Thursday, February 20, 2014

Be Honest

You were hoping that this trip to Albuquerque would spare you yet another blog about Asian Noodle Bar and their amazing Asian Shrimp appetizer. Sorry! For us, no trip to the Duke City would be complete without at least one visit for one of our favorite shrimp dishes anywhere.

"In its January, 2008 edition, Bon Appetit magazine, a gastronomic bible with worldwide acclaim, fêted five Tokyo-style noodle bars in America. Among those singled out was a trendy downtown noodle bar founded only a year previously. It’s not many Duke City restaurants that make a splash on the world’s culinary scene, much less a restaurant which celebrated its one-year anniversary within weeks after the magazine was published. The Asian Noodle Bar, in the heart of Route 66, did just that and if the volume of traffic to this wildly popular eatery is any indication, the sky’s the limit.”
“…Specializing in healthy, affordable and fresh-cooked noodle and rice dishes, the Asian Noodle Bar has developed a strong following among downtown diners. Not surprisingly, Japanese tourists visiting the downtown area also take comfort in its familiarity. The Asian Noodle Bar is the brainchild of Mimy Singvilay, a…whirling dervish and self-taught chef operating her first restaurant. Mimy’s family moved to Albuquerque from Laos when she was but three years old. Mimy was interviewed during a…segment of Channel 4′s Good Day New Mexico where a couple of things came across very clearly–she is very passionate about her restaurant and her menu absolutely rocks” (nmgastronome.com).

When revisiting restaurants, I feel almost a compulsion to order new and different menu items. (Chuck does not share this obligation.) But even I have developed a list of “must have’s” at Asian Noodle Bar and will order these again and again.

First, of course, are the Asian Shrimp—lightly battered and fried shrimp drizzled with sweet Chinese chili sauce, topped with almond slices, and sitting on a bed of iceberg lettuce and crispy rice noodles.
I know that most foodies consider iceberg to be lacking in flavor, but I think that there is an underlying bitterness that balances out the sweet chile sauce.
But even better at offsetting that sweetness is an order of gyoza or Japanese deep fried dumplings that are served with a small dish of ponzu sauce (a salty soy based sauce).
And continuing my new found fascination with Asian noodle dishes (The place is called Asian Noodle Bar, after all.), we finished by sharing a dish of Spicy Sesame Noodles made with udon noodles, carrots, onions, broccoli, and mushrooms (many many mushrooms) in spicy sesame sauce.
In a recent update to an earlier blog about Asian Noodle Bar, Gil Garduno at nmgastronome.com wrote: “…(H)appiness is something a bowl of Spicy Sesame will evoke…. The menu exaggerates just a bit with the label ‘spicy’ at least for most self-respecting New Mexicans who can handle fiery foods easily. It’s a pleasant piquancy that enlivens every bite, along with other explosions of flavor (especially smokiness) in this wonderful dish…and if ever there was a noodle ideal for slurping it would be the soft, creamy, buff-colored Japanese wheat flour noodles. They have the thickness of fat earthworms and a slippery, toothsome texture.”

Since our initial visit back in November 2009, this was, and remains to this day, a 5.0 Addie restaurant.

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It gets 5 Stars on yelp.com, 4.5 Stars on tripadvisor.com, and 95% “Likes” at urbanspoon.com. Gil Garduno at nmgastromne.com says “The Laguna Burger is simply one of the very best green chile cheeseburgers in New Mexico…” We visited the home of the Laguna Burger in February of 2013 and left believing that it was one of the five best we had eaten. But will it retain its 5.0 Addie status?
You’ll find the Laguna Burger at “(t)he 66 Pit Stop…part gas station, part convenience store, part café, and part souvenir stand. As you enter, the cash register is just ahead surrounded by displays of Native American jewelry. To the left are shelves containing enough snack food items to sate even the most severe case of the munchies. To the right are shelves containing all the Route 66 knickknacks your heart might desire” (thewandererschuckandkate.blogspot.com).
On this visit, we departed only slightly from our previous order and that deviation was the omission of cheese. Chuck, keeping his purist creds intact, ordered his burger with onion only and made it a combo with fries, which we shared.
I, instead, ordered my burger with green chile, pickles, and onions and added a healthy dollop of mayo from the dispenser on our table.
Each burger was a half-pound in weight and had that great crusty char that we look for. The buns were toasted. And my green chiles carried enough heat to make me happy.

But Chuck thought that his burger wasn’t as good as he remembered. In particular, he thought that it was very dry. I didn’t have the same response but remember that I added some moisture-carrying condiments to mine. Could the absence of cheese from one year to the next make that much difference.

As a result of this 3.0 Addie visit, the Laguna Burger has dropped out of the Top Five which for me now include Hodad’s in Ocean Beach, CA; the Squeeze Inn in Sacramento, CA; Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe, NM; 5 Star Burger in Albuquerque, NM; and Classics Burgers & Moore in Kerrville, TX. Chuck may have a different list, but I am the one writing this blog.

To review the role of Adler 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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