Erich's Profile

Title Last Reply

Good cheap eats along I-25 in New Mexico?

You'd be missing out if you did not hit the Buckhorn in San Antonio (just S of Socorro) for a green chile cheeseburger - it's been declared the best there is. While the "best" is a moving target and can get you a long argument, the Buckhorn is worth a stop.

http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Re...

Harry's Roadhouse in SF is liked by many, and is right off I-25:

http://www.harrysroadhousesantafe.com/

Mary & Tito's is a five-minute detour (just N of I-40) from I-25, and has deservedly won a James Beard American Classic award.

http://nmgastronome.com/blog/?p=331

-----
Harry's Roadhouse
96B Old Las Vegas Hwy, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Oct 10, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Great restaurants in Sedona?

Run a search on this board to see my favorable review of Elote last August.

Oct 05, 2011
Erich in Southwest

What restaurants in Albuquerque are truly good and not just good for Albuquerque?

Claus Hjortkjaer (Le Cafe Miche) took over the kitchen earlier this year, I believe.

http://alibi.com/food/37899/The-Retur...

Sep 29, 2011
Erich in Southwest

What restaurants in Albuquerque are truly good and not just good for Albuquerque?

Gee, this couldn't have anything to do with the new ownership? ;-) Thanks for the report, sandiasingh, tho I'm sorry to hear it.

Sep 29, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Santa Fe

That's a great idea. Pretty much anywhere Downtown would be fine, with walks _much_ shorter than that. Aim for a half-mile around the Plaza . . . .

It might be helpful to go on TripAdvisor or Google Maps and map all the restaurants that interest you (perusing this board should give you quite a list to go with), then using the map software to bring in hotels that are of interest to you.

These are not going to be the least expensive hotels, of course, but my wife and I really love that kind of stay, where we just walk places (just came back from one in Telluride, in fact). And, given NM's profound and vital interest in seriously enforcing DWI laws (along with the fact that one can be convicted here under the minimal and amorphous "impaired to the slightest extent" standard), staying within walking distance is a really good way to get away from the _necessity_ of always having one party designated the non-drinking driver for the evening.

Sep 26, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Good Bar for Social Hour in Albuquerque near Convention Center

Google is your friend for specifics. In general, all within a few short blocks. Easy walking distance in a safe downtown area.

Sep 20, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Good Bar for Social Hour in Albuquerque near Convention Center

Hmm. One Up was the first place that I was going to suggest, just for proximity. Copper Lounge is a bit further away but might be of interest. El Madrid if you want a dive (which you don't).

I've been in One Up a few times and never suffered particularly loud music (they play that electronic blu/"chill" music), FWIW. Might be worth a call to the manager. There are certainly areas w/i the bar that they could dedicate to your group - I've seen that happen and talked to them about holding an event there.

Sep 20, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Question about Penzeys whole black peppercorns

Thanks for the follow-up! It confirms my feelings without me having to do any work!

Sep 20, 2011
Erich in General Topics

Forque - ¿Qué? (Albuquerque)

And if it were a BBQ place . . . it might have been "for-cue" (but for pronunciation issues). ;-)

Sep 19, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Tucson breakfast

Um . . . I just replied to myself upthread. We went by Franks and were disappointed - not the great place we remembered. :-/

Sep 12, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Tucson breakfast

Well, last month we were in Tucson and we stopped by Frank's. We both agreed that it was not nearly as good as we remembered - service was still good and prices were low, but the food did nothing in particular for us and the place was not looking good (spills, flies, washrags lying about).

Sep 12, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Sunday in Tucson

The Sunday buffet at Loew's Ventana Canyon resort was pretty amazing last month. Had a pretty spectacular barbecue (and I don't say that lightly - the personable chef is from KC and he served some of the best ribs I've ever had) in addition to the usual high-line brunch and dessert stuff. Oh, and all-you-could-drink of three local microbrews. It was $32/person, and - in all seriousness - I've been thinking about flying back to stay over Saturday through Monday just to have more of those ribs, brews and grilled poblano peppers.

http://www.loewshotels.com/en/Ventana...

Judging from the enormous line that formed, I'd advise making reservations for 11 a.m. and arriving after a one-day fast (to make sure you have adequate room). And please do not make the tactical error that I made by filling up my plate first with breakfast stuff before meandering outside to see if the barbecue is any good. (A tragic error that I still regret, a month later.)

Sep 12, 2011
Erich in Southwest

O Gelato - Santa Fe in the DeVargas Mall

Just for amusement, I wanted to link this story from the New Mexican.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/Loca...

