The Albuquerque Museum is a welcome jewel in the Duke City crown. Where else in town can you find a suit of ancient armor with an arrow hole, a well-thought-out permanent collection, a traveling Egyptian exhibit and some great pasta sauce?
You won't find the pasta sauce hanging on a wall, but you will find it in the City Treats Cafe just inside the museum entrance near the gift shop. This small, from-scratch restaurant (the only things they don't make there are the ranch dressing and the sandwich bread) can offer a pleasant respite from your Old Town and museum hopping activities.
The menu is small, consisting mostly of sandwiches and salads along with some soup and entree-of-the-day options. Vegetarians won't find much to order. There are a couple of cheesey sandwiches and a salad that fit the bill, but little else.
My pasta du jour consisted of penne with sun dried tomatoes, shrimp, shaved romano, fresh spinach and basil in a white wine cream sauce with a chunk of sage foccacia-style bread. The shrimp was perfectly cooked and not chewy while the sauce stole the show by managing to be both rich and light and the same time.
My vegetarian dining buddy tried the Meatless Meaty sandwich - which is a sort of grilled cheese on overdrive with mushrooms and pesto cream cheese with a side salad.
If you like your grilled cheese overstuffed, this would be a good fit for you. She wasn't so fond of it, but chalked it up to personal taste. The house made honey dijon dressing hit all the right notes without skimping on the spicy mustard flavors.
We topped the meal with their tiramisu. Thankfully, it wasn't overloaded with sweetness. The tastes of espresso and brandy had me happily digging out the lady fingers from the mascarpone. Our whole bill came out to about $21.
There is free Wi-Fi at the cafe, making it an option for a small lunch meeting. I'd love to see them offer a daily vegetarian entree so I could take my family for a visit, but I'll at least be going back to sample another pasta offering. It was a pleasant surprise to find a cream sauce done right after slogging through so many thick and flavorless options around town.
City Treats Cafe
2000 Mountain Rd NW
In the Albuquerque Museum