The bad news is that Albuquerque's only Afghan restaurant is no more. That's right, after a short two and a half years Tora Bora House (Montgomery and San Pedro) has closed its doors for good. The good news is that in Tora Bora's place will be another kind of ethnic restaurant that the city has been craving. By the end of May, a small group of partners plan to transform Tora Bora's space into a soul food restaurant called Mahogany Café. I haven't seen the menu yet but one of the partners, Jacinda Holden (formerly of Renaissance Catering) tells me it involves fried green tomatoes, buttermilk biscuits, stewed greens and candied yams. More details will be forthcoming when they're finally open but I do know they're planning to host gospel brunches every Sunday. Lord have mercy on my waistline!
Café O, the Vietnamese snack counter inside Noble Collectibles (Montgomery and Wyoming) has proved so popular that owner Hoa Luong is expanding the menu. When the café opened last fall, Luong offered a short but sweet menu of a half dozen made-to-order spring rolls, a short list of sandwiches and, of course, bubble teas. But this month she's adding 10 more rice paper-wrapped rolls with fillings like seared tuna, mango and salmon, curried chicken, and shrimp and salmon with wasabi. She's also adding noodle bowls, heaps of bright white rice vermicelli over vegetables and topped with your choice of pork, beef, chicken, tofu, egg rolls or shrimp. The prices are competitive with local Vietnamese restaurants but where else can you grab a lychee bubble tea, mango-salmon roll and a few new additions to your baseball card collection?
Newsflash: Low-carb tortillas taste like Play-Doh. It's not really shocking, though, is it? After all, what is a tortilla if not nearly pure carbohydrate? Santa Fe Tortilla Company has substituted some of the flour in their regular recipe with a vile concoction of oat fiber, soy protein, soy fiber, cellulose fiber and wheat gluten. The tortillas have an oddly clammy feel to them, smooth and silky yet moist, like the sweaty feet of a well-pedicured lady. The flavor is not altogether dissimilar to that of a real tortilla, as long as you're thinking of the worst tortilla you've ever had in your entire life. And to make an already unpleasant experience even more miserable, there is something disconcertingly gritty about the texture, in odd juxtaposition to the thoroughly raw doughiness of the thing. By "raw doughiness" I mean that with a minimum of effort you can squish one of these tortillas together, knead it a little and re-form a brand new tortilla, just like you used to do with Play-Doh. If they could make these low-carb tortillas in bright colors I might be able to recommend them, if only during elementary school art class. Sorry, low-carb dieters, you'll just have to stick with bacon-wrapped bacon strips.