Fork & Fig

 Shall we try real time blogging?

Caroline: We are here at Fork & Fig, a small and modern place… reminds me of something you might see in San Francisco.


Ann: I’m starving, let’s order. The soup de jour is a chicken coconut green curry; that’s sound good with my order of tomato chicken sammy (sandwich).

C: Sitting at the counter and watching the chef cook is really cool… The grilled zucchini looks like it’s topped with chimichurri. The silverware looks fancy but–hey!– it’s plastic! That’s neat.

A: What are you getting Cari?

C: I’m starving so I’m going for the ribeye wrap and the potato gnocchi side.


A: Wow, that was a quick 10 minutes…. Here we go!


C: I really like this gnocchi!

A: I really like this soup; it’s got a small kick and I like the addition of sweet corn. And, there’s real shredded coconut!



A: Hey! Cari take a more flattering photo of me!


C: Yum! Pretty good food…. I have finally found a gnocchi dish I like. The ribeye in my wrap is a solid medium rare. One critique though: the balsamic reduction in my wrap is not very well dispersed. Other than that though, good food! How is yours?

A: I like the brioche bun and the grilled chicken is tasty. The alfalfa sprouts give it a nice earthy flavor. But where’s the tomato? 

C: It comes with tomato relish, Mom.

A: Let’s see (opens sandwich)… It needs more relish.

C: If this place expands their menu, I think they’d be a good alternative to The Grove.

A: I give this place a 3-4 out 5. Not quite The Grove but a nice alternative if one is by Cottonwood Mall and needs some sustenance. What about you?

C: Like a 4 out 5. Maybe an 83 out of 100. Wow look at that corn! I am definitely ordering the cojito corn as a side next time. Anyways I’m stuffed and I need a box.

A: Yeah, those burgers look really delicious! Let’s be sure to bring the boys next time! 

C: And order dessert! I’m too full right now but this week’s warm walnut bar with cream sauce sounds good. We’ll definitely be back.


Date visited: April 18, 2015

Fork & Fig website

Ajiaco Colombian Bistro

Ajiaco, bowl of hot chicken soup

For our family, Saturday nights are for dining out. After a hectic week of work, juggling kids’ schedules, and preparing dinner every night, I really look forward to this evening relaxing and enjoying our family time together while we dine. Luckily for us, our kids are adventurous eaters and my daughter is always looking for new places to try. She came across AJIACO, a Colombian bistro, which opened about 3 months ago.

This very little bistro is located in Nob Hill right next to one of my favorite places, P’tit Louis. With the clever use of colors, the bright green walls, orange chairs and light oak tables and benches, the space opens up nicely. Colombian sombreros, photos of Bogotá, and coffee beans sacks provide appropriate décor. The place sits about 30 -35 people in two areas with a view of open kitchen blasting very hip dance music, keeping the rhythm of the place very lively.


Ajiaco means chicken soup. While we did not order the chicken soup, we were very satisfied with our choices. My daughter had read about arepas, corn cakes, which are hugely popular in Colombian and other South American countries- so we definitely ordered some of those. She was also in the mood for fruit juices and went for the guanabana also know as soursop. The flavor can be described as a combination of strawberry and pineapple, with sour citrus flavor notes contrasting with underlying creamy hints of coconut and banana. There was also a very subtle curious odor that made me sniff several times to try and identify it but in the end I was not able to. My daughter liked it but I think I will order the passion fruit or the lulo, small orange, fruit drink next time.

Guanabana- soursop

Beef and chicken empanadas (the green chile ones were sold out) were served with a mildly spicy salsa. We dipped fried, smashed plantains in another salsa, which was not spicy but very tasty, good on arepas, too.

Ajiaco Colombian Bistro
Chicken and Beef Empanadas

We shared two entrees both of which were very filling. The patacon con ropa vieja consisted of shredded beef served on top of fried plantains and a side of stewed beans. Our favorite was the pollo a la plancha, the grilled chicken and pineapple, rice and small side salad dressed with tangy, fresh, citrus dressing.

Ajiaco Colombian Bistro
Top left to bottom right: smashed fried plantains, pollo a la plancha, arepa, patacon con ropa vieja

No room for dessert so we will have to come back another time. I was very happy to see that they serve Villa Myriam coffee roasted by two very nice Colombian brothers. Although only open for a few months, this little bistro seems to be doing well and I wish them the best. I just love it when restaurants like this open up so that my family can have the opportunity to expand their palates and enjoy foods from another country. We will definitely go back and when I do I will be ordering AJIACO!

Date visited: January 17, 2015

Ajiaco Colombian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Green Chile Season

Hatch green chiles
Hatch green chiles

August is the hottest month here in New Mexico- I don’t mean temperature, I mean flavor. It’s the start of the chile season, the New Mexican green chile season, and this year it’s a hot one. The best way to enjoy the green is to actively participate as many of us do. So, right now people are roasting lots of green, cleaning lots of green, and eating lots of green or all of the above. The tradition is to buy a large burlap bag or two full of fresh, green chiles (one bag or case is about 25 pounds), roast them, invite your friends over for a clean and peel party, and afterwards celebrate with a green chile meal. What’s not eaten is immediately packed into quart size bags and frozen so you have your own personal stash to feast on all year. Of course, you can always be passive and just buy prepared frozen green chile from the grocery store…but… it’s the personal touch that makes everything taste much better!

