We try to keep up with trends here at Weekly Alibi, and the end of the year is a good time for us to review those that defined the year and what we predict will be all the rage in the next one. In terms of food, 2018 was the year the fermentation craze reached its peak in the form of The Noma Guide to Fermentation cookbook and the year the whole world learned about how amazing Viet-Cajun food is thanks to “Ugly Delicious” on Netflix. Tahini and gochujang are in all of your favorite foods now, we all drink shrubs and coffee has either reishi mushrooms or maca powder in it (to boost your brain function or something). In 2019 I predict that even more of your friends will go vegan and five new “alternative” flours will start showing up in baked goods. Have y’all tried cricket flour yet?
Of course, trends like these hold true all over the country. But what really defined the year in food in Burque? What new restaurants are the most memorable? What are the truly inspired meals we ate? We looked back through the year of Alibi food stories and decided which ones most deserve an end-of-year highlight (or in some cases, an update). This is the year in Albuquerque food and drink. Cheers, y’all.
Three Sisters Kitchen opened
We got excited about Three Sisters Kitchen back in January when we first wrote about the nascent community kitchen/culinary business incubator, months before it actually opened its doors. In August the ribbon was finally cut, and Three Sisters has since been hosting cooking classes, tastings, informal lectures and all sorts of food events that didn’t previously have a natural home. In the past month alone, I’ve gone to Three Sisters for a cooking demo from Indigenous chef Brian Yazzie and a heirloom varietal bean tasting hosted by Tierra Luna Seed Collaborative. While the café component of the space isn’t open yet, we have no doubt that it’ll come along nicely in 2019. We can’t wait to see what new events and ideas come out of the kitchen there.
Modern General and The Feel Good opened in west Downtown
We are big Vinaigrette fans over here, which naturally means that we were elated to hear that farmer/restaurateur Erin Wade was planning to open two new restaurants in Albuquerque, just a couple blocks away from Vinaigrette. Modern General serves breakfasty foods with a modern, healthful twist, while The Feel Good is a wine bar with small plates and a select few entéees ideal for sharing. The Feel Good’s weekly Red Sauce Sunday Supper is a great deal for a pasta dinner with wine pairing, and Modern General has become one of our favorite breakfast spots in the city. We gave it a glowing review not too long after they opened to say so. Try the supercakes with cabbage, kale and flax inside. Trust us.
Bow & Arrow Brewing had a killer year
Since their beginning in 2016, Bow & Arrow Brewing has proved that going against the grain is a key ingredient in the recipe for success. In a craft beer culture still obsessed with IPAs, they’ve been making wild ales, sours and saisons in artful blends that shock and delight the taste buds. This year they made some seasonal special brews that really knocked it out of the park (in my humble opinion), like the Cosmic Arrow Saison and the Thief of Time Barleywine. They also recently caught the attention of Vice as “the only Native woman-owned brewery in the US, and a haven for the local LGBTQ and indigenous communities” in a story that ought to make all Burqueños proud.
The Farmer’s Daughters teamed up with Hotel Albuquerque for a dinner series
After we wrote about the Farmer’s Daughters’ new dinner series at Hotel Albuquerque this year we were lucky enough to go to a couple of them, and we were floored each time at the spread of delicious Rio Grande Valley cuisine. The idea behind the dinners was to showcase New Mexican ingredients at their finest and to honor the farmers who worked to harvest them, and each menu was themed and included the season’s freshest local produce. Each dinner was served family-style at two long tables in Hotel Albuquerque’s private dining room, which meant that you inevitably ended up chatting with your fellow diners as the night wore on and the wine kept coming. Dishes like wild turkey pot pie, peach and heirloom tomato salad and blueberry corn semifreddo elevated the evening to something truly spectacular. When this dinner series rolls around again next year, you can be sure we’re signing up again.
El Vado Motel reopened (and brought a food court with it)
The historic El Vado Motel, a landmark of the Route 66 road trip aesthetic, reopened with a major facelift earlier this year. Along with their sexy, Austin-esque mid-century modern rooms, the restoration included a new taproom (serving Ponderosa Brewing Company beers) and an outdoor food court with a collection of small “food pods” serving coffee, pizza, Puerto Rican food and whatever else you may be craving. Hosho McCreesh reported on all the different options at this little bohemian spot, which his Nana aptly described as "Santorini—Southwest-style." Let it be known that you can have any of the pods deliver your food to the taproom if you so desire.