Brunch, Balloons and Burgers

Hey y'all!

A very wise college friend once said, "Brunch and church have a lot of the same letters, so it's pretty much the same thing."

She was being facetious (I think), but in my adult life, brunch has indeed become a ritual. A group of friends and I gather every few weeks or so to eat, laugh and, most importantly, day-drink. It can be hard, though, to balance everyone's dietary concerns. One of my go-tos addresses at least most of the menu issues our group faces: chile relleno breakfast casserole is low-carb, gluten-free and totally tasty.

Chile Relleno Breakfast Casserole

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. whole green chiles (I use freshly roasted Hatch chiles from the Farmers Market, but canned jalapeños work in a bind.)
  • 8 oz shredded cheddar jack cheese
  • 4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8-by-8 baking pan.
  2. Cut chiles in half lengthwise so they lay flat.
  3. Arrange half of the chiles in the bottom of the pan in a single layer.
  4. Top with cheddar jack cheese.
  5. Arrange remaining peppers on top of cheese.
  6. Beat eggs until pale yellow, then add cream and salt. Pour over chiles and cheese.
  7. Top with cheddar.
  8. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
  9. Allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting.

This recipe is not only perfect to bring to a social function, but it also keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days, making it a delicious addition to your meal prep plan.

Forkin’ Around

Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta kicks off this weekend. You gotta go at least once—it's the most photographed event in the world for a reason. Liftoff is painfully early, especially when you factor in the drive. Luckily, ABQ foodies are bringing their A-game for the next two weekends, so getting up early doesn't have to suck quite as much.

Good news, though, for sleepy Santa Feans wanting to join the festivities: On fiesta weekends, there is a combo Balloon Fiesta ticket and all-zone Rail Runner ticket and a shuttle running to Balloon Fiesta Park from the train station, so you can maybe nap on the way there. It's $12 for kids age 6-12, $20 for seniors, $25 for the rest of us, and kids 5 and under are free. All the info is at riometro.org.

Steel Bender Brewyard (8305 Second St. NW, Albuquerque, 433-3537) is hosting Breakfast, Balloons and Brews in their beer garden for the entire two-week event, October 7-15. They'll open at 7 am on both Saturdays and 8 am the rest of the time, with breakfast burritos, pastries, quiche, gourmet hot chocolate and, of course, beer, including two special releases on Saturday the 7 and Tuesday the 10. Keep an eye on their parking lot, where there are likely to be balloon landings.

If you're more of an afternoon person, you can still experience Albuquerque's food scene with a progressive food tour from Food Tour New Mexico (465-9474). $73 gets you three hours of food paired with craft beer, margaritas and New Mexican history in Old Town. If you're still going through your frat bro phase, head over to Sandbar Brewery and Grill (4100 San Mateo Blvd., Albuquerque, 404-8920) to try your hand at giant beer pong, which is apparently a thing. Email info@thesandbarandgrill.com to reserve one of the limited spots—registration is $20, and teams are capped at two members.

News Bites

Bye bye burger! 5 Star Burgers (604 N Guadalupe St.) closed up shop Sunday, surprising burger enthusiasts and employees alike. Who knew one unpaid bill could put such a staple out of business? (Though they say the governor’s dine-and-dash had nothing to do with the closing.) But don’t freak out: You can still get your burger-of-the-month fix at locations in Albuquerque or Taos.

Rick and Morty fans: the Szechuan sauce cometh, but not for long. According to the corporate website, one of our McDonald's (1007 S St. Francis Drive, 984-1490) will have the seminal sauce on Saturday, Oct. 7, for dine-in orders. I've reached out to local managers several times to no avail—where's a Mr. Meseeks when you need one?

Thank goodness it's almost the weekend—I need my brunch fix. Where has the best brunch in town? I'm always looking for a new spot to try!

That's all for this week. Until next time!

Eli

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