Well, I have been here a little over a year now. And thanks to the many great comments and insight that I received here on this forum, my transition to Albuquerque has been fairly smooth and fun. As a person who hopes to be a regular contributer to this forum, I am please to present my short list of things for people new to the area to experience. These are things that I have done over the past year that have made a profound impact on me. Many of these things are right here in ABQ, though a couple are outside the city limits, so hopefully the moderators will forgive that.
DISCLAIMER: I should point out that these are the things that were interesting to ME. That isn't to say that there arent better restuarants, or cooler places or whatever. This is just a little list of things for people who are new to the city might want to consider in there comings and goings.
Ok here we go:
1. Trombino's Italian Bistro - I was pleasantly surprised to find a south philly style italian restaurant here in ABQ. The food here is fab, imop.
2. Azuma and/or Shogun - Two really solid sushi places, another
pleasant surprise for the desert. Depending on your location, Azuma is further NE than Shogun.
3. Church St. Restaurant - This hole in the wall down in Old Town
has a wonderful little outdoor patio area. And, imop, this is some of the best New Mexican food in the city.
4. Little Anita's - This is arguable, but imop, this is the best
green chile sauce in the city. I have yet to be proven different. The New Mexican food is really good overall. Maybe not the most "authentic", but good.
5. Jinja - I love this place, dark, cozy and really excellent food.
A great place if your looking for a film-noir, pan-asian circa 1935 singapore groove to go with your sweet and sour chicken... a great place if your in the NE.
6. Kelly's - Best burgers in town... nuf said. Good micro brews too.
7. Zinc - Modern and elegant bistro food. Nice wine bar downstairs if your into that. Great selection.
8. Chama River - A micro brewery off of 25 N that is a sister
restaurant to a very good steak house in Santa Fe.... Same fillet, half the price. Great beers and the fish and chips is good also.
9. El Pinto - Ok everyone says "take your visiting aunt and uncle
to El Pinto... it's the tourists place to go." They have a really charming building and outdoor patio to sit in. You might hear some mixed reviews about the food there but I gotta tell you, I've never had a bad meal. I dont know if they changed chefs or what, but this is a fun place to go. The bar is very cool, they have a free salsa and chips bar while you wait, and the food isnt bad at all... give it a try, even if you dont have relatives visiting.
10. Flying Star - Hoorah for the independant coffee house!!! Flying
star has excellent food in a modern and ecclectic setting. Most of the food is either organic or at least natural. The coffee is great and the bakery goods our out of control! There are several locations all over town, but my personal fave is the one on Rio Grande Blvd., near the bosque. Great outdoor seating and good people watching on the weekends.
11. The Frontier - This is an albuquerque institution. Go there for
a freaky diner style meal any time. You will never be disappointed in the people watching.
I have several other restaurants that I dig, but this is a good starting point for newcomers.
Other Points of interest:
1. Cibola National Park - Go up to the tram and go for a hike along
the paths in the foothills that constitute the western edge of the Cibola National Park. A quick hiking fix without having to get all geared up and travel far. Nice views of the city. While your in the general area of the mountains, drive around to the back side and drive the serpentine up to the peak.
2. Nat'l Atomic Museum - C'mon.... they have BOMBS! Whats not to like?
3. Old Town Ghost Tours - now THIS is the way to see old town.
Tours take you through the allyways and haunted crevaces of old town, telling you the myths and ledgends of the spooks that still wander the streets. Cool thing is they do this all year, not just around Halloween.
4. Sandia Casino - If you have never experienced a casino before,
this is the one to see.... Surprisingly tasteful for a casino... yes that is an oxymoron. Actually, it is a great venue to see a concert and believe it or not, the steakhouse there (the Council Room) isnt half bad. Also, there is a much more expensive restaurant upstairs on the top floor, but if you cant afford to eat there, at least spend some time on the balcony bar. Great views.
5. The Bosque - This is one of my favorite parts of Albuquerque. At
least take a drive up Rio Grande Blvd. to see the ranchitos. There is a great farmers market there, as well as Los Poblanos Farm, and a few vineyards and you can always visit the nature center.
6. The Petroglyphs - Ive never lived in a city with Volcano caps at
one end of it. This is something to do if you've got a little time to kill. It's a little underwheming, epecially becuase of the idiots that vandalize the ancient stones and ruin it for everyone else. But its a piece of history that is a little interesting at least.
7. The Botanical Gardens - This is a neat little area that reminds
me of the Eastern US encapsulated in an acre of land. Fun for a stroll.
8. Tent Rocks / Cochiti Pueblo - This is out aways towards Santa
Fe, but its a really interesting hike around the rocks and its a great drive just going out through the reservation. Great day trip.
9. Nob Hill / Central Ave.- Yes, yes... you've heard it before, but
if you come to ABQ, you have to spend a little time in the city's honky tonk district. Everything from fine dining to body pearcing. It's fun for the whole family.
10. Tinkertown - On the east side of the mountain, half way up to
the crest, is a little place called tinkertown. I can't even begin to explain it. You just need to go... really... just go.
11. The Rattlesnake Museum - ... well, the name kinda says it.
That is sort of a short list. There may be a part II to this, but
for now, that'll get you started on your experience in a city that is not quite like anything you've experienced before. Good luck!