Alibi V.13 No.52 • Dec 23-29, 2004 

Gastrological Forecast

What are you doing on New Year's Eve? Well, you could go out to a bar and drink lots of repulsively bad champagne, never getting quite drunk enough to enjoy it when the really drunk people start the countdown to midnight at 11:37 p.m., then realize they've done it too early, and so do it again. And again and again and again. How much sincere woo-hooing can you do if you're not drunk enough to barf or kiss a stranger of the same sex? So, I see two solutions: either you need to drink more, much more, or you should make other plans. This week, I've written about a handful of restaurants that are serving special New Year's Eve menus. Wouldn't that be fun? If it's not in the budget, may I suggest cooking at home for a select group of your favorite people? Tell everyone to get dressed up, pull out your best dishes and light the house with candles. Tell the guests to bring decent bubbly. You can still get drunk enough to barf or kiss each other, but you'll be doing it with people who will hold your hair for you (or hold their tongues about the kissing thing).

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Stacey Adams

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Relish (8019 Menaul NE, near Flying Star) shuffles ownership and takes a short holiday. Well, now that's confusing, and I don't want you to think that Chef/Owner Johnny Orr is leaving, because he's not, his business partners are. Tony Nethery, who is chef at Monte Vista Fire Station (Central and Bryn Mawr) and a huge lover of cheese, bought out Orr's other partners. Nethery and Orr plan to work together on some minor improvements to the Northeast Heights cheese and sandwich shop, and to accomplish that, they'll close from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. The two also plan to talk about possible future plans for Relish, including the idea of expanding the shop's hours. Over the next few weeks, Nethery plans to divide his time between Relish and the Fire Station. He's reluctant to give up his chef duties at the restaurant, where he's implemented a series of popular menus that incorporate his Southern comfort-food aesthetic. I promise to follow Nethery, Orr and both restaurants all this all unfolds in the new year.

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Bottoms Up

The 12 annoyances of Christmas

They defy moderation, so don't even bother trying

Raise your hand if you're tired of the holidays already. The rude traffic, the tackle-football shopping and the inescapable holiday jingles make me want to curl up with a bottle and emerge when it's over. Perhaps I have a case of seasonal dysfunction, but since I can't afford to check into Betty Ford, I can use her alcoholic coping mechanism as a mood enhancer. Yes, I believe wine can mellow holiday annoyances, like so:

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Dining Out

Party Like It's 1999, not $19.99

Special dinners for a special occasion

New Year's Eve is a tough night for dining out, even tougher than figuring out which Albuquerque restaurants close on Sundays and which ones close on Mondays. Some of the places you'd expect to be open on a big, fancy night, close because they want to spend the holiday with their own friends and family. But then there are the little mom ’n' pop joints that remain inexplicably open. Some of the restaurants serving on New Year's Seasons will simply serve their regular menus, perhaps with the addition of a special or two. Others, like those listed here, have chosen to lure diners with flashy menus full of flown-in seafood, prime rib and filet mignon. Many of the prix-fixe dinners include wine; some don't. Be sure to go over all the details when you call, and call you must.

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Taste the Best of the Best

Vintage Albuquerque Wine and Food Fiesta

A collection of colorful events over four days, with dinners, seminars, galas, auctions, tastings and more, benefiting kids. Runs through 6/24.