Down Home at The Farmacy
Locally-sourced and expertly crafted daytime fare
We cozied up to the cash register to place our order. My dining companion (who was, hitherto returning to the desert, a seven-year resident of Portland, Ore.) was thrilled to see that The Farmacy offers coffee from Coava Coffee Roasters, a Portland favorite that I gathered was for true snobs. He ordered an americano ($2.75) and I, an 8-oz. soy latte ($4) to wash down our food—a brûléed grapefruit ($3.75), a plate of migas ($7.25) and a house-made savory empanada ($3.75). The service was prompt and kind, and we had barely taken our seats before our drinks made their way to our table.
Set before me was a soy latte with a perfect tulip in the foam. Poured into a navy colored cup, which rested on a matching saucer, the petite drink was served with an equally petite spoon, which held a single brown sugar cube. The coffee itself was lush and earthy, which was balanced perfectly by the hint of sweetness in the soy. The americano was equally rich—no high notes, but complex. A long interval passed—as everything here is made from scratch, to-order, in a small kitchen, by a small staff, this isn't a place to eat if you can't spare some time to savor the experience—and then finally, three plates of food were brought to us.
We began to eat to a soundtrack of so-so indie rock. The migas was served on white china, with a ring of ancho chile sauce circling it. Prepared almost as a tapenade, with all the ingredients minced together, this knockout of a dish is something like a deconstructed breakfast burrito, peppered with tortilla chips. The Farmacy's rendition of this dish was on-point. Topped with a diced tomatoes and cilantro, the dish was a scramble of locally-sourced bacon, egg, potato, cheddar cheese, and green and red tomatoes. My companion proclaimed, mid-bite, that it was the “best egg dish” he'd ever had. The empanada, too, was a praise-worthy addition to the meal—on this particular day the chefs had whipped up a bacon, raisin, carmelized onion, sweet potato and walnut concoction to a perfect ratio of crust that was unexpectedly sweet by way of savory.
What wowed me most, however, was the brûléed grapefruit—so simple, yet so satisfying. The dish consisted of one half of a grapefruit, with a thin, contrasting layer of hardened caramel over the top, in the style of crème brûlée. Where this dish differs from a crème brûlée proper, however, is that the brûléed grapefruit is fresher, lighter—so bright in taste that it leaves the diner feeling buoyant, as if you could float out of the restaurant on a cloud of sugar. Light as it is, it must be tacked on to any order at The Farmacy. We passed a happy hour at the restaurant—the closeness of the restaurant made it hard to leave, for one—but we were content to draw portraits of one another along with my tasting notes and order another round of coffees.
On our next visit to The Farmacy, we waited until around noon, then made our way to the Wells Park area for lunch. Today, the restaurant was packed and we were hard-pressed to find a table, so we were relegated to the wind and cold at a table outside. After a bit of a wait in line, we ordered a rustica sandwich ($9.75), a breakfast burrito ($5.75) and, as they were out of the house punch, two small orange juices ($2 each). I was a little bit disappointed when a 6-or-so ounce mason jar of orange juice poured from a jug was handed to me across the counter, but I like Sunny D, so I'm not going to waste too many words complaining.
Due to the customer traffic that day, the wait for our food was considerably longer this time around, and I am a chronic sufferer of hunger-induced anger and irritability. I was nearing a state of very bad temper when, finally, a sandwich was set before me. One bite = totally placated. The rustica consists of provolone, a white bean spread, roasted red peppers, spinach and carmelized onions, though I ordered mine sans cheese. The sandwich was served still warm from the grill and was savory, though the peppers added a hint of garden sweetness. For nearly $10, the sandwich was a bit thin, but it was ultimately quite filling. Served with it was a delicious and crispy, oregano-heavy coleslaw. The bean spread was a particularly nice touch, adding a healthy-tasting dose of protein. The breakfast burrito seemed to be the tortilla-wrapped version of the migas—which is not a complaint, because both were delicious, though it could have done with a more gracious dose of chile.
When I finished my sandwich, I didn't feel glutted—simply satisfied. Moreover, I felt as though, with its locally-sourced fare and smart, cool vibes, this was the kind of place Albuquerque deserves as an option. Quiet and cozy as it is, don't let the food-medicine at The Farmacy slip under your radar.
3718 Central Ave SE
Hours: Mon Closed Tues-Fri 7:30am-2pm Sat-Sun 8am-3pm