New Mexico Roadfood Tour

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mar52
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/09/27 23:58:25 (permalink)
What an interesting thread.  I'm thoroughly enjoying every aspect of it.  Fasinating!
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JonBattle
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/09/28 01:13:09 (permalink)
Marlene and I drove back up to Santa Fe on Sunday to eat at SantaCafe one of our fav restaurants. The food there ..while not "roadfood"...is eclectic, well-prepared, and served with level od class and service that we like. I had the french toast filled with marscapone cheese. Marlene had a grilled trout over Israeli couscous. life is good.
#32
JonBattle
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour Chile Garden 2010/09/28 01:40:28 (permalink)
Does anyone have any pix of the chile garden that dr. Paul took us through? I lost mine in. A tech accident. thanks
#33
Michael Stern
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour Chile Garden 2010/09/28 04:52:47 (permalink)
Jon;
I am sure someone has better, broader ones, but here are a couple:


 
#34
buffetbuster
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour Chile Garden 2010/09/28 07:27:48 (permalink)
Ralph-
I'm not sure if Mariton and her brother, who she says is even better at eating hot foods than her, have tried the bhut jolokia pepper yet.  I can tell you that she did eat a half dozen of the Triple Atomic Wings from Quaker Steak & Lube over the weekend.  These come in at 500,000 Scoville units and she complained they weren't hot at all. 
#35
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/09/28 14:56:39 (permalink)
Another HDR quirk: it looks like I moved the camera while taking the multiple pictures for this photo, and it affected the alignment of the text in the sign. (HDR on bottom)
 
IMG_1247 by Ralph Melton, on Flickr IMG_1248 by Ralph Melton, on Flickr
#36
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/09/28 16:23:37 (permalink)
Wow, that first chile picture from Michael is extremely rich and vibrant.
#37
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/01 00:41:52 (permalink)
Our last meal of the day was at La Posta de Mesilla, in Mesilla, New Mexico. I have a particular affection for Las Posta, because it was the site of my parents' first date, and I've been there several times. The restaurant was opened in 1939, and is now operated by a great-niece of the founder. The building goes back much further, to the 1800s; I've read claims that the building has hosted Billy the Kid and Pancho Villa.

It's a very vividly decorated place, starting with the large parrot cages in the anteroom:



And continuing into the Lava Room where we were seated. The bags on the tables were goodie bags with flyers about La Posta, a package of red chile dip mix, a New Mexico baseball cap with an embroidered chile, a DVD about cooking with chiles from the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, and so forth.



For a drink, we were given the "Chile 'Rita": "An exotic blend of "Besito Caliente" blackberry Habanero sauce, lime juice, Hornitos 100% agave tequila & Coutreau served on the rocks in a hand-blown "chile" stemglass." The heat was pretty mild in comparison to the strong sour flavors of the margarita, but there was a definite tingle on the tongue.


Appetizers: chips, chile con queso, guacamole, shrimp ceviche, and Mexican shrimp cocktails. I recall the guacamole being excellent, but it was overshadowed by the ceviche, which was an amazing combination of bright lime and cool shrimp. The shrimp cocktail was an unusual combination of shrimp, avocado, and tomato juice in a small glass rimmed with salt and black pepper. It was a little awkward to eat, but very tasty.



The main course was a combination platter. Clockwise from the top:
A tostada compuesta. This recipe originated at La Posta in 1939; it was a tortilla cup filled with beans, chile, and cheese.
An enchilada topped with red chile.
Carne adovada, pork stewed in red chile sauce. This was so tender that when I stuck a fork into a chunk to take a bite, the pork melted into shreds instead of coming along with the fork.
A chile relleno. This is cooked on a griddle instead of being deep-fried, and it was much less greasy than other chile rellenos I've had; the major taste was the broad rich taste of cooked chile.
In the center, then, was camotes Jalisco - delicious sweet potatoes with lots of seasoning, particularly cinnamon.


It was buffetbuster's birthday, so there was a special dessert for him. This rendered the candles I'd been carrying in my shirt pocket unnecessary.


For my dessert, I had lovely sopaipillas with lots of honey.


I wanted a bit of a walk to digest, so I wandered briefly through the fiesta going on at the Mesilla plaza. There was enthusiastic Mexican dancing and music going on, and a small array of vendors. I was interested by one form of fair food that was roasted corn in a cup topped with cheese and a sauce - but I had no appetite at all, and I no longer remember the name.

