Down-Home Fine Dining
July 13 was the official opening of Cool Water Fusion Restaurant in Wyoming Mall Shopping Center. The location is not visible unless you’re driving through the center’s expansive parking lot, but I guarantee that once you find it, you’ll happily make a return trip. On a visit to Cool Water Fusion, I learn that it is the creation of Glenn Williams and Jason Upshaw, both formerly of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s Pueblo Harvest Café and Bakery.
A native Santa Fean, Williams earned his chops in management; at 27, he was the youngest General Manager of the Year for Humperdink's restaurants in Texas. He’s also no slouch in the kitchen, as I learned by sampling his bread pudding—a no-fruit, straight-up bread and custard classic—topped with vanilla ice cream. Upshaw, former executive chef at Pueblo Harvest, met Williams when he joined its staff as the restaurant’s general manager. Their combined skills brought new excitement to the Pueblo Harvest menu with such signatures as bison short ribs.
New Mexican for the old guard
One morning while waiting for a plate of huevos rancheros at Cocina Azul, some sort of meeting started taking place at a group of tables by the piano. Owner Frank Barela told me later that Cocina Azul has become a popular meeting place for local politicians, judges and other operators, and that Henry Tafoya sometimes does his KDEF 1150 AM radio show from the dining room, via cell phone.
National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show
Let’s make it very clear that the 32nd Annual National Fiery Foods and Barbecue Show is not for the faint of palate. This is a serious food show for heat-seekers, not meek-eaters. Again, this year Sandia Resort and Casino is the place to find the finest in hot stuff from around the country. The festival runs all weekend starting Friday, Feb. 28 at 4pm. Tickets are $16 for adults, $5 for those 11 through 18, and free for those under 10 and under. Be sure to get a picture of your youngster with Chile the Kid instead of letting them burn their face off with some crazy hot salsa. For more information on this all-ages event and advance tickets, see fieryfoodsshow.com.
Get Out There
It’s summer in Burque and myriad patios await your presence. Snap the kids out of their bought air-and-video game trance for an outing that culminates in the joyful consumption of healthful and delicious paletas—no, really!—or invite some colleagues and comrades out to smash the swanky local rooftop bar scene with you. If you’re looking for a more pastoral vibe, get your farm-to-table on in Albuquerque’s resplendent North Valley. Here are a handful of our favorite patios in The Duke City. Don’t neglect to slather on some sunscreen and install a rideshare app (such as Uber, Lyft or zTrip) on your smartphone ... in case you over-hydrate.