2014 Souper Bowl

 Souper Bowl 2014—Saturday January 25

RR Logo

The Crowd

Every January, our popular Souper Bowl is held the weekend prior to the NFL’s Super Bowl.  Rather than a football event, this is a soup and dessert sampling event featuring more than 40 restaurants and chefs.  In addition to featuring great food, event guests can enjoy live music, a silent auction, and the knowledge they are helping us provide food for the hungry in our state.  Attendees also participate in our People’s Choice voting and vote for their favorite soup, vegetarian soup, dessert and booth.

Tickets are on sale now.  The 2014 event will take place on Sat., Jan 25 at the Food Bank’s Albuquerque branch.  The Souper Bowl hours are from 11 am to 2 pm.  Tickets are $40 for adults and $10 for children.  Tickets are available they day of the event for $45 for adults until 1 pm.

The Winners 

Everybody was a winner, especially the Roadrunner Food Bank/

People’s Choice – Soup Winners
1st Place and Souper Bowl Champion
Artichoke Café

2nd Place
The Ranchers Club of New Mexico

3rd Place

People’s Choice – Vegetarian Soup
1st Place
Flying Star

2nd Place
Bien Shur at Sandia Resort and Casino

3rd Place
Farm & Table

People’s Choice – Desserts
1st Place

The Chocolate Art Gallery

2nd Place
Theobroma Chocolatier

3rd Place
Nothing Bundt Cakes

People Choice – Best Booth
The Greenside Café

Critics’ Choice Winners

1st Place — and my personal choice for Best in Show
Mon Amis Personal Chefs
for their Caramelized Carrot Soup with Coconut Caviar

2nd Place
The Ranchers Club of New Mexico
for their Green Chile Clam Chowder

3rd Place
Forque Kitchen & Bar at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque
for their Roasted Vegetable Bisque

Thank you to everyone who attended, it was a terrific Souper Bowl 2014!

The Critic’s Choice Soup Judges  

  • Nicole Brady, KOB TV (Caleb James of KOB TV filled in for her as she is on maternity leave)
  • Carlos Duran, KOB FM’s Morning Show
  • Kiki Garcia, KOB FM’s Morning Show 
  • Tom Joles, KOB TV
  • Gil Garduño, Gil’s Thrilling (And Filling) Blog
  • Gail Guengerich, Food Writer at the Weekly Alibi
  • Larry McGoldrick, Larry’s Albuquerque Food Musings Blog, Urbanspoon Prime, and ABQ Bite
  • Grace Padilla, Mrs. Albuquerque Global Nations 2014

 Soma random photos

 Coming soon….



Souper Bowl 2014


Return to this page after the event for a
complete list of the winners in each category.


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Bouche Panorama

Third visit: January 2, 2014 
First visit: November 15, 2013 

Frans and Dolores

Frans and Dolores

On October 26, 2013, Chef Frans Dinkelmann and General Manager Dolores Welk-Jack opened their tiny new restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Ulla and Mogens Hansen’s le Cafe Miche Bistro (the Hansens are now doing their thing on Taos).  

This is a tiny place with six tables inside and four on a patio. There is no formal menu. All selections are written on a chalkboard, and change often, sometimes daily, depending on what fresh and organic  goodies they find at the markets. It is hard to classify the cuisines — the Facebook page lists American (Traditional), Barbeque, Brunch, Diners, French, Greek and Mediterranean, Italian, Mexican, Seafood, Soul Food, and Vegan as possible choices. You might not know what’s up on any day until you walk in the door. Don’t worry — it’s all fantastic.  

So. What came up on the wheel for our initial visit?  

Roasted Vegetable Stew

Roasted Vegetable Stew

Roasted vegetable stew 

This is a hearty stew that will more than satisfy you on a Fall or Winter day. It contains root vegetables: carrots, turnips, celery root, parsnips, and onions in a hearty broth that is superbly herbed.  The veggies are roasted individually because each one requires different roasting times. The chef’s attention to such details as this are his hallmark. 

