Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Review: Guava Tree Cafe - Albuquerque, New Mexico

After tasting the flavors at Havana Restaurant, we here at the lunch club have been mildly obsessed with Cuban sandwiches. So when I found Guava Tree Cafe on UrbanSpoon, there was no way I was going to pass it up. 

Walking into the Guava Tree gave me a feeling of what I imagine walking into a sandwich shop in Miami would feel like. The brightly colored restaurant is small, yet quaint. The menu was written on a chalkboard. Be forewarned there are only a couple of people working here, including the chef, therefore the service, while friendly, may be slow. It certainly was on the day that Meredith and I visited and we were kind of shocked as there were only a few other patrons. We decided to bask in the unusually warm day and we sat outside. 
For starters we both ordered a cup the Ajiaco, which is traditional Colombian Chicken, Corn and Potato chowder, with authentic guasca herbs and served with side cream, capers, avocado and shredded chicken. The saltiness of the capers and the oily texture of the avocado are, in my opinion, what make the chowder so great. A definite must try.  The serving size was just enough to wet our appetite. 
Meredith bit right into her sandwich when it appeared at the table; I don't blame her. She ordered the Cuban, and was not disappointed by the suckling pork that was encompassed by pressed flat bread. The Swiss cheese was melted fabulously into each and every crevasse.
I ordered the el Guava Pollito sandwich with shredded Chicken Breast, Swiss Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Greens and Tomatoes. I'd have to say I like Meredith's sandwich better than my own, but it was still pretty tasty.

I ordered Chuck a Arepa Pabellon with shredded beef with black beans, sweet plantains and fresco cheese, wrapped in an arepa to go. I didn't get a picture, but he said that it was pretty good. 

The prices are reasonable, the service is good, and the food is good. I'd recommend this restaurant, so go check it out!

Guava Tree Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review: Lupe's Antojitos Mexican Food - Albuquerque, New Mexico

By now, you all know that I have a soft spot for burgers and tacos. I was totally on board to try Lupe's Antojitos Mexican Food when suggested by Meredith's husband, Matt. I've seen this place a thousand times, when driving through the International District, and always took note that there was never a shortage of cars in the parking lot.

We visited the restaurant around 11:15am on a Friday. There were a few diners already there, but we were greeted and seated right away. There were telenovelas playing on the tv's in the background, I loved it even though I didn't understand what the plot was.

Right away, chips and chile sauces were brought out to us. At first I was hesitant to try them...I had a brief OCD moment thinking about squirting the sauce out from a bottle that looked like it had been around the block awhile. The moment only lasted a split second though and as I watched Matt and Meredith dig in, I did too. I preferred the green chile sauce. I could taste the lime and cilantro, and it wasn't too spicey. I tried the red sauce too, and thought it was a little bland. However that could just be my strong dislike of red chile talking.I know, I know...I just don't like it! 
For my entree, I ordered a plate of chicken tacos. It came with refried beans and rice. I also ordered a  carne asada street taco. The chicken tacos were ok, but the real gem of the meal was that street taco. It was delicious! I loved how it came with lemon, instead of lime. I actually ordered another one after I finished the first. The refried beans were really good too! They were mashed perfectly, and not all lumpy. The rice was just ok. Just like red chile, it's not one on my favorite things. I'm not a real picky eater, so it's kind of weird that that the 2 things that I really don't like are New Mexico staples!
Matt ordered chicken enchiladas with red sauce. Like my taco plate, the came with beans and rice. I didn't try the enchiladas, but they looked delicious all smothered in queso fresco.
Meredith ordered a fish taco, and a side of rice. She mentioned that the taco was just ok, and nothing spectacular. I shared my carne asada street taco with her and it was her clear favorite.

All in all, it was a good lunch. I'd go back for those street tacos! The prices were pretty reasonable, I ate for around $10 before tip. The restaurant was clean and the service was great. There is not a website, so here are the details:

Lupe's Antojitos Mexican Food - Albuquerque, New Mexico
(505) 255-4082
8302 Zuni Rd SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108

Matt was an honorary lunch club member for the day. He made a great suggestion, and we're looking forward to him joining us again someday. Chuck was not in attendance because he has a new funky work schedule that is ruining everything! Just kidding, he was able to join us for a recent visit to a downtown french eatery that I'll be writing about soon! 

Lupe's Antojitos and Mexican Food on Urbanspoon
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