My mom wielded a chef’s knife with startling skill having worked in her uncle’s diner in LA’s Little Tokyo where she waited tables and doubled as a line cook. I learned early on how to cook home-style Japanese meals, how to break down a chicken and make a mean plate of biscuits and gravy. As an art student in New York, I found every cuisine in the world on street carts, restaurants and the slick pages of Bon Appétit and Gourmet magazines. I checked reviews to see how critics analyzed the best and worst of restaurants and chefs. I trained my palate to try new things, even the things I didn’t like.
These days, food is in the headlines, not just in restaurant reviews. With multi-national chains capitalizing on our addictions to sugar, salt and fat, and agriculture biotechnology corporations strong-arming small organic farmers, we have to make hard choices about what we eat. Where do we find the best chefs plying their trade or the healthiest produce available at the farmers’ markets or grocery stores?
Alibi writers dig deep to stay ahead of New Mexico’s restaurant and food industry news. And like me, not all food writers began as food professionals. But I read voraciously about nutrition, food legislation, trends and traditions. And I often look to other Duke City foodists for information, clarification and direction. It makes sense to exchange information with people seriously interested in eating well. My go-to list includes a tech writer, a retired oceanographer, a bureaucrat and an insurance salesman, all of whom appreciate the many facets of local food and have found a platform to share that passion. We feed each other’s love of the art and science of all things edible.
Andrea Feucht is the Albuquerque author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos (Globe Pequot Press, 2013). Feucht, tech writer by day, was selected by the series publisher to write about New Mexico restaurants for her expertise as a food writer in local publications. She researches food and nutrition at home, or while participating in running events across the country. She is as keen on how food fuels the body as she is on how well a dish is presented. She introduced me to the Curious Kumquat in Silver City, New Mexico, one of Saveur’s Top 100 in this year’s January issue. Her Food Lovers Guide is a compendium of New Mexico’s best restaurants and some cherished recipes.
It makes sense to exchange information with people seriously interested in eating well. My go-to list includes a tech writer, a retired oceanographer, a bureaucrat and an insurance salesman, all of whom appreciate the many facets of local food and have found a platform to share that passion.
Ryan Scott sells commercial insurance professionally, but in his spare time he creates YouTube videos exploring the local food scene. Scott first aired “Break the Chain” on radio, but it became clear that his YouTube videos engaged a hungry audience with greater impact. Scott finds sponsors for each episode and takes his videographer into the kitchens and dining rooms of each restaurant. The result is an on-location visit, complete with the sizzle and color of meals on the table.
Local bloggers Larry McGoldrick and Gil Garduño write about mouth-watering meals throughout the state. Garduño was early on the scene with “Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog.” McGoldrick, a retired professor and oceanographer, tracks his dining adventures on “Larry’s Food Musings” and his Facebook “ABQ TOP 10” page. All of these sites feature lengthy narrations of their authors’ encounters with New Mexico cuisine. You may not always agree with their opinions, but you will be regaled with photos and detailed descriptions as both authors take advantage of the infinite real estate of the web.
Sue Brawley is an avid supporter of organic and sustainable agriculture in Northern New Mexico. In addition to her skills as an architect, planner and project manager, her experience as a west coast university administrator lends itself to the management of the Los Ranchos Growers’ Market & Arts and Crafts Fair, a role she has filled for nearly 14 years. First as a vendor and now as the market’s prime mover, Brawley has become a nexus for the agricultural community. If you want to keep current with local activities, from seed to market to legislation, get on Brawley’s mailing list.
Whether you’re dining out or sourcing the best ingredients for home cooking, look to these locavores for good advice. They make the phrase “word-of-mouth” live up to its reputation.