finlero's Profile

Title Last Reply

Awesome spring rolls in ABQ/SF?

The vibe at 2000 Vietnam, on the SE corner of San Mateo and Zuni, certainly felt the most "chowish" of the places I've tried so far given that it shares a building with Saigon Express Emissions Testing. The menu was also a little less mailed-in than a lot of its competition, with both some interesting choices on the printed menu and an actual specials board, one of the only ones I've seen at a Vietnamese restaurant in NM.

The shrimp spring rolls I had were quite good, in no small part because they were actually made to order. The shrimp was still hot, juxtaposed against the other cool fillings. No herbs, but the lettuce wasn't an afterthought, perhaps too many noodles, then wrapped in perfectly textured rice paper. FBOW the dipping sauce was a little less assertive than the other places I've tried; I'm not knowledgeable enough to know which ones have been jarred vs. fresh or whatever, but regardless it was a nice complement to the rolls.

My bun had way too many noodles, but the veggies were fresh. And I chose an unusual (at least for here) protein of sliced shrimp pate, which was excellent.

2000 Vietnam didn't become my go-to for any of the above, but it definitely earned a second look. I'd like to get back with some chowishly inclined friends and dig into some of the more interesting facets of the menu.

1 day ago
finlero in Southwest

Restaurant recommendations - Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos

Definitely do a board search, there are plenty of threads for all three towns within the past year. I don't know Taos well enough to make any recommendations, but for the other two, a few starting points:

ABQ: Upscale - just pass, it's not an upscale city; Regional - Mary & Tito's; Vegetarian - Vinaigrette

SF: Upscale - La Boca; Regional - the Shed; Vegetarian - Izanami

Honestly, between Santa Fe's residents and its tourism industry, vegetarian options abound, just know that some NM-style restaurants make their red and green chile sauces vegetarian and others don't. There are a number of threads on this too.

Mar 02, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Mexican Markets -Tubac to Nogales, AZ and/or Tucson

Something I said?

Mar 01, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Awesome spring rolls in ABQ/SF?

Had a very good dinner tonight at Saigon on San Mateo. The shrimp and pork spring rolls still weren't perfect, the rice paper was a little tough, but they actually had mint in them and they weren't absolutely bursting with noodles. My bun with sugar cane shrimp was straight-up great, just a fantastic set of fresh flavors. Looking forward to getting back here, it was excellent.

Feb 21, 2015
finlero in Southwest
1

Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes Santa Fe

Just saw that my CSA sells atole a la carte for $3.49/lb. Beneficial Farms CSA has been just outstanding, a collaboration between 4 primary farms in NM and about two dozen ancillary ones across NM and TX. I miss my single-farm CSA from Boston, but Beneficial has provided a great supply of locally grown produce clear through the year.

Feb 21, 2015
finlero in Southwest
2

Awesome spring rolls in ABQ/SF?

Checked out Pho 79 over the long weekend. Spring rolls were serviceable but they didn't knock my socks off. The rice paper was a little dry and tough and the flavors were just a touch muted. Maybe I just caught them on a bad day. My curried vermicelli bowl entree was a solid notch better; nothing fancy, but very tasty. Enjoyed my meal, but Pho 79 didn't displace any of my go-to trio of Huong Thao, Viet Taste, and Banh Mi Coda.

If nothing else, this has motivated me to start really checking out ABQ's embarrassment of Vietnamese culinary riches; I'm excited to start trying a bunch of new places and see how they are.

Feb 18, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Almond Cake

One of the most elegant tasting desserts I can think of, and ridiculously, stupidly easy. Outstanding all around, I love this recipe.

Feb 14, 2015
finlero in Recipes

Awesome spring rolls in ABQ/SF?

Haven't been, but will add to the list, thanks!

Feb 12, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Awesome spring rolls in ABQ/SF?

The former.

Feb 11, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Awesome spring rolls in ABQ/SF?

Although I have a few go-to places for Vietnamese in Albuquerque and Santa Fe (Huong Thao for pho, Viet Taste for bun an banh hoi, and especially Banh Mi Coda for banh mi), I haven't really found anywhere that nails spring rolls. The closest I've found are Talin Santa Fe's pop-up spring rolls on Fridays or Counter Culture's Americanized ones, but nothing quite hits it out of the park.

So how about you? Do you have a go-to place for killer spring rolls in Albuquerque or Santa Fe? Anything else on the menu that's a must-have?

Feb 11, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Pinon Green Chile Brittle Santa Fe

CG Higgins is my favorite candy shop in town. Not sure they have piƱon green chile brittle together, but they definitely sell each separately. They also do a phenomenal lavender pecan brittle.

Jan 27, 2015
finlero in Southwest

One night in Santa Fe

(Board search will give you tons of info on any of these.)

