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M. Wells Steakhouse

We've eaten there regularly, though perhaps not as frequently as you, since M. Wells opened. I happen to love the quirky menu and how often it changes, and forgive them the occasional clunkers in the spirit of how creative the rest of the dishes are. I'm not a big dessert person, so I can't weigh in there. I will say, however, that we haven't been back in several months after a bad experience with a waiter. Totally out of character--the service is usually very, very attentive--but we had someone who couldn't answer any questions about the menu (which indeed needs a lot of explanation) and then left us unattended for long stretches, to the point that we sat with empty wine glasses after our mains had been cleared for so long that we no longer even wanted a coffee or digestif and had to get our check from another staff person. The place was maybe half full. I mentioned it to the manager on our way out and he was apologetic, but it's definitely a splurge to eat there and since the service is part of the pleasure (love the sommelier Etienne), it hasn't been at the top of the list since then.

Aug 28, 2015
versicle in Outer Boroughs

Hackney eats

Thanks. These aren't really terribly close to where I'm staying--anything near Well Street?

Jul 16, 2015
versicle in U.K./Ireland

Hackney eats

Well, I like almost everything, but don't want to waste precious stomach space on things I can get in NYC. Raw Duck is nearby and looks promising. Interested in the cocktails scene so have marked Artesian and Duke's. Looking forward to Ottolenghi, mostly because I cook from the cookbooks a lot. Planning to get some British cheeses from Paxton and Whitfield.

Basically, looking for experiences very much of the place--local flavors, produce, preparations--things I can't get stateside, and any ethnic foods that London might do better / differently than NY.

Jul 15, 2015
versicle in U.K./Ireland

Hackney eats

NYC chowhound staying in Hackney for a week. Have several London restaurants on my list, but wondering what's good in the immediate area. I'll be near the Homerton stop on the overground.

TIA!

Jul 15, 2015
versicle in U.K./Ireland

Spirits from Israel

Thanks. My interest in possible spirits was piqued by this article in Saveur - http://www.saveur.com/article/travels... - that mentions a Tunisian fig distillate. Good to know about the wines, though.

May 13, 2015
versicle in Spirits

Spirits from Israel

I see arak from a variety of countries in the liquor stores in NYC. Is there a specific brand of arak that's not exported and if so, what is it and why do you like it better than ones from Lebanon, etc. that are available in the US?

May 12, 2015
versicle in Spirits

Spirits from Israel

I can get arak stateside. More interested in things that aren't exported. Unless there's some specific, local brand of arak you'd recommend.

May 12, 2015
versicle in Spirits

Spirits from Israel

What sorts of interesting spirits should one bring back to the U.S. from Israel?

May 07, 2015
versicle in Spirits

Castleberry Hill recs

For the good of any future diners in this area, I recommend steering clear of No Mas. Some of the blandest "Mexican" food I've ever had and the fish in my tacos was marginal, at best. Couldn't finish the dish.

Apr 26, 2015
versicle in Atlanta
1

Castleberry Hill recs

I'm staying in Castleberry Hill and am interested in good food w/in walking distance. Happy to walk up to 20 minutes or so. Pluses for places that are friendly to solo diners and have great cocktails.

Thanks.

Apr 23, 2015
versicle in Atlanta

Best place for a visitor to buy local products - ABQ

Yeah, the distilleries were a nice surprise. If I'd had more time, I would have liked to visit Left Turn, which has a tasting room somewhere in ABQ. I'd skip whoever is producing that rye, though.

I wanted to get to Tia Betty Blue's, but I obviously overestimated how much I'd be able to eat. Interesting that the chile has gotten noticeably tamer. Sad to hear that, though glad I wasn't being served some mild version because I didn't look like I could handle the real stuff (as happens in some of the Chinese and Thai restaurants in Queens....) Even in Las Cruces, when I specifically asked for the hot chile, it was pretty insignificant.

Jan 23, 2015
versicle in Southwest
1

Best place for a visitor to buy local products - ABQ

Ok. This may get a bit long.

I drove straight from the airport to Barelas Coffee House. It was lunchtime, but my flight out of NYC was so early that I hadn't had breakfast yet. I ordered the huevos rancheros deluxe, which didn't disappoint. I'd forgotten how good flour tortillas can be--fluffy and chewy.

