I work in an office near the mall entrance. I lean over and whisper to my co-worker: "There are a lot of classy silver wearers today." My co-worker, an older woman, is flattered, thinking I am referring to her and her jewelry. She questions me, angrily, why won't I come to lunch with her? I plead my business deadlines. G arrives as the woman continues her tirade, bringing in other workers for support, one with piercings and a shock of black hair over her face.
The appeal of Tía Betty Blue’s might seem skin-deep at first. The paint is fresh. The food comes fast enough to service a drive-thru window. A collection of bottled soda pops is so vast, it could be a gimmick. And the image of a raven-haired hottie—Tía Betty Blue, presumably—stares you down from the sign, the walls, the menu. But despite its candy-coated veneer, Tía B’s means business. The food is simple but thoughtful, and it’s different. And as long as food is the priority, who cares how cute the servers are?
Eclectic breakfast and lunch on a quiet Downtown corner
By Ari LeVaux
Café Lush is like a daydream of the way things might be in some future hybrid of Europe and Albuquerque. It’s an urban café on a quiet street corner, with a small menu of simple yet well-crafted dishes and a pledge to use local, seasonal and organic ingredients whenever possible. But unlike in Europe, the red and green chile won’t disappoint—unless you’re a member of the New Mexico anticumin coalition.
If you had to pick a single Albuquerque street on which to dine for the rest of your life, you could do worse than Fourth. The diversity of restaurants on this North Valley artery is matched by a uniform unpretentiousness, as if by some silent but Spanglish-speaking truce. Dennis Apodaca has built a restaurant empire on a single half-mile stretch of that pavement. First came Sophia’s Place, named after his daughter. Then came Ezra’s Place, named after his son. And finally Jo’s Place, named after his mom, joined the block party in March.
Hey, guess what? Relish’s Uptown store is now open for dinner. Think about how much you love Relish’s sandwiches—how its chefs knead out creamy globes of mozzarella fresh each day, how they take time to hand-crank black pepper onto each sliced-to-order tomato. Now imagine the care and attention they lavish on every step of assembling your beloved, award-winning sandwich and what kind of magic they could work on a meal like dinner. Now go get the car keys, because your fantasy is a short trip away from becoming a reality. (LM)