According to the 2004 Zagat guide to New York City restaurants, 73 percent of diners said the smoking ban had no effect on their dining frequency, while 23 percent report eating out more and 4 percent are eating out less. Though I'm sure there are still some restaurant owners and smokers who are still—shall we say fuming?—about Albuquerque's smoking ban, it seems that, as in New York, most restaurant patrons are thrilled about the change. Virtually all of the feedback I've gotten since the ban went into effect this summer has been positive. There are enough destinations in the city that have continued to allow smoking (because they do sell food, but more booze than food) that dedicated fumeurs can still eat while simultaneously drinking and smoking. Meanwhile, many happy diners have turned their focus to the smokiness in bars, an issue that is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon since the majority of residents (and the city council) seem to see bars as safe territory for smokers.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
A combination Blimpie/Pasta Central is now open at Fourth and Central, joining Quizno's, on the same block, and Schlotzky's one block down. The restaurant took the long-vacant former UDH building and created a small outdoor seating area and indoor space with tables and booths. If you've never been, Blimpie is a close relative of both Subway and Quizno's, with assembly line sub sandwiches following the Subway model with the added Quizno's twist of optional toasting. How does it taste? I figure it's somewhere in the middle. In my opinion, toasting improves upon a regular sub but the Blimpie folks don't seem to have the same toasting skill as Quizno's, meaning their subs tend to come out squashed like a pancake and unevenly toasted. The pasta side of the menu involves Southern Italian dishes like chicken Parmigiana, lasagna, manicotti, fettuccini Alfredo and small pizzas.
Planning a Move to Canada?
Start acclimating now with butter tarts
It's common for my fellow liberals to claim that we're moving to Canada whenever the right wing in this country does something particularly idiotic. I would have made this claim myself when the Gropenator was elected governor of California, but the sweet satisfaction of Rush Limbaugh admitting that he was a junkie who sent his housekeeper out to score for him was enough to keep me sticking around.
Pumpkins are For Kids
But "winter squashes" are for grown-ups with a taste for Latin-American fare
Halloween brings pumpkins into grocery stores by the truck-load. Sadly, most of us buy these big fat squashes, put them out on the stoop (carved if we're feeling creative) and then let them rot out there for weeks, until the once fearsome face droops and sags and develops a waddle to rival a Thanksgiving turkey. If you've got an un-carved pumpkin or even just pumpkin seeds left over after Halloween then have a look at these warm and cozy fall dishes adapted from Elisabeth Luard's new book, The Latin American Kitchen (Laurel Glen, hardcover, $27.95). It's a gorgeous volume full of descriptions of the most common Latin American ingredients and full-color photographs—a must-have.