You may have seen that Mu Du Noodles, our 2010-2011 Restaurant of the Year, is closing. It’s true. After more than 20 years in business, Mu Jing Lau is hanging up her chef's toque. The restaurant will only be open a few more days, so call now (983-1411) to see if you can get in.

Put this on your calendar: There's now a Wednesday night farmers market at the Railyard, from 4-8 pm. Slip out of work early next Wednesday and grab some dinner-makings! Remember street parking and the surface parking lots are free starting at 6 pm.

I don't know what movie or TV show has been filming downtown lately, but it has made a few of my favorite watering holes off limits. Gah! Not to fear Boxcar is still open and accessible. Have you tried the "Not Your Salty Dog"? I tried one on a recent evening when the bar was pretty busy (probably catching bar traffic foiled by the filming) and it was delightful. Yes, it involves watermelon. Don't freak out. It's moderated by tart grapefruit juice.

Try this at home:

  • 2 parts gin
  • 1/2 to 3/4 part St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 part watermelon juice
  • 1 part red grapefruit juice

It's also good with tequila instead of gin, a little lime juice in there and maybe a little simple syrup to sweeten it without the elderflower. I made two giant jugs of this perro salado for the sendoff of our beloved copy editor, Joe. We're gonna miss you, Joe! Hiccup.

Boxcar makes the Not Your Salty Dog with Wheeler's Gin, a bottle of which I recently purloined from the SFR office (Thanks guys!) It's really different, but I like it. It's made by Santa Fe Spirits and I tasted it before reading that it's made with juniper, hop flowers, osha root, cactus blossoms and sage. Amazingly, it kind of tastes desert-y, even sagey.

"I'm not sure this is a gin drinker's gin," my dude says. But he is not a gin lover. And when I made two G&Ts, one with Wheeler's and one with Bombay Sapphire, he opted to keep the Wheeler's without knowing which was which.

I find the Wheeler's less floral and less spicy than the Bombay Sapphire, less reminiscent of traditional gin. That's probably why he likes it. Anyway, if you're out and about and you see this up on the shelf, give it a shot. Or pick up a bottle and try some of these recipes.

I also stole a stack of interesting books from the office. Local author Greg Mays' "New Mexico Cocktails" is cool because it's illustrated with old photos of local watering holes. It'll make you want to wander back in time and mosey up to the Spurs Saloon in Vaughn or tie your horse to a post next to the Higgins and Higgins Bar in Mogollon. The recipes aren't necessarily avant-garde, but the book does include some good information about local spirits (Wheeler's Gin is in there, for example).

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