The long ago proposed and constantly delayed downtown grocery store has hit another obstacle on its path toward completion. Builders recently discovered the dirt used to fill the future site of the store is unsuitable for supporting the planned four floor structure. The “noncompactable” dirt would shift under the weight of the 11,555 sq. ft. grocery store and 61 overhead residential apartments. To fix the problem, the dirt will have to be removed, forcing construction back to square one. In light of the error, the city and developers plan to remove one of the top floors from the proposed building and add an underground parking level. Already, the city has paid $1.5 million to clear and prepare the vacant lot and the projected total cost is $18.5 million. Most recently, the Bernalillo County Commission moved the project forward by unanimously approving consideration for an $11.3 million industrial revenue bond package. If all financing can be obtained, construction is slated to begin in late 2014.
Famed New Mexican restaurant El Pinto (10500 Fourth Street NW) recently eliminated all partially hydrogenated oils from its fried foods. This past November, the FDA preliminarily declared that the widely used oils are “generally recognized as unsafe.” In response, El Pinto will use healthier rice bran oil in conjunction with the sunflower oil the restaurant uses with its other foods.
Back in the aughts, the hottest dance club in Albuquerque was The Pulse. After a brief period of decline, the all-inclusive LGBTQ nightclub shuttered, and a handful of other venues rotated through the space, most recently the troubled Copa Cabana. Soon, however, the original Pulse doors will reopen to a new incarnation of the beloved hot spot: Pulse Encore (4100 Central SE). The couple behind the venture, Andres and David Rosales, hope to recapture the energy of the old Pulse while adding new touches like an expanded dance floor, a VIP lounge and a refurbished outdoor patio. Keep your eyes peeled for its upcoming grand opening.
As frigid winter weather sweeps through Albuquerque, cozy up with a hot cup of tea from new purveyors The Fragrant Leaf (3207 Silver SE). Recently opened in Nob Hill, the tea boutique offers a number of loose leaf teas from farms and gardens across Asia. Robin Scala, the owner/operator of the new store, brings years of experience from living in Taiwan and China previously. A quick perusal of their offerings yields many choices, from black and pu-erh varieties, to pricier and rarer special harvests. The Fragrant Leaf also hopes to provide their customers with “a unique learning resource for tea and its cultural and artistic traditions” through Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies and tastings.