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albuquerque

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.

Korean groceries

Korean groceries

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!

Next came the traditional side dishes, banchan, including another common sight on a Korean dining table: kimchi!

Banchan and hyeonmi cha

Banchan and hyeonmi cha

 

Bulgogi, grilled marinated beef served with vegetables and rice on the side, is one of the most popular dishes,.

Bulgogi

Bulgogi

 

One of my favorites is dolsot bibimbap but today I felt like eating noodles so I ordered jap chae, chewy noodles with thin strips of grilled meat and vegetables in a light sauce.

Jap chae

Jap chae

 

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.

I’ll leave you with a video of the Seo-Do Traditional Songs Institute performing Arirang and also a reminder to share your food with your table mates. It’s the Korean way! Mashikeh mogoseyo!

Arirang Oriental Market on Urbanspoon

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.

Complimentary fries. A blogger perk, perhaps?

 

Le Bleu is…Le Yum

 

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.

naked Starter dog…The Purist. Or should that be, The Naturalist?

The sweet potato fries here remind me of 5 Star Burgers‘ fries but without all the oil that usually accompanies them.

Sweet potato fries

 

And now, take a look at what Eric ordered:

 

It’s Crafty!

 

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!

Urban Hotdog Company on Urbanspoon

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.

Easy to spot!

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.

Yum x 4

 

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.

Beans and rice and goat. Baaaa!

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.

Palm Drink and Ginger Beer. Bottoms up!

 

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.

 

Talking Drums African Cuisine on Urbanspoon

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!

bacon? Yes, please!

 

How can one decide?! All so good!

 

Definitely affordable

our goodies!

Rebel Donut is open 7am to 6pm Mon-Fri and 7am to 4pm Sat and Sun, for all your donut-craving needs.
Rebel Donut on Urbanspoon

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.

Spicy orange chicken

 

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!

I always go get a double order of this when I’m sick

 

When you crave Chinese food, make a stop at Golden Chopsticks. You won’t be sorry! Sihk faahn!

 

Golden Chopsticks on Urbanspoon

Yesterday, we were asked by Duke City Food Trucks, a coalition of local mobile cuisine trucks, to help judge the food truck fiesta at the A-City Summer Jam.  Jojo, of Jojo’s Salsa Machine, heads this coalition which in reality operates as more of a family.  Seriously, these are a good group of people.

 

The ever-cheerful and friendly Jojo

 

Organized by Zia Kings Entertainment, the Summer Jam featured bully cars, hip hop artists both local and international, and a carnival along with several food trucks in the Duke City Food Trucks group.

Film & Food were there along with Party NM to help judge the trucks in a friendly competition.  We enjoyed every single offering and it was quite difficult for us all to choose just one. But in the end, that honor went to Joanie and Art’s Famous Smoked Style Bar-B-Que.  In the upcoming posts, we’ll be reviewing each, showing you samples of each truck’s menu, and most importantly, telling you where you can find their trucks around ABQ.

Asian fusion is not on it’s way out. Not if Street Food Asia has any say in the matter.  With the most aggressive and absolute social media campaign I’ve ever seen for a restaurant, Street Food Asia is a business and won’t let you forget it.  Patricia Frohm, wife of chef Tai Tok, has extensive business management experience and it is quite apparent she knows what she’s doing. Every single social media outlet for this place is current and engaging. The location, that sweet spot in the middle of Nob Hill, must get tons of foot traffic. Well, as much foot traffic as you can get in Albuquerque.  But is the food any good?

The dishes we ordered, although fresh and appetizingly presented, were bland, as if Tai Tok was holding back. Give us your best shot, sir! We Burquenos can handle our spices.

Shrimp and fried calamari aren’t enough to liven up this dish

 

Two in our party settled on sharing a trio of Small Plates from the Asian Tapas Menu.  The best of the three was Kuala Lumpur Street Satay with grilled marinated portabella mushrooms, crunchy red onions, and a marvelous peanut sauce. What set this dish apart from the others we ordered was the flavor sans sauce or embellishments. If you need sauce to make your food taste good, you’re doing it wrong.  The satay sauce was delicious but these mushrooms didn’t need the added flavor. They were great all on their own.  Not so the other two Small Plates.

Kuala Lumpur Street Satay

 

The Seoul Street Grilled Beef Bulgogi Kimchi was the most disappointing. My companions didn’t even finish them.  The beef was sparse and mixed with diced kimchi as if the chef wanted to create a salsa with the two components rather than allow the kimchee to do it’s job in this dish.

disappointing Korean lettuce wraps

 

The final small dish, stuffed tofu with pineapple, mango, and vegetables, was quite close to making the mark.  The presentation was appealing and all the ingredients were fresh. Still, too bland. Just too bland. The sauce covering the plate upon which the tofu “sandwiches” lay was like a watered down version of the satay sauce we’d just enjoyed with the mushroom skewers.

Gorgeous but ultimately unsatisfying

 

If you are the type of person who likes to “see for yourself,” try Street Food Asia and let us know what you think. But bring your earplugs. That place is LOUD.

Street Food Asia

3422 Central Ave, SE

ABQ, NM 87106

505.260.0088

 

StreetFood Asia on Urbanspoon

 

On Saturday, The Guild in ABQ will be hosting the Dark Matters Film Festival from 2 to 10pm.  Each two-hour block will feature numerous short films from around the world. The pricing is 8 bucks for one block or 15 bucks for an all-day pass, which is what we’ll be purchasing. See you there!

Horror Bites

Have you ever tried food from Laos? If you’re in Albuquerque,  drop in Sakura Sushi Thai and Laos Cuisine in the Northeast Heights for lunch or dinner.  They offer homey cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere and the service is impeccable!

Start with some sake. They have quite a few varieties listed. Here, we have TyKu’s Super Premium sake in a sleek black bottle:

Cold sake with peach undertones

 

After you’ve had a few cups of sake, nibble on some appetizers. Sakura Sushi offers Japanese, Thai, and Laos dishes on their menu so you’ll have plenty of choices.

Steamed edamame

 

Vegetable tempura and gyoza

Next, you move on to the real deal. You absolutely must try this handmade pork sausage. It’s a little spicy but not over-powering. It’s the best thing on the menu!

Handmade pork sausage on bed of cabbage, carrots, and broccoli

If you’re in the mood for sushi, try the specialty rolls and wash it all down with some hot sake. The price is affordable and the family running this restaurant make sure you enjoy your visit.

Sakura Sushi Thai and Laos Cuisine

4200 Wyoming Blvd. NE (C-2)

ABQ, NM 87111

505.294.9696
Sakura Sushi Thai & Laos Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Elegant decor, impeccable service, visually and  gastronomically enticing food?  You’ve just described Savoy Wine Bar and Grill on Montgomery.

Drop in and hang out on their patio with some wine and nibbles. Be sure to try the seasonal flatbreads!

Onion and rosemary ciabatta with herbed butter

Grapefruit with spinach and frisee, feta, sunflower seed brittle with citrus vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Bisque with red chile oil

Petite Prime Beef Sirloin, herb smashed red potatoes, seasonal vegetables, mushroom demi glace...all topped with crispy onion strings

 

Savoy’s current brunch menu offers pizza cooked in their wood-burning oven, sandwiches, lighter breakfast fare, and more substantial offerings such as prime rib.

 

Savoy Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

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