Dec. 15, 2012; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Overall view of University Stadium during the 2012 New Mexico Bowl between the Arizona Wildcats against the Nevada Wolf Pack. Arizona defeated Nevada 49-48. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Cougs like to eat. A game day without a stop into Cougar Country just does not seem quite right. We’re used to our Palouse restaurants, but where to go when you journey in December for the first time in a decade.
We combed Albuquerque for some great restaurants, mainly so you don’t have to. ABQ is a deceptively cosmopolitan city with food options aplenty, but with an influx of fans on the 21st, you may find your dining options limited, so I recommend reservations sooner than later.
One caveat should be noted: I have never been to Albuquerque, so I am working from press and online reviews, so my apologies if they fall short of the praise given.
Antiquity – 505- 247-3545
A menu marked with luxurious options accompanied by a respectable wine list puts Antiquity high on the priority list for visiting Cougars. Escargot is a bold choice, both preparing and consuming, which leads me to assume some talent with the chef. In fact the myriad of French touches on the menu are impressive.
The menu is high on seafood which makes me cringe from my home at sea level. Ordering scallops, shrimp, or God forbid salmon that far from the Pacific both in distance and elevation makes me jittery. This is not meant as an offense to anyone, I wouldn’t order seafood in Pullman, either.
Garduno’s of Mexico – 505-880-0055
For you Breaking Bad fans, order up some guac from a filing location from the final season. If the location is important for you, make sure to chose the Winrock Mall location, about 10 minutes from University Stadium. They boast New Mexican cuisine, which is apparently unique to New Mexico. If that is the case I can not weigh in, but the customer reviews seem consistent.
Expect a tourist oriented mini-chain, Rancho Viejo with a SW twist. People say that it is no longer authentic, but most visiters to the area feel that the food is just fine, if a bit spicy.
Los Pollos Hermanos
Twisters- 505- 877-2727
Fast food, Mexican Style
Twisters played the role of Los Pollos Hermanos in Breaking Bad. No Gus Fring standing mild mannered at your table offering soda refills, but the menu is intriguing. New Mexico seems to put their own spin on southwestern food, differentiating themselves from West Texas Tex-Mex.
I assume that an Indian Taco is not a Naan taco, but I want to go to the restaurant to discover if I am correct. A bit out of the way, but for those fans of the show, it might be worth it.
Dog House Drive In – D0wntown Albuquerque
Hot Dogs, et al.
The culmination of your BB culinary tour. I’ll just say this, the reviews are positive, but one guy was talking about how difficult it was to actually purchase a gun there, so . . .
Jennifer James 101- 505.884.3860
Returning to fine dining, the menu that Jennifer James brings to the fight for your fine dining experience is impressive, to say the least. This establishment blends what can only be described as pan-planet touches to American fine dining.
A perusal of the menu is highlighted by many winter wonders including boar shoulder and duck breast. To great Cougar fans she has added a Pacific Northwest black cod with apple mashed potatoes. Again, I steer clear of seafood that is that far from home, but apple mashed potatoes sound like an innovative combination of our state’s two largest agricultural crops, so good on you Jennifer James!
The prices are not bad at all by fine dining standards.
Cervantes – 505-262-2253
Most complaints about Cervantes revolve around decor and lack of updating. If, like me, food always trumps decor in your mind, these guys seem to encapsulate all that is good in New Mexican cuisine. The company doubles as a take home Mexican sauce company, so if you enjoyed what you ordered, you can take sauces back to your abode outside of ABQ.
These are the highlights that I found. Please feel free to post with ideas of your own.