Roasted green chiles
This is where we got our medium hot green chiles this year. Chiles are also available at Whole Foods, Farmers Market and Sprouts.
Preparing green chile
Top to bottom, left to right: Roasted chiles, remove charred skins and seeds under running water, final product which is ready to eat
Preparing green chile
Even the kids get involved!
Peeled and seeded roasted green chiles
Ready for eating and storing

Watch video on how chiles are roasted:

You can put green chile in almost anything- throw them into salads, scramble them with eggs, layer them in your sandwiches, fold them into mashed potatoes, and I bet green chile in a maki roll would also be tasty. One of our favorite ways to prepare green chile is called chile verde. This is the New Mex equivalent of the Italian roasted red peppers served on many antipasti plates. Simple ingredients- coarsely chopped green chiles, minced garlic, salt to taste and some olive oil- come together to make the perfect addition to any meal as a side dish or as a topping.

Chile Verde
Chile Verde

Another family favorite is green chile stew served with blue cornbread. I learned to make this about 18 years ago when I took a Jane Butel cooking class during one of my visits to Albuquerque. This version of stew uses pork and does not have potatoes. I usually make it the day before I serve it allowing the flavors to develop for 24 hours or so. The slight sweetness of the corn kernels and creamy cheesiness in the blue cornbread pair perfectly with the spicy green chile stew. Don’t forget the tortillas for scooping up the sauce!

Green chile stew and blue cornbread
Green Chile Stew and blue cornbread

Now that the green chile is safely tucked away in my freezer, I’m ready for the PEACH HARVEST! Stay tuned in for my next post on the delicious fuzzy fruit.

New Mexican Goodness at Padilla’s Mexican Kitchen

Padilla's- New Mexican food

My earliest memory of dining on New Mexican food in Albuquerque is at Padilla’s. Many years ago, when we would visit Albuquerque (we lived in Texas then), my brother-in-law would take us to Padilla’s for a meal. The 1960-70ish style restaurant is located in a small shopping strip in the UNM area. This is a favorite of the locals. Frequently, during the lunch hour it’s very busy and people wait patiently for the opportunity to dine on New Mexican goodness. This past weekend, the same brother-in-law, who now lives out of state, was in town visiting so we gathered at Padilla’s for a family dinner.

Padilla's- New Mexican food
One of two dining rooms

Having spent decades eating Tex Mex, I really prefer New Mex to Tex Mex. For me it’s all about the flavor of the chiles (I like both red and green)… and the soft, pillowy sopaipillas. Padilla’s serves up some of the best. Their menu items have all the favorites such as chile relleno, burritos, huevos rancheros, tacos, tamales, carnitas, and quelites (green leafy veggies). For our family, the enchiladas are always a favorite as well as the carne adovada. The carne adovada is served as a special on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I love anything blue corn so I usually get the blue corn enchiladas with carne but I’ve had their bowl of green chile which made my mouth plenty fiery hot. If you can’t make up your mind there’s always the combo platter, which has a taco, tamale and enchilada. I just learned that Padilla’s sells their tamales by the dozen, frozen or ready to serve. I’ll be ordering tamales from Padilla’s this holiday season!

Padilla's- New Mexican food
Blue Corn Enchiladas con carne and green chile
Padilla's- New Mexican food
Carne Adovada Burrito Dinner
Padilla's- New Mexican food
Carne Adovada Dinner
Padilla's- New Mexican food
Combination Plate with green chile

Now, more on the sopaipillas…these are some of the best in town…soft, pillowy, and thin-skinned. Just the sight of them brings on a surge of endorphins. When the basket of sopaipillas is brought out, the “ooohhhs and aaahhhs” start up as we all get that oh-so-good feeling inside. Padilla’s serves stuffed savory sopaipillas but I love to eat mine drizzled with honey. My MO is to fill myself to the max with sopaipillas as a dessert. Padilla’s sopaipillas are rectangular and a little larger than some other places. In order to get the honey in between the layers, I open it up right in the middle instead of at a corner. Rocking the sopaipilla back and forth as I drizzle helps distribute the honey evenly throughout so I can enjoy the sweetness with every bite. When it comes to sopaipillas, no one is shy to claim the last one!

Padilla's- New Mexican food
Beautiful Sopaipillas

Padilla's- New Mexican food

If you haven’t dined at Padilla’s yet make it a point to go for your next New Mexican meal. And better yet, next time a friend or family member visits take them to Padilla’s and let them experience New Mexican goodness.

Last visited: August 11, 2014

Padilla's Mexican Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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