Recently, a friend came into town from New York and when discussing breakfast places, I ran down my excessively long list of favorites and what to find at each. By the time I wrapped up, he looked unenthused. “Who’s got the best bagels though?” Earnestly, I’d never thought of it. Call me a bit of a schmuck, but anytime I wanted a bagel, I just swung by Einstein Bros. (of which there are eight in the city!) and never gave it much more thought. This prompted a bit of research, pulling up the fact that despite our estimated population of over 14,000 Jews currently living in Albuquerque, we’re a bit hard up for Jewish-centric eateries, a sore spot for those who know the high-quality food we miss out on because of it. Thankfully for me (my friend has already returned home, but next time), the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque is holding their third annual ABQ NoshFest on Sunday, Jan. 12 from noon to 4pm at Sandia Resort & Casino (30 Rainbow Rd. NE).
I’ll get this out of the way now: Yes, Weekly Alibi is a sponsor of the event, no, this isn’t a paid advertisement or a favor, I just genuinely love latkas, challah and rugelach. I’ve yet to come around to gefilte fish though. So what is NoshFest and why should you go? Besides the fact that your very soul yearns for some of the best Jewish cuisine you can find in Albuquerque, the event itself is a fundraiser for the JCC, helping support their nonprofit mission of providing a center open to all who need it, as well as a large range of equipment and activities to help enrich the lives of the community.
For the food side, expect to see food from Savoy Bar and Grill, California Pastrami, Ruthie’s Bagels, Il Vicino, La Fonda del Bosque, Gourmet to Go, Poki Poki Cevicheria, Congregations Albert, B’nai Israel, Casa Sefarad and others. A mix of local and Jewish cuisine will come together all in one convenient space to help get you the nosh you need. You say you want to go but you don’t want to eat? Don’t be meshuggenah, you’ll be missing out on the best part, but ok, I hear you.
Could I interest you in a raffle where you could win a 3-day trip to New York? What about live Klezmer and Israeli music by the Rebbe’s Orkestra with Rikud Dance Troupe teaching and leading dances? What about a break from your children, who will stop kvetching at you while they hang out at the Kids Zone, a place supervised by adults that’ll have games and crafts for kids under 12? A few minutes of peace alone is worth admission. Don’t forget the vendors, who’ll have both Judaica and cuisine-related items up for you to buy and take home. There’s even gonna be a kugel-baking contest, which may or may not have a certain writer as a guest judge this year. You can finally disagree with my opinion in person if you attend!
Presale tickets are available online now at abqnoshfest.com for $6.50 but will be $8 at the door. Kids under 10 get in for free, and food tickets will be going for $1 a piece. The bottom line is this: We don’t get cool cultural festivals all the time. We’re lucky to see one in a month, more often than not. This is one worth checking out because Jewish food is good, and it's something I wish we had a better scene for here. Plus you get to support a nonprofit? It’s a total win-win.