Monday, November 30, 2009

The Temple of New Mexican Food

Or at least that’s how many local foodies seem to feel about Mary & Tito’s Café in Albuquerque.

We had never been there. In fact, we had never heard of it until about two weeks ago. But the rave reviews on the web made us add this to our list of “must eats.” And we were not disappointed.

Mary & Tito's has received numerous awards for serving the best carne adovada, best red chile, and best New Mexican food in the state. Tito Gonzalas died in 1889, but his wife Mary and other family members are maintaining the tradition of fresh and authentic New Mexican food.

The café has been described by many as a “hole in the wall.” Now we have eaten in many a hole in the wall and Mary & Tito’s doesn’t fit that description. Let’s just say that it is minimally decorated. The tables are covered with plastic tablecloths--who wants to try and remove red chile from white linen table cloths?

The menu does not break new ground with the kitchen’s creativity. You will find the usual assortment of burritos, enchiladas, and tacos along with stuffed sopapillas, carne adovado, and chile relleno. The sopappilas, or "Mexican turnovers,” resemble an overgrown empanada or Italian calzone. It's made from sopapilla dough and may be stuffed with cheese, meat, beans, or rice and then deep fried. Chuck, deciding to eat outside the box, selected the bean and cheese stuffed sopapilla, which did not come with either beans or rice. So he announced that he would eat mine.

What arrived was an enormous sopapilla slathered with the café’s famous green chile with meat. The “crust” was ultra light, ultra crisp, and ultra flaky. What could have been an ultra heavy meal, especially with a bean and cheese filling, was anything but heavy. The filling wasn’t overly seasoned, but, oh, the green chile. This was without a doubt the hottest green chile we have had anywhere. But it was also the tastiest. Moderately thick with large chunks of roasted green chile, it was the kind of chile about which one simultaneously thinks “This is really hot. I can’t wait to eat some more.”

The menu also listed the daily specials, and on the day of our visit, the special ($6.00) was the large combination plate – one ground beef taco, one rolled cheese enchilada, and one cheddar-stuffed chile relleno with rice and beans (which Chuck ate) on the side. I usually order the red chile, which is the café’s specialty, but I prefer the green on a chile relleno. Since my experience with “Christmas” (both red and green on the plate) has been mixed with the two blending together in a muddle that obscures both flavors, I ordered the green. Was I glad I did.

The taco, which I usually consider filler on a combo plate, was a superior example with juicy ground beef in a thin and tasty corn tortilla and topped with the green chile. The rolled enchilada was filled with shredded cheddar in a tender corn tortilla. And the chile relleno was outstanding with a thin, crisp crust and just oozing mild white cheese.

Since Chuck ate my rice and beans, this allowed me to order a side of guacamole. Seemingly lacking in lime juice and cilantro, this was the only minor disappointment of the lunch.

For what seems to be authentic New Mexican food at very reasonable prices (our lunch, with two ice teas, only cost $20.57 before the tip), Mary & Tito’s Café can’t be beat and earns a 4.5 Addie rating.

Before paying our bill, we looked at several family photographs by the register. "Are you Mary?" Chuck asked.

"Yes, I am. I've been here 50 years . . .," Mary began, as she reached out to shake his hand.

"Fifty years?" Chuck interrupted.

"Yes, 5-0 years. My husband was a fireman when he had this idea about opening a restaurant. My head cook has been here for 27 years, and his assistant has been here for 26 years," Mary proudly responded.

"I really enjoyed the chile relleno," I said, "especially with the green chile."

"Oh, you are brave. The green is hotter than the red. When I have the green chile on the chile relleno, I start sneezing immediately," Mary (left) added with a laugh. (That's a framed sketch of Tito over Mary's right shoulder.)

Appearing younger than her years, it was clear that Mary enjoyed people and enjoyed preparing some of the finest New Mexican food in the state.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In the Dog House

Regular readers of this blog will think that when I’m not eating in a restaurant I am sitting at home watching people eating in restaurants on TV. The other day I saw “Hot Dog Paradise” on the Travel Channel for the gazillionth time. If you haven’t seen it, they visit such hot dog emporiums as Nathan’s on Coney Island, Rutt’s Hut in Clifton, NJ (known for the deep fried hot dog), Super Dawg in Chicago, and Pink’s in Los Angeles. Somehow they missed Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, CT—but Guy Fieri didn’t.

