By Sheri McDonald, Taking the Kids Correspondent
New Mexican cuisine is as much a part of Albuquerque as the museums and heritage, and there is no shortage of delicious places for families to dine when visiting the area. Whether you are looking for fine dining, a quick bite to eat or a buffet, you can find what you’re looking for in Albuquerque.
The ultimate dining experience can be found at Sadie’s of New Mexico. Jim Garcia, VP of Operations, is what I would call a “pepper connoisseur”. He explained the the Scoville Scale that is used to rate how hot the different varieties of peppers are and described the methods used to continually create hotter peppers. We learned that green and red peppers are actually from the same plant but the red pepper has remained on the vine longer. We had a hand’s on demonstration on how to roast green chili peppers before sweating, peeling and removing the seeds. Each of the children had a chance to prepare their own green chili peppers!
We were introduced to a variety of traditional New Mexican dishes that are routinely served at Sadie’s. Sadie’s Salsa Con Queso was the best I’ve ever had, and the Sopapilla was my son’s favourite.
Sadie’s of New Mexico is a definite “must” when you are visiting Albuquerque. The prices are great, the service is excellent and the food will make you want to visit again soon!
Exceptional service is the reason to visit the Range Café, and of course the menu is another great reason. I have a preference for any restaurant that provides it’s guests chips and guac upon seating, so they earn my approval immediately. When my finicky son decided that a grilled cheese sandwich should only have orange cheese (they serve it with white cheese), they were quick to provide him something new to eat. Finishing the meal off with a decadent cheese cake ensured that I wouldn’t soon forget the Range Café.
The Golden Crown Panaderia is the home of the World’s Best Coffee Milkshake. It was my first coffee milkshake, but I’m going to wager that it truly is the world’s best. This quaint little bakery passes out the State’s Official cookie, the Biscochito, to anyone who walks through the door. The bread, pastries and pizza all look and smell divine in this hot spot.
Found on the former Route 66, this Flying Star Café was a popular place to grab a bite to eat. The menu carried a broad variety of options, including kid friendly meals. I treated myself to a Cobb Salad that was beautiful and delicious, albeit twice as big as I needed it to be. Orders are made at the counter when entering the café, but you are then served at your table. It is a very efficient way to enjoy table service!
The Tomato Café is about as kid friendly as you can get, while still keeping the adults happy. This Italian style buffet featured salad, pizza, pasta, meatballs, vegetables and more. Everything was fresh and delicious and the menu included some gluten free items. The service was fast and friendly and the kids were even treated to tomato stamps on their hands, which brought smiles to their faces. The real highlight for the kids was the ice cream bar.
My son’s favourite dining spot in Albuquerque was the Shark Reef Café. While he enjoyed the Grilled Cheese Sandwich he ordered, that wasn’t the reason for the Shark Reef Café’s top billing. Located in the BioPark Aquarium, the café boasts an underwater view of sharks, turtles, stingrays and various other fish. There are two large viewing areas and we were so intrigued with the view that it was hard to take the time to read the menu!
Each of these restaurants offers a unique dining experience that is ideal for visiting families. Their menus offer various dishes and cuisine that would appeal to all ages and palates. I am looking forward to returning to Albuquerque just so I can visit again and try some new menu items!