It's coming, and there's nothing you can do to stop it. You can feel it in the streets and in every "let's just leave the window open tonight" mistake. Fall is on the horizon and soon it'll be that thing where everyone you know and love responds to texts with "I'm just gonna stay in tonight." We do it, too. Sorry, everyone.
But it's not all bad, y'know? Like, there are some good things about fall and winter here, and lots of them are food-related.
It's also OK to start downing hot chocolates regularly again. We recommend The Teahouse for some great ones or, if you're nasty (in a Janet Jackson way, not in a gross way), Kakawa's elixirs are both hot and chocolatey, but you also get to feel like a worldly citizen of planet Earth with fanciful tastes.
It also becomes pumpkin spice time 'o' year, but The Fork has had it with that biz. We had had it a long time ago, actually. There are just so many dumb versions. A friend even told us the other day that he saw pumpkin spice Frosted Flakes—and considering that cereal is firmly aimed at kids, we aren't sure what kind of white nonsense they're tryin' to perpetrate. Y'know, because kids don't care about pumpkin spice? And because they don't like when people mess with the flavors they know and love? I mean, shit, if they're eating anything besides chicken fingers it's a victory, but daaaaaaaaang.
What do you do in the fall when it comes to food? Y'all busting out slow cookers and sweaters and stuff? Let us know, because we like slow-cooked things and sweaters.
Who hasn't been out in the world snapping shots of their meals of late? We do it, you do it—it's happening, don't fight it. But how to make it worth one's while beyond social media comments from your mom (that she also signs "Mom" for some reason)?
Enter our Food Foto Contest!
First off, we know that's not how you spell "photo," just chil. Secondly, here's the rules:
-It's $5 per photo to enter, and there's no limit to the number of photo submissions.
-There are prizes, fancy ones—$200 worth, as a matter of fact.
-Please include caption information including when and where the photograph was taken, and the chef, mixologist and/or restaurant if applicable. Make sure it's from a New Mexico place. Sorry, out-of-staters.
-We ain't tryin' to accept your physical photos, so submit electronically (link coming up) at 300 dpi. If you don't know what that means, click here.
-Have fun. Or don't. We're not your mom. And if we were, we'd do that comment thing from before.
Enter the contest here.
-File this one under "getting chile stuff done across arbitrary borders," but chef Arthur Gonzalez (a longtime fan of chile) of Panxa Cocina in Long Beach, California, has chosen to donate some of his September profits to New Mexico State University's Chile Pepper Institute, a very cool and very real arm of the school that seeks to educate its students in the ways of chile. Gonzalez wants to educate his diners and employees, too—also in the ways of chile.
-It's Albuquerque, but whatevs—Vinaigrette owner Erin Wade opens her newest eatery dubbed The Feel Good this Friday. Dang, Wade is really doing a lot of stuff lately, but we're all about it because her food is often soooooooo good. Here's a map to the new spot.
-Have you been by that place at Guadalupe and Cerrillos called Derailed? It's attached to the Sage Inn? It used to be a McDonald's right there years ago? It's across from the Railyard Park? It's a restaurant? Have you? Well, whether or not you have, the place has rebranded as Social Kitchen and Bar. We hear the menu can now be described as "South by Southwest," which doesn't mean a bunch of no-name bands will show up hoping to make it big, but rather that flavors from the South and Southwest converge in bowl, basket and plate form.
-The Fork received an in-the-mail letter from a seafood lover in search of live lobsters. Well, we put on our deerstalker hat and got down to investigating, and here's what we've learned: A very nice guy from local seafood wholesaler Above Sea Level told us that he really just does the wholesale thing, but that there are numerous websites that will ship in a quick fashion. He did, however, point out that seafood.com (which we won't even link here) tends to gouge with their prices. Further, he told us that you'll have to pay a by-the-pound cost and the cost of the fancy box they ship with. Talin Market in Albuquerque may just have some live lobsters, but this very nice guy from the wholesale place said to keep in mind that even though a lobster looks big because of its shell, that doesn't mean its meat is equally big, especially since they tend to eat less once caught—fresh is the name of the game.
¡TRUE STORY ALERT!
As it happens, the chef who worked the sushi bar at this restaurant, a very nice older Japanese man named Fuji, was a big fan of my father's—even though dad had gotten extremely drunk at his previous birthday dinner and attempted to steal a neon fish sign off the wall (to which a very pleasant waitress said, "Sir, you are mistaken. This fish is not for you.") and had prepared something special for the big day: a live lobster.
