My trip to Albuquerque was very much unplanned and happened with such short notice. With that said, it still ended up being as good as any trip planned weeks in advance. I live in LA, and I'm always trying to find weekend trip destinations. The kind you can just hop in your car and go. Well, I’m happy to let you know that Albuquerque is one of those destinations. It was a 13 hour drive from Los Angeles. We left at 6 am and arrived at approximately 8 pm Albuquerque time.
We arrived on Wednesday evening and left on Friday morning. Technically we only had one full day and I believe that was enough to get a sense of Albuquerque. However, if you do have the time, I think I could spend another 1-2 days and see everything I need to see. I have a feeling I'll be back in Albuquerque this year, that's why I wasn't stressed to see everything this go around. BUT, I've created this guide for you so that you can make the most of your stay in Albuquerque and will continue to update it every time I visit.
Where to Stay:
If you are looking to stay somewhere outside of the typical hotel/motel situation, try a bed and breakfast instead. We stayed at the Mauger Estates and get this, it was built in 1897!! Over a century old! Its considered an historical landmark! Because everything is so new in LA, I kind of geek out when it comes to historical buildings like this.
Our room was very quaint yet fully equipped with everything we needed, blow dryer, iron, mini fridge, AC, heater, tv, remodeled bathroom, etc. There are usually homemade baked goods waiting for you upon arrival in the foyer. Continental breakfast is put out at 7:30 am, and hot plates are served from 8:30 am to 9:30 am. If you have a dog, they have a room to accommodate that too! For bookings, visit their website here: https://maugerbb.com/
What To Do:
One thing you absolutely need to know is that Albuquerque, besides becoming world famous for being where Breaking Bad was shot, is also known for their hatch chili's. It's all chili errthang. That's why you may want to pick up some chili related souvenirs.
We stopped at the Chili Addict which has been around for 33 years! We stopped here to pick up some Chili salsa and hot sauce. Grab a pinon coffee too. Pinon is a type of pine nut that is extremely hard to come by and I'm told only grows in Albuquerque. Sometimes, years will go by without a harvest. Which is why they're a little pricey, but if you want something similar to sunflower seeds, then pick up a bag of roasted pinon.
If you're looking for whole hatch chili's, dry or fresh, pop on over to Chili Konnection. You can get whole dried chili's by the buttload, or ziplog bags of ground chili, various types.
One very popular thing in Albuquerque are breweries, they're everywhere! The owners of the BnB recommended a place called Marble Brewery. Apparently, they're the first ones to pioneer the brewery movement in Albuquerque. They have beers to please anyone, even myself who's not a very big beer connoisseur, I was really impressed with their unique flavors. Sours are my favorite so naturally their passionfruit was my favorite. The double white was our groups favorite, named after Walter White from Breaking Bad.
Where to eat:
This is obviously my favorite part because...food. But seriously, the two places we ate at were legitimately awesome!
First off, if you're not here to eat New Mexican food, I can't be friends with you. And yes, New Mexican food is different than Mexican food, and they take this differentiation very seriously so don't get it twisted. At first glance, it would appear to be the same. Both have tamales, burritos, tacos, enchiladas. I asked a local what the difference is, they said that New Mexican food is spicier and more characterized by Native Indian Americans. Personally the difference that I saw was that it definitely was spicier and saucier. The tamales, enchiladas, and burritos were doused in chili sauce. Not to mention the presence of green chili stew was different. Tacos were predominantly hard shell tacos as opposed to the corn tacos you find everywhere in LA. I also did not see quesadilla on any menus either. Also, we don't get sopapillas (more on that later).
So let's start with our first legit meal in Albuquerque, and that was at Cervantes. Here, we got the works and pretty much ordered a little bit of everything. I recommend you get EVERYTHING we ordered and I'll tell you exactly what that is...
Order the Combo Plate #2 which comes with Enchilada, Chile Relleno, beef taco (hard shell, duh). It does not come with the tamale like combo # 1 does, but #1 does not come with the Chile Relleno, so we ordered the tamale a la cart.
Next, you HAVE TO order the green chili stew. Seriously, you cannot come to NM without trying that. Its just a really delicious tasting stew, pretty hearty in its own right. We ordered the large and shared that between myself and husband. Well really we shared everything we got. So this order is for two people who have a VERY HEFTY appetite.
Our order also came with a basket of sopapillas, another MUST. These were puffed fried dough in a triangular shape and meant to be eaten with honey. So simple yet so damn delicious. To be honest though, I did end up taking these back to the hotel and ate them with nutella...omg game changer. But try it traditionally first.
Now, because my husband are fat f*cks, we decided to order another plate of enchiladas. For a normal couple, I would recommend stopping right here and you'll be just fine. But everything else, you must order.
Frontier Restaurant is an Albuquerque landmark, often referred to as the "college student restaurant" because it is parked right across the street from the University, and offers really affordable food. Now, I have to admit, hearing that made me thinking it was fatty, greasy, and poor quality. It was anything but those things. I was impressed yet again with delicious NM food all over again. This time we ordered chicken enchiladas, two beef tacos (I wanted a whole one to myself), a carne adovado burrito, green chili stew, and a green chili hamburger.
And of course, you cannot go to frontier without ordering one of their sweet rolls which is essentially a cinnamon roll. The best cinnamon roll I ever had was from the city of Windsor, Canada where I grew up, but this is a classic and it's what they're known for so you kinda gotta get it just for novelty of it. Plus, I don't often see freshly baked cinnamon rolls like I used to so this took me back to my childhood. The only thing missing was the pecans on top (insert crying emoji). P.S. I recommend everything I ordered. But their fries also looked sooooooo good, I just didn't have the heart to order them.
A few other things to note is that they make their own tortillas right in front for anyone to watch which was kinda cool. Also, this place was surprisingly massive! It consisted of three very large rooms. And people would literally line up by the herds which can be disappointing at first because we really didn't want to wait a long time as we were wanting to get on the road, but as soon as I stepped in the line, it was basically my turn. They move REALLY fast!
Overall I was really impressed by the food in New Mexico. It wasn't greasy at all. Everything was super fresh and had a very homemade quality to it. If you ordered everything I ordered at a restaurant in LA, I bet you there will be at least one item that simply is not up to par with everything else. That was not the case here. Both times we went out, I would order everything all over again and definitely recommend you order it as well.
I got a lot of recommendations from you guys. Because this was such a short trip, I couldn't get to everything but I'll definitely be adding to it each time I travel there and will try to hit up new places every time. Hope you enjoyed reading, if you try any of these places or have any other suggestions leave them in the comments section below!