Indispensable: Food Lovers Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos

If it’s possible to have a food twin, I’ve met mine. Albuquerque food writer Andrea Feucht is my culinary doppelganger. I just want to say, “Ditto,” to most of the entries in her just-released book, Food Lovers Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos (Globe Pequot 2013). Not only is she spot-on about almost everything, she even came up with a few places in the 350 page book, that are new to us and we plan to try them, soon.

Food Lovers Guide to Albuquerque Santa Fe and Taos

Food Lovers’ Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos by Andrea Feucht, photo/courtesy Globe Pequot Press

Not only does this self-confessed food obsessive enjoy eating, she can articulately tell you why. One evening over food and wine we talked about the local food scene, life and much more including this indispensable food guide. This newly released book is a great resource for both locals and visitors who loves good food and want to know where to go to get it.

Getting to New Mexico

Feucht, who hails from the mid-west, first came to the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque for a college exchange program. She wanted to see the west. Her first choice, Moskow, Idaho, didn’t work out. This rerouting changed her life. Her first morning in NM, she was dragged to the Frontier, a landmark Albuquerque café. She was told she was in NM and had to order a breakfast burrito with green chile. She was warned it was spicy hot, that she might not like it at first, that she’d feel it the next day and that she’d get addicted. “Every single part of that was true,” she said.

food lovers guide to santa fe albuquerque and taos
Santa Fe’s Geronimo, where it all sort of started photo/Steve Collins

Evolution of a foodie

“I was not into food,” Feucht said. With the guidance of her roommate, Erik, she gradually started dipping her toes into the local food scene. She was astounded when he came home after dinner at Geronimo, a high end eatery, one night. The bill for four was $300. “I was horrified. Seventy-five dollars a person? That’s crazy,” she said at the time. She’s come a long way. She now enjoys eating across the food spectrum, both food and money-wise, appreciating each meal for what it is.

About the time she was beginning to get into food and cooking, a new Albuquerque City website called Duke City Fix popped up. She offered to be their restaurant reviewer, got the job and was hooked. By day, this passionate foodie tests codes in new software programs for a local company. In her off-time, she writes about food and other topics for a number of New Mexico publications including: Edible, Albuquerque The Magazine and New Mexico Magazine.

What excites her most about food is, “when a chef can take an ingredient that someone thinks they hate,and completely undo that bad memory.”  Her examples of overcooked liver and mushy lima beans could have been mine. Or perhaps, there was something else you were forced to eat as a child and won’t eat  now. We all have these memories. This food adventurer is past that point now. She’ll try anything.

food lovers guide tp santa fe albuquerque and taos

Mary & Tito’s, Albuquerque, photo Steve Collins

The Book

When Globe Pequot approached her, they didn’t get an immediate “Yes.” Feucht, an organized and methodical person, contacted food writers around the USA who’d penned other guides in the series. They all responded that, while this was a lot of work, they’d do it again. She signed on. One of the issues was the publisher’s short turn-around time for the book: 10 weeks. Feucht’s focus and determination served her well here. She completed this huge task a day early. She had to. She was leaving for China on the day the book was due. “The deadline was hard,” she shared. The last three weeks she worked her full time job and wrote six to seven hours a day. Sleep wasn’t on the table. She’s proud that she successfully completed this big task on deadline and rightly so.

Feucht included the places that she likes and eats in herself. Her criteria for judging a restaurant: “Is a place good relative to their own genre and are they good relative to what they say they’re doing?” When reviewing, she’ll give four stars to a place that is great within their niche. While researching the book, she worked to get a sense of the food and ambiance on the minimal amount of dishes possible. She often went with small plates; there were a lot of leftovers. This eating orgy got paid for by the advance from her publisher.

She was ahead of the game in Albuquerque; she’s been covering the city’s dining scene for years and knows it well. For Santa Fe and Taos, she reached out to foodie friends.  “What’s happening, where should I go?” became standard questions. She says her Santa Fe and Taos dining list was largely “curated” by Santa Fe foodie, Nouf Al-Qasimi.  Overall, Al-Qasimi did a great job. She hit many of the places that would have been on our list.

food lovers' guide to new mexico

Andrea Feucht, self-confessed coffee junkie with a cup of Joe in hand, photo/courtesy Andrea Feucht

The book is mostly a tried and true template, but Feucht was given some latitude. The tried and true sections, Foodie Faves; Landmarks; Specialty Stores, Markets & Producers; Learn to Cook and Recipes are found in all Food Lovers’ Guides.  Her personal touches are the sections under each locale called, All Chile All the Time and what she calls “an homage to coffee.” She’s a self-confessed coffee junkie. Read the interspersed sidebars (the sections in the turquoise borders), for great dining tidbits. She includes a few off-the-beaten path recommendations such as stopping at Pie Town and Silver City if you’re heading to southern New Mexico. There are a lot of interesting places to check out. “The most exciting food in the state” is in Silver City.” She cites the chef at The Curious Kumquat (p 118) and thinks he’s one of the most innovative chefs in the country. With a recommendation like that, we’ll be heading that way.

food lovers guide to santa fe albuquerque and taos

Love Apple, Feucht’s favorite Taos dining spot features fresh and local when possible, photo/Steve Collins

These days, there’s an issue with print guide books. As soon as the book is at the printer, the dining scene has already changed. That is especially true in the current economy. Some of the places in the book are gone; there are new ones that have opened. Feucht will try to keep readers updated on the Food Lovers, NM website.

Andrea Feucht has a bit of a mission. She hopes to turn people on to the value of the local food scene. “Even if you’ve lived here a very long time, there are a lot of places worth seeking out,” she said. She also encourages people to expand their dining horizons. “If you eat in the same place all the time, try a new dish. If you’re a big fan of Thai, try Vietnamese.” It’s great advice. The book reminded me that there are some great places we know that have gotten off our radar. We’ll get them back on.

“I’m a little bit jaded,” she said.  She’s been to a lot of places and had a lot of good (and bad) meals “I wish I could get a little of that beginner aspect back.” As long time foodies, we know that the magic will reappear. There’s just so much good food out there to experience.

Have you read the Food Lovers Guide to Albuquerque Santa Fe and Taos? Any new finds for you? Are your faves in there? If not, share them in our comment section below.

If you want to keep up on Santa Fe (and sometimes Taos and Albuquerque) dining, read Santa Fe’s ongoing Tuesday feature, Tidbits. We always love hearing dining news if you have it, send it along. Our weekly Food Thoughts offers a more in depth  look at the Northern New Mexico food scene and the people who make it so exciting.

 

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6 Responses to “Indispensable: Food Lovers Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos”

  1. Andrea
    March 12, 2019 at 9:28 am #

    Thank you! It was a wonderful evening and a pleasure to chat food with you both for hours and hours!

  2. Warren Bobrow
    March 12, 2019 at 10:19 am #

    I recently found myself in Santa Fe by invitation of dear friends who live there. The diversity of cuisine and exemplification of flavor is like no where else I’ve ever tasted in this country.
    What an amazing place to be in the liquor industry and drink Tequila and Mezcal!

    What a trip!
    Warren Bobrow recently posted..Here’s a little something to split your mind wide open…My Profile

    • Billie Frank
      March 12, 2019 at 4:04 pm #

      It’s an amazing place to be in general.

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