Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Rt. 66 Malt Shop and Grill - Albuquerque, New Mexico

After reading a lot of reviews, I was a bit skeptical about having lunch at the Rt. 66 Malt Shop and Grill. I have to see things to believe them though, so when M suggested taking our chances I was all for it. The restaurant is very cooly decorated with pieces from the 50's. They have old fashioned diner tables and booths, a checkerboard floor, and a great jute box.

We we greeted promptly and seated right away, but the wait service was slow...and it seemed as though the waitstaff was unorganized or even confused. The restaurant was full, and there was only one cook. It took a long time to place our order and even longer to get our food.

I ordered a bacon green chile cheeseburger and M ordered a bacon cheeseburger. I also ordered a frito pie...just because I wanted to try it. We both ordered a side of hand cut fries too. I was regretting not ordering anything from the soda fountain, but when I saw the table beside us get their soda fountain orders 20 min. after they placed their order my regret went away.

I thought that my burger was pretty good. It was a nice size. The patty was obviously hand made and was juicy and flavorful. The green chile had a little kick, but wasn't too spicy. The bacon was plentiful and crispy. M said that his burger was "meh..." even though he ate the whole thing (sorry honey). The fries were pretty good too; a little greasy. It didn't seem like they were seasoned with parmesan cheese like their menu said. The frito pie was delicious, and my favorite part of the meal. It was huge, and had a ton of frito's. It had a New Mexico style red chile that the waiter tried to talk me out of. I thought it was very flavorful, and not to spicy.

I don't know if I'd make a conscience decision to go back to the Rt. 66 Malt Shop, but if I was with someone who wanted to go...I'd go back. It wasn't that the food wasn't good, it was that the service was chaotic and it took forever to get our order. The prices were decent too.

Check it out and tell me what you think...

Route 66 Malt Shop & Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Dog House Drive In - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Chuck and I went to Albuquerque's own Dog House a few weeks ago. We were both craving hot dogs because we keep seeing the Sonic hot dog commercial over and over again.

I have been here a few times before, and always think that it's just ok...this time I also felt the same way. I hate to have such a boring opinion about something that is so "Albuquerque," but I just don't love the food here. Chuck on the other hand loves this place...

These aren't the best photos, as we got our dogs to go and they were rolled up pretty tight. We both had a chile dog with cheese (a slice of American Cheese)and onions, and a mustard dog. I had tater tots, and Chuck had chile cheese fries. If you get a chile dog, be prepared that the chile is more New Mexican style than a Texas style Chili con Carne. It's pretty spicy too! Maybe that's why I don't like it that much. I don't particularly care for red chile, even after I try and try and try it.

I do like how the Dog House splits and grills their wieners; you get nice crispy edges. The tater tots are pretty good too.

The Dog House is located downtown. If you head there for lunch, go early! They have an old fashioned drive-in set up, and it gets quite busy. We arrived around 11:30 and didn't get our food until about 12:15. There is also a small area to eat inside, but I've never been in there before. Oh, and bring cash. They DO NOT accept credit cards.

Since they don't have a website, here's the restaurants info:

1216 Central Ave SW
Albuquerque, NM 87102-2803
Phone: (505) 243-1019
Hours: Daily 10am-10pm

Dog House Drive In on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Asian Grill - Albuquerque, New Mexico

I chose the Asian Grill for one of our last lunch club visits...we've been on quite an Asian kick lately. It's right down the street from work and their prices are very reasonable. The website is very simple and highlights it's extensive menu.

The spot that the the restaurant is located used to be a Souper Salad, and then it was a Chinese Buffet, and then it was a Mexican Buffet, and now it's the Asian Grill. I hope it sticks around, because it's really good.

We arrived at the restaurant just after 11, and were greeted and seated right away. Of course, we each ordered our own appetizer. Chuck had the GỎI CUỐN TÔM THỊT - Fresh steamed shrimp and pork loin slice spring rolls, I had the BÌ CUỐN - Special shredded pork spring rolls, and Meredith had the GA NU'Ố'NG MALAY - Malay Street Grilled Chicken Skewer (which were not served on a skewer?). My favorite was the skewered chicken. The meat as so moist and full of flavors. The spring rolls were good, but nothing really new or exciting.  They were stocked full of herbs though...which took me by surprise, not because I don't like the extra cilantro and mint but because I wasn't expecting them.
Thai Style Pineapple Beef

Mongolian Beef - Extra spicy

BBQ Pork Noodles

Special Asian Grill Hot Sauce - Yum!

I had a hard time deciding on what I wanted, so I asked the waiter for his favorite dish and he chose the BÒ XÀO MÔNG CỔ - mongolian style tender beef flashed-cooked with scallions and onions. I asked them to make it spicy, or rather - spicier. Meredith had the Thai Style Pineapple Beef, and Chuck had the usual...PHỞ XÁ XÍU - rice noodles with healthy BBQ pork in a delicious broth.