I was staying in the North Valley, very close to Farm and Table, so I had my first dinner there. I had kale, cheddar, and green chile empanadas to start, duck breast for my main course, and I've already forgotten the desert, which should say something about its memorability. The empanada was made with puff pastry, which, with the cheddar, was a bit too rich and gooey. I couldn't taste the green chile at all. It was served on a bed of greens that I'll come back to in a moment. I was impressed with the quality of the duck breast. When it came to the table, I thought they'd made a mistake and served me a beef dish--the duck was very dark and meaty, different than any duck I've had before. But it, too, was served on a bed of the same greens, only this time with some warm mushrooms mixed in. The greens were generic, like something you'd get in a box at the grocery store and their mediocrity, along with the fact that they made two appearances, was a turn-off. There was a Macedonian red wine on the menu. I tend to like unusual wines, especially Eastern European, Greek, and Georgian ones. This one, though, was port-y in the unpleasantly heavy way some Eastern wines can be--I'm not sure why they would have chosen this particular one amidst all the Italian, French, etc. bottles on the menu. Anyway, the takeaway was that the quality of the meat in the main dish was excellent, but the meal didn't come together overall. Service was inattentive, but that's a frequent issue for a woman dining alone.

The next morning I went to Downtown Java Joe's, a place that has not changed at all in the twenty years since I lived in Albuquerque. Breakfast burrito was fine comfort food, coffee was great. I found it enormously comforting that visiting there was like stepping into a time machine.

I went to Jubilation. They didn't have many New Mexican wines and didn't stock the Riesling recommended above. I was looking at a bottle of rye from a NM distiller and asked the gentleman working there what he could tell me about it. He began to explain to me what a "rye" was, but once we'd established that I knew the difference between rye and bourbon, we were able to have a non-patronizing conversation. He gave me a taste of the rye (sorry, I don't remember the distiller), but I didn't think it was all that great--tasted like pretty generic bourbon with a somewhat high rye mashbill. But one thing lead to another and I tasted the old tom gin from Left Turn Distiller in Albuquerque and the Colkegan whiskey from Santa Fe Spirits. The gin is juniper heavy, which isn't my favorite thing, but it was an interesting bottle and I like that it's such a small, local production, and I'm partial to old toms. I loved the Colkegan, which is similar to scotch and gets its smoky flavor from mesquite. I bought bottles of both of these, and a bottle of the Santa Fe Spirits apple brandy, which I didn't taste but hey, how could it be bad?

That night I ate dinner at Tito and Mary's--carne adovada enchilada. What can I say? Total classic. It was so good, I ate it too quickly and had to settle my stomach with some of the Colkegan. My only complaint here is that neither the carne nor the red sauce were very hot. This was true of everything I ate on this trip. Was it a bad year for chiles? I remember the endorphin high of eating lots of chiles when I lived in New Mexico, and the most I got anywhere on this trip was a mildly spicy flavor.

The highlight of my meals was Los Poblanos. I wouldn't even put Farm and Table in the same category as this place. I started with a celeriac remoulade, which was excellent, followed by the pork belly on a green chile corn cake with kale, also excellent. They were mixing some creative cocktails with fortified wines (no hard liquor license, I assume). The remoulade was served with a handful of salad greens that really emphasized the difference in quality between this place and Farm and Table--they were delicate, unusual, and had a real mix of flavors, including bitter. My dining experiences in Albuqerque were limited to what I could consume in a few days, but I'd be surprised to hear anyone say this isn't the best restaurant in the city. On a side note, when I left there was a pure white pea hen nesting in a tree branch above, just outside the entrance of the inn. Her feathers were fluttering in the breeze, which created a remarkable and magical vision in the crisp, dark New Mexican night.

I had breakfast one morning at Humble Coffee, a new place on Lomas. The pour over coffee was flavorful and fresh and strong.

The big disappointment was El Patio, a place I frequented and adored when I lived in Albuquerque and have dreamed of returning to. I had the chile rellenos and could barely finish them. The cheese inside the chiles was cheap and greasy and not fully cooked. The chiles themselves weren't fully cooked, either. Probably I should have sent it back. I don't know whether I caught them at an off moment or what. I was also pretty dismayed by how scuzzy that block was. That whole area was definitely pretty sketchy when I lived there, and maybe I'm just more put off by it now than when I was 19 or 20, but I don't think I'd make a repeat visit there the next time I'm in Albuquerque. Frankly, I would probably avoid that whole stretch of Central across from UNM.

