Even before I learned of the secret menu at Budai, I was already recommending the small, Taiwanese-owned eatery for the element of surprise its regular menu brings. The non-secret menu is a long and interesting read, full of familiar and unusual Taiwanese and Chinese dishes. If you ask questions about the food, you might get a history lesson from Elsa Fang, who handles the front of the restaurant while her husband, Hsia, does the cooking. And, if you ask her to, she will translate the secret menu from Chinese. But she will do so selectively.
I like my neighborhood. It’s got most of the things I want in a neighborhood, such as a park I never visit and a liquor store I always visit. I don’t know or even think about my neighbors, which makes for the best kind. The only thing missing that would make it a perfect place to live is a good beer bar within walking distance. Since this is Albuquerque, I know that unless I move Downtown or to Nob Hill, I have to drive a ways to anywhere worth drinking. I wouldn’t live in Nob Hill because there's too much to do, and I’d be out spending my Alibi paycheck every night. I can’t live Downtown because, well, I’m not really allowed there anymore. (I don’t want to get into it. It involves drinking.)