Saturday, February 22, 2014

As We Were Headed Out…

of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, Chuck stops to talk with a volunteer about a wide range of topics including the shortage of water in the Western states. As they are talking, I wander into one of the exhibit rooms where I begin to talk with another volunteer on matters of weightier (pun intended) import—where to eat in Albuquerque.

And the volunteer and I agreed that the carne adovada served at Garcia’s Kitchen was the best around and that Garcia’s had a very good red chile. By the time we were finished talking, any plans we might have had for lunch were long forgotten. I craved Garcia’s carne adovada.
So we headed down to Central Avenue to one of Garcia’s seven locations. We pull into the parking lot and just as Chuck is getting ready to turn off the truck, a face appears in the passenger side window. To quote Rosie Pierri, “Oh, this isn’t good.” (Who is Rosie Pierri? She is the lesbian sister of Kathy Wakile [married to that dufuss Richie] on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Yes, I am obsessed.)
The man in the window proved to be a Garcia’s employee and came out to tell us that this location was closed for a few days for renovations. But he kindly provided us with the address of the nearest location.

“In 1974 Andy Garcia was definitely a small-time operator, a one-man gang selling Mexican food and novelties at street fairs and carnivals. Three decades later, his Web site on the Internet proclaims Garcia's Tents and Events in Albuquerque as ‘the largest special event rental company in the Southwest.’ Along the way Andy opened Garcia's Kitchen at Fourth Street and Mountain Road, and its popularity led to other restaurants by the same name around town—one of which gained some measure of fame when El Presidente Clinton ate there on a visit to the Duke City” (garciaskitchen.com).

“Garcia’s is a restaurant with a personality, albeit in the form of a caricature of Andy Garcia, the restaurant’s owner.
That caricature depicts a sombrero wearing Andy with a cherubic smile holding a plateful of tacos on one hand and a towel on the other. It is prevalent throughout his restaurants; you can find it on colorful paintings, the menus and even on napkins.
Every one of the seven restaurants is brightly and festively decorated with an ambiance tailored to the specific neighborhood it is serving” (nmgastronome.com).
Garcia’s is not as well known nor is it as highly regarded as Mary and Tito’s, Cecelia’s Café, Sadies, El Pinto, and Sophia’s Place. Cecelia’s and Sophia’s have been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and Mary and Tito’s is a James Beard Foundation honoree. But the first New Mexico meal I ate many (many) years ago was a breakfast at Garcia’s, and I ordered a side of the carne adovada to go with my eggs. An experience described by Michael Stern at roadfood.com as “Glorious carne adovada: hunks of pork saturated with sunny chile flavor and bathed in red puree—so much puree that the yolks of two fried eggs on the plate barely poked up through the chile.”
"Carne Adovada is a variation (Ed Note: of the Mexican adobada)” popular in New Mexican cuisine. The New Mexican version is usually chopped, cubed pork cooked in a red chile sauce with a bit of garlic, and sometimes cumin and other spices. Usually this is served as a soup-like dish. Carne Adovada may also be served wrapped in a burrito, or occasionally found in tacos or enchiladas” (wikipedia.org).
The carne adovada was just as good as I remembered. The slow cooking process makes the meat fork tender and the flavorful red chile in which the meat is cooked permeates each bite. Some places serve the pork shredded, but I far prefer it cubed.
My platter included my choice of two—beans, rice, papas, or French fries—and I chose the beans and papas which are like a Mexican home-fry potato and were lightly dusted with red chile.

Chuck selected the blue corn stacked cheese enchilada plate with green chile. While I understand that you can find stacked enchiladas in some areas of Texas, they are much easier to find in New Mexico.
These are flat tortillas spread with a filling—in this case cheese—topped with another tortilla, more filling, and another tortilla. Then a goodly amount of green chile is spooned over the tortilla tower. When he placed his order, our server asked “With rice and beans?” to which he responded yes.

Then he saw my plate. “What are those?” he asked as he snatched a papas from the plate. And then he caught our server’s attention and ordered some as a side.

Our beans and rice were good. But, since I have had my fill of beans and rice, I may not be the best judge.

We began our meal sharing a basket of thick but crisp tortilla chips with a small dish of very good and very spicy cilantro-free salsa.
We ended the meal by sharing a basket of four sopapillas that, while good, were a notch below those we ate a few days ago at Cecelia’s.
Garcia’s may not be considered the best New Mexican restaurant in Albuquerque, but I’ll still take their carne adovada over any others and am giving this restaurant a 4.0 Addie rating.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.

3 comments:

eyad ammar said...


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eyad ammar said...


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شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
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eyad ammar said...


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