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Boutique owner shares passion for fashion

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nichole Garcia has always had a passion for fashion and now she’s sharing it with Albuquerque.

Garcia opened No. 13 Boutique in Nob Hill last month, offering what she calls “edgier, sexier” apparel, shoes and accessories for women.

That includes the black Dolce Vita ankle boots with a 5-inch heel, hidden platform and neon-green accents Garcia herself was sporting as she tended the shop last week.

And the same Quay-brand sunglasses that Lady Gaga and Gwen Stefani have been photographed wearing.

There are also jeans, tops and dresses from designers that Garcia said she can’t find elsewhere in town.

“I’m trying to (bring) some L.A. fashion — things that we’d normally purchase when we’re out of town or (buy) online,” she said.

While a Lauren Moshi T-shirt can run around $100 and DL1961 jeans top $150, Garcia believes she’s offering what the city’s young, fashion-forward women want.

“I think there is a niche for it,” Garcia said.

Not everything at No. 13 Boutique comes with a Hollywood-sized price tag. The aforementioned sunglasses run around $40 and a pair of colorful hoop earrings can be had for $5.

The shop — which boasts an industrial aesthetic with a black, white and gray color scheme — represents a longtime dream of Garcia’s. An Albuquerque native, she studied business and management at University of New Mexico and ultimately opened her own tanning salon in Las Vegas, N.M.

Garcia moved back to Albuquerque when she had her daughter, and it was a serendipitous stroll around Nob Hill that stirred her entrepreneurial juices again. That’s when she saw the shop space at Central and Amherst was available.

“I fell in love with it and decided to go for it,” she said.

Garcia has started small but expects her inventory to more than double by late January and into February.

No. 13 Boutique is located at 3503 Central NE, Suite A. The phone number is 266-0724.

It is open seven days a week.

At the No. 13 Boutique, owner Nichole Garcia is stocking designer clothing that she said local shoppers would normally only find in other states or online. (adolphe pierre-louis/journal)

Feeding Fido and Fifi

If Spot has started turning up his nose at run-of-the-mill kibble, Earthwise Pet Supply might have the answer.

The new store in Eastdale Shopping Center carries higher-end, natural food for dogs and cats, including the Natural Balance, Earthborn Holistic and Pure Vita brands.

Earthwise — a franchise owned locally by Tanya and Ivan Santistevan — even sells refrigerated raw food and bags of freeze-dried chow.

Most everything is grain-free, and the majority is produced in the United States, said Ivan Santistevan.

The Santistevans — whose poodle/Airedale mix Brody can sometimes be spotted roaming the aisles — have their own construction company, but the recession’s toll on that industry sent them looking for new business opportunities. The pet food industry made sense, Ivan said, because customers have become more in tune with their companions’ dietary needs and food allergies.

Plus, he noted, Tanya has “always wanted to work with pets.”

Earthwise also sells animal beds, toys, leashes and related supplies. Grooming and do-it-yourself washes are also available.

The store is located at 2801 Eubank NE, Suite D, at the intersection of Eubank and Candelaria.

The phone number is 332-8005.

Straight Up Pizza moves

Speaking of Eastdale Shopping Center, that’s the new home of Straight Up Pizza — specifically 2801 Eubank