Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Albuquerque Adventure, Part 2: Food and Lodging

Part 2 of the Albuquerque Adventure actually takes place before Part 1, the Aquarium. It takes place on Friday night (February 11th). We stayed at the MCM Elegante Hotel in Albuquerque. That’s where Ron always stays when he goes down there on Qwest business, because Qwest has an account there. Even though this wasn’t Qwest business, he was able to get the Qwest rate. He’s been raving about the fabulous free breakfast and I was looking forward to it.

But first, dinner.

Actually, first we checked into the hotel. We couldn’t get Ron’s favorite room (he says it’s quiet and has an excellent wifi signal); unfortunately the room was closed for “deep cleaning” a familiar (to me, at least) hotel term. So we got a room slightly down the hall from that one. But when we walked into the room, it smelled strongly of cigarette smoke. It’s supposed to be a non-smoking room. I think all the rooms there are non-smoking. So Ron called the front desk to let them know the room smelled of smoke and emphasized we had not been smoking and do not smoke and we wanted to change rooms. So we got another room a little further down the hall.

By this time it was 8:30 at night and we were ready for dinner. We drove around a little, but the restaurant Ron thought he remembered wasn’t where he remembered it. So we went to a Chinese buffet restaurant. Here’s an important travel tip. If it’s getting close to closing time at restaurants and you’re hungry, go to a Chinese buffet restaurant. You won’t have to wait for your food and there’s still plenty of food left. We got there 15 minutes before closing time and there was plenty of food. We each had two helpings, and the servers asked us if we would be wanting any more before they started putting it away. We were full and didn’t need more, but it was very nice of them to ask.

We went back to the hotel and relaxed. We’d both worked the night shift on Thursday night, so we were tired. We didn’t set an alarm or ask for a wake-up call. We just slept until we woke up. Which turned out to be 10:00 a.m. Which is when the fabulous free breakfast at the hotel ends. So much for that idea. So we got dressed, checked out, and started driving toward the BioPark, looking for a restaurant that didn’t have a packed parking lot.

We found one at The Village Inn, a chain restaurant next to the BioPark. The waitress was friendly and attentive. When she first asked what we'd like to drink, I said, "Lots of coffee for both of us" and she smiled and brought us a carafe of coffee. Ron ordered the Ultimate Skillet - home fries cooked with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese topped with two eggs and served with sausage and ham. I ordered the Eggs Benedict -- poached eggs and Canadian bacon on an English muffin topped with Hollandaise sauce and served with hash browns. I love Eggs Benedict, but rarely make it at home because there are so many elements and it's hard to get them all done at the same time (although my food blogging sister once wrote an inspirational post on how to do this). Also, it just isn't a very healthy dish, so I only get it on the rare occasions we go out for breakfast. After eating, we agreed that we were "comfortably full" and we were fueled up for a long day of observing sharks, rays, and jellyfish.

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