In the days before I moved to Italy, I wanted to make sure to enjoy the city I was leaving as much as possible. Fortunately for me, friends wanting to wish me well supplied many a meal. And one dear friend did so in one of Albuquerque’s loveliest spots: its North Valley, which is more rural than city, more green than brown, and even more laidback than the rest of New Mexico’s largest city.
Albuquerque’s North Valley is the lush part of the city – close to the Rio Grande that bisects the city and home to farms, horse properties, 25-mph speed limits, and a very special place called Los Poblanos.
Designed by John Gaw Meem, the architect known for developing Pueblo Revival Style in the 20th century, Los Poblanos is comprised of an inn, an organic farm, a restaurant, a special events space and a farm shop. The restaurant, where my friend and I dined on a warm September evening, offers unique, seasonal farm-to-table offerings. Its meals are made with ingredients from the farm fields of Los Poblanos, as well as from crops harvested from other local farmers.
Seated outside on the patio, we shared a starter of seafood corn chowder infused with green chile (it was chile-roasting time in New Mexico!) and bits of bacon. We each chose a main course of pasta – a triangle-shaped tomato leaf ravioli. I would have sworn I was in Italy the pasta was so good! While dining, we had beautiful views of the Sandia Mountains to the east, and two flocks of Canada geese flew overhead and honked greetings to us and the other diners as the sun was setting.
I have lived in Albuquerque for much of my life but never among the cottonwood trees of the North Valley. So every time I find myself driving the roads that stretch between pastures and cornfields and wineries, I feel like I’m being given a little gift of beauty and simplicity – much like what Italy offers me. Dinner at Los Poblanos and the evening in the North Valley were just what I needed to help me transition from Albuquerque to Lucca. -post by Judy