This had our mouths watering for a Chicago-style hot dog. If you are not familiar with the Chicago dog, you start with a natural casing Vienna Beef dog on a steamed poppy seed roll. It is then topped with mustard, onions, neon green relish, a pickle spear, tomato, and ultra hot sport peppers and sprinkled with celery salt. And NEVER, NEVER, NEVER use catsup!!! This is the royalty of hot dogs.

A trip to the computer told us that the only place in Albuquerque that sold a Chicago dog had closed. How could this be? What would we do? Head to the Dog House for a New Mexican dog, that’s what.

“The Dog House has been a staple in the downtown area since the 1960’s. A true city landmark with its animated neon sign.... Their hot dogs are spit down the middle and grilled. The favorites at The Dog House are the foot-long chile cheese dog with onions,the double chile cheeseburger, and the frito pie.” (From the Eat Albuquerque web site.)

A chile dog at the Dog House is not your ground beef chili type dog. These are topped with New Mexico red chile – meat free and bean free.

You can elect to eat in your car (they have a real car hop) or in the very small indoor dining area (seating for twenty in booths and another eight at the counter). But I had read that those eating in their cars are likely to get the red chile on their clothes and the car’s upholstery, so inside it was. We snagged the last booth and scanned the short menu. Choices were the foot-long dog, a half dog, a – as they spelled it – ham burger (single or double), chicken sandwich, nachos, frito pie, fries, tater tots, and shakes.

We each chose the foot-long with onions and an order of fries. While Chuck had the red chile put on his dog, having read that the chile was “incendiary,” I had mine on the side. The rather thin dogs were split and cooked on a grill; they were mildly spiced and served on a bun that contained virtually the entire dog. This is not always the case with foot-longs, and there is nothing worse than a too short bun. The red chile was interesting. I wouldn’t say "incendiary" but certainly spicy. And it was thick with the consistency of catsup.

When I see coated fries, I know that they came from a bag, but these were served hot, crisp, grease-free without any hint of old oil. And the red chile made a perfect catsup substitute.

I still crave a Chicago dog. Will I find one at our next stop down the road?

I don't know, but the Dog House was a delicious alternative and earns a 4.0 Addie score.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Down to Earth at the Flying Star

A few days ago, while taking his walking tour of the Nob Hill section of Albuquerque, Chuck ventured forth into the Flying Star Café and Bakery and left with an apple crumb pie and two enormous, magnificent, buttery, and lemony sugar cookies. After sampling the baked goods, a visit for lunch was mandatory.

“Out here in the West, we (owners Jean and Mark Bernstein) kept dreaming of opening a restaurant which served really delicious foods. Absolutely no tablecloths, no reservations and no waiters, a place where anyone could come in at anytime during the day or night and get just what they want to eat - breakfast, a sandwich, dessert or just a great cup of coffee. We wanted magazines, newspapers and movable seating for groups or single people. So, in November of 1987, we opened our first location on old Route 66 in Albuquerque's Nob Hill District” (From the café’s web site).

The original Flying Star Café and Bakery has grown to nine locations and expanded the menu from mostly sandwiches, soups and salads to include pastas, rice dishes, a wide variety of blue plates and regional specialties.

In 2008, Alibi (the local entertainment newspaper) honored the Flying Star Café with first place “Best of Burque” Awards for the best cup of coffee, best toast, best desserts, best casual dining, best healthy breakfast, and best veggie burger.

It was difficult choosing from the fairly long menu. Hot sandwiches included the tuna on homemade grilled rye bread with melted Swiss cheese; the Californian--marinated, grilled crimini mushrooms, Swiss cheese, avocado, tomatoes, caramelized onions and ranch dressing on grilled sourdough; the turkey jack with green chile, tomatoes and jack cheese on grilled sourdough; or the grilled chicken breast smothered with melted jack cheese, tomatoes and Cajun dressing. Cold sandwiches were the egg salad, the chicken salad, the turkey Swiss, and the BLT. And the burger menu included a classic burger along with the New Mexico burger with chopped green chile and melted cheddar cheese; the ABC patty melt on grilled rye; the blue cheese burger with bacon and Swiss cheese; and a veggie burger. The café’s dinners, served all day, had New Mexican, Asian, and pasta dishes along with such diner classics as chicken pot pie, fish and chips, and mac and cheese.

