Alibi V.15 No.14 • April 6-12, 2006 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Vietnam comes to UNM—Well, sort of. Hungry college students won't have to hoof it all the way up East Central every time they get the munchies for boba tea or an order of shrimp spring rolls. A new Vietnamese lunch counter called Green Jasmine has moved into the space at 120 Harvard SE (the one that used to be occupied by Pepperjack Monterey's, and before that, the even more short-lived Salsa Fresca). Green Jasmine offers Vietnamese sandwiches and noodle dishes, as well as a few boba “smoothies” from a large dining room and a pleasant outdoor patio that overlooks the Harvard mall. Great location! The food, on the other hand ... well, it's got some catching up to do. At least, when we went it needed to. For starters, the bulk of the fresh vegetable garnish I got for my pho consisted of shredded iceburg lettuce, supplemented by a sprig of basil and a small clump of mung beans; and there wasn't a single lime to be found on the entire property. The “boba tea” we ordered turned out to be a disturbing layer of mealy, florescent green balls that sat decomposing at the bottom of our ice-packed iced tea glasses. I don't know if they were old or just cheap or what, but it wasn't worth the extra $.75. So, its pricier portions are skimpier and the ingredients just aren't as good as something you'd find after an eight-minute drive up Central to Little Saigon. But that's just it: You don't even need a car to get to this place from campus. Long story short, if you're willing to exchange some quality for convenience, there is definitely no shame in eating there. I think I'll pass for now, though.

Buon Compleanno, Luigi!—Luigi's Ristorante & Pizzeria will celebrate its 10th anniversary this weekend. On Saturday and Sunday (their actual anniversary date is April 8), Luigi and his little mama, Tina, will give away a free cannoli with every entrée, and a free small cheese pizza with the purchase of a large three-topping pizza. You can also hear live music from noon to 3 p.m. on both days.

Luigi and Tina opened the North Valley restaurant together 10 years ago to showcase Tina's cherished family recipes, and to this day the mother-and-son team are the restaurant's only cooks. Luigi's serves a full menu of Italian cuisine plus beer and wine, a daily all-you-can-eat buffet and an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet every Friday night. Stop by and wish them “buon compleanno,” and pick up a jar of house-made spicy spaghetti sauce while you're there.

I tip well for good tips! Send your food news to, fax 256-9651 or call 346-0660 ext. 260.