From there, a long drive back to Albuquerque. The DVD on this part of the drive was King Corn, about modern agribusiness and the large quantities in which corn is produced and consumed. It didn't really come to any conclusions, but I concluded that for corn production as depicted in the film, large farms are more or less inevitable - there's so little manual labor involved, and margins are so low, that amortizing the cost of the machinery over as large a field as possible is the only way producing that sort of corn makes sense. One detail that I hadn't previously thought of: single-crop farming makes it hard now for a farmer to feed their family from their farm.

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#38
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/02 17:11:36 (permalink)
I stayed over on Sunday to spend time with my friends Susan and Terran. They described themselves as late risers, so I started the day on my own. 

I like to try to find the music that suits a given place, so I turned on the car radio. It was tuned to a Latin Pop station that was just the right thing for driving through the sere Southwestern landscape. I had a lot of fun listening to that.


My first destination: Golden Crown Panaderia, the source of the delightful baked goods ChiTownDiner had provided on the trip. I believe the intense blue of the sky in this picture to be an accurate representation of what I saw.



I got there just as they opened up, but the head baker was already hard at work. These empanadas went into the oven and came out again while I was talking with folks there.


I didn't see any of the bread sculpture other than their photo board. It seems to me only natural and right that this boy should grin so widely at the receipt of a tyrannosaurus sculpted in bread.


I was carrying my iPad, and the counterman (whose name I wish I had learned) asked me about my experiences with it. I mentioned that I had developed software for it, and this led to his telling me about the iPad application he was developing for managing flow at the bakery. There are usually many orders going on at any given time, and he currently uses a Microsoft Access database and several printouts every few hours to keep track of what items need to be baked at what time, what things are packed, and so forth. He's working on an iPad application to connect to the Access database and replace the batches of printouts. I would not have expected this place to be automated in that way - but I live in two such worlds myself, and should remember that others do as well.

I bought three empanadas to share with Terran and Susan: pumpkin, apple, and cherry. The pumpkin had a very mild taste of autumn spices, so mild that we thought it was apple until we opened the apple empanada.
I also bought a pan dulce, which turned out to be a round bread the size of a half cantaloupe, very light and only slightly sweet.


I met Susan and Terran at the Range Cafe for breakfast. I'd been thinking "Home on the Range", but the restaurant embraced both that and a stovetop theme.



At Terran's recommendation, I had the Range Roundup - "a homemade biscuit topped with crumbled, crisp bacon and sausage, two eggs, smothered in chilé, white cheddar cheese, with Range Fries con Queso and pinto beans". It was quite a tasty pile.


Terran and Susan have a beautiful house that suits them excellently. We talked a lot and played lots of board games - two victorious games of Pandemic, and a less successful game of Arkham Horror. For a refreshment, they served an excellent chicken mole.

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post edited by Ralph Melton - 2010/10/02 17:19:12
#39
DirtDude
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/02 19:58:10 (permalink)
It looks like you guys really have a lot of fun on these roadfood tours, I really wish I could have been at this one.
#40
mr chips
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/02 21:47:45 (permalink)
What vibrant colors! Not just good food but the colors of the earth seem so vivid in New Mexico.
#41
joseiw
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/03 01:21:34 (permalink)
What a good time was had by all.  okay, the bus trip may not have been the highlight, but it is just such adversity shared that melds a team together, and this one certainly had a summer camp feel with the bus trip.  But there was definitely "a spirit of camaraderie among the men [and women] like you find in combat, maybe, or on a pro team in the heat of a pennant drive, " to quote H.I. Lewis) but what extraordinary scenery outside the window!  The land of enchantment is an understatement.  When we stopped on the return late at night  for a rest stop, the milky way was clearly visible across the night sky and a beautiful skyscape  led us home.  Even the ugly parts of NM (isolated trailer homes moored in the distance with an old GMC truck) were beautiful.  I could live there just to see the sky at night.
 
Not enough has been written about the Frontier.  I ate there twice, having joined the group only on Saturday morning with my Frauchen, Kerry.  I have never seen a tortilla machine, but the fresh tortillas were a highlight of the trip.  The Frontier is reminiscent of the Varsity in Atlanta, only with a much more varied menu and better service.  Honestly, I thought of apprenticing my problem child there to return to his roots with the ability to run an extraordinary restaurant.  Obviously, with improved trade this restaurant has expanded from its original roots (and buildings) to cover almost a city block and easily that with parking.  I recommend the Frontier burrito, and breakfast was also wonderful.  A great place and a curiosity of mechanized food production.  Take Henry Ford's production line, apply it to food, bypass Mickey Ds and BK, increase the choices, and you have the Frontier.  What fun and what good eating.  Everything was pretty good.
 