It came as no surprise that Chuck chose the chicken pot pie, and a wise choice it was. This proved to be a large bowl full of tender chicken pieces along with carrots, potatoes, pearl onions, celery, broccoli, and Italian green beans. The savory gravy was peppery with just an undertone of sage. I was surprised that the strong flavor of the broccoli did not predominate. The top crust, which was more like a removable lid, was rich and flakey. He included an order of home fries which proved to be unnecessary and about eighty percent of the fries came home with us and were eaten with the next day’s lunch.

Since the A (for avocado) B(for apple smoked bacon) C(for melted jack cheese) patty melt is one of the café’s specialties, this was my choice and was less successful than Chuck’s lunch. First, I ordered the burger cooked medium and it came medium well and rather dry. Second, when I see a patty that is uniformly round and thick I suspect it has been formed in a burger press which compacts the meat. Third, the lettuce, tomato, and red onion garnish was barely enough for one half of the sandwich. And fourth, I ordered the homemade BBQ potato chips and got fries. (Although these were first-rate, hand-cut and crisp fries.)

I give the café more praise for its philosophy than its execution and would rate Chuck’s pot pie with 4.5 Addies and my burger with 3.0 Addies.

As we left the Flying Star, we headed out to the Central Avenue scene. Right across the street was Bumble Bee's Baja Grill, featuring a California-Mex menu, which some describe as an introductory menu to the spicier New Mexican food.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Instead of a Turkey Sandwich

We may be slowed down a bit, but our minds are still on food. We thought you might be interested in one of our favorite alternatives to the post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.

This is Kate's adaptation of a recipe that appeared in Cooking Light magazine. It can be made more or less spicey by adjusting the amount of jalapeño, chipotle, and/or chili powder. As with any soup, it's best when made a day ahead.

Southwest Turkey Soup

1 T butter
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 chopped jalapeño pepper
1-1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 cups chopped cooked turkey
3 cans chicken broth
1 cup whole kernel corn
2 19-oz. cans cannellini beans
1 4.5-oz. can chopped green chiles
1 T chili powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, mashed with a fork

Melt butter in large pot. Add celery, jalapeño, onion, green/red pepper, and garlic. Sautee vegetables for 5 minutes.

Add salt, chipotle, chili powder, and black pepper and sautee for another 5 minutes.

Add chicken broth, corn, and cannellini beans and let simmer for about 15 minutes.

Add turkey and chopped green chiles and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

Optional: One or two cans of diced tomatoes can be added. For extra spice, use the diced tomatoes with jalapeño peppers.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Some "Bests" in Nob Hill

Continuing my solo walk along Central Avenue in the Nob Hill section of Albuquerque, I came upon some interesting eateries.

I thought the exteriors were interesting, but I later learned just how interesting the interiors were.

As I passed this establishment, the name caught my attention, especially since this Irish pub was located in a section of the city just a few blocks east of the campus of the University of New Mexico. Later, I learned that it had earned the designation as having the "best bar food in Albuquerque."

In addition, “In Plain Sight” filmed a whole day at Two Fools Tavern for an episode this season.

"In 1939, Ralph Jones commissioned the construction of a Ford dealership and service station. Designed in the Streamline Modern style, this building was considered one of the most modern facilities in the west at the time." So reads the history of the service station that was one of the first that westbound travelers along Route 66 encountered as they arrived in Albuquerque.

After the Jones Motor Company moved to a new location in 1957, the building housed many enterprises including a moped shop, a thrift store, a body shop, and an army surplus store. Jones Motor Company was officially designated as a historic building in 1993.

When Kellys Brewery purchased the historic building in 1999, the owners' emphasis on restoration and renovation enabled the original character of the Jones Motor Company building to shine through.

Two of the original gas pumps still occupy their familiar spots in what is now the outdoor dining area of Kellys Brew Pub.

My third "discovery" was the Flying Star Café. Owned by Jean and Mark Bernstein, both of whom grew up near New York City, the Cafe opened in 1987 with the objective of coming as close as possible to "the old style automat/cafeterias where you could walk in and eat a full meal or just get a little 'nosh'--anything from a dish of rice pudding to a cream filled cupcake."