You say you don’t like root vegetables? Try this and it will change your mind forever.  

Bison Short Ribs

Bison Short Ribs

Bison short ribs

Bison meat is less fatty than most other ribs.  These ribs are falling-off-the-bone tender and covered with a rich and complex reduction. They are served with a cake of polenta that is lightly crisped on the outside and not soggy on the inside. And here come the roasted vegetables: golden beets. I usually avoid beets. But I will come back here specifically for these. Incredibly good taste and texture. This plate contains an almost perfect choice of ingredients.  

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked pork tenderloin

I often cook pork tenderloins at home, and yeah, I can smoke them.  But not like Frans. This dish is brought to the table under a tight-fitting clear plastic dome. When Dorothy removed the dome, the smoky vapors set this plate apart from anything like it. Aromas are an essential component of any dish, and this one was a winner from the very start. The pork was tender, juicy, and just past the juicy pink stage. Perfect. 

And then, as usual, there were the vegetables. Brussels sprouts done the way I do them at home (I pan-roast them halved with a hint of garlic) and medallions of sweet potato completed the dish. What an amazing blend of tastes and aromas. This dish has made its way onto my Best Dishes of 2013 list.  




The fish with redundant names is usually tasteless and needs some real punching up. Well, that’s what it gets here. This lightly grilled fish sits atop a bed oh fennel and seaweed (yeah!), and is covered with a delicate beurre blanc. Deanell eschewed the rice, as would i. Deanell ate the whole thing and threatened to lick the plate clean. Ir was fabulous and cooked perfectly. 

Wagyu Brisket

Wagyu Brisket

Wagyu Beef Brisket 

Brisket is one of my favorite cuts—and  Wagyu brisket is the hands-down, best brisket I have  ever had. This popular cut, taken from the breast, lends itself to a wide variety of uses from braising to smoking to curing for corned beef. 

Traditionally, brisket is cooked long and slow to ensure the tenderness of the finished dish. Lower-grade briskets have rather lean meat and a cap of fat that can vary in thickness. Wagyu brisket has abundant marbling that bastes the meat from the inside as it cooks and a substantial fat cap that bastes the meat from the top down throughout the entire cooking process. Texans barbecue this cut, and that seems criminal to me. 

The left over potatos

The left over potatos

Frans served me a huge heap of some of the tenderest and tastiest meat that I have had in New Mexico. Falling apart tender and juicy. It is served atop a bed of perfectly cooked fresh green beans (hard to find at this time of the year) and a bottom layer of russet potatos. The potatos are twice cooked. First, boiled with skins on and then roasted to crisp the skins. The boiling cooks the inside uniformly, and the potatos are mandolined to about 1/4-inch thick. This is a beautiful treatment for the lowly potato. Even though I am not supposed to eat white stuff, I fully intend to cheat when Frans dies this again. I glt too full to finish the potatos, but notice that there is no meat or beans left on the plate. 

Wow. This dish is a masterpiece. But I have come to expect this treatment from this highly skilled chef. 

Chocolate Ryan Cake

Chocolate Ryan Cake

Chocolate Ryan cake 

We didn’t think we would need dessert. Wrong. Dolores told us of this chocolate cake that she had made especially for a regular patron named Ryan. Many chocolate cakes are too rich and moist, almost to be near the texture  of heavy paste. Delores’ cake was light and airy, a delightful surprise. A few fresh orange segments and some candied nuts (with a hint of cinnamon) completed the dish. If Dolores has made this cake when you are there, get it. Please.  

So, what’s the verdict?

2013I have awarded Bouche my Best Newcomer of 2013 Award. 

An outstanding dining experience is not just about the food (the food here is outstanding), bit must include the atmosphere, service, and a sense  of joie de vivre. From the moment we walked through the door, we felt as if we were part of a growing family. Every one coming in was known to Frans and Dolores. And we all talked with each other. They all knew each other, and now we know all of them. The place, being small, encourages such friendliness. 

I intend to be a regular. 

