alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals



 
 V.20 No.37 | September 15 - 21, 2011 

Locovore

Robin’s Kitchen

Healthy at the Harwood

Robin Day’s food is like a big, warm hug.
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com
Robin Day’s food is like a big, warm hug.

After 12 years of feeding students at Escuela del Sol montessori, Robin Day and her husband Tom Day began selling her cooking to the public. The initial idea, she told me, was to take advantage of a semi-captive audience: parental units that are obligated to drop by the building twice a day, having been briefed by their kids on how good the food is.

The school is located in the Harwood Art Center, the old, high-ceilinged brick building on Mountain and Seventh Street. The approach to the café brings you through the school’s echo- and art-filled hallway. A cute, five-table dining room has been fashioned inside Robin’s corner enclave. The tables hold flowers so fresh they look fake. Smartly framed children’s art is on the wall. An assortment of old, colored glass bottles occupies a windowsill. National Geographic and other magazines, and some books, are on the shelf.

Breakfast burrito feng shui
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com
Breakfast burrito feng shui

For the most part, what’s served in the café is different from the school menu, although the recipes retain a wholesome, made-from-scratch ethos that makes Robin’s a style of cooking you want your kids to be eating. The chicken noodle soup is one of the few examples of pure overlap, says Tom. “It’s mostly parents buying it for the kids who’ve grown to love it.”

Other than the soup of the day, soups are sold frozen in pint-sized portions for between three and five dollars. Having tried them all, the beef barley, rosemary white bean and squash red bean soups are my favorites—and quite a deal. I found the green chile chicken a little weak on the green for my tastes.

You can tell a lot about the quality and integrity of a place by how it cuts or doesn’t cut corners. The little things stand out at Robin’s, like organic milk for the coffee.

The breakfast burrito, made with oven-roasted Yukon gold potatoes, fresh-roasted green chile and eggs as local as they can find, is absolutely masterful. The finish on the potatoes reacts perfectly with the eggs, cheese and green chile. Altogether it has that breakfast burrito feng shui that’s often approximated but rarely nailed.

Sprouts and sprouted grains find their way into the food in many ways, including perhaps my favorite dish on the menu: Robin’s great grains salad, made with wheat berries, barley, dill, parsley and sprouted lentils in a homemade, roasted garlic and balsamic dressing. The nutty flavor of those sprouted lentils was educational to me. By the register is a disclaimer: “We grow the sprouts that are served here, in order to ensure that they are handled safely from the beginning. We are careful to grow them at a safe temperature and rinse them with fresh filtered water.”

Great grains
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com
Great grains

You can tell a lot about the quality and integrity of a place by how it cuts or doesn’t cut corners. The little things stand out at Robin’s, like organic milk for the coffee. Tom told me they use premade organic stock for the soups. While they don’t advertise it, the food is as clean and local as possible. Many of the herbs come from their garden, as well as the tomatoes in the salad and sandwiches. They also buy extensively from growers’ markets and other local farmers. It will be hard for this Locovore to find a restaurant closer to his heart.

Although I’m not much of a wheat kind of a guy, I can appreciate the mastery in Robin’s baking. The green chile cheddar biscuits are like a cross between a scone and an English muffin. Her honey wheat dinner rolls, which come with soup and around sandwiches, are simple yet quietly impressive. The lineup of baked goods on the rack by the register includes muffins made with organic fruit that was frozen in season for this use.

Based on the food served in the café, the 12 years’ worth of students that have attended Escuela del Sol are pretty lucky. And now the rest of the world is finding out. While it’s still a niche location, more and more people are wandering over from Downtown. But when the school is closed, so is the café, and that will be the case on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 15 and 16. As long as school is in session—including the summer arts program that just ended—and it isn’t the weekend, Robin and Tom will be in their kitchen, diligently turning out healthy food for happy girls and boys, and men and women.

View Robin’s in Alibi Chowtown calendar

Robin and Tom Day
Sergio Salvador salvadorphoto.com
Robin and Tom Day

The Alibi Recommends:

• Take-home soups

• Breakfast burrito

• Robin’s great grains salad

• Berry muffin

• Green chile cheddar roll

Robin’s Kitchen

1114 Seventh Street NW (inside the Harwood)
350-6558 • harwoodartcenter.org/ss/robin-s-kitchen
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price range: $1.25 (fresh-baked goods) to $7.50 (a big salad with chicken, tuna or deli salad on top)
Plastic: Yes
Booze: No, but the coffee gives a nice buzz.
Vibe: Funky and healthy
Vegetarian options: Plenty
 

Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!
 

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • alibi.com
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Del.icio.us Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
FREE SHOW @ SISTER
FREE SHOW @ SISTER 12.20.2014