But all was not as it seemed.
As we sat down, Fuji presented the massive sea creature, smiled at my father and, without breaking eye contact for even a second, proceeded to twist its tail all the way around with a horrible crack. He then sliced down along the entire length of the tail, tore it open and placed it in front of dad, still smiling. The Fork was young and petrified, and so thought there was no way he'd eat it. Dad, however, having lived in Japan and adopted many of its customary politeness, felt it would be rude to not accept such a gift.
"I will leave you if you eat that," mom said, disgusted. "I will straight-up leave you."
Whispering from the corner of his mouth while smiling at the chef, my father sputtered, "I can't not eat it. It would be so insulting. We could never come back." Mom got up and left without another word.
The Fork stayed, though, half because we were frozen, half because we wanted to see how it would pan out.
And so he began to eat this still-living lobster, and it was awful—the kind of thing that would thankfully never happen today in most places (at least as far as we know), but the kind of thing that one is morbidly drawn to without being able to help themselves.
Then we heard it, from down the hall, a woman's voice speaking to a child: "Now, sushi's a little different than you're used to, honey, but if you just give a couple things a try, we really think you'll like it." It was a family taking their kid to a sushi meal for the first time ever. And as the woman, daughter and father appeared in the room, they saw my father, hunched over his horrible meal—bits of lobster stuck in his beard, sweat pouring down his face, hair flying everywhere while he cried and sweat and the sea beast flailed its claws.
He turned and looked over at the little family, whose mouths were now agape. He smiled as best he could, and with his mouth full and his night ruined, he managed to choke out a nearly-silent and utterly defeated greeting:
"Hello," he said.
-And while we’re talking about Food & Wine, we also learned from them that Surge (that soda that is so much worse for you than regular sodas which is really saying something because soda is sooooo bad for you) is back, but only at Burger King. People might die, you guys.
-Elsewhere, celebrated Chef Joël Robuchon—the guy who achieved the most Michelin Stars on the planet—has died. He was 73. This has indeed been a pretty tough year for iconic people from the world of food. Food critic Jonathan Gold died a few weeks back and Anthony Bourdain also shuffled off this mortal coil. There’s a fairly intense podcast on the matter of Bourdain, depression and saying stuff to people while you still can from celeb chef David Chang floating around, too. Find it here.
-Over in Denmark, those who figure they aren’t going to have a heart attack soon enough will be delighted to learn of chef Casper Stuhr Sobczyk, who likes to age his steaks while they’re encased in butter. Good lord.
-Even worse is this burger from the folks at the Arizona Cardinals (which is a baseball team, which we know because we had to look it up because sports are dumb as hell) is about the most awful-looking thing to eat outside of a lobster that’s still alive. Why do we do this, America? Why?
-It’s an older story, but since we’re enjoying sticking it to white people for stuff like pumpkin spice (and because we hear tell that it’s happening again with people taking to Twitter to complain), it seems like some folks are beyond vexed upon encountering bay leaves in their Chipotle food. Let us try to do better, people, and that includes not whipping out your phone to tweet shit at the first sign of the slightest inconvenience or non-problem.
-Across the pond in London, the aptly-named burger and lobster joint Burger and Lobster has a burger that features lobster tails instead of buns. This is the last piece of lobster information we’re going to lay on you today because we know it’s been emotionally taxing. Still, would you try it?
With that in mind, The Fork will be compiling a list of our readers choices for most OVER-rated local eateries. Tell us who you hate and why, dear readers. People wanna know.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
Number of Letters Receieved
Well, screw you guys, then!
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (not edited for content)
“You like good breasts and Russian hot for you. Click now baby. i want to meet.”
We think they might like us!
Actually Helpful Tip (only slightly edited for content)
“Local yummy destination for me….well, not so much a destination as I get them to bring yummies directly to my door: Skarsgard Farms out of ABQ. Just had the Best peach. Ever.”
*The Fork is allergic to peaches, but the rest of all y’all should get on that!
In our print edition, get the lowdown on a local seasonal pop-up that serves up prix-fixe goodness like you wouldn’t even believe. The way we hear it, it’s like being part of a secret club that eats fresh in a non-Subway way. Make it happen.
If forking you is wrong, we don’t wanna be right
PS: Yes, that thing at the sushi restaurant actually happened and yes, our dad has problems.