Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Fishing" with a Camera

I always like going for breakfast. The foods you order for breakfast at a restaurant aren’t foods you are normally going to take the time and effort to fix at home. So before beginning today’s visit to the aquarium, a hearty breakfast was in order. And, since I am a big Huevos Rancheros fan and since Garcia’s Kitchen makes some of the best Huevos Rancheros ever, the decision was easy – Garcia’s it was.

I was pleased to see that the Huevos Rancheros are one of the daily breakfast specials. For $4.49 you get two eggs cooked to your order and covered with red or green chili sauce, beans, papas (fried potatoes) and the choice of a flour tortilla or a sopapilla. I wanted the tortilla to wipe up and vestige of the chili sauce on my plate but was curious about Garcia’s sopapillas. In all the meals we have eaten there, we’ve never ordered the sopapillas, so I decided to add a side order to our meal.

Chuck chose the breakfast burrito special breakfast (also $4.49) with green chili sauce which also came with beans and fried potatoes.

In an earlier post, I enthused about Garcia’s red chili, and the quality of the chili is the secret to a good Huevos Rancheros. The tortilla did its work and nary a speck of sauce was visible on my plate after I finished. Chuck’s burrito was another monster, filled with scrambled eggs, potatoes, and bacon. The eggs were fluffy and moist and the bacon was mildly smoky and crisp. The potatoes on both of our plates were dusted before frying with a mild red chili powder--just enough of the chili flavor to give interest.

Now for the sopapillas. In a word--wonderful. Warm, light, grease free, and puffed to perfection. Like Henrietta’s (in Los Lunas), there was an extremely thin outer crust that crunched or cracked when bitten. These could well rate as the best sopapillas we’ve had in our two trips to New Mexico.

We still have one more neighborhood Mexican/New Mexican restaurant to try before I give a rating, but Garcia’s still remains the one to beat.

After breakfast, we headed to the Albuquerque Aquarium. Fresh water riverine, estuarine, surf zone, shallow waters, coral reefs, open ocean and deep ocean species are represented in the various tanks. Among the highlights are an eel tunnel, seahorses, luminous jellies, and a 285,000 gallon ocean tank where brown, sandtiger, blacktip and nurse sharks swim alongside brilliantly colored reef fish, eels, sea turtles and open ocean species.

Sometimes the fish and other sea animals were identified. I believe these are Upside Down Jellyfish,

this is the Royal Gramma, and

this is the Clownfish. It lives among the stinging tenticles of the Anemone without being poisoned. This fish is a poor swimmer, and without the protection offered by the Anemone, it would become easy prey for other fish.

These next two fish (and the one in the top photo of fishes) were not identified. They have made it into the gallery because they were relatively "cooperative" subjects. Even in the small tanks, most fish move quickly. A few take a more leisurely approach to swimming, and that approach enabled them to make it into the blog.

Watching the fish in the various tanks--and especially the jellyfish in the cylindrical tank--can be very hypnotic.

Kind of like watching a lava lamp.

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