Inexpensive Southwestern dinner near the Plaza: the Shed or Plaza Cafe. Lunch in Santa Fe or en route to Taos: Santa Fe Bite, Rancho de Chimayo (the latter in Chimayo on the "high road" to Taos). Non-Southwestern: Beestro in Santa Fe is good for a quick sandwich, Talin in Santa Fe is good if you're in the mood for ramen (or fresh-made Chinese dumplings on Monday, or fresh-made Vietnamese spring rolls on Friday).

I can't really help with food stores in Taos, but in Santa Fe Kaune's is a great if pricey market with a lot of local history. Sprouts, Whole Foods, and La Montanita Coop all have a lot of local stuff as well.

Jan 25, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Soo Bak Foods Korean Seoul Food truck - Albuquerque

I've had that bibimbop outside Marble a few times, good stuff! Not life changing, but totally respectable.

Jan 23, 2015
finlero in Southwest

best bakery/pastry shop in Santa Fe

IMO, in terms of deliciousness, Dulce leaves the rest of its Santa Fe competition in the dust. The only trick is that I wouldn't call it "fancy" per se; think of them as being in the top decile of American neighborhood bakeries, sporting top-notch renditions of canonical recipes. You're not going to find an acai yuzu cardamom iced cronut, but you will find a perfectly moist chocolate cake sporting deep chocolate flavor, carrot cake with creamy, balanced, not-too-acidic cream cheese frosting, beautiful straight-ahead lemon meringue tarts, etc. Check out their website, you can get the gist of the place: http://www.dulcebakery.com/

If you're hellbent on something a little less pedestrian-on-paper, check out Clafoutis or Swiss Bakery. Both are quite good and a little more outwardly fancy than Dulce. Swiss Bakery's website doesn't do it justice, and I don't think Clafoutis has one at all.

Some people like Chocolate Maven, personally I think they have among the most boring-tasting desserts in town, but check it out for yourself: http://chocolatemaven.com/

Also, Joseph's of Santa Fe is a restaurant, but they have a very good "cloud cake" on their dessert menu, a meringue cake with caramel, grapefruit, and tarragon. I'm guessing you could make advance arrangements to get an entire cake. http://www.josephsofsantafe.com/menus/

Jan 22, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Santa Fe Talin Market's Crazily Awesome Monday-only "Pop-up Dumpling Bar"

Oh man, it's been so long that my mind's palate doesn't really remember the Boston XLB that well. Let me put it this way: I absolutely love the dumplings at Talin, but I think the XLB from Budai are a major step better still. The other Budai dish I get every time is the three cup chicken off the secret menu. Also, any green veggie special is going to be excellent (pea tendrils, hollow heart, amaranth, etc.).

Jan 21, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Santa Fe Talin Market's Crazily Awesome Monday-only "Pop-up Dumpling Bar"

Hey, yes, howdy and welcome! Nice to run into you again in a nicer setting. I guess I miss high-end dining that's actually arguably worth the price, but if nothing else I've become a much better home cook. And honestly the chow scene is surprisingly good here.

You been to Budai yet for their XLB and secret menu? Also excellent.

Jan 20, 2015
finlero in Southwest
1

ABQ - Teriyaki Chicken (Downtown) becomes Asian Pear

Nice, if this place is actually good, we're just one decent Ethiopian restaurant away from my not needing to leave the state for my international food fixes.

Jan 12, 2015
finlero in Southwest

Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes Santa Fe

Plaza Cafe Southside has pretty good ones, but they've got nothing on the ones from Tecolote. Not specifically sure where to buy atole, but I'd be surprised if it weren't available at some local supermarkets.

Jan 10, 2015
finlero in Southwest

ABQ - Las Cruces - Tucson - Cottonwood

Cool, thanks. My better half grew up in Prescott and we're always on the lookout for places in the area to try when we go back.

Jan 08, 2015
finlero in Southwest

ABQ - Las Cruces - Tucson - Cottonwood

Just curious, would you describe EGA as "good for Prescott" or just "good"? Or something else?

Jan 07, 2015
finlero in Southwest

ABQ - Las Cruces - Tucson - Cottonwood

Sparky's in Hatch is terrific. My favorite is the Oinker, a green chile cheeseburger topped with smoked pulled pork.

Vietnamese in Santa Fe

Agree with ninrn, but I'd sooner send you down to ABQ, where there are approximately 2.8 billion Vietnamese restaurants along Central.

Dec 24, 2014
finlero in Southwest

Santa Fe Talin Market's Crazily Awesome Monday-only "Pop-up Dumpling Bar"

Yep.