As for how things have changed in 20 years...it's hard to say. I'm experiencing New Mexico as a grown up professional person, not an impoverished college student. I don't remember the names of a lot of the places I used to eat, except El Patio and Frontier (used to be 24 hours, right--surprised to see that it closes for a few hours at night), since I lived in the area and those were the places I could walk to. There was a place on Monte Vista, just off Central, where I ate many breakfasts and particularly remember the sopapillas--no longer there. I spent untold hours at E.J.'s, but not because of the food. The Anapurna Cafe is there now. The bars I drank at are gone--a place on Central across the street from the University that often had live music, One Eyed Jacks further down Central, Dingo downtown, and Downtown Louie's 66 (I think I have those names right--it's been a long time and I was drunk). Otherwise I was surprised by how little Albuquerque has changed. Parts of downtown are cleaned up a bit, and near the intersection of 25 and Central, but overall the city felt remarkably similar. The outskirts past the North Valley were much more heavily developed, and it was surprising to discover that La Montanita had become a local chain. I spent a lot of time at Double Rainbow as a student and was interested that it's also become a chain under the Flying Star name, but I didn't try any of those franchises. The biggest difference was how mild all the chile dishes were.

Oh, and I stopped by the Fruit Basket and bought a giant bag of hot dried red chile, some blue cornmeal, and pinenuts. I got Heidi's jam at La Montanita, where it was several dollars cheaper than at the Los Poblanos farm shop. Speaking of which, they don't sell their lavender honey--just serve it in the restaurant. Beautiful little farm shop, definitely worth a stop. I bought some of their yarn, which comes from a woman's cooperative in northern NM.

Wish I could have found a viable way to get some frozen green chile home--the second leg of my trip is in Arizona, otherwise I would have stopped for some on the way to the airport.

Jan 21, 2015
versicle in Southwest
2

Best place for a visitor to buy local products - ABQ

ninrn, thank you so much for this thoughtful reply. I should clarify that I lived in ABQ about 20 years ago, so I'm pretty familiar with the cuisine and am planning to eat as much chile as possible. I'm also visiting from NYC, so am only interested in the things that are specific to NM. I'd already planned on making a stop at the Fruit Basket, and have been scheming ways to pack frozen green chiles with ice packs. What I'm interested in is local products, artisanal things, not the gimmicky tourist stuff. Good to know about Cervantes--I'll definitely pick up some jars of that. The Montecito balsamic is probably a bit out of my price range, but if you can recommend any products to look out for, I'd really appreciate it--honey, chocolate, etc. I'll check out Gruet for sure.

On another note, I've read through the last year or so of ABQ posts on Chowhound and see that you're one of the few frequent posters. I'm mapping out my eating itinerary. Thinking Barela's or El Modelo for lunch tomorrow, reservations at Farm and Table tomorrow night, breakfast at Tia Betty Blue's on Saturday, lunch in the air, dinner at El Patio or Sadie's on Fourth, a stop at Java Joe's on Sunday, dinner at the Los Poblanos Inn Sunday night. There are a few meals not accounted for. Really mourning the passing of Charlie's Back Door and Sanitary Tortilla....

Jan 15, 2015
versicle in Southwest

Carne adovada

A displaced NM native recommended El Modelo to me for carne adovada. Any thoughts?

Jan 15, 2015
versicle in Southwest

Best place for a visitor to buy local products - ABQ

Where does one go to get local products to take home? I'm thinking of the actually hot salsas not available on the national market, and any other NM-specific products.

TIA

Jan 15, 2015
versicle in Southwest

Gift for chefs that scream New Mexico

Eager to hear, because I'll either have one there or in Hatch. Thanks, Rob, for the caution about the roads.

I'll probably drive up next Tuesday for lunch, mostly because I'm just really curious now, and will plan to do some sight-seeing there before heading back to the Interstate and Tucson.

Jan 13, 2015
versicle in Southwest

Gift for chefs that scream New Mexico

So you really don't think it's worth the trip off of the Interstate if I can only make it for lunch? (Referencing the other roadtrip thread....) *tries to figure out how to spend a night in Silver City instead of Las Cruces*

Jan 13, 2015
versicle in Southwest

ABQ - Las Cruces - Tucson - Cottonwood

That is very cool. I don't think I have time for a full-on tour of the facility, but it looks like there's a visitor center that's open during the week: http://www.chilepepperinstitute.org/ I'll definitely check that out on my way through town.

My tolerance for chiles is probably not what it was when I lived in ABQ 20 years ago and ate chiles all the time, but I can still take some heat.

