Vegetarian restaurants in Albuquerque
For more than a quarter century, award-winning journalist Charles Kuralt had the type of job any aspiring sojourner would envy. He hit the road on a motor home, crisscrossing the fruited plains where waving fields of wheat passed in review and snow-capped mountains reached for cobalt colored skies. Observing that “thanks to the interstate highway system, it is now possible to travel from coast to coast without seeing anything, ” Kuralt avoided the interstates, instead traversing America’s back roads and byways in search of real people with interesting stories to tell.
Kuralt loved New Mexico, which he noted in his terrific tome America, is really a misnomer. In his estimation, New Mexico “should be called Precambria for the sea that crashed upon its shores for tens of millions of years, or Mastadonia, for the mammals that later roamed its plains..; or Sandia for the mountain where the camp of an ice age hunter, the earliest known American was found in a cave…New Mexico is old, stupendously old and dry and brown, and wind-worn by the ages.”
Kuralt also loved the cuisine of the Land of Enchantment. In his book America, he declared the Own Cafe in San Antonio, New Mexico “one of the best food tips” he’d ever gotten. During his peridoc visits to the Duke City, the peripatetic wanderer also frequented Old Town’s La Placita restaurant which he considered one of his favorite feeding stations. In 1988, the legendary newsman featured El Patio in a CBS “Sunday Morning On The Road” segment.
El Patio was then but ten years old, but already becoming a formidable presence in the Duke City dining scene. It was then one of the few New Mexican restaurants in the UNM area, but that wasn’t solely the reason it garnered rave reviews and legions of loyal fans. Discerning UNM students appreciated the authenticity and deliciousness of the food; for many of them, it represented a home away from home where they could get cooking as good or better than mom’s. Those former students have raised a generation, many of whom followed their parents to UNM and to El Patio.
El Patio is ensconced in a converted home just south of Central Avenue on Harvard Drive. A telltale sign you’ve made it to the popular restaurant on this relatively low traffic drive is the can’t miss Taos blue Mexican picket fence. Beyond the fence lies the patio (El Patio), essentially the entire front yard, which is shaded by tall trees, a welcome respite from the sun’s heating rays. El Patio’s patio also welcomes dogs.
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Mama's Vegetarian, 18 S 20th St. Philadelphia, PA. 19103, (215) 751-0477.