Twenty-two years and nine locations later, the colorful, hip eateries appeal to diners of all ages and walks of life. The owners’ mission is to support a sustainable food chain, and their menu features locally-grown products. They use organic food products wherever possible and veg fed, drug-free beef and chicken.

I grabbed this apple crisp pie in their bakery display case with little hesitation. I later learned that among their catalog of "bests" over the years was "Best Desserts."

This amazing pie must have weighed 5-6 pounds--the apples still firm with just a hint of tartness and just enough cinnamon to complement the tartness of the apples without becoming the dominant flavor.

One blogger has rated the Flying Star's pies as one of the four best in the Southwest. Since one of the other three are the pies from Rock Springs Cafe just north of Phoenix--and our favorite place for pies--we believe the award is well-deserved.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Historic Nob Hill

With the re-routing of Route 66 in 1937, travelers now headed through the Highland and Nob Hill neighborhoods before heading to downtown Albuquerque.

By the early 1940s, Nob Hill had grown into Albuquerque’s first suburb, and by the end of the decade, the Nob Hill Business Center had become the first modern shopping center west of the Mississippi.

With the building of I-40, much of the traffic that had slowly made its way along Central Avenue and past its unique shops and motels now raced through downtown.

One of these unique shops is hey jhonny. The store received this name as a tribute to the father of co-owner Tom Ford. Throughout his life as a New York policeman, fireman and truck driver, “Hey Jhonny” was his greeting to everyone.

The store carries unusual items from around the globe, but I could not find any explanation for the spelling of "jhonny."

A couple of blocks to the west is Masks y Mas. This shop is a monument to the principle of thinking "outside the box." The colorful, funky art pieces from other cultures help visitors to the store break out of the cultural creativity box.

Masks y mas is doing its part to fuel the creative class in Albuquerque with the rich, mostly Hispanic objects of art that surround you when you step into the store.

Along with Hispanic and African art are several Day of the Dead offerings.

Just around the corner is this new construction. These condominiums in the Nob Hill section are within a few blocks of the University of New Mexico.

They are also half a block from the Astro-Zombies Comics shop. The mural on the side of the building seemed to feature most of the older super heroes I could recognize.

Once beyond these figures, I was completely lost. Comic books about Dark Avenger, Dark Tower, and Dark Wolverine were completely unknown to me. I wondered if the store had any comic books featuring Scrooge McDuck, the Beagle Boys, and Gyro Gearloose, but I didn't ask.

Kate had not joined me on this exploratory visit to Nob Hill. I found a few restaurants before heading home that might warrant a return trip.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Slight Delay

We had hoped that today's meeting with the surgeon would be the final meeting before resuming our travels.

However, a CT scan revealed some fluid in one lung. It was enough of a concern to Dr.Levy that he made an appointment for Kate to have the fluid drained this afternoon.

Following that work, Kate had a tube inserted, and we learned how to operate the equipment to collect and measure the fluid that drains.

We have an appointment for next Monday, so our departure from Albuquerque will be delayed a bit.

On the good news front, Kate has been doing more walking, has been off oxygen for almost the whole day, and has her appetite back.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Searching for Umami

Has anyone else been hooked on this season’s "The Next Iron Chef"? While I never watch the Iron Chef program – neither the Japanese nor the American versions – for some reason I obsessed on the competition version. On one episode, the competitors were cooking in Japan and had to create foods that demonstrated the concept of umami (or deliciousness), which has been added to the other four tastes - sweet, salty, sour, and bitter - recognized by the mouth. The fermented soy and fish sauces are considered to possess umami.

A casual remark by the Infectious Diseases physician in a conversation during our last meeting preceding discharge from the hospital led us to the Asian Noodle Bar in downtown Albuquerque (never miss an opportunity for a suggestion on local restaurants). And if our two recent lunches didn’t illustrate umami, then umami doesn’t exist.

We passed two tables in an outdoor entryway to the restaurant. In warmer weather, I'm sure this would be a seating location worth considering.

As the name suggests the menu centers on noodle dishes – udon noodles, rice noodles, egg noodles, vermicelli noodles, and soba noodles. Many of the dishes can be ordered with vegetables, tofu, pork, chicken, beef, or shrimp. And the selections represent Viet Nam, Japan, and Thailand. Along with the noodles, the menu lists a few soups and salads, a number of rice dishes, and ten appetizers – each of which sounded wonderful.

