Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Colors of Old Town

After breakfast (see yesterday's entry) we (Kate, Dora, and I) took a walk through a portion of Old Town Albuquerque.

Old Town has been the focal point of community life since it was founded in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez. Centered around the plaza, Albuquerque's Old Town encompasses about ten blocks of historic adobe buildings.

Old Town today looks much like it did when it was built centuries ago. Its Pueblo-Spanish style architecture with flat-roofed buildings and soft contours of adobe mirror the Southwestern landscape.

The city's settlers had built their homes, shops and government offices, many of which have since been converted into the restaurants, art galleries and shops that comprise Old Town today.

Instead of photographing these buildings, I focused on the details of the shops as we walked the paths among the shops.

Of particular interest was the attention the merchants paid to the doors of their shops.

In some cases, the colorful touches took the form of splashes of color;

in other instances, there were dashes of color.

Sometimes the elaborate decorative ironwork was the center of our attention;

other times a convenient bench offered a welcome base from which to soak in the colors of the street scenes.

In addition to the palette of paints, there were contributions from Mother Nature's colorful flowers, plants, and vegetables (such as below).

It was a day for slow walks and short naps. Even this gentleman caught a few winks on his trike.

Benches around the Plaza provided the base for people-watching and, in one instance, a conversation with a gentleman from Washington, DC, that covered conversations from the Eagles-Redskins rivalry to the Jesse Helms-Harvey Gantt 1996 senatorial campaign in North Carolina--yes, really.

After our tour of Old Town, we agreed that we’d rather spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the Pueblo Cultural Center’s open air patio to be followed by a quick supper at the Harvest CafĂ©.

Dora had tasted a bit of my fry bread at breakfast and wanted something that made use of the bread. The Tewa Taco fit the bill. (The Tewa [or Tano] are a linguistic group of Pueblo American Indians who speak the Tewa language and share the Pueblo culture. Their homelands are on or near the Rio Grande in New Mexico north of Santa Fe [].). Like my fry bread at breakfast, this was about the size of a medium pizza and was topped with ground beef, beans, cheese, lettuce, and tomato.
And she had her choice of red or green chile and, in the spirit of New Mexico, chose to go “Christmas.” This was large enough for Dora to eat as her supper, me to sample, and Dora to take some back to her motel for a late night snack.

I started with a cup of their Green Chile Stew made with New Mexican green chile, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and ground beef. This chunky stew had good heat and flavor, but I would have preferred that it had been made with the more typical pork and not the ground beef.

To accompany the stew, I ordered the Roasted Corn and Wild Rice Fritters which came with chipotle aioli and a cilantro and jalapeno pesto. While the photo makes them look as if they were burned, the dark color comes from the wild rice. These resembled hush puppies although they were somewhat denser.
And the cilantro and jalapeno pesto was fiery hot and the ultimate compliment.

The minute that Chuck learned that the evening’s special was the ten-ounce prime rib, his choice was made. Unfortunately, the first plate that came to the table was much less than satisfactory. Not only were the potatoes ice cold, the meat had been cooked well past the medium rare requested. Shown here is the replacement dinner that, to my mind, still could have been rarer, but was a definite improvement.

And most importantly, it was a 5.0 Addie visit with Dora.

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