Battalion – San Antonio, Italian

I just got the food to-go as I heard the music choice was not the best, and when I picked it up, I confirmed that. The interior decor inside an old fire station was definitely contemporary, but in a good way. The main color scheme was red and black, and was very well designed.

I had to wait longer than the app “Toast” said, though they explained that 20 minutes was too short of a time to prepare a 3 course meal, which I totally understood with me working in the food industry. The offered me a soda or water while I waited which made it up in my mind, and was very considerate.

The food (again with no star ratings)

Ricotta Gnocchi Amatriciana (tomato, guanciale, red onion, chiles, pecorino) $12- the gnocchi was classic sized gnocchi though there could have been a little more guanciale. Overall, great taste, and for the price, I would recommend.

Berkshire Pork Saltimbocca (charred lemon polenta, prosciutto, sage, pork jus) $24- I didn’t see the charring on the polenta, though it was delicious and the star of the night. The sage leaf was left whole and definitely could have been more incorporated though I guess they were looking for more of a decorative item. The saltimbocca was flavored well, though overcooked. I never judge a dish by the way it was cooked due to that being an error by the cook, and not the chef. Too small of portion for me to reorder. Simple pork dishes should be less.

Tiramisu (marsala-mascarpone,coffee, cocoa) $10- there are only 3 things I am truly a snob about: gnocchi, risotto, and tiramisu. Tiramisu is my absolute favorite dish in the world, when prepared right. There was too much cocoa powder and left a chalky taste, and definitely not the melt in your mouth, heaven on earth type of feeling. If you have had delicious tiramisu, you know the only thing that can come close is Kentucky Bourbon Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce (forget about ice cream).

Overall, for the ambiance alone, I would recommend trying it once, though for the food, it is worthy of the prices mostly. I wouldn’t personally recommend this Italian restaurant for any foodies, though it is a neat experience.

Más: Tapas Y Vino – Albuquerque, NM

Hilton’s have some of the best cuisine, and this was no exception. It is a Spanish (Spain, not central american) style restaurant in Albuquerque New Mexico. The restaurant itself has a gorgeous balcony and outside patio, located in a historic hotel; built in 1939, it was Conrad Hilton’s first hotel outside of Texas.

The interior of the hotel when you walk in is worthy of Hilton’s Curio Luxury Collection, and to make it even more interesting, it is part of the U.S National Register of Historic Places. I did not personally stay at the hotel, but it is definitely a sight to see.

The food- The portions were generous and delicious. I tried to fill up on carbs before hiking La Luz Trail the next day, and just drank water and very refreshing Sparkling Water.

Meal

Patatas Bravas – “Crunchy potato, spicy aioli, garlic, little herbs” too spicy for my taste, but they made great leftovers the next morning

Green Chile Corn Risotto – “Tomato basil beurre blanc” outstanding. Risotto was cooked perfectly and definitely has a Spanish flair to it.

Vegetable Paella – “Tempura broccoli, artichokes, kale, mushrooms, roasted pepper, saffron calasparra rice”. First paella for me, and I definitely enjoyed it. Vegetables were seasoned well and like the others, the portions were generous.

New Mexico

New Mexico and West Texas were surprisingly mountainous, as this was the first time I have been out there. Great place to drive and get away, and the hiking is something you can’t find in Central Texas.

If I had to pick a trail to hike in New Mexico, it would most likely not be La Luz as there is a boulder path towards the top that is not fun on the way up or down, and the scene from the top was lackluster. I would however take the couple hour journey and go to the Guadalupe Peak (which I did) in Texas. Far better trail and better views.

Of course, there are plenty of trails in the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area that are week-long trip worthy, and I plan to return in the future.