BTW, the bill for two of us with four dishes was about $42. It is evident that managing a small and ever-changing menu can keep prices down. What a bargain.

But wait — there’s more

We found out about Bouche when we called La Bella Vino Winery, a winery, wine shop, and tasting room that is just next door. We asked if they served food, and they explained that they have a symbiotic relationship with Bouche. Taste away, and if you get hungry, they will call over to Bouche and have what you want brought over. And when dining in Bouche, they will get wine for you from La Bella. Can’t beat that.  

Bouche is now #7 on my Top Ten List


(505) 890-8101

Outdoor DiningTakes Reservations


Paradise Hills 
10126 Coors Boulevard Northwest 
Albuquerque, NM 87114

Bouche HoursFirst floor of La Bella Spa


Bouche on Urbanspoon

Posted in American, Honorable Mention | 1 Comment

Best Dishes — 2013

Larry’s Albuquerque & New Mexico Ten Favorite Dishes of 2013

Created January 4, 2014 

2013 was a good year for outstanding dishes in Albuquerque and in New Mexico. I have put together a list of my favorites. They are in random order.

Notice that four of the dishes are from several restaurants at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort on the Santa Ana Pueblo. I urge you to try these places, especially Corn Maiden, which I find spectacular.

Tamaya from the Bosque

Tamaya from the Bosque

Near the center of this panorama are the Rio Grande Lounge (eat and drink on the patio) and the Corn Maiden, one of the most outstanding restaurants in New Mexico. The view of the Sandia Mountain from the patio is spectacular.

Some events of note



My friend Gil Garduño, New Mexico’ sesquipedalian sybaritr, has compiled a review of culinary and other significant events for 2013. He leaves few stones unturned. You need to read this. 

On a sad note, my friend Mina Yamashita passed on recently. Mins was a delightful and warm person and her writings were as elegant as her tastes. I miss her. 

The saddest note of all was the passing of my wife with whom I lived for 40 years, Dr. Jane. She left a promising career of 15 years at National Geographic, where she was a writer and editor, for a new career on Clinical Psychology. Jane was not just another psychotherapist, but also an accomplished and empathic healer. Gil Garduño writes of her:

Dr. Jane

Dr. Jane McGoldrick

“On August 10th, New Mexico became far less enchanting when Dr. Jane McGoldrick passed away after waging a long and gallant war against cancer.  An accomplished author and healer, Jane was an extraordinary person who touched many lives.  She was married for 38 years to my friend Larry McGoldrick, the professor with the perspicacious palate.  Larry chronicled their culinary adventures together in his outstanding blog.  For Larry and Dr. Jane, every dinner outing was a “date night” together, always an assurance of great dining companionship and terrific conversation if not always great food.  Dr. Jane is now partaking of a celestial banquet.”

I miss her dearly. But her spirit often visits me, often while I am in restaurants with tears falling into my food. 

The Best

Menudo Rpjp

Menudo Rpjp, among the very best I have had.

Menudu Rojo at El Paragua (Española)

Menudo is a traditional Mexican soup made with beef stomach (tripe) in a clear broth or with a red chili base. Usually, lime, chopped onions, and chopped cilantro are added, as well as crushed oregano and crushed red chile peppers.

The version served here is just short ob being incendiary (the way I like it), and is served with Sopaipillas, which are very good.  Preparing menudo can be somewhat tricky. If the tripe is not cleaned and cooked properly, the result can vary between tough (chewy) or slimy and overdone. This tripe is the very best that I have encountered, and the whole dish is as perfect as I could expect.

Beef Chicken Chorizo Rotisserie

“k’uchininak’u” — Beef Ribeye, Chile Chicken Breast, NM Chorizo

The Corn Maiden Classic at Corn Maiden

NM Chorizo Sausage, Fresno Chile Chicken, Red & Green Chile Rubbed NM Heritage Beef Rib Eye

This is corn Maiden’s signature dish, and I cannot think of a way to make it any better. The chorizo casing has that perfect pop, and the spicy, juicy interior ex[lodes onto the palate. Best rotisserie meal I have encountered anyplace.

