The Unique Spirit of the Southwest is Alive in Albuquerque
This oft-overlooked Southwest destination is on the rise, offering offbeat travel for foodies, wine lovers and those who celebrate the almighty chile.
By Nils Bernstein
Frontier Restaurant / Photo by Patrick Coulie
In recent years, Albuquerque, New Mexico, may have become best known as the rough-and-tumble setting of the hit show Breaking Bad. But this city, which straddles the Rio Grande in the shadow of the Sandía Mountains, is more than just a television backdrop. Albuquerque captures all the Southwest has to offer, and provides visitors the opportunity to fully experience (and taste) the real New Mexico, both past and present.
Where to Eat
New Mexican cuisine is a hybrid of Native American and Northern Mexican styles that differs considerably from its eastern neighbor, Tex-Mex. The food of the region centers around “chile,” which refers to both the native New Mexico chile pepper—sometimes referred to as Hatch chile—and the green (fresh) and red (dried) chile sauces made from it. If someone asks “red or green,” they’re asking which sauce you want over your dish, and New Mexicans do put it on everything. The smart answer for a newbie is “Christmas,” or half and half.
A fan of sweet wines, sour beers, and old-school Rioja, Bernstein is an exhaustive traveler in search of new and unsung chefs and restaurants, innovative wine and food pairings, and eating and drinking at the source. In addition to Wine Enthusiast, Bernstein has written for Bon Appetit, Men’s Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Hemispheres, and Kinfolk, among others.