I think that we were all really hungry, because when our food came out we ate in near silence and we didn't share as much as we usually do. I can say that my meal was delicious. It had a lot of meat, and onions and green bell peppers. Chuck said that his pho was good, but not the best he'd ever had. Meredith said that hers was good too. Chuck has a theory that because Asian Grills menu is so diverse in different Asian cuisines, that it may be hard for them to focus on one type and make it really really good. I don't know if I believe that though.

All in all, I thought the visit was good. The restaurant was really clean, and the service was excellent; everything was made to order and served very quickly. The prices weren't too high either. I'd definitely go back. Oh, and if you live within a 3 mile radius you can get free delivery...this is awesome!

Asian Grill on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Review: Café Jean Pierre - Albuquerque, New Mexico

Chef Jean Pierre and Chuck
Meredith chose Cafe Jean Pierre for her turn for lunch club. Chuck is actually really good friends with Jean Pierre himself, so for him it was a no brainer. I had been to Cafe Jean Pierre when it was located on San Pedro and Candelaria, so I was up for a return trip too. His new (or newer) digs off of Jefferson and I-25, is a lot bigger and brighter, and on this particular day it was full of eager to eat patrons. Luckily we were the first ones there!!! Leaving early for lunch does has its advantages, but if your in a rush to eat and get out in less than an hour you may want to consider visiting another restaurant.

We all started with a bowl of french onion soup. I could tell that it was going to be delicious as soon as it was set in front of me. Check out the cheese that melted down the edges...yum!
Chuck ordered the Chicken crepe...I tried some, it was delicious too! It was full of chicken and mushrooms. Meredith had the beet salad. I didn't try it, but she seemed to enjoy it, and I had the Quiche Lorraine. It was amazing! The eggs were so light and was like eating little eggy clouds.
Just before we finished eating, we ordered dessert. I knew before I walked in that I wanted a crepe...a sweet one. I got the crepe with fresh bananas and nutella with whipped cream. Meredith had one with ice cream and pears drizzled in chocolate. Chuck ordered the best was a rolled crepe stuffed with creme. It was absolutely amazing! Meredith and I both made him share with us! I'd go back just for that....

In fact, I'd go back for just about anything. The one thing I would love to try are the mussels. People were ordering them left and right around us! They looked really good, and the people eating them looked so happy.

I definitely will return to Cafe Jean Pierre. It's kind of pricey, we each spent over $20...BUT then again, we all had an appetizer, entree, and dessert. The service was excellent, and we were greeted and seated right away.

Please forgive my lack of names for the dished we ate. The restaurants website is pretty nice, but they don't have a menu posted.

Café Jean Pierre on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Review: Cattleman's Steakhouse - El Paso, Texas

Sculptures that surrounded us in the Garden Room

There used to be a restaurant in Albuquerque called the Great American Land and Cattle Co. up on Tramway and Indian School. When this place was open, it was my absolute favorite restaurant. They had a small menu of only the best cuts of meat and a baked potato, and they served pineapple coleslaw, beans, and rolls to the table family style. When it was your turn to be served, they waitstaff wheeled your meal to you on carts that came directly from the kitchen. I spent so many birthday and special occasions here, and was devastated when it closed.

When I saw the Cattleman's Steakhouse on the Travel Network I knew I had to check it out! So I made M take me there for Valentine's Day. What a treat! Besides being located on a ranch in the middle of nowhere and having a petting zoo, it was almost identical to what I remember at the Great American Land and Cattle Co. Since Cattleman's Ranch has been around since the sixties, I have a feeling that my old favorite may have copied their business model just a bit (like exactly).
Since we were anticipating a huge meal for dinner, we took it easy for breakfast that morning. By the time we arrived at Cattleman's we were starving. We ordered the 12oz sausage appetizer. There wasn't anything special about the sausage, but the bbq sauce was pretty good. It tasted like it had an extra dose of vinegar in it. We also ordered drinks; I had a margarita and M had a Jack and coke.
For our main course, M ordered the NY Strip, medium well, with fried shrimp. The shrimp were beer battered and golden fried to perfection. I ordered the NY Strip, medium well. We got humongous baked potatoes with our steaks, pineapple coleslaw, baked beans, and rolls. They even gave a generous portion of butter and sour cream for our potatoes. The steaks were awesome! They were cooked just as were asked, and were so flavorful! They were moist and juicy. M had asked for a bottle of A-1 - just in case - but he never had to open it. It was just like I was envisioning...well maybe a little better!

After dinner, we passed on dessert. I wanted to get some pictures in so we headed out to  take a look around the Indian Cliffs Ranch. Unfortunately, there were a lot of people headed in and we didn't get to see much. The parking lot, while there are attendants, is a little nuts.

We first arrived to the restaurant around 4, and were seated right away without waiting. When we left, around 6, there was a huge wait to be seated and more and more people were coming in. Cattleman's does not take reservations and since it was Valentine's day weekend I think it added to the craziness.

We would go there again? heck yeah! It's definitely a special occasion place though...Our meal with drinks was over $100. Yikes! My only regret was missing the gift shop! I'm a sucker for magnets, and would have loved to have a memento to commemorate our little Tejas journey.

Cattleman's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon
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