Somehow I missed really visiting Albuquerque’s Old Town during previous visits, dismissing it as too touristy and a pale imitation of Santa Fe’s old plaza area. My bad. Wandering around the small pocket of oldness dominated by a huge adobe San Felipe de Neri Church (Spanish Colonial, 1793) in the central plaza, past adobe buildings dating from 1870 to 1900, we found some touristy place but also fun shops with local crafts and goods including (thanks to a recent Travel and Leisure mag story): Tiny Grocer ABQ, a little hole-in-the-wall stuffed with local meat, jalapeño hot sauce, baked goodies, homemade soups; The silver artichoke, selling jewelry made with turquoise and a lovely orange shell from Mexico by a mother-son duo; Nizohoni Soap – run by a young woman born in the Great Navajo Nation (ship rock, NM) that sells products with resonant names such as “REZ dirt soap,” “blue corn Pollen lip scrub,” “piñon pine needle foam wash” and “Navajo Sage and Wild Rose Chi’shie Oil w/Eucalyptus”; and Back Alley Bruhas, a fun boutique with vintage and locally designed clothing, jewelry and home goods.
From a historical marker in the plaza I learned that ABQ was even harder to spell in olden days: AlbuRquerque. We also wandered down one courtyard in Old Town and ended up in the sculpture garden next to the Albuquerque Museum.
The weather is warming! It was around 60 as we walked Millie around the Rio Grande Nature Center, and I mean around since we learned the center itself doesn’t allow dogs. We ended up on a nice length of the River shaded by cottonwood trees where the only other visitors were birds.
Heading north on Rio Grande (the street not the river), We found one big southwestern estate after another, huge houses set back from the street, surrounded by long fields and often a stable. Moneyland, ABQ style.
Other ABQ finds:
Ikhatov Bread & coffee, new Nob hill bakery, Good egg salad sandwich, Quiche, kakawa (Santa fe) hot chocolate.
Takeout brisket tacos from Casa Azule.
Fantastic special occasion meal (dirck’s belated bday, my signing with a literary agency, early Valentine’s Day at Farm and Table. Trout with crunchy flavor packed quinoa (how does that happen?); pork chop with a savory sauce, even the bread was delicious. (Discovered a good dry cider from Michigan — Rose co-op 39