The great thing about such a trip is the synergy of the group.  Want to compare the superlatives of green chile cheeseburgers?  I'm there.  The best empanada?  Maybe not this place, but pretty damn good.  Nothing better than sharing good food among friends with a similar appreciation and passion for the flavors of the trip.  Don't like this particular place?  Great, another one will be along.  Be true to your 'buds.  Taste buds, that is!
 
God bless you, everyone.
Joe Seiwert
#42
Nancypalooza
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 11:24:22 (permalink)
A Range Roundup sounds pretty good.  And I absolutely love that picture of the kid with the panaderia dinosaur.
#43
mar52
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 12:31:37 (permalink)
Is anyone else enjoying the vibrant colors of this thread?
#44
Nancypalooza
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 12:46:10 (permalink)
Yes--I'm sure we're benefiting from Ralph's photo-nerd (I mean that as the strictest of compliments) abilities.
#45
ChiTownDiner
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 13:25:04 (permalink)
Ralph -
 
We (buffetbuster, Cousin Johnny and I) were buzzing back from a 6am run up to Santa Fe that same Sunday morning.  We had just hit a couple of breakfast spots and my cell phone rang.  It was American Airlines confirming that my flight was going to be delayed and that there was NO chance of it departing at the scheduled time.
 
As I was the first one of our group scheduled to depart, I now was shifted to last!  Cell phones, Excel spreadsheets and GPS waypoints were flying...and we diverted off the Expresssway...and to the Range!
 
We had breakfast number 3 and enjoyed the stop and attached store.  I even bought a Range tee shirt!
 
We concluded with a dessert stop at Route 66...and I still had the pleasure of a 3 hour wait at the airport!
#46
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 13:35:49 (permalink)
CTD, would you be willing to post a copy of your spreadsheet with explanations? I didn't get a good look at it, and I'd love to see how you plan out your dining expeditions.
#47
buffetbuster
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 13:43:39 (permalink)
Ralph-
His planning is something like this.....  If it's open, we're going!   And thanks so much for carrying the birthday candles around!  Which The Range Cafe did you go to?  I assume it was one of the Albuquerque locations.  We hit the one in Bernalillio.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2010/10/04 13:47:05
#48
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 13:59:06 (permalink)
Yes--I'm sure we're benefiting from Ralph's photo-nerd (I mean that as the strictest of compliments) abilities.

 
I take it as a compliment, but I don't really feel it's true.
 
I'm taking shots with an iPhone; I feel like a slacker compared to all the folks around me pulling out DSLRs.
The only control the iPhone allows is that it lets me choose a portion of the image that's most interesting; the iPhone picks focus and lighting based on that selection. (I don't mean this as an iPhone plug; the iPhone is the tool I'm using, that's all.)
Once I suck the photos into iPhoto, I could adjust them - but my usual process is to push some knobs around semi-randomly, decide I'm not that happy with the result, and set it back to normal. For this set, I was in a bit of a rush, so I just uploaded them to Flickr without editing them (and without going through and picking which shots were worth saving.)
 
So my own explanation of the intense colors is this:
- the colors really are that intense in New Mexico, 
- the iPhone camera is good enough to capture them, and
- I'm occasionally apt enough to take a picture that shows them off fairly well.
#49
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 14:05:56 (permalink)
His planning is something like this.....  If it's open, we're going!   And thanks so much for carrying the birthday candles around!  Which The Range Cafe did you go to?  I assume it was one of the Albuquerque locations.  We hit the one in Bernalillio.

 
If I'd known that we had folks with lighters along, I'd have planted candles in your breakfast at the Frontier. I'll claim that it was too early for me to be thinking clearly.
 
I visited the Range at 2200 Menaul NE in Albuquerque.
#50
mar52
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/04 23:00:18 (permalink)
Ralph, whatever you're doing... you're doing it right!
#51
CajunKing
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/05 15:33:45 (permalink)
Ralph Melton

Our first destination in the New Mexico State Fair was the Asbury Cafe, which buffetbuster had drawn our attention to beforehand. Asbury Cafe is a pie shop that's been operating only at the New Mexico State Fair for fifty years now, which gives all of its proceeds to local charities. I found it interesting to read more about it at http://www.asburyabq.org/cafe/ . (Donors have pie-making parties! What's not to like about that?)


