The first thing I remember cooking for my mom was French toast. I had to climb up on the kitchen counter in order to reach the bread bag on top of the fridge, pulling out two slices of Roman Meal and dropping them in the toaster. While the coils turned from charcoal gray to glowing orange, I stirred together about a half-dozen eggs and a cup or so of milk. When two perfectly browned toast slices popped up I submerged them in eggy goop and let them get good and soaked. I fried them up in butter on our cast-iron skillet and arranged the four irregular triangles on a plate with plenty of butter, powdered sugar and syrup. Mom was still in bed when I brought up her breakfast. She was surprised and delighted by my presentations and asked me all about how I'd done it—she was particularly interested in the part about toasting the bread first. How was I supposed to know French toast wasn't actually toasted in the toaster? But she noted some small improvement in the final product's texture and seemed impressed. Maybe she was pretending; maybe the toast was terrible. Nevertheless, I basked in her approval all morning. It's 20 years later now and I do a lot of cooking for my mom when we're together but her stamp of approval still brings up the same blush of pride.
All the News That's Fit to Eat
The Wine Posse is coming back! Five years ago, a bunch of cork dorks (including our old sister publication, La Cocinita) got together to sponsor a wine club called the New Mexico Wine Posse. Most notably, the club put on a well-attended series of wine-tasting classes held at restaurants all over town. Funding eventually fell through, however, and the Posse dissolved. The same fate recently befell the local chapter of Wine Brats and is threatening our chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food. So, in comes former Wine Brat Jerry Wright, general manager of Great American Land and Cattle, who recently got together with Jerry Gross, one of the originators of the Wine Posse and decided to work on bringing the Posse back. The new Wine Posse is in the formative stages now, asking those who join (for a $20 annual fee) to have a hand in deciding what kind of events the club will stage. Suggestions include wine appreciation classes, winemaker dinners and winery tours. Interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chewing the Fat
Johnny Orr on Relish
The owner of a new cheese store and restaurant talks shop
Johnny Orr is the owner of a new cheese shop and restaurant called Relish (8019 Menual NE, near Flying Star). Orr came to Albuquerque in part because he could afford a whole year's rent here for the same price as a month's rent in New York City, where he worked in several well-known restaurants.
They Owe it All to You, Mom
Local chefs share family recipes for Mothers' Day
Years ago my aunt Geri put together a cookbook of family recipes and made copies for each wing of the family. Though the recipes are sometimes rough (how much is a handful of flour?) and occasionally flawed (isn't this supposed to have milk in it?), we all cherish the book and use it often, especially at holidays. This past Easter I cracked it open to use my great-grandmother's recipe for Welsh cookies, strange things that are actually more like currant-filled griddle cakes. One by one, each aunt came into the kitchen and “helped out” with her explanation as to why my cookies ... well ... sucked compared to Grandma Rhea's. (Cooking is a competetive sport in my family and we play rough.) To her credit though, my mom might have thought my cookies were too small, too dense, or too dry but she alone kept quiet on the subject and for that I toast her today. I only hope someday I have kids to ruin Welsh cookies for me while I bite my tongue.
You've Got a Golden Ticket: Charlie and the Chocolate Tearoom
Oompa loompa, doompety doo, we have a great all-ages event just for you. You’ve Got a Golden Ticket: Charlie & The Chocolate Tearoom happens April 21 and throughout the month of April between 11am and 6pm at St. James Tearoom. Tickets are available online, with adult tickets going for $45 and children for $33. With some offerings such as The Bucket Family’s Cabbage Pockets, Veruca Salt’s Pretzel Bun and Violet’s Blueberry Pie with Cream, there are a ton of great options to choose from. Oompa loompa, doompety dite, get more info on their website, stjamestearoom.com.
A Taste of Thailand
At some point down the line Thai food became synonymous with comfort food for me. It was my family’s favorite dining out cuisine when I was young, and now I have a lot of good nostalgia wrapped up in the smell of lemongrass and curry. Tom kha gai, papaya salad and pad see ew are my go-to orders when I’m sick or just craving something warming and familiar, so I’ve visited most of the Thai spots in town to find some of my favorites of each. That GrubHub bill is getting a little out of control at this point, honestly.
Here’s a few of my favorite spots to order Thai in the Duke City. May they bring you many spicy tears and great evenings.