Adios, Amigos—I tend to avoid Cottonwood Mall if at all possible, but in the event that Williams-Sonoma beckons, at least I can drown my Westside heebie-jeebies in a leche de tigre seafood cocktail from Mariscos Vallarta (10131 Coors NW at 7-Bar Loop). Imagine my disappointment when I drove down Corrales Road last weekend and saw the Mariscos sign had been replaced by another restaurant ... something with a chile pepper on it? (I couldn't tell—it was dark and I had a mall hangover.) If you know what happened, please console me with news on whether or not the replacement is decent.
To top it off, one of my regular food contributors reports that the Chile Bowl, a homestyle New Mexican counter at Kathryn and San Mateo SE, has closed. It was only a few months old, and I hear it was quite good.
Bienvenidos, Shopping Centers—You've no doubt heard that Albuquerque is getting our very first Trader Joe's, purveyors of natural in-store and national brands (most notably of the dry goods variety) at notoriously cheap prices. The space was built over the past few months just north of Paseo del Norte, between Wyoming and Ventura (technically, at 8928 Holly NE), and the hiring sign unfurled a few weeks ago. Still, corporate HQ wouldn't budge on when the store would actually open. Until now: Word is that Friday, March 10, is the store's first day. If you can't hold out, there are two mega-markets on either side of the street, including a new Raley's at 8100 Ventura NE that opened less than a month ago. For the record, no one has successfully explained to me why the Northeast Heights should be so inundated with grocery stores, yet I can't buy a wax-free piece of fruit to save my life Downtown. But I guess I'll end up driving to TJ's, anyhow.
The 2006 New Mexico Organic Farming Conference will take place Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Hilton Albuquerque (1901 University NE)—The conference has ripened considerably over the years, growing in both size and scope as we enter increasingly complex territories of organic consumption. In addition to several hands-on demonstrations, conference attendees can attend six special sessions offered in several "tracks" of study, based on soil, crops, livestock, pests and weeds, marketing and government programs, and water and health. Topics include Transitioning to Organic Beef Production, Steps to Organic Certification and Identifying Plant Diseases in the Greenhouse and the Field. Registration fees are payable at the door at $65 per person per day (or $100 for both), with a $5 discount available for certified organic producers and processors. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. both days.
I'm going to Peru! Send your suggestions for the best purple papas or barbecued guinea pig to email@example.com, 346-0660 ext. 260 or faxed to 256-0660. I'll send you treats.