Dec 24, 2014
finlero in Southwest

Fire & Hops, Santa Fe: hooray for more midscale tastiness

A self-proclaimed "gastropub" in the mold of Dr. Field Goods and Loyal Hound, Fire & Hops' arrival in Santa Fe is probably as good a time as any for me to shut up once and for all about the City Different not having a critical mass of good midscale eateries. The international ingredient accents make the menu itself it more interesting than Loyal Hound and very different than Dr. Field Goods; in terms of pure deliciousness I think it's still a tick behind the other two, but it's already very good and I suspect it'll get better.

The majority of the menu is small plates from around the world, some dishes sticking to a specific region and others leaning a little more fusion-style. (Straight-up ramen on the one hand, green chile poutine on the other, fish and chip fritters with salt and vinegar aioli somewhere in between). The flavors were generally quite good, as well as very bold and exceedingly complex, but to me the complexity periodically lapsed into a bit of muddiness, with too many disparate flavors fighting for attention without quite achieving that alchemical spark to bring it all together. Again, nothing bad and often very good, but it didn't all quite work yet. Standouts from our meal were deep-fried Brussels sprouts in fish sauce and a surprisingly refined grilled eggplant dish whose exact flavor profile is now eluding me due to...

...a pretty good craft beer selection. Lots of taps from NM and the rest of the West, with a Belgian or two thrown in. More taps than Loyal Hound, fewer than Dr. Field Goods, again I'd argue these other two are a little more interesting on the beer front. Wine list was kind of plonky for my tastes, no glasses over $10 and only one bottle over $50.

The digs are small, cozy, unpretentious, and convivial, located in one of the old houses on S. Guadalupe, a terrific spot to go on a cold winter night. Totally competent, not especially remarkable staff (which is all to the good). Like Loyal Hound and Dr. Field Goods, pretty good value. A dinner for two of about a half dozen small plates and two beers each came to $70 after tax and tip.

Dec 11, 2014
finlero in Southwest

Cheesemongers of Santa Fe is now open

Stopped in this week and was generally very impressed. They already have a good selection of cheeses from Europe and the US, which will presumably continue to expand as they lock in their supply lines. At least at present, the cheeses lean domestic; there's a particularly large number of cheeses from Vermont, which is neither specifically good nor specifically bad, just noteworthy. I was especially impressed with their blue cheese selection, large and diverse. Whole Foods still has a better selection of European cheeses, but again, I think this place will get there, and I'd much, much rather support this up-and-coming local business.

They have a more limited selection of cured meats, again leaning domestic and again pretty well selected (lots of products from Creminelli out of Utah). Also the expected array of olives, fancy pickles, jams, dried pastas, local bread, etc.

Staff is young, knowledgeable, and generally personable, rather conspicuously trained to drop a fact or two into conversation to demonstrate that they know their stuff. If nothing else, they do a great job chumming the waters with copious free samples, which I'm sure pays dividends. Prices are high but not crazy for the quality (many cheeses in the $20-$30/lb range). Immaculately clean, nicely lit space. Looks like they already have a friendly relationship with the La Casa Sena wine shop to do joint tastings.

Dec 11, 2014
finlero in Southwest

Arroyo Vino, Santa Fe: the best upscale restaurant in New Mexico

Aaaaaaand now Mark Connell is gone. Sous chef has taken over, keeping the menu more or less the same for now.

Dec 08, 2014
finlero in Southwest

ABQ NEW MEXICAN CLASSICS

Two more high-end Southwestern places in Santa Fe that don't commit crimes against gastronomy: the Compound and Geronimo. Both are quite expensive.

My favorite midscale place in Santa Fe right now is called Dr. Field Goods. It's just a storefront south of town, but they do delicious and fun riffs on New Mexican cuisine (carne adovada egg rolls) and they have a particularly good beer program. Loyal Hound is a similarly great spot, but there's less NM-style stuff on the menu.

Nov 23, 2014
finlero in Southwest

ABQ NEW MEXICAN CLASSICS

Hi five!

Nov 23, 2014
finlero in Southwest

ABQ NEW MEXICAN CLASSICS

You might argue Indigo Crow in Corrales fits the bill, but I'm a little whatevery on that place. It's anything but bad, and some people love it, but 9 times out of 10 I'd much rather go the downscale places ninrn mentioned above. Definitely not a Topolobampo level experience, but it also doesn't pretend to be.

Santa Fe has quite a few upscale New Mex style places and nearly all of them are mediocre or outright bad. One place I do like along these lines is Joseph's, especially the bar menu. Ristra is decent too.

Nov 22, 2014
finlero in Southwest

Caramel Corn

I love easy recipes that make me look like a genius. I highly recommend sneaking some caramel coated popcorn before baking...ain't half bad gooey.

Nov 02, 2014
finlero in Recipes
1