On to Albuquerque. I must confess, this trip has been immensely educational. Not only am I learning about the history and stories of the places we visit, but I now can spell Albuquerque!
We arrived in Albuquerque late in the day, tired and hungry. Of many of the places we’d planned to stop along the way, we hadn’t done much research on what there was to see, and really only thought of it as a stopping point to spend the night. Sometimes it’s nothing more than how tired we are and how many miles before the next hotel – and in the western plains, it can be MANY miles before the next town, much less one that has a hotel.
We’d found a hotel on the iPad while in the car, and called to book a couple of rooms. We asked the person on the phone for a good place to eat. We always ask for a restaurant that will provide an authentic taste of the region. We were given three recommendations, and decided to stop at Church Street Cafe. We were so happy we went there. The atmosphere was fantastic. as was the food.
The restaurant is in Casa de Ruiz. The house was built during the founding of Albuquerque in the early 1700’s, which makes Casa de Ruiz the oldest residence in Albuquerque and one of the oldest structures in the state of New Mexico.
Unfortunately, I took some pictures of the courtyard we dined in, but I used my phone and had obviously (by the resulting blurry pictures) touched the lens with my enchilada covered fingers. Here is a link to their website: Church Street Cafe.
This is a picture which I found online. I’d give credit to the photographer, but it only came up as “unknown Google User.” This picture looks like it was taken from the table in which we were seated.
We arrived just as the sun was setting, and day was giving way to night. The courtyard was just the right size to feel cozy, and there was a comfortable breeze. The building and courtyard had adobe walls, with a rustic timber pergola over a portion. Plants and southwest antiques were perched here and there. As the daylight dimmed, strings of lights overhead gave just the right glow. The sound of water tumbling gently over a stone waterfall eased our road-weary minds. A mariachi band strolled between the tables.
The food was spicy, and the cause for many a pit stop for the next few days on our road trip, but it was delicious! I had a combination platter which had a chicken enchilada, a tamale, and a chili releno. I chose the squash (sauteed zucchini and corn) to accompany it. The meal was finished off with warm sopaipillas with honey. Although the food sounds like any Mexican fare, the dishes of New Mexico have a slightly different flavor, and a different type of spiciness to it.
After spending that little time in Old Town. We decided to shift our plans a bit. Instead of leaving first thing in the morning. We decided to hang around a bit and check out the many shops.
Old Town, is exactly what it says. It is the old town of what now is Albuquerque. It is comprised of historic adobe buildings that were built when Albuquerque was founded in the early 1700s. The buildings have been converted to restaurants and shops and surround a main central plaza. The oldest building is San Felipe de Neri Church. We spent half a day wandering through the shops before it was time to get back on the road.
On the way out of town we found a great roadside store. My husband and I had been looking for the perfect chiminea for our patio. We found a New Mexico version of Pots ‘R Us. Not only did we find the perfect chiminea, but we also picked up some beautiful Talavera pots.
We were all pleasantly surprised with Albuquerque, and glad we stayed, even if it was only for a little while.