One Stop Mecca

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.53.41 PMIt doesn’t have a menu. It doesn’t have a freezer. A microwave? Nope. Bouche doesn’t have a lot of things you find in most restaurants. The staff on any given night consists of one chef and one server. It’s a modest six-table restaurant across the street from a mall, located in the heart of a row of chain restaurants on the west side of Albuquerque at the end of Coors. But Bouche is actually something quite different from the conglomerates surrounding it. This independent eatery is situated in the core of a small building that houses four locally owned businesses, all surviving in extraordinary symbiosis—a special relationship where each supports the others in a quest to provide guests with a distinctive experience. The group comprises two full-service salons, a wine-tasting shop and a restaurant. A resort experience with no travel or overnight stay required. Continue reading

L’Olivier

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 2.29.44 PMLocation, location, location! It refers to where your business is physically located and determines (in part) whether or not you can be successful there. For Chef Xavier Grenet, of the recently opened L’Olivier, a new location on Galisteo, a new menu and a new companion at the front of the house have boosted his already flourishing career. After I enjoyed a delicious dinner in a packed dining room just weeks after the downtown eatery opened, I was excited to meet with Xavier and his delightful wife, Nathalie, to see how they were faring after making the transition from Ristra to the new restaurant. Continue reading

The Buzz—March 2014

Thank you to everyone who participated in our reader survey—we loved your colorful comments and insightful suggestions. Congratulations to Fionna Buck, who won a cool $250 in the survey drawing (and even promised to spend every penny of it in her favorite restaurants)!

dreamstime_xl_19933503

 Albuquerque

Chris Medina, Michael Wewerka and David Boyd, the partners behind burger joint Holy Cow in East Downtown are very close to opening their newest restaurant, Gravy, in the old Milton’s space, across from Holy Cow. The menu at the upscale diner menu will reflect the space—comfort food with a sophisticated twist, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Beer and wine will be served, and it will be open seven days a week. We look forward to seeing the custom work and enjoy the next project from this talented group. Continue reading

Taste of Espana—May 2012

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 10.57.40 AM“When I first started La Boca, I had some critics tell me I was just jumping on the trend of small plates. And I said, ‘It’s not a trend, it’s a revolution!’” —James Campbell Caruso 

If your idea of dinner consists of an appetizer, entrée and dessert served at a quiet corner table accompanied by the strains of something that sounds suspiciously like elevator music, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover a very different atmosphere at Chef James Campbell Caruso’s new restaurant, Taberna La Boca. The Spanish music’s handclaps and toque guitar are almost overtaken by the collective sounds of voices and laughter. People are gathered around a large community table just inside the entrance where the doors are flung open, blurring the lines between inside and outside. Some sit, some stand and everyone eats. Even your mother would have to admit that here, eating with your hands is proper etiquette. Continue reading

The Poetry of Wine

Where there is no wine, love perishes. —Euripides

“It’s like having hundreds of little magnetic words on the refrigerator door of your brain, and you can choose whatever you want to make your own poetry of wine.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-18 at 1.39.41 PM

Let’s do it.

The sound of a cork coming out of Champagne: Do you like it with a bawdy bang, gushing its creamy foam, or eased out gently with a whisper, like the sound of woman’s foot slipping from a shoe? An exhale of vapor escapes the bottle like smoke curling from the lips of a noir actress. Put your nose close to the mouth of the glass and draw in its seductive perfume of jasmine, rose, chrysanthemum, of morning-after scent of warm croissant. Now devour with your eyes the shee 24-carat radiance of its pale, golden hue, shimmering–—waiting—for the first touch of your tongue. Lose yourself as hedonistic pleasures explode in your mouth. Suddenly, you’re alert and alive, as you’ve never been, to the cold vibrant liquor and tingling acidity, swooning to sensations flooding you with restrained potency and length. Something brings you back from oblivion, refusing to let go of the moment, as if in a wonderful dream. You want it all: to understand and yet fully surrender at the flash point that culminates in a swallow, an intensity of savor and, finally, your release. All too quickly life comes back on you, yet the taking of this permitted fruit—with its brew of mint, mineral, flint, orgeat, truffles, the musk of earth beneath you—leaves you forever changed.

Bees do it.

Wine isn’t a necessity for life, in the way that, say, water is or food or even sexuality. However, its proven aphrodisiacal benefits lubricate our wheels. In 2009, the Journal of Sexual Medicine published findings conducted by the University of Florence in Italy. (It would be Italian!) The results revealed that women who drank a glass or two of red wine experienced greater levels of desire and overall sexual function than those who preferred other alcoholic drinks or were teetotalers. Do try this at home.

Even oysters down in Oyster Bay do it. Continue reading

Eat Your Heart Out

It’s Restaurant Week 2014!

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 2.07.23 PM

Plan for Crowds and Make a Reservation

While there are no tickets to Restaurant Week and the cost is the cost of a (discounted!) meal, it’s wise to stay one step ahead of the crowds and make reservations. Here are a few places we recommend booking in advance: Bouche Bistro, The Compound, Geronimo, Luminaria, Terra, the Anasazi and Albuquerque landmarks, Seasons, Zinc and Savoy.

Try a Brand-New Restaurant

Haven’t gotten around to tasting some of Santa Fe’s newest culinary endeavors? Here’s your chance to explore L’Olivier, Joseph’s Culinary Pub, izanami at Ten Thousand Waves, Tabla de Los Santos and TerraCotta. In Albuquerque, check out the fabulous new Elaine’s, and in Taos, the new kid on the block is Martyr’s Steakhouse.

Don’t Skimp on the Tip

Though your meals may be cheaper, the service is not. Waitstaff from Albuquerque to Taos work especially hard during Restaurant Week, so show them some love and tip generously. Continue reading