We chose to “graze” and ordered from the appetizer list. First was an order of Japanese gyoza (Japanese dumplings) which were deep fried and filled with a ground pork mixture and served with ponzu sauce.

The second was the tempura shrimp, five good sized shrimp which were fried just to the point of being cooked but no further, coated with a thin and crisp batter, and served with tempura sauce.

Third were the yakitori chicken, onion, and bell pepper skewers (lower left in photo on the left) which were served with teriyaki sauce.

Each of the three sauces had soy sauce as an integral component, but each was formulated to enhance the accompanying dish. The ponzu sauce was stronger with a more defined Asian flavor which held its own with the savory gyoza. The tempura sauce was much lighter and delicate, enhancing rather than overwhelming the sweet shrimp. And the teriyaki sauce was the most intense – and most sweet – and was perfect with the tender pieces of chicken.

Dessert doesn’t seem to be a priority at the Asian Noodle Bar, but the menu did list ice cream. Our first choice, the plum wine mochi ice cream, was not available so we chose the green tea flavor. This was our first experience with mochi ice cream which is a Japanese specialty. A ping pong ball sized serving of ice cream is covered with a sixteenth-of-an-inch thick, slightly chewy coating that is made from sticky rice. Very interesting. And very good. We feared that the ice cream would have that grassy taste so common in green teas, but in this case it was quite subdued.

A return trip was in order, and so was another order of the crisp and savory gyoza (lower dish in the photo below). Our second appetizer were the fresh spring rolls – rice paper wrappers stuffed with fresh vegetables, vermicelli noodles, and a generous amount of cilantro and accompanied by a very light sweet chili sauce. I thought that the sauce needed more impact, so I enhanced it with some of the soy sauce and chili sauce on our table. Much better.

We ventured off the appetizer list and ordered one of the specials, the spicy noodle salad. This consisted of thin noodles tossed with bok choy, Chinese cabbage, tender barbecued pork slices, and perfectly cooked shrimp, and topped with chopped peanuts. The dressing was sesame and soy based with just a hint of sweet and a hint of spice. Everything in balance.

We pondered an order of the mochi ice cream, but decided that what we really wanted for dessert was another order of the gyoza. This was the perfect ending to a perfect lunch.

Asian Noodle Bar is decorated in the spare minimalist style so typical of so many newer Asian restaurants. Just to the left of the door is a small sushi bar and running the length of the room is a black counter with backed stools. And there is plenty of seating at tables – mostly for two.

This is becoming one of our favorite Albuquerque restaurants, and Chuck thinks it may be his favorite.

Food this good deserves a 5.0 Addie score.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

To Quote Martha Stewart…

“It’s a good thing.” My appetite is coming back.

True to our word, we returned to Sophia’s Place for breakfast this weekend – but our friend Josie wasn’t there. Since we had an important appointment at 10:00 a.m. (the Iowa vs. Minnesota football game was on), we pulled into the parking lot fifteen minutes before the 9:00 a.m. opening. A few minutes later, another car pulled in. And then another. And another. Soon we decided that we had better get in line. By the time 9:00 rolled around, there were ten of us in line – for a restaurant that seats about twenty. By 9:08, with those of us seated and those in line to order, the place was full.

A little history here. Sophia's Place is the creation of owner and Chef Dennis Apodaca and is named after Dennis' daughter Sophia. Mr. Apodaca has cooked in many restaurants in San Francisco and Santa Fe and was the Sous Chef at the upscale Santacafé in Santa Fe, NM. He has worked for such well-known chefs as Mark Miller of the Coyote Café in Santa Fe and for Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA.

I was still intrigued by the breakfast tacos, but we came for Chef Apodaca’s famous pancakes. Our choices were the blue corn pancakes and the mixed berry pancakes. Chuck ordered the former (the full stack), I the latter (the half stack). And, since I still regretted that half slice of bacon I gave him the other morning, we each ordered a side of the wonderful bacon.

My short stack was two six-inch diameter cakes that were no more than a quarter-inch thick. I give the chef credit for realizing that a good pancake doesn’t have to cover the entire surface of the plate and be a half inch thick. Nothing is worse than biting into raw pancake batter. With one caveat, these were exemplary pancakes. The cakes were light and flavorful without that sharp taste that too much baking powder imparts.