I had a challenging ordering experience:
They were out of the sour cream raisin pie. (Note to self: the Asbury Cafe's recipe for sour cream raisin pie is athttp://www.asburyabq.org/cafe/recipe.htm )
I ordered the green chile apple pie. They ran out of the green chile apple pie before filling my order.
So I ordered the cherry apricot pie. I didn't make it all the way through the ordering process; they removed it from the list as soon as I mentioned it.
So I ordered the blackberry peach pie. Again they ran out of this pie before filling my order. (They marked about six varieties of pie off the board while we Roadfooders were there. This picture might hint at part of the reason:
)
I then ordered the strawberry rhubarb pie. Out of sympathy with my difficulties, the order-taker asked, "Would you like complementary ice cream with that?" I agreed.
After a few minutes, another lady called my name and handed me a piece of pie with ice cream. As I sat down with it, the original order-taker called my name and handed me a slice of pie (without ice cream). She then realized that I already had a piece of pie in my hand, and confusion reigned for a moment. At last, she said "well, it's yours now!" My interpretation is that she had concluded that giving me extra pie was preferable to trying to deal with me any more.

These pieces of pie go a long way to explaining why I didn't eat dinner. The one with ice cream is strawberry rhubarb. The one on the right was harder to identify; the apricot was clearly identifiable, but it was harder to identify the red component. I finally identified it from a bite that clearly showed strawberry seeds. Both pies were excellent, as was the green chile apple pie I sampled from Tom's plate.



After that, we walked around the fair a bit. For me, at least, I was more interested in hanging out with the group I was with than seeing anything in particular about the fair. I think that was the case for many of the others, and so we didn't do all that much at the fair.

Tom tried the green chili dog on a stick, and reported that the green chiles added little flavor to the corn dog:


We watched some folk dancing in the Hispanic area for a bit. There was one dance in particular that perplexed me: it had several kids dancing with ribbons around a central kid who carried a platter with a papier-mâché pig. I tried to Google to learn more about this dance, but I came up blank; if anyone can shed light on this, I'd be glad.


If I recall correctly, Pixel Farmer sampled the peach habenero ice cream. He reported that it was vanilla ice cream with a peach-habenero sauce, and he liked it a lot.

Truth in advertising:


As we were drifting towards the exit, several of us slowed to watch the mechanical bull ride. After watching several people take a ride, I decided to give it a try myself.
What leads someone like me (not very athletic, not very macho) to ride the mechanical bull? I happened to be paying attention to my thinking, so I can tell you. My logic went something like this:
• Our group would have a lot more fun if one of us rode the mechanical bull.
• I expect to have no aptitude whatsoever for bull-riding. But that won't make much difference to the group's fun.
• The cost makes me flinch - but I would cheerfully pay that much for a snack to share with people. I could afford it.
I have no regrets.
(I don't see how to embed video into forum posts; you can watch the video Amy recorded at http://www.facebook.com/v....php?v=154788567882700 .)

Reflections about riding the mechanical bull:
• it chafed and slapped my inner thighs fiercely. The skin of my thighs felt fairly tender afterward.
• I had expected that my hat would fly off in a dramatic way during the bull ride. If I had known that it would not, I would have taken off my hat myself and waved it to enhance the dramatic effect.

Back to the hotel from there. I didn't go out again that evening.

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Ya think BuffettBuster was there for some reason, OH WAIT!!!!!
#52
Foodbme
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/05 15:52:10 (permalink)
That Green Chile Dog on a Stick at the State Fair---- How was that constructed???
Can't imagine how they put that together???
#53
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/07 23:59:25 (permalink)
It felt appropriate to leave Susan and Terran's company around 7:30, so that raised the possibility of another meal that evening. Model Pharmacy didn't answer their phone, so I was thinking of the Standard Diner... but then the thought of Powdrell's Barbecue caught my attention. This turned out to be an exercise in frustration. I had trouble following the directions my iPhone gave me, and had to pull off and check the directions several times. Then when I finally followed the directions successfully, I discovered that they took me to the wrong place; Google Maps had given me the wrong address for Powdrell's. I sorted that out and finally made it to Powdrell's, only to discover that they were closed. I should have called them when I called Model Pharmacy.

I saw an instance of Garcia's nearby, and I remembered Chris Ayers praising them - but I felt a silly urge to check off another Roadfood-listed place. (A review of Garcia's got posted on Roadfood two days later.) So I called the 66 Diner and confirmed that they were open late. I arrived there at 9pm after all the foofooraw of wrong places.

