Green chile. Turkey. Cheese. Bread. That’s it. The classic “Albuquerque turkey” sandwich is about as simple as it gets, which means the quality of the ingredients that go into it—and the perhaps atmosphere around it—are paramount. In this week’s food section, professional gobbler Ari LeVaux makes a case that JohnDhi’s nails both ends of the ABQT equation.
The house that Ben built
If you’re on any kind of schedule, you should probably avoid Ben Michael’s restaurant on even a half-busy evening. The slow-moving spectacle that often passes for service will be frustrating if there’s some other place you need to be. But if you aren’t in a hurry, that same chaos could pass as entertainment. And if you show up during a quiet lunch hour and you’re the only one there, expect to be treated like royalty.
Tía Betty Blue’s
What’s red and green and blue all over?
The appeal of Tía Betty Blue’s might seem skin-deep at first. The paint is fresh. The food comes fast enough to service a drive-thru window. A collection of bottled soda pops is so vast, it could be a gimmick. And the image of a raven-haired hottie—Tía Betty Blue, presumably—stares you down from the sign, the walls, the menu. But despite its candy-coated veneer, Tía B’s means business. The food is simple but thoughtful, and it’s different. And as long as food is the priority, who cares how cute the servers are?
Stalking the Albuquerque Turkey
Down the Hatch
Las Cruces High School mariachis, chile eating contests and a chile queen coronation—put them together, and you've got a whole lot of small-town Southern New Mexico charm. The Hatch Chile Festival turns 38 on Saturday and Sunday at the Hatch Municipal Airport (due south on I-25, then one mile west of Hatch on Hwy. 26). Admission is $10 per carload, and don't forget to bring a cooler for all that roasted green stuff.
Market Report: Bernalillo
A pueblo harvest
Market Report: San Felipe
Former Alibi Arts Editor Remembers the Rainbows
Now that I live 5,000 miles away from Albuquerque—in London, a city as gray and lusterless as the stereotype—it’s easy to think of all the things I miss: sunshine, foamy beer and green chile chicken enchiladas probably top the list. But the unexpected one, the one that all the artsy hip Londoners would scoff at, is a painting on a building. Sure, London is supposed to be a street-art Mecca and there are tons of pieces all over the place, from Banksy to Space Invader to less well-known artists, but they all lack the kind of life that the Central rainbows embody.
Which is better: having the best location and the worst tamales, or the best tamales and the worst location? Only soul-free capitalists would choose the former, while a soulful stream of Burqueños regularly choose the tamales at El Modelo.
Blake’s Lotaburger vs. Five Guys—Gustavo Arellano on green chile and regional chains
Nothing in this whole wide world compares to the ambrosial sensation of chowing down on foodstuffs covered with roasted New Mexico chile. Smitten with our state’s almighty green chile burgers, Gustavo Arellano—of the OC Weekly and ¡Ask a Mexican! fame—wrote a love letter to Blake’s Lotaburger. In the blog, he praised the fact that the 76 Lotaburger locations are all within the borders of New Mexico. Meanwhile he lamented the outbreak of Five Guys fever (I guess Southern California is experiencing it too), a once D.C.-specific burger joint that now has 625 locations in the U.S. and Canada. It seems that Arellano and I have similar feelings about Five Guys. The burgers are good, but is all of the brouhaha deserved? Wait, what’s that? I can’t hear you over this blaring Doobie Brothers song!
Albuquerqueans can find out what all the fuss is about at 6650 Holly NE (waaaaay up there in that mess of chain stores and subdivisions on Paseo between San Pedro and Louisiana).
Shot of Jack
Kerouac's On the Road hits 50
Sixty years ago last month, when John Kerouac walked out the door of his mother's house in Ozone Park, Queens, America was a different place. Gas cost 23 cents a gallon. The minimum wage was 40 cents an hour. And simple pleasures came a la mode.