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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Best Of ABQ And New Mexico 

You have your list and we have ours. As we enter the warm weather months and the activity calendar gets busier we offer for your enjoyment (and debate) our list of the “Best of Albuquerque and New Mexico.”

The best New Mexican food in Albuquerque is at Padilla’s Mexican Kitchen at Girard and Indian School NE and at Barelas Coffee House on 4th Street SW. In Santa Fe it’s the old standbys of Tomasita’s and The Shed delivering the real deal. They’re the best. Really.

The best green chile cheese burgers in the state are still at the Owl Bar & Cafe and the Buckhorn Tavern near Socorro. That’s in large part because you’re always hungry by the time you pull in to the two joints that are just yards from each other.

The best scenic drive in New Mexico is around the Enchanted Circle in the North featuring Angel Fire and Eagle Nest. The runner-ups are too numerous to mention.

The Sandia Resort and Casino Amphitheater is the best place to enjoy a concert in New Mexico, although they don’t bring in many big acts anymore.

The best indoor theater venue in the state is the 691 seat Journal Theatre at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on 4th Street. The runner-up is the Outpost Performance Space on Yale SE where the jazz gets up close and personal.

Bookstores are vanishing but the best in the city is still Bookworks on Rio Grande Blvd. In Santa Fe the best is Collected Works on Galisteo.

The best hotel in ABQ is the Hotel Andaluz, although it is pricey. In Santa Fe the Anasazi is the best due in no small part to its location on the Plaza. Sorry, Las Cruces. You don’t compete yet in this category.

The best stretches of roadway in ABQ are Rio Grande Blvd. in the North Valley and the stretch of Tramway where you are driving right at the Sandia Mountains. . . .

The best small town in New Mexico is Taos. Silver City and Red River are the runners-up.

The best place to people watch in Santa Fe is in the lobby of the La Fonda on the Plaza. In Albuquerque it’s still the Frontier restaurant across from UNM. The runner-up is the ABQ airport terminal.

The best place to discuss a political movida in Albuquerque without being noticed is at the dark and mysterious Copper Lounge. Sorry, in Santa Fe there’s no place to hide. In Las Cruces, try La Posta restaurant in in Old Mesilla where the tourists hang.

The best place to learn about the history of the state is in the pages of the little-known New Mexico Historical Review, published quarterly and available through UNM. The best place to see state history up close is at the Lincoln County Courthouse and the surrounding buildings where the legacy and saga of Billy the Kid is preserved.

It’s true. The best place for a New Mexico bachelor party is at the bars of Juarez just across the border at El Paso. The best place to get married in New Mexico is indoors, as wind, rain and extreme heat have been known to unpredictably crash many a wedding party. The best place for a post-divorce celebration (or mourning) is the aforementioned Copper Lounge. Cheap drinks and no one will notice you.

The best time and place to see a movie in Albuquerque without the clamor of the crowd is the weekday 7 p.m. showings at Century 14 Downtown. The runner-up is the Guild Cinema also on weekday evenings.

The best public building in Albuquerque is the aforementioned airport terminal, decorated with outstanding art and a layout as open as the New Mexico sky. The runner-up is the Albuquerque Museum. In Santa Fe it’s the fabled Roundhouse, built in the mid-1960’s and still memorable. The runner-up is the Georgia O’Keefe Museum.

The best venue for non-sports fans to watch a sporting event in Albuquerque is at Isotopes Stadium. That’s because the food and scenery stand out, even if you don’t know how to get to first base.

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(c)NM POLITICS WITH JOE MONAHAN 2014. Not for reproduction without permission of the author
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