ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the nonexistent competition for longest restaurant name in New Mexico, a little gourmet spot in Madrid is certainly a contender.
Minimal pressure, friendly shopkeepers and a down-home feel are a big part of what makes Madrid fun, from galleries to jewelry shops. But when it comes to food, the choice often boils down to having classic bar fare at the Mineshaft or going the high road at the spot right next to the coffee shop: Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen and No Pity Cafe.
Whether you go for the spiced peanut soup or the small-town funky décor, it is an experience worth every syllable.
|Mama Lisa’s Ghost Town Kitchen and No Pity Cafe
LOCATION: 2859 N.M. 14 in Madrid, 505-471-5769
HOURS: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily through summer; call first
In recent years, the hours have gotten a bit more stable, a welcome relief from the trips I’ve taken through town in the past when it always seemed like they were closed up for the day (or week, or month). Now most of the time you can breeze through a few gallery stops and buy new earrings at the silver shop, finishing up with a saunter over to the cafe. Even in warmer months the African Peanut Soup ($3.95) is worth ordering if available, with subtle peanut flavor coming through each rich spoonful. Other curried soups are equally fantastic, from butternut squash to kale.
While filling, the soup shouldn’t deter you from some of the best enchiladas this side of the gourmet spectrum, with fillings from chicken to spinach to locally raised beef. They’re ladled with mild but flavorful chile and rounded out by perfectly cooked pinto beans ($10.75 with meat, $9.25 vegetarian). I like to forgo the typical cheese drape to focus on the well-seasoned ingredients, but of course, cheese is popular with most folks.
Hand-formed burgers also are also quite tasty if you’re a fan of ciabatta bread, whose sourdough attributes can be strong compared to the standard potato bun. Personally, I like the chewy texture against the tender patty with classic cheese and green chile, though mild in heat.
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