The 66 Diner is located on historic Route 66, and it definitely has the look of a classic diner. At least, by night it does - when I drove by it the next day, it did not show the stainless steel I was expecting.


The Burma-Shave-esque signs say "It would / be great / to stop / for a shake / 66 Diner"


The inside looks just as classic:


I ordered a cup of the green chile stew, because I hadn't yet had green chile stew on this trip, and a Pile Up: "A pile of pan fried potatoes, chopped bacon, chopped green chile, two eggs any style, cheddar cheese, and red or green chile sauce on top."
The green chile stew was outstanding, really rich and sumptuous and flavorful. It's hard to pick a single winner for the trip, but this was certainly one of the top contenders.
The Pile Up was very good, but less outstanding. It had a lot of nicely crisp bacon - it's impressive that that much bacon manages to hide in this picture. Of the breakfasty piles topped with chile sauce I had this day, it was probably tied with the Range Roundup or a hair lower.


I asked a waitress if I could take a picture of her uniform, because I felt it added to the ambiance of the diner. She obliged me, but she definitely seemed disconcerted about it.


For dessert, I had the Teenie Weenie Sundae. It was very petite, but a little scoop of ice cream was just the right size for me then.
 

 
#54
Ralph Melton
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Re:New Mexico Roadfood Tour 2010/10/12 23:02:40 (permalink)

This sign along the drive made me do a U-turn and stop to take pictures. The sign says "The bus is never closed to crazy", which is very poetic if not very clear. My guess is that this is the site of a former establishment that is trying to invite fanciful redevelopment.
I did not notice the sign in the tree when I took the picture; I'm curious about it, but don't know what to make of it.


My breakfast destination was Lindy's Diner, on Route 66 in Downtown Albuquerque:



Across the intersection was the fabulously decorated KiMo theater. http://www.cabq.gov/kimo/about-the-theater calls it "the undisputed king" of Pueblo Deco theaters.


I ordered a breakfast burrito as one last New Mexican food that I hadn't yet sampled on this trip. I wasn't wild about this burrito; it tasted only of eggs and chile sauce, not of the bacon or cheese or other ingredients. Also, I am used to thinking of breakfast burritos as something to eat with one's hands - but the red chile sauce put that out of my mind.
The hash browns were really nicely crispy on the first bite, but on the second and subsequent bites, they were really unpleasantly greasy.
This was probably my least favorite of all the meals I had on this trip.
 

But I'm glad of visiting Lindy's anyway, because if I had not visited Lindy's, I would not have had a delightful experience at the Man's Hat Shop in Albuquerque. I thought I would miss it, because their door said they opened at 9:30 and I left Lindy's at 9 - but they opened for me as I passed by. Perhaps it was because I was already wearing a hat and therefore recognized as a member of the fraternity of hat-wearers.


I talked with Bill who was running the hat shop for about half an hour, and I had a great time. Things I remember from the conversation:
• I learned what hat-wearers do when riding on airplanes with a stiff hat: they carry the hat on their laps.
• I learned about blocking: any of the shapes of crowns you can see in the above picture, and many more besides, can all be made in the store from an open-crown hat. (I enjoyed watching the blocking machine, but I couldn't get a good picture.)
• I learned that the wool felt hat I've been wearing cannot be easily cleaned - at least not with the steam machines the shop uses for fur or straw hats. That's the price I pay for wearing a crushable hat.
• I learned how to get a chin strap out of the way and still look reasonably stylish.
• I saw a fedora that was the spit and image of Indiana Jones' hat, and I learned that that fedora is quite stiff. This surprised me - if anyone would need a crushable hat, I'd think Indy would.

I tried on a porkpie hat. I considered buying it, but I depend on my hats to shade my eyes instead of sunglasses, so I wasn't sure I'd do well with the smaller brim.


I was very tempted by the fine hats they had for sale - but I feel I need my hats to handle crushing well. I often end up having to tuck hats under my chair in restaurants, and I'm uncoordinated enough that I end up stepping on them from time to time. So instead, I bought a very nice drover hat by Barmah; it's crushable and it lets the breeze through, so it's much cooler in the summer than my wool felt hat.

I had a really great time with the Man's Hat Shop. This might have been worth the trip from Pittsburgh to me - but it might not be worth a trip from Santa Fe, because Santa Fe also has a nice hat shop that Michael Stern patronized. But I'm not sure that the Santa Fe shop offers anything as awesome as the tag that Bill gave me for my hat:


One last photo from the Albuquerque airport, showing the mountains that overlook the city and the big deep blue sky:



#55
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