The white cube contains a delicious version of scalloped potatos with green chile.

Strip Steak

Bourbon and Molasses Glazed NM Heritage Strip Loin Steak

NM Heritage Grilled Strip Loin Steak at Santa Ana Cafe 

NM Heritage Grilled Strip Loin Steak with bourbon and molasses glaze, roasted fingerling potatoes, leeks.

Perfectly cooked to a juicy medium rare, this excellent piece of grass-fed beef melts in your mouth. The bourbon and molasses glaze makes this one of the very best steaks I have had anywhere.

Fried Chile Strips

Fried Hatch Green Chile Strips

Fried Green Chile Strips at Santa Ana Cafe

Crispy, NM grown chiles dusted with sundried local sweet corn and breadcrumbs, served with chipotle-boursin buttermilk dressing

So you thought you knew every way that Hatch chiles can be served? Well, this is new to me. Deftly breaded and lightly fried, the medium piquancy of the chiles leaves a hot and smoky aftertaste. Not a hint of oil, these morsels are perfect. I could easily make a meal of these.


Sliders —Chopped Brisket, Pulled Pork, and Smoked Turkey with Red Chile Cole Slae

Sliders at Rio Grande Lounge

With Red Chile Cole Slaw.

Three sauces are available for the sliders:

  • Pecan Chipotle — Chef’s choice – smoky with a slow burn,
  • Green Chile Vinaigrette — Locals gotta have their green chile, and
  • Kansas City Style — From the world’s barbeque capital both spicy and sweet

Order all three varieties and experiment with the sauces. These sliders are worth a big rave.

Slow-Smoked Carne on Pita

Slow-Smoked Carne on Pita with Michael’s special take on Cuban Coffee

Slow-Cooked Carne on Pita at Cafe Bella Coffee

We Nuevo Mejicanos are accustomed to having Carne Adovada slow cooked in red chile, but this pita was filled with pork, baby field greens, mozzarella cheese, and a juicy mayo-based sauce and expertly grilled on the press until the cheese  hit that just melted liquid state. This is by no means a dry sandwivh, but five paper napkin sloppy. The fillings  exploded onto my taste buds. Best panini I have ever had. Anyplace.

Michael  also brewed up a Cuban-like coffee drink for me: Two shots of his special espresso with some granulated cane sugar were put in the extractor basket, and the resulting beverage is among the very best I have ever had. Anyplace. Great lunch.

Michael tries to partner with local restaurants. He gets the carne from Gary West’s Smokehouse BBQ in Rio Rancho. Excellent choice: Gary constructs what I think is the very best BBQ in the area.

Stffed Caamari

Stffed Caamari

Stuffed Calamari at Torinos’ @ Home 

Stuffed with bread, ricotta, guanciale, onion and garlic, served with pomodoro and grated pecorino Romano.

The stuffing is intensely rich and complex. The calamari are cooked to a tender perfection. The roasted pomidoro have a dense texture, and are a perfect accompaniment to the calamari. The acidity of the tomatos plays nicely against the sweet richness of the ricotta-based stuffing.  This is a superb dish. Maxime has done it again.

Green Chile Cheeseburger

Green Chile Cheeseburger (Competition Style, of course)

Green Chile Cheeseburger at Indigo Crow Cafe 

You won’t find a simple GCCB on the lunch menu — There is a Hobo Burger loaded with the kitchen sink, including Portabello. I am a GCCB purist, and while the Hobo is surely excellent, it would be difficult to compare this with all the other GCCBs for my GCCB Hall of Fame list.
I have twice special ordered the GCCB competition style (meat, cheese, green chile all on a lightly toasted bun with no other trimmings or silly things like mayo, catsup, or mustard). Both times the kitchen built one perfectly, exactly to my order. Medium rare with extra napkins to mop the juice from my  cheeks.
Phenomenal. The meat is hand-cut, hand-ground, hand-formed and lovingly cooked Black Angus. Tender, juicy, and among the best tasting burgers that I have had anywhere. The green is Hatch, natch, and is about 7 / 10 on my piquancy scale, and it has that required smoky flavor. Order it with curly fries and onion rings, both of which are beautifully done. Very tasty with no hint of grease. Get a little dish of the excellent Red Chile Aioli for dipping. Real Nuevo Mejicanos have no use for catsup or the like, deeming such condiments tools of the devil.
This GCCB has rocketed its way to #6 on my GCCB Hall of Fame. It’s that good. 

