It’s hard to miss all the new coffee shops surfacing throughout Albuquerque. If you’re familiar with this unique and apparently caffeine-addicted city, you know what I’m talking about—they’re everywhere. Gold Street Caffé—the colorful restaurant seated two doors down from one espresso shop, across the street from another and just blocks from multiple more—is one such location that I’ve passed by multiple times but made the mistake of not trying until recently.I entered the establishment on a busy Tuesday afternoon during the lunch hour. The café had a welcoming outdoor seating area with a cushioned bench, a few tables and chairs, and bright red umbrellas. “We’re sitting outside!” I immediately told my friend, finding it hard to imagine a more appealing environment indoors. A friendly waiter handed us two menus and glasses of water, leaving us to choose our midday meal.The menu offered breakfast, lunch and a variety of drinks including coffee, tea and even fancy-sounding cocktails like a blood orange mimosa ($7). I stuck with my water and ordered a chicken salad sandwich from the lunch menu with a side of fries ($8.95). Even though it was well after noon, we quickly learned that breakfast is served all day. This was an offer my friend could not resist, and he went with the Southwest eggs benedict ($12.95).We didn’t have to wait long for our food to arrive on two beautiful plates. My chicken salad sandwich was not served on bread, but rather on a house-made green-chile-cheese biscuit. I picked up the round sandwich held together by a toothpick and took a bite, crunching into a crispy lettuce leaf before tasting the sweet chicken accompanied with walnuts and firm green grapes. The flavors blended together nicely and the consistency of the salad was pleasantly crisp thanks to the deliciously fresh lettuce. A generous pile of french fries took up half of the plate and were delightfully warm and crispy. The crunchy texture was reminiscent of battered fish. By the time I got to the third bite of my sandwich, the biscuit was crumbling onto the plate, proving difficult to actually hold with my hands. Even though I ended up eating the crumbly biscuit and remaining chicken salad with a fork, the flavors were to die for. My friend and I were both happily full before finishing our plates of food, and I ended up taking my remaining french fries home in a box.My second visit to this café was at 8am, before any crowded lunch rush. We sat inside this time, at a table for two next to a large window at the front of the restaurant. Even though they had just opened, I could hear the cooks preparing food for the day in the kitchen, and I could smell coffee brewing. We each ordered a cafe au lait ($2.95) and I also requested a breakfast burrito with jalapeño sausage smothered in green chile ($9.95) while my friend got a short stack of blueberry pancakes ($6.95). Minutes after ordering, a giant steaming cup of coffee was placed before me. I inhaled the rich scent and brought the foamy top layer to my mouth, too impatient to wait for it to cool. I’m pretty sure a smile instantly spread across my face after tasting the smooth, creamy blend of drip coffee and steamed milk. The coffee was strong but not overpowering; bitter but not to the point where it needed sugar. Other intriguing coffee drinks on the menu that I intend on trying in the future include a peanut butter latte ($4.50) and a white velvet latte ($4.50).I was so infatuated with my steamy beverage that I forgot I even ordered food until a plate with a giant burrito cut in half arrived. Scrambled eggs, generous potato chunks, sausage and gooey melted cheese were wrapped inside a flour tortilla and smothered with a light layer of green chile. I had to just stare at the masterpiece for a minute before diving in. Mildly salty, warm potatoes combined perfectly with the spicy chile and soft, doughy tortilla. My only qualm with the burrito was that it was so filling, I couldn’t take another bite after finishing the first half. If I were to order a breakfast burrito again—which I wouldn’t mind doing at all—it would be more than sufficient with no meat. My friend’s short stack of pancakes, sprinkled beautifully with powdered sugar took up his entire plate and also filled him up about halfway through. Portion sizes at this café are very large, and can easily be split between two moderately hungry people. I left fully satiated and caffeinated, content in knowing that I can most certainly depend on this particular stop for a delicious meal and a more than satisfying coffee fix.
Gold Street Caffé 218 Gold SW(505) 765-1633www.goldstreetcaffe.comHours: Sun-Tue 8am-3pm, Wed-Sat 8am-3pm, 3:30-8pmVibe: Homey and brightAlibi recommends: Cafe au lait, breakfast burrito with green chile