Arirang. The unofficial national anthem of Korea, this enduring folk song also lends its name to a Korean market on Eubank. You can purchase rice cookers, stew pots, frozen and fresh goods, oils, sauces…just about anything a Korean native might be missing when so far from home. In the rear of the store, in a small but clean and bright area with just three tables and a counter, you can sample the best Korean food in Albuquerque.
Start your meal with hyeonmi cha, a thin brown rice tea. Our dining partner, Master Jaeshin Cho of Dynamic Tae Kwon Do Academy, told us that you will see this tea in every nearly eating establishment you visit in his native Korea. It’s ubiquitous!
Bulgogi, grilled marinated beef served with vegetables and rice on the side, is one of the most popular dishes,.
Since my visit early last year, the intimate eating area has added a table and created new menus with English translations for those of us with little to no Korean language skills. I keep forgetting about this place and I’m glad to have joined some friends today for some lunch. I will add it back into my regular rotation.
You know how sometimes a local restaurant or watering hole will be popular but still not very good? Locals flock there because they always have, even when the food or drink doesn’t warrant the attention. I was curious whether this was true about Frontier Restaurant. It’s location across from UNM‘s main campus also gave me pause because, well, students will eat most anything if it’s reasonably priced and convenient.
But, no! The food is actually tasty! Check out what our late-night group feasted upon:
Film & Food had the pleasure of having lunch with Eric from Follow Eric on Tuesday. He is an all-around nice guy and we hope you get a chance to meet up with him around ABQ. We decided to try Urban Hotdog Company, near Cottonwood Mall, since neither of us had been there before. I’m super pleased with that choice since I left there happy with meeting a new friend and fellow blogger and full from a delicious lunch!
Decisions, decisions. So many great creations on their menu but I settled on Le Bleu for myself and the Starter for my choosy teen tag-along.
Le Bleu is a masterful creation. A juicy hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with sauteed mushrooms, bleu cheese, and fresh thyme. The buns deserve a mention here. Eric and I both thought they really helped move these dogs from “normal with great toppings” to gourmet status. The bread is from local bakery, Pastians, and baked fresh daily. UHDC toast and butter the buns to give each selection that little something extra. And it works!
My teen is a bit of a choosy eater so she opted for the Starter, which is usually served with typical condiments: mustard, ketchup, onions, and relish. She, however, likes her doggies plain. So in her honor, I have henceforth renamed the Starter…the Purist.
The sweet potato fries here remind me of 5 Star Burgers‘ fries but without all the oil that usually accompanies them.
And now, take a look at what Eric ordered:
The Crafty Dog is loaded with mac & cheese and chopped bacon. I’m ordering that when I go back to UHDC and soon! I intend to work my way through the menu. For those of you who aren’t into hot dogs but your dining companions are, there is always the Not Dog. It could be a burger, specialty sandwich, or salad. Keep an eye on their website for details and specials.
Coming soon, Urban Hotdog Company will be handing out a type of rewards card to keep track of which dogs you are trying. Also, look for an earlier opening time, 9 am, during the holiday shopping season. They’ll be revealing a new breakfast dog and tasty specials so get ready!
I love New Mexican food as much as anyone yet I like to try something other than green chile sometimes. I know, I know. That sentiment is sacrilege here in Albuquerque. But consider expanding your palate and you might stumble upon such gems as the Talking Drums restaurant on San Pedro. It’s easy to find with it’s clear signage and there is plenty of parking. The restaurant itself is super clean and tidy, which I appreciate as a diner, with comfy booths and spotless tables.
Perhaps you’ll be greeted by Alex, one of the owners, who can answer your questions about the menu, should you have any. My problem was choosing what to eat! Since I wanted to sample a few different items, I chose the appetizer featuring four small dishes: suya, puff-puff, moin moin, and fried plantains.
Suya is a West African specialty somewhat akin to the kebab. As part of this appetizer sampler, it is served sans skewer and mixed with raw diced onions. You’ll love puff-puff, a fried bread which can also be served as a dessert by adding syrup and shredded coconut. My favorite of this little quartet is moin moin. It has almost the same consistency as tofu, which makes sense since both are bean curds.
Moin Moin is made from steamed beans which are served here with minimal additions. This makes it a perfect selection for vegetarians. However, Alex told us that in Nigeria, it is typically steamed along with egg, meat, or other tasty morsels. And it did taste marvelous alongside the suya so I’d be curious to try the Nigerian moin moin. And lastly, we have fried plantains. So very delicious!
My lunch companion and I shared a large plate of rice and brown beans with stew. To this, we added meaty, generously-sized goat joints.
The beans in the dish weren’t under-cooked yet kept their shape. Topping the combo was a tomato-based stew, flavored with chili peppers which give it a little kick. Not overly spicy but quite flavorful.
And lastly, take a look at these drinks! You must try the palm “wine” from Ghana. It’s made from the sap of palm trees and slightly fermented. It has a low alcohol content but you’ll still feel it if you drink a large bottle! It is a perfect complement to the West African cuisine. If that doesn’t entice you, try a non-alcoholic Jamaican ginger beer.