The caveat? When you advertise mixed berry pancakes and a short stack (not including the bacon) costs $6.00, I would like more berries than the few small nuggets I could discern. And these were topped with the same blackberries and strawberries (frozen and thawed) that topped my french toast the other morning.

But I do have to give the kitchen props for the homemade piñon butter that topped each of our stacks. I am not talking about grinding some pine nuts into commercial butter. I am talking about actually making the butter base. This was a good thing.

Chuck’s full stack was four cakes about the size of mine and had a mild but noticeable corn flavor. These were wonderful when drizzled with the real maple syrup and accompanied with the salty and lightly smoky bacon. So good that I am on a mission to find blue corn flour so that we can try this at home.

You will be glad to know that we made it home in time for kickoff and that Iowa defeated the dreaded Golden Gophers to retain custody of the Floyd of Rosedale Trophy (a seventy pound bronze pig trophy). It’s a Midwest thing.

I really liked both of our meals at Sophia’s Place, but there were some flaws; so I can’t award anything higher than 4.0 Addies.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thanks to Guy and Gil…

we found Sophia’s Place.

Guy, of course, is Guy Fieri of "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" fame. Gil is Gil Garduno who writes the "Gil’s Thrilling (and Filling) Blog" which centers on Albuquerque and New Mexico restaurants. If every city had a Gil, our search for local restaurants would be so much easier.

If you were to drive past Sophia’s Place, you would never guess it was a restaurant.

To be kind, its exterior is nondescript, and the lack of any snappy information on the exterior sign leads one to think that this is a place that has closed. But inside the doors lies a gem of a small (maybe twenty seats inside and another twenty on the patio behind the stucco wall) café with a chef/owner who knows his food.

We walked in at 10:00 a.m. looking for breakfast and were immediately greeting by Josie who was staffing the order counter that morning. With her irrepressible personality, she served as the perfect hostess. Josie soon began telling us that the restaurant had been featured on Guy Fieri’s program and proudly pointed to the framed and autographed photo of Guy which had been signed with the message “Small place, big flavor.”

Now San Pasqual is considered to be the patron saint of cooks, but to me it should be Guy Fieri. [Doesn’t this diner (left) look like he is meditating?] In addition to the Guy Fieri poster, the room is decorated with colorful – if not exactly soothing – unframed artwork.

The menu is short – breakfast and lunch items only – but combines deli, New Mexican, and standard diner foods. Our breakfast choices included eggs benedict, french toast, an omelet, a breakfast burrito, breakfast tacos, and huevos rancheros. I was intrigued by the breakfast tacos, but with rice and beans it sounded like too much food for someone whose appetite hasn’t entirely returned. So I chose the french toast with a side of bacon instead.

This may have been some of the best restaurant french toast ever. Made from a dense and chewy bread brought in daily from the Sage Bakehouse in Santa Fe (and also used for all of the sandwiches), it didn’t disintegrate from either the egg dip or the syrup. And it was topped with a generous amount of huge blackberries and strawberries. Alas, the latter were not fresh and seemed to have been frozen and thawed.

The bacon was thick-sliced and cooked to just the right level of crispness. No longer flabby, but not burned. I came to regret the half slice I shared with Chuck.

His selection was the breakfast burrito with ground beef, eggs, green peppers, and potatoes and smothered in green chile. When it arrived, it was presented in a basket and wrapped in foil. Where was the "smothered in green chile?" Josie came to the rescue and the burrito quickly went back to the kitchen for representation with chile and a crème fraiche garnish.

After cutting into the burrito, Chuck discovered that instead of ground beef he had been given the sliced sirloin steak filling. This should have been a problem. It wasn’t. The thinly sliced steak was amazingly tender and flavorful, and even Mr. Ground Beef (aka Chuck) had to admit that this was delicious. The green chile was perfect. In fact it was one of the best green chiles we have tasted. With enough heat to be interesting, it wasn’t too combustible – especially at 10:00 in the morning.

Gil had raved about Sophia’s pancakes – especially the blue corn. Alas, these are available only on Saturday and Sunday. So as we left, we assured Josie that we would return on the weekend. Tomorrow, the results of that visit and our Addie rating.