Chowing From Fort Lauderdale's Canyon Southwest Cafe and on to Albuquerque
|Photo by Flickr user lorda|
My steady (and hopefully permanent man) and I headed to Albuquerque to meet the 'rents for Turkey Day. On the flight out, I had to instruct him on the epicurean eccentricities of the American Southwest. He was practically drooling by the end of the conversation, imagining all the new porkless and seafoodless eats he could try.
It's probably best that I didn't tell him that these rules I had developed for Southwestern food came about from a blind date.
It happened a few months back when an unsuspecting victim asked me where I'd like to go four our first meet-up. A friend had described him as "a really, really intelligent Cuban guy," so I figured he was smart enough to enjoy the prickly pear margarita at Canyon.
Intelligent Cuban had never visited the Southwestern states, so I thought it would be fun to educate him about the true flavors of the region. My parents moved out to Albuquerque a few years ago and have made it their mission to have me try every well-known restaurant in the city.
|Canyon's herb and goat cheese stuffed poblanos.|
But while there was no love connection, I did develop this set of three rules for determining true Southwestern fare:
You'll find it in your scrambled eggs, atop your burgers and hot dogs, and hiding in your salad dressing. They sell it on nearly every roadside, like those vans in Florida with velvet paintings of Elvis. Even desserts: On my last trip, I encountered its fiery flavors in apple pie, fudge, and ice cream.
|Photo by Edward Altman|
If you get any form of carb before a meal, it'll be a bowl of fresh tortilla chips, a foil-wrapped packet of steaming flour tortillas, or a basket of puffy sopapillas. In fact, some places will even make up sopapillas shapes for you (or at least, they did for me), like the Florida lobster-shaped one pictured here. I was tempted to make it my pet but instead twisted off a few of its legs, drenched them with honey, and made it my dessert.
Gummy bears come in hues of turquoise, peach, and chartreuse. Frito pies can even be found on the menu of high-end restaurants. Expect guacamole on salmon and blackberry and jalapeño in the glaze. In the milk shakes, you'll find pumpkin, coconut, blood orange, and basil.
Freelance writer Riki Altman eats everything that won't try and eat her first (with exceptions, of course) and dates younger men, older men, and older men who act like young men, along with locals, tourists, illegal aliens and just plain aliens. Love Bites is a compilation of what happens when her dining and dating ordeals collide. Sometimes, it just ain't pretty.