On your way out, go next door to the Zenith African/Caribbean market. The family has owned and operated the store for many years but only since February have they integrated the restaurant and shop in the larger space they currently occupy. It’s well-stocked and tidy so you’ll easily find something to take home.
I’ve eaten at Church Street Cafe three times. Each time, I think somehow it will dazzle me but it never does. I do, however, believe it has one of the prettiest outdoor seating areas in ABQ. The fountain and overhanging grape leaves attract tiny curious birds and the setting is relaxed and comfortable.
I just can’t bring myself to try eating there again. I usually give a restaurant three tries before I give up. The gorgeous back patio isn’t enough to make me return.
Travel a little further south on Wyoming, away from the *DD* donut place, ahem, and you’ll find Rebel Donut, where you can get donuts “made by humans,” as our cashier put it. It’s a specialty shop so you’ll see such beauties as a maple and bacon topped donut or toasted marshmallow donuts. Yum!
Rebel Donut is open 7am to 6pm Mon-Fri and 7am to 4pm Sat and Sun, for all your donut-craving needs.
You really can’t beat the prices at Golden Chopsticks. The portions are generous, too. The cooks in the open kitchen are quick and will get your order out faster than you can watch this old video of the Back Dorm Boys lip syncing Chinese opera:
Everything we’ve ordered there has been fresh and not weighed down in sauce. Even the delicious orange chicken with its sticky, spicy sauce manages to remain light.
My absolute favorite thing on the menu is so inexpensive, it feels like I’m cheating somehow. Their wonton soup is the best in ABQ. You have to try it!
When you crave Chinese food, make a stop at Golden Chopsticks. You won’t be sorry! Sihk faahn!
I’ve been wanting to try Kasbah for quite a while. I finally planned to meet a friend there last month on a Sunday evening. Should have done my research because we arrived to closed doors. Not open on Sunday.
However, we dropped in to celebrate a birthday last week and fell instantly in love with this charming restaurant. Dare I say it, Kasbah may well be on our weekly rotation.
The interior is small but inviting, decorated in dark burgundy and white with posters and items from Tunisia, Morocco, and Greece.
We started our meal with mint tea, which is served piping hot or on the rocks. I encourage you to try this refreshing beverage not only due to the marvelous taste but also because it is meant as a show of hospitality from your host/-ess.
The menu has various appetizers on offer but on that day, we were craving spanakopita. Even though I felt it was light on the dill, we thoroughly enjoyed the spinach and feta pastry.
Our party took advantage of the lunch specials, served from 11am to 2pm Mon thru Sat. We most certainly wish to return for dinner although we are a bit put off by the fact that this restaurant does not serve alcohol. And if you could not tell, we at Film & Food like our wine with dinner!
Kasbah Mediterranean Cuisine
4801 Central, NE
Last month, Film and Food were honored to help in the friendly judging at the A-City Summer Jam. Jojo, of Jojo’s Salsa Machine and Duke City Food Trucks, organized a fiesta truck pod at the far end of the event space at Balloon Fiesta Park.
We had a chance to chat with Jojo as he was preparing for customers. Did you know he buys all the meats for his dishes at a local butcher? Good to know for you slow-fooding locavores. Also, stay tuned for a new menu set to roll out soon! But don’t worry. All your old favorites are still around.
We joined Alejo from Party NM as we waited for each food truck to bring us what they considered their best offering of the day. First, we had some authentic Mexican tacos from Sanchez Tacos. Made with tender carne asada and topped with cilantro, onions, lime, and your choice of homemade green or red chili, these tacos quickly scored high points with the judges. Each of the Sanchez Tacos food trucks make their chili fresh daily.
Carlos Sanchez has four food trucks at various locations around ABQ. You can find Carlos himself in front of Fair & Square Market at the corner of Rhode Island and Central.
Earlier, while getting the lay of the land, Film and Food ran across Shay Patchell, of The Chopping Block.
We were eyeing the fried asparagus so that was the dish he prepared for the panel. Fresh asparagus spears in a light beer batter flavored with red chile and topped with sea salt, lemons, and fresh parsley. Delicious!
Check out this burrito from the Pink Ladies! They make their own pink tortillas and stuff them with carne asada, green and red chile, lettuce, cheese, rice, beans, and chopped onions. These things are enormous and quite filling. The Pink Ladies know how to do it right!
Pizza 9 was there too so we decided to try their deep-dish pizzas to take advantage of the opportunity. The thick crust was not doughy as expected but buttery and crunchy. Here’s a picture of their sausage Chicago-style pizza:
And the winner of the food truck pod fiesta was Joanie & Art’s Smoke Style BBQ.
Art gave us chicken, ribs, sweet and saucy sausage and “that there stuff” which was a mix of beans, potatoes, BBQ sauce, and green onion. The meat had a wonderful smoky flavor which wasn’t overpowering but instead balanced.
Film & Food had a blast and now have some new favorites around town. Maybe we’ll see you at one of these local food trucks for dinner!