Our guide to some of the most appetizing possibilities
By Laura Marrich
Few things work up a bigger appetite than a hot, sunny day spent sitting in church, making the family rounds and chasing after a gaggle of pint-sized egg-hunters who are deliriously hopped up on sugar. After you factor in the time it'll take to clean the puddles of food coloring and egg bits off your floor, you've got to wonder if your sanity is worth a few more hours spent in the kitchen. (It's not). Maybe you can't cook in the first place. Maybe the glare of your mother's pristine cast iron skillet taunts you every morning with memories of perfectly flipped pancakes that you'll never be able to reproduce. No matter. Easter is the brunch holiday, so do it up! This year, leave the work to the professionals and start a new family tradition at one of these excellent restaurants. Or make plans to dump the kids off with relatives and take a few hours of mimosa-induced respite with your loved one. Either way, someone else gets stuck with the dishes.
Ambrozia Café and Wine Bar
108 Rio Grande NW
Chef Sam Etheridge was still coming up with his Easter menu at press time, but he was quick to assure us that it would be a more upscale take on their already ultra-luxe Sunday brunch. The four-course meal will cost $30 per guest (not including tax and tip) and will be served with a complementary mimosa. He says the patio should be open by then, which is a definite plus. Call ahead for seating times and menu specifics.
Seasons of Albuquerque
2031 Mountain NW
Seasons is dishing out a double whammy of Easter goodness with brunch from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and dinner from 4-9 p.m. Order brunch specials like snow crab and asparagus scrambled eggs à la carte, or get the $21 (not including tax and tip) tasting menu— three tempting courses with your choice of an adult brunch beverage. Dinner specials include chilled artichoke vichyssoise with smoked salmon crostini or roasted spring rack of lamb with spring peas and caramelized onions, garlic mashed potatoes and lamb jus. You'll also be able to order off their regular à la carte dinner menu.
Rancher's Club of New Mexico
1901 University NE
If you like your religious holidays extra fancy, the Rancher's Club is a good bet for ya. They're offering their regular dinner menu with one Easter special that'll probably run about $35. They should know what it is and exactly how much it'll cost by the time you read this, so go ahead and give 'em a holler today.
Le Café Miche
1431 Wyoming NE
Le Café Miche
Recently named 2004's Chef of the Year by the New Mexico Restaurant Association, Chef Claus Hjortkjaer has whipped up a $30 (not including tax and tip) three-course Easter menu with your choice of dishes. Entrées include grilled ahi tuna served on wasabi mashed potatoes with a soy-ginger glaze and daikon sprouts, or free range Petaluma chicken breast with gorgonzola cream sauce on wild rice pilaf. Seating times are available at 11 a.m., 12:30, 2, 3:30, 5 and 6:30 p.m., so be sure to specify which one you want.
Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa
1300 Tuyuna Trail, Santa Ana Pueblo
The perennially classy Tamaya has two elaborate brunch buffets to choose from plus a generous weekend package that's sure to please your whole family. Stay at the resort on April 9 and 10, and $10 of your room rate per night will be donated to Carrie Tingly Hospital. Rates start at $140. Then enjoy a weekend packed full of activities for children of all ages such as family yoga classes ($15 per session), wagon, pony and tethered balloon rides, Easter egg and bunny decorating, egg hunts and face painting (all free).
When you're feeling peckish, head over to the resort's fine dining restaurant, Corn Maiden. You'll find two gourmet entrée and dessert buffets, a Belgian waffle station, a carving station featuring herb encrusted rack of lamb and an à la carte menu with items like rhubarb glazed rotisserie duck breast with orange and goat cheese risotto. Service is from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at $45 per guest, tax and tip not included.
You could also check out the more casual Santa Ana Café where you'll graze off of two indulgent entrée and dessert buffets, gourmet pasta, create-your-own-omelet and Belgian waffle stations, a carving station featuring brown sugar baked ham and prime rib, and a traditional à la carte brunch menu. They'll serve from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at $37 per guest (also not including tax and tip). Want more? Kids under 12 get half off at both restaurants—news that should make any parent hop like the Easter bunny.
3128 Central SE
Sample the innovative cuisine of Chef Jennifer James with Graze's four-course Easter menu. $40 (not including tax and tip) gets you your choice of items like baby spinach salad with sweet black pepper vinaigrette, Sweetwoods goat cheese and strawberries, New Zealand grilled salmon with dill risotto and pea shoots, or seared lamb loin with lemon braised potatoes and artichoke hearts. Your choice of desserts includes lemon pots de crème with fresh raspberries or warm chocolate truffle tart with whipped cream. Seatings are at 11 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m.
288 Prairie Star Road, Santa Ana Pueblo
Executive Chef Heath Van Riper has prepared a four-course brunch menu that'll be served from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. in their intimate adobe dining rooms. Your choice of dishes includes green tea and honeydew soup with Dixie mandarin-jicama slaw and lavender infused yogurt, or pepper grilled lamb T-bones with black current-pecorino whipped potatoes, mâche, toasted macadamias and apricot infused demi-glace. You'll also get to pick your own dessert of orange crème caramel with lemon shortbread and berries or ancho chili chocolate torte with raspberry jam and crème Anglaise. A mere $35 will get you the grub plus a nonalcoholic beverage, tax and tip not included.