, "you can fill up on the wine!" Don't mind if I do.