Jan 13, 2015
versicle in Southwest

Gift for chefs that scream New Mexico

Oh hey, that was me! Nice to see the chef here on Chowhound. Following this thread to see what to buy in NM to take home to NYC. I lived in ABQ 20 years ago and have never quite gotten over it. Anyway, planning to stop in Silver City for lunch next week. Wish I could make it for dinner. What should I order?

Jan 13, 2015
versicle in Southwest

ABQ - Las Cruces - Tucson - Cottonwood

Now that is very interesting indeed. I don't think I can make it for dinner. Is the lunch as interesting?

Jan 11, 2015
versicle in Southwest

ABQ - Las Cruces - Tucson - Cottonwood

I'm taking a road trip later this month. I have a pretty good idea where to eat in Albuquerque, but is there anything interesting along the route above? Side trips up to an hour or so are fine. I'll probably take 85 out of Tucson rather than the Interstate....

Jan 06, 2015
versicle in Southwest

3-4 bourbons as a gift

He loves Blanton's. Thanks. These are great suggestions.

Nov 22, 2014
versicle in Spirits

3-4 bourbons as a gift

Thanks, but 600+ posts over seven years is a bit much and I know a fair amount about the common bourbons anyway. Looking for input from some of the connoisseurs I know are on this board about the best bottles right now and which distilleries would provide a complementary range for tasting.

To get the conversation going, Michael Dietsch responded on Twitter with suggestions for High West, esp. a Midsummer Night's Dram, and the Four Roses limited edition this year, and David Wondrich with Parker's Heritage wheat whiskey. (Thanks, guys.)

Nov 21, 2014
versicle in Spirits

3-4 bourbons as a gift

I'd like to get my husband a few bottles of bourbon as a birthday gift. I'm looking for a range of tasting notes and a group of special bottles. We tend to have Bulleit on hand. He likes Jefferson's, Elijah Craig, and Woodford for every day sipping. I prefer rye, so if there's one with a high rye content, that's appealing. I'm in NYC, so I should be able to get my hands on most brands. What are some that would be complementary but sufficiently diverse?

TIA.

Nov 21, 2014
versicle in Spirits

Myanmar in Falls Church or Mandalay in Silver Spring?

My spouse and I will be staying in Baltimore over the weekend. We're been to Myanmar and would like to make an outing to a Burmese restaurant. Are these the only two in the metro area? Is one better?

Anniversary dinner near Dead Rabbit in Financial District

Looking for somewhere for a wedding anniversary dinner in proximity to the Dead Rabbit downtown. We'd like to start with cocktails there and then on to dinner. Probably the only type of restaurant we aren't interested in is a steak house. There doesn't seem to be much else within walking distance.... Any ideas? (We're adventurous eaters and cost isn't an issue as long as we're not in the realm of Per Se.)

Sep 30, 2014
versicle in Manhattan

Sunset Park: Favorite Restaurants and the Dishes Therein

Not a destination maybe, but nice for people who work over there.

Jun 30, 2014
versicle in Outer Boroughs

Sunset Park: Favorite Restaurants and the Dishes Therein

Has anyone else checked out the new food court in Industry City? It looks like there are a lot of commercial kitchens with some opening up attached storefronts. I walked through the other day and there were maybe three places up and running, all doing a brisk lunch business. Colson Patisserie and Ninja Bubble Tea, and another whose name I've forgotten. There was a spot for Blue Marble as well, though it didn't look ready to open to the public. There's a nice outdoor courtyard with tables and chairs.

Jun 27, 2014
versicle in Outer Boroughs

Taksim Square 2 in Sunset Park

Since the OP seems reluctant to bite the bullet and just give the place a try, I decided to stop in at lunch today. This is the one on 3rd Ave. and 35th St., under the BQE. I'm not well versed in Turkish food, but this was a decent lunch. I got the meze platter--eggplant in a rich tomato sauce, a raw tomato salad, hummus, and baba ganoush. The baba was pleasantly smoky. The tomato salad tasted maybe a day old, but all in all everything was fine. The kebabs and kofte were being cooked to order. Prices were reasonable. The place was clean.

Jun 25, 2014
versicle in Outer Boroughs
1

Fernet Magnoberta

I've had Branca in cocktails, but don't have a bottle at home. Last night I made a cocktail with rye, white whiskey, simple syrup, Angostura, and the Magnoberta. Something called a *cough* Bumpass Hound according to the blogger at Cocktail Quest. I substituted the Magnoberta for the Branca. It was a delicious cocktail, actually, but I don't have anything to compare it to.

Apr 20, 2014
versicle in Spirits