Tramways, Breweries, Rattlesnakes and More in Albuquerque

Hi friends,

So these past few days have been a whirlwind, but I wanted to try to get stuff down as it’s happening, so I’ll do my best to get through this post (even though my eyes are drooping as I type — so please forgive any typos!). The good people at the Albuquerque Convention & Visitors Bureau so kindly invited me out to New Mexico for a press trip, which of course I happily accepted. I flew out early Monday morning and arrived around 5 p.m. Monday evening.

And I’ve been on the go ever since.

So of course I have about 1,000 photos to share, and I figured the best way to go about this (at least the first two-days’ worth) is to explain via photo what I’ve done so far on my trip. For starters, I’m staying at Hotel Andaluz, which is located conveniently in downtown Albuquerque and is so stunningly modern and wonderful I can’t stand it. I’ll be having dinner at the restaurant here tomorrow night, too, so I’ll be sure to share how that goes.

Anyway, on to a bit of what I’ve seen so far. Hold on to your hats kids — it’s been a wild two days!

Monday night, after I picked up my (upgraded) rental car from the airport, I made my way to the hotel to check in, and then pretty much right over to Sadie’s of New Mexico, where I met and had dinner with Jim Garcia, the VP of Operations. You can read a little bit about Sadie’s here, but just know that the restaurant is a bit of an institution here in Albuquerque, and what started out as one tiny Mexican restaurant with room for 35 people has grown into a chain with four different locations. Besides the tasty food [I tried the salsa, cheese con case, guacamole, the “Amanda” salad (with nuts, raisins and avocado, served with a chili dressing) and the Sopaipillas (after Jim pointed out that I’m probably the first person to ever eat at Sadie’s who didn’t actually know what a Sopaipilla was)], Jim also took me to their back outdoor area to actually teach me how to properly cook a chili pepper.

Allow me to demonstrate via photos:

_DSC6661^^ Jim used his fancy, restaurant-grade oven to grill the peppers, but you can use your broiler, taking care to turn the chili’s every couple minutes so that every side gets even attention.

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_DSC6679^^ When they’re done, you can place them in a restaurant-grade plastic bag (which won’t melt) to let them cool (or to freeze them if you don’t want to eat them right away).

_DSC6681^^ They look like this when they’re done.

_DSC6683^^ In a tin of lukewarm water, soak the pepper and remove the outer burnt skin with your hands. You’ll be amazed how easily it comes off. Afterwards simply remove the seeds inside, and you’re good to go! You can eat them plain, or with some garlic, salt and pepper — or you could do something entirely delicious and fill them with melted cheese. Yum!

_DSC6689^^ How cute are these hot air balloon Sopaipillas?! Jim had a welder friend of his make the mold just that morning.

And that was about it for Sadie’s, friends. After an entire day of traveling, I was exhausted and ready to get back to that comfy bed of mine for some sleep. If you are in town, and you do happen to stop by Sadie’s, just know that the restaurant at the location I went to (on 4th Street), isn’t in the greatest part of town. It’s something to keep in mind, if you’re by yourself and leaving late at night.

So today. It was up and at ’em super early to meet with some people over at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, which I was really excited about. When I was a senior in college I spent my spring break in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, working with the Cherokee Nation HeadStart program. I think Native America culture is beautiful and inspiring, and I find their culture, artwork, food, etc. entirely amazing.

Besides eating an amazing breakfast at the Pueblo Harvest Cafe — including Atole (a traditional Pueblo dish of blue corn porridge, with golden raisins, dried prunes, cranberries and nut mix, served with brown sugar and milk), Blue Cornmeal Pancakes with a fruit compote, eggs, beans and both green and red chili sauce — I also was escorted throughout the center to take in some of the beautiful artwork.

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_DSC6694^^ Who’s hungry 😉

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_DSC6722^^ The IPCC has started a garden on their grounds as well, which they have the kids work on in the summer as part of their camp experience.

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After spending the morning at the IPCC, I drove down and parked in Old Town — a historic district dating back to the founding of the city by the Spanish in 1706. The area is really cute and quaint (it reminded me a bit of the old section of town in St. Augustine, Florida, actually). There are a ton of souvenir shops and vendors selling their goods, plus it’s close to a whole bunch of museums, and the public parking is ONE DOLLAR per hour! It doesn’t get any better than that …

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_DSC6751^^ San Felipe de Neri church

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_DSC6758^^ Don’t ask what came over me, friends, but somehow I ended up in the American Rattlesnake Museum — an animal conservation museum devoted to snakes, particularly rattlesnakes, and to rattlesnake education. Honestly, though, some of the snakes were pretty beautiful …

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After Old Town I had lunch at Golden Crown Panaderia, where their personal veggie pizza with blue corn crust, biscochito cookies and coffee milkshakes are to-die-for. On a full and happy stomach, I tried to head over to the Sandia Peak Tramway, but it’s closed from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. every Tuesday for routine maintenance. This is a good thing to keep in mind, my friends, since it’s a bit out of the way and you would hate to drive all the way out there only to have to turn right back around, like I did.

So to kill some time I headed back into town and over to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science [which does a pretty great job at explaining the environmental changes in New Mexico throughout all of history], before then heading over to Nexus Brewery to meet with Managing Partner Ken Carson, who thoroughly hooked me up with both food and drinks while we chatted:

_DSC6776^^ The Nexus beer brewing system at work.

_DSC6779^^ Fried pickle heaven.

_DSC6783^^ My glorious beer tasting flight. The blueberry wheat beer was my absolute favorite.

_DSC6785^^ Fish tacos, which I ate along with red and green chili empanadas. And the fried pickles. And fried okra. Hey, I never said I’m one to turn down an awesome meal.

_DSC6786^^ Fried okra.

After the brewery it was off to (finally) head up the Sandia Peak Tramway. The Tramway is an aerial tramway located adjacent to Albuquerque, and it stretches from the northeast edge of the city to the crestline of the Sandia Mountains and has the world’s third longest single span.

And let me tell you — waiting until after 5 paid off because ohmygee those sunset views!
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So, friends, despite the fact that it was about 45 degrees up there, with a windchill of about 19, and I was woefully unprepared (hello, dress flapping in the wind), it was still worth all 15 freezing minutes of it.

And that, my friends, has been my Monday and Tuesday. I know what adventures lie in wait for me tomorrow (or today, I should say) and Thursday, my last day here, but I’ll surprise you with those.

For now, bis bald friends! And add Albuquerque to your list of must-visit places!

4 thoughts on “Tramways, Breweries, Rattlesnakes and More in Albuquerque

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