Monday, March 18, 2013

Expanding Horizons, Part 2

We're a couple of weeks into the month of March, which means I'm about halfway done with my challenge to try out local businesses I've never been to.

When I started, I thought I would go to at least one, maybe two places per week. Two weeks in and I've already managed to cross nine places off my list. Five of them happened in just the last week, including...

Cecilia's Cafe in Nob Hill

Cecilia's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Most of the time, I venture out on my own or with a good friend or two. On Sunday, I decided to take my entire family out for lunch. All six of us hopped in the car as I provided my dad directions to Nob Hill. None of us had ever been to Cecilia's but we were comforted by the fact that they've been featured on TV shows like "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and others.


I ordered up a Sopapilla Burger that was alright if not a little too salty. Cecilia herself suggested I try it smothered instead. A little too late for that but there's always a next time. The dish I envied the most was my mother's carnitas. I may have to try that again. Or something smothered. I hear there are some differences between the Nob Hill and Downtown locations so I may have to head downtown for my next trip.


66 Diner

This place is a favorite of my friend Rebecca so I invited her along to join me for my inaugural visit. We started by splitting a plate of green chili cheese fries. I wish the chili had been a little hotter but it did well enough to hold us over until our plates arrived.

66 Diner on Urbanspoon

I went for the Chicken Fried Steak while Rebecca ordered a cheeseburger with queso on the side. (Side note: That also happens to be the exact same thing she ordered during our date night at Nob Hill Bar & Grill. I'm gonna have to help her expand her horizons in the future.)



The food was good, classic diner food. In fact, the whole place, inside and out, screams classic diner. I mean, just look at it.



Q Burger

This place has always captured my attention with its prominent placement on the corner of Central and 3rd, even in its other incarnations. It was not as big inside as I imagined yet it still felt pretty roomy. I met up with my friend Carlos and we took our seats at the bar. Our server was exceptionally helpful in making food and beverage selections. She convinced me to try the Mesquite Bison Burger with a side of green been fries.

Q burger on Urbanspoon

I have a quick confession to make: I'm actually a pretty big fan of those fried green beans you can get at that one Friday's place. I know, I know. It's about as far from local as it gets but I enjoy their green bean fries.

These are better.


Way better. Don't believe me? Go try them for yourself.

There's one more thing for which I have to give Q Burger major props. All of their beer and wine, all of it, comes from within the state of New Mexico, including a ton of beer options from Marble Brewery right here in Albuquerque.


You're doing things right, Q Burger.

Blackbird Buvette


Moving a little further west on Central but staying downtown, I stopped by Blackbird Buvette for the first time. I can't give it the full review it deserves because I only had time to stop in for a minute, just long enough to start in on the Geeks Who Drink trivia and realize I was way out of my league.


But I liked the atmosphere and I really liked the little outdoor patio they've got hiding in the back. I had no idea it was there! I also hear their Sunday brunch is pretty awesome so I think that's when I'll plan my return to the Buvette.

Limonata

This is one of those places I promised I would try months and months ago but just never got around to it. Even though I often find myself in the Nob Hill area, I keep forgetting it's there. Maybe it's because Limonata doesn't sit right on Central, but rather on Silver just to the south in a little conclave of businesses called The Village.

Limonata Italian Street Food Caffe on Urbanspoon

When I visited, I had just left the gym and was looking for something refreshing. They say when in Rome, do as the Romans do. I say, when at Limonata, order the lemonade. That is some good stuff. I would use some more vulgar vocabulary but I'm trying to keep this blog at a G-rating. But seriously, it's good stuff.


The sandwich was no small contender either. It was crispy, crunchy, tasty and more flavorful than I expected from a turkey sandwich. I'm really glad I took the time to stop in. I know I'll be back.



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Make sure you get out and support this great local businesses. I hope I've inspired you to try a new place or two! If you missed Part 1, here it is.

Cecilia's Cafe in Nob Hill - Urbanspoon
66 Diner - 66diner.com
Q Burger - qburgerabq.com
Blackbird Buvette - blackbirdbuvette.com
Limonata Italian Street Food Caffe - Urbanspoon

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