I'm sort of surprised to report that many of the folks in my office (in that building as well) are boycotting the place due to what they claim is an attitude problem of the staff. I've never seen it, myself . . . and the gelato is good. Alas, I've been dieting and haven't had any for a while.

Sep 11, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Forque - ¿Qué? (Albuquerque)

Went to Forque ("fork", not "for-kay"), the new in-hotel restaurant at the Hyatt downtown today. I've read raves on Urban Spoon, but wanted to report that this was not the experience I had.

First, the clearly good stuff. The place was clean and had been somewhat remodeled from when it was McGrath's: it looked more modern and - I'm grateful to report - the exhaust system of the kitchen appears to have been upgraded, as there was NONE of the smell-of-cooking-food-getting-on-your-clothes issue that McGrath's used to have. Service was nice and on-it - great maitre d', really fast food delivery and very with-it drink refills and check-ups.

The food was fine, but wasn't in any way "WOW!" And it wasn't really all that cheap. There was a buffet that offered salad, desultory looking flatbread pizzas, and a nice-for-a-hotel looking selection of desserts. My friend (who treated - and it was a lovely time visiting) got that ($11.95) and never commented at all on it. I'm watching my girlish figure again, so I just grabbed a Cobb salad. (I'd considered a green chile & jack burger, done low-carb, but the burger is only 1/3-lb for $12 and I wanted more volume than that.) Meh. It was fine ($14) but kind of on the skimpy side, especially considering the price (the old Cafe Dominic in SF - $10 - and the Rio Chama in SF - $13 - just blew this one out of the water - and they're in pricey downtown SF, not "the Q" as Mayor Marty tried to get us to call Burque).

Anyhow, it was good to try it out. It's entirely possible that my diet caused me to pass up the exciting items on the menu, but one would think that my friend's buffet should have included something with a little zing. I'll try it again sometime and I'd be curious to hear what other Chowhounders think, but I can't in good conscience recommend that anyone rush down there. You're better off going to 4 Aces Grill a little ways N on 4th Street.

-----
Cafe Dominic
320 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Rio Chama
414 Old Santa Fe Trl, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Sep 09, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Budai, ABQ: authentic Chinese/Taiwanese, and it's AWESOME

I'm a big fan of the pork belly and the beef tendon - recently went to Budai with a couple who run another well-regarded restaurant and they dug both of these dishes as well.

-----
Budai
6300 San Mateo Blvd NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109

Sep 08, 2011
Erich in Southwest

sedona/gcnp

For dinner, you might consider Elote in Sedona. Search on this board for my review from August of 2010.

Sep 07, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Tucson favorites >$15 pp

Hook us up with addresses, brother! We visitors want to do it up right . . . FWIW, Tacos Apson felt pretty right.

-----
Tacos Apson
3501 S 12th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85713

Aug 31, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Cafe Vingt Cinq, Santa Fe: Outstanding French Bakery and Cafe at...the Outlet Mall?!

I love it! Thanks for the heads-up, amigo!

Aug 29, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse ?? Los Ranchos/ABQ

Sheesh - to think that I'd forget to post here but post on TA. Must have been during one of my grumpy periods where I was fed-up with disappearing posts or something. ;-) Anyhow, when I consider going back to Vernon's, I think that the irritation quotient (between the guy up front and the loud/crowd issue) is just too high. Really, though, since you'd be getting a fair chunk of change off, the Groupon might be a decent way for you to try it out, just to see the place. And it's not nearly the inconvenient drive for you that it was for us.

Seriously, though, I was thinking today about how much I've enjoyed meals at the Ranchers Club (it went downhill for a few years but then seemed to be back up), and thinking how G and I need to get back over there. (I heard the Hilton is becoming a Crowne Plaza, and hope that the Ranchers Club continues as it has.) Gosh, we even had our wedding reception there, years and years ago. What a different experience in terms of atmosphere.

Had a great meal at Seasons last night, BTW.

Aug 28, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse ?? Los Ranchos/ABQ

Didn't I post on this here? I know I put up a review on TripAdvisor. Hang on, I'll go copy and modify it.

We visited in mid-December 2010. I gave it 4 stars, with 5 for service and 3 for value. I titled my review, "Not really as classy as they try to bill it - but good food and service”

The negatives first: The "dinner theater" aspect of the doorman dressed as a '30s Mafioso and speaking in what he imagined was a Brooklyn accent was embarrassing and annoying. Almost enough to make me turn around and leave before dining. Almost enough to make me vow not return. I note that I have NOT returned since that December visit, and the first thing that keeps me from it is that idiocy. Next is the price for value, and next is how crowded and loud the place is.

Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse is pretty wildly popular (we were lucky to get the one space remaining in the lot when we arrived at 6:30 on a Saturday night - someone had just pulled out of it) and it's crowded in there - I was brushed by apologetic waitstaff more than once. It doesn't have the relaxed upscale feel of other nearby restaurants in this market niche - plan on a loud, dark dining room and lines by the restrooms (which needed better ventilation). With an attached lounge and a band.

The positives were that the food was solidly good to very good (I had a medium NY Strip, wedge salad, German chocolate cake, accompanied by their nice-smelling-but-disappointing bread and oil goop and iced tea and coffee - I was the DD), and service was really on-it. Waters, teas and coffees were refilled promptly and the waitress took good care of those in our party needing wine and other alcoholic beverages. There were a couple of small hiccups - an extra coffee and iced tea were added to the bill of our party of six and entrees took a ridiculous amount of time to arrive (we had ordered just behind a large party) - but these could happen anywhere on a Saturday night. We were not rushed even as we socialized a little past what many restaurants would have considered "long enough." Nice menu, nice specials, nice wine and cocktail menus. The food was on the pricey side for what it was, but the value for the money is not terrible.

On the other hand, as I note, we've not been back since our December visit, so the downsides are outweighing the upsides. We had a nice time visiting and enjoyed our food and the service. Vernon's is fine, but I wouldn't recommend it as a "must do".

I really was put off due to that ridiculous "speakeasy" theater right inside the front door. That Groupon might get us back there, but I'd bet that if I ran it by Gina she'd say, "Meh . . . ." It was awfully loud, dark and cramped, and that's not the environment that I seek when I want a meal. The crowds suggest hoi polloi gobble it up, though, so I appear to be in the minority.

-----
Vernon's Hidden Valley Steakhouse
6855 4th Street NW, Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, NM 87107

Aug 28, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Tucson favorites >$15 pp

Oh, and Karichimaka down on the SW might be worth a swing-by.

-----
Karichimaka Restaurant
5252 S Mission Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746

Aug 21, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Sante Fe/ABQ Trip Report -- with focus on Clafoutis

Agree with Finlero's assessment. They're just across the street from my SF office. Lovely folks.

Aug 19, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Tucson favorites >$15 pp

Had terrific meals for way under $15 at El Güero Canelo and Tacos Apson a few days ago.

-----
Tacos Apson
3501 S 12th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85713

Aug 19, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Santa Fe Top Five

Or maybe it's because Nostrani irritated too many people with attitude over the years. No one disputes they serve good food, or that it's run by a chef's chef. But, gee - various attitudinal issues (the scent-free thing is certainly one such) appear to crop up with frequency in folks' conversations and reviews of the place. Some folks find that off-putting - others may feel it adds value to their experience, for all I know.

However, two meals in six years might not provide a sufficient basis to question whether folks discussing Nostrani are sophisticated enough to appreciate it simply because others might not have such effusive praise to spread. But, maybe you're right, and all those Santa Feans need to round out their worldliness by eating in Minneapolis. ;-)

Aug 13, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Santa Fe - Large Group Dining Reservations - Please help!

I've been to nice events along those lines at the presidential suite of the Eldorado. You might call them. The Bull Ring could probably accommodate you as well.

-----
Bull Ring
150 Washington Ave Ste 108, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Aug 12, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Santa Fe triple

Kenny, point of information: I believe most folks would call La Choza "_New_ Mexican". Good suggestions, tho.

-----
La Choza Restaurant
905 Alarid St, Santa Fe, NM 87505

Aug 10, 2011
Erich in Southwest

The Compound - Santa Fe; been lately?

It's been a while for me, that's for sure. Mentioned it to Gina and she told me that her friends are taking her for her retirement lunch, so back to Nostrani if I can forbear from my S. Italian tendency to bathe in cologne . . . .

;-)

Aug 09, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Santa Fe - Large Group Dining Reservations - Please help!

Please define "large group" and tell us what meal do you need. Are we talking ten people for lunch or 150 people for breakfast?

Aug 09, 2011
Erich in Southwest

Epazote in Santa Fe

Fernando Olea has had some really great restaurants in SF over the years. My experience with his places has been that one can have an outstanding food experience or a vaguely indifferent one - and I've not really been able to really put my finger on how to predict how a given visit will turn out. I would not be surprised to learn that Epazote is knocking out world-class cuisine . . . but I don't believe I've ever recommended the place to an out-of-towner. If you go, I'd be curious to hear how you found it.

Aug 09, 2011
Erich in Southwest

The Compound - Santa Fe; been lately?

What a great report and pix - thank you so much for taking the time. Actually, this would be another contender for Gina's retirement dinner. :-)

Aug 09, 2011
Erich in Southwest