Alibi V.15 No.39 • Sept 28-Oct 4, 2006 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

The Perfect Margarita, Only 300 Years in the Making—When was the last time you had a nice, frosty margarita on an Old Town patio? Here's a hint: You probably haven't. Not you, not I and not the tens of thousands of visitors who pass through the city's historic center each year have had one of those in recent memory. This is because, for a long, dry spell, some ancient liquor regulations have made open-air alcohol consumption in Old Town illegal. And they're not talking about walking the streets with an open can of Old Gold either. No, what's at stake is something as simple as dinner and a bottle of Negro Modelo on the patio of a restaurant that already—and legally--holds a liquor license. Inside's fine for drinking, say the laws, but if you're enjoying your fajitas on one of the many lovely patios found throughout Old Town, you're out of luck.

Well, to those Powers That Be, I say this: God help the man that deprives us of our fajitas and beer! How can we truly be ambassadors to other cultures if we treat their tourists with such naked contempt? Are we supposed to be modern-day penitentes, paying for our sins with Bud instead of blood? Even Jesus would disagree with that policy—after all, he turned water into wine, and not the other way around. In no uncertain terms, what a good number of people have been saying for years amounts to, “Blow your rules out your cholla cactus rainmaker! Let the tourists and the rest of us tax-paying New Mexicans drink on Old Town's patios.”

And so, after much huffing and puffing and sputtering around, someone with some pull finally saw the light. Starting this week, Old Town restaurants will at last be able to serve alcohol on their patios. Thank you, Jesus!

Church Street Café is so overjoyed, the staff is wearing special shirts they've had made up for the occasion that proclaim “We've Been Waiting 300 Years for a Glass of Wine on the Patio at the Church Street Café!” There's even an illustration of two muerto skeleton cowboys kicking back on a shaded patio, wine glasses in bony hands. It's cute. Stop by sometime and make your own special toast to the Old Town patios.

Jinja Snaps—So Santa Fe's Jinja Bar & Bistro opened an Albuquerque location this week in the shopping center at Paseo del Norte and Ventura (a few buildings over from Trader Joe's). Now, part of me says, “Alright! Award-winning, upscale pan-Asian cuisine and fruity girl drinks!” But the other half is quaking at the thought of the Trader Joe's parking lot, already pestilent with vulture-like, carrion-seeking traffic, even more congested with cars. It's kind of an “mmmm/ughghh” feeling. Our Jinja is presently only open from 4 to 11 p.m. but will soon expand to 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Check back at 856-1413 or to find out when exactly that is.