hiking, dining and shopping in ABQ (Albuquerque)

Among our favorite trails at the Sandia Mountain foothills:

The Pino trail at Elena Gallegos “Open space” – wide dirt path and slight incline initially, then narrows and winding with more boulders, roots and rocks, plus mud, snow and ice (so we turned back after 50 minutes)

On the Pino Trail

La Luz Trail, a little more strenuous, narrow switchbacks and uphill, very scenic.

at Petroglyph National Monument – we did two dog-friendly short hikes (Piedras Marcadas Canyon Trail 1.5 miles; Rinconada Canyon Trail 2.5 miles) with our lab Millie late in the afternoon when the light was particularly dramatic, walking on sandy flat paths on a trail hugging a canyon of dark volcanic rocks, some with ancient markings of hands, faces, animals, crosses and who knows what else made by the ancestors of Pueblo people and by Spanish visitors. The main trail doesn’t allow dogs.

Among the ABQ restaurants and shops we enjoyed: BUT First a shout out to the free local monthly foodie magazine The Bite, which I happened to pick up early in our visit (along with a bimonthly Edible magazine.) The Bite offered dining scuttlebutt and many suggestions of places to eat in ABQ and beyond and never steered us wrong! Thanks to The Bite, I found FARMessila in Las Cruces, Mille in Santa Fe and Mesa Provisions and Ihatov Bakery in ABQ.

Modern General, which sounds a bit like a TV sitcom but is a southwest breakfast-themed “brunchery” with wonderfully inventive and delicious entrees and smoothies in a bright white space resembling a super tidy and curated “feed and seed” general store but with a handful of books, home goods and local lotions and potions, plus what look like very good cookies, brownies snd bread. We shared savory/sweet Green Chile Cilantro Corncakes, three little pancakes topped with a soft egg, with a squiggle of cilantro lime crema and Chile maple syrup; And The Albuquerque,flavor-packed scrambled eggs with green chiles, bacon, cumin, garlic, sharp cheddar with well-browned diced potatoes.And that drink (in the photo below) is a peach pollen smoothie (peaches, bee pollen, cucumber, banana, pineapple juice.) This is a sister restaurant of nearby Vinaigrette and both have Santa Fe locations.

Pueblo Cultural Center’s dining room – we went with the most traditional Pueblo entrees, according to our very knowledgeable server who was raised on the Taos Pueblo. A contemporary (and delicious) take on Blue corn chicken enchiladas and beef and poesole stew (less delicious). The blue corn onion rings were very good. We’d been through the museum part before. The place is an interesting cultural experience, in a well-designed contemporary building with Pueblo decor.

Mesa Provisions – a splurge to thank our relatives who have put us up for the past month in their newest house, this covid-era Nob Hill restaurant’s chef worked previously at ABQ’s Farm & Table, which gave us high hopes that were not dashed. The food and service were excellent, especially the creative take on a green Chile cheeseburger, the shrimp on toast, smoked chicken, I even liked the kale salad. The key lime sorbet was a perfect end to the meal.

Golden Pride – a local treasure near the U of New Mexico campus and hospital, this restaurant advertises chicken and ribs but is most famous for its breakfast burritos (homemade tortillas,) and sweet rolls, which you can request hot or cold. Our relatives recommended hot, which came in a bath of butter, doused with cinnamon sugar. No wonder there’s often not one but two lines of cars for the two drive through windows every time we drive pass on Lomas Avenue. Word has it, few customers eat inside. Drive through is the way to go, easy in and out.

Heart unhealthy breakfast at Golden Pride

The Daily Grind – we liked this casual breakfast and lunch place, off the beaten path. good salads (turkey club) and sandwiches (Cuban).

ABQ’s Modern General (also in Santa Fe)

Kei and Molly textiles – The production facility and showroom for this well-known, do-good local maker of tea towels, aprons, sponges and napkins is right nearby Nob Hill, prompting some early holiday gift shopping.

Sara Bande Home – well-chosen home goods in a small ritzy strip center in NW Albuquerque on the stretch of Rio Grande that gets fancy, with huge mansions on dusty ranch land. It’s tethered to a good bookstore, paper goods store and outpost of the Flying Star Cafe. We found what we needed so didn’t go on to the fancy and pricey store at Los Poblanos resort up the road.

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