Red Curry Seafood Noodles

Red Curry with Seafood and Rice Vermicelli Noodles

Thai Red Curry with Seafood and Noodles at Street Food Asia

I ordered this curry with seafood (shrimp, mussels, clams, and whatever else was on hand) and noodles (rice vermicelli). It comes with peas in the pod. I asked for it extra hot, and that’s what I got. Notice the red chiles floating atop the curry). Mix the noodles into the broth, stir them up, and get down to it. 
The first taste sent my taste buds on a trip to heaven. This is a complex dish that explodes on the palate. The version here is richer in flavor than any other that I have ever had. The shrimp was perfectly gooked and incredibly tasty. I would come back here every week for just this dish. It’s that good. 



Scampi at Torinos’ @ Home 

Sauteed jumbo shrimp with anise, fresh tomato and basil. 

You might not find a better plate of scampi anywhere in New Mexico. Most scampi preparations consist of shrimp lightly sautéed in garlic butter with a few simple herbs. Maxime’s new menu item breaks away from that mold. This plate had four jumbo shrimp sautéed in a tomato garlic anise and basil sauce. They are cooked and served with the shells on , a style that enhances the rich  flavor. Fabulous. Maxime  has another winner here. 

Tenderloin Eggs Benedict

Tenderloin Eggs Benedict

Tenderloin Eggs Benedict at Farm & Table on Fourth Street, Albuquerque 
This Saturday/Sunday brunch dish is as good as it gets. Everything here is farm fresh and local.
The Hollandaise has a touch of ground Red Chile. The farm-fresh eggs are poached perfectly. The bacon is just-right crispy. The tenderloin is very tender and tasty and was cooked to a perfect medium rare.

This dish is perfect. 

Carne Adovada Panini Revisited

Carne Adovada Panini Revisited

Carne Adovada Panini Revisited  at Cafe Bella coffee

Michael’s carne supplier (Gary West of Rio Rancho’s Smokehouse, now closed) has moved to Hawaii. Undaunted, Michael now makes his own, slow and long. The carne, greens, balsamic, and fresh mozzarella are stacked between a thinly sliced focaccia (made by Davido’s Pizza) and expertly grilled on the press. This is likely the best sandwich I have had in the Duke City. A perfect blend of the freshest ingredients, the first bite elicited an OMG. My companion, Deanell, had the same reaction. 

This sandwich deserves a brilliancy prize. 

Molcajete Lupe

Molcajete Lupe

Molcajete Lupe at Lupe’s Antojitos

A molcajete (Mexican Spanish, from Nahuatl mulcazitl) is a stone tool, the traditional Mexican version of the mortar and pestle tool, similar to the South American batan (stone) used for grinding various food products. Molcajetes are also used as serving dishes in restaurants and homes. While recipes are usually not stewed or otherwise cooked in them, the molcajete stays hot for an extremely long time, and it is not unusual for a dish to still be bubbling a half hour after serving. Molcajete Lupe consists of beef slices, chicken, pork, queso fresco, and prickly pear pads served bubbling hot. Beautiful. 

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Smoked Pork Tenderloin at Bouche 

I often cook pork tenderloins at home, and yeah, I can smoke them.  But not like Frans. This dish is brought to the table under a tight-fitting clear plastic dome. When Dorothy removed the dome, the smoky vapors set this plate apart from anything like it. Aromas are an essential component of any dish, and this one was a winner from the very start. The pork was tender, juicy, and just past the juicy pink stage. Perfect. 

And then, as usual, there were the vegetables. Brussels sprouts done the way I do them at home (I pan-roast them halved with a hint of garlic) and medallions of sweet potato completed the dish. What an amazing blend of tastes and aromas.  


Jane and I  stayed at Tamaya for three nights celebrating our   thirty-sixth Wedding Anniversary. Both Santa Ana Cafe and Corn Maiden prepared spectacular  desserts (complimentary).


Cheesecake (Santa Ana Cafe) and Frangelico Chocolate Cake with Hazelnut Ice Cream (Corn Maiden)



Anything by

  • Jennifer James 101
  • Bouche
  • Cafe bella Coffee 
  • Mary and Titos
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Phở Hòa Vietnamese Restaurant

Unbelievably good Phở

Panorama Pho Hoa

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Restauant

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Restaurant

First visit: December 24, 2013         

As of this writing, there are 37 Vietnamese restaurants in ABQ. When I go to any of them, I invariably order phở tái nam  with the tái served on a separate plate. May Cafe is the only place where I have strayed from this habit, and has become my favorite. The Singapore Noodles is better than that I have found in any other place. 

Phở Hòa is owned by Benny Bao and his brother Tommy. Benny is a charming host with a wicked sense of humor. My lunch guest, the pulchritudinous Deanell, was kept in stitches bb bantering back and forth. And Benny really knows his stuff. 

Pho Tai Nam

Phở tái nam

Phở tái nam     

This is my benchmark dish in Vietnamese

restaurants (yeah, I know — I’min a rut). I asked for the tái to be served on a separate plate lest the hot broth overcook the delicate slices of rare beef. Benny winked at me and said (You’ve done this before.” Uh, yeah, Benny. I asked for salty lemonade which, unfortunately, is not available. 

This bowl of phở is easily among the very best that I have had anyplace. Delightful aroma and exquisitely spiced, the taste elicits an OMG. Superb.     

Pho Ga

Pho Ga — chicken noodle soup

Phở ga        

Deanell hah never had  Phở, and opted for Phở ga, with large chunks of tender chicken white meat.  The spicing and aroma are somewhat different from the beef soups, but amazingly good. Phở ga was Dr. Jane’s favorite version of this soup. Deanell (who had her own OMG moment) agreed that  dish is among the very best brothy soups she has ever tasted. She begged me to take her here again. OK.  

Pudding dessert with no name yet

Pudding dessert with no name yet

Pudding dessert with no name yet     

I rarely eat desserts in Vietnamese restaurants because they are usually cloyingly sweet, and I don’t need all that sugar. Benny was trying out a new dessert, a slightly sweet pudding with bananas and poraro. He gave every patron a small bowl to try. He didn’t know what it is called, but assured me that he would think up a name shortly because he was soon to have a new menu printed up. I suspect that he was teasing me. Nevertheless, it was delicious. Not too sweet, but just right. I would order it again even if I had to pay for it. 

Phở Hòa is so pleasant and good that I will probably break with my tradition and order something other than Phở. Or maybe not.  


What others are saying

Gil Garduño — New Mexico’s Sesquipedalian Sybarite.

“The menu includes five banh mi, the wonderful Vietnamese sandwich which is finally starting to catch on in Albuquerque.  Three meats–grilled pork, grilled beef, grilled chicken–are available as well as a vegetarian fried tofu sandwich and a fried egg sandwich.  All sandwiches are served with pickled daikon, radish, carrots, cilantro, jalapeño and cucumber.  The Banh Mi Trung Chien (fried egg sandwich) is the Vietnamese answer to the Egg McMuffin, only much better and certainly not just for breakfast.  The canvas for this sandwich is an excellent nine-inch baguette with a characteristically crusty exterior.  Eggs and pickled vegetables are much better than they sound, a true combination of contrasting flavors which go well together.”

Phở Hòa Vietnamese Restaurant

Front(505) 369-1547 

North Valley 6601 4th St NW Suite H Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, NM 87107

Website Facebook

Pho Hoa HoursView menu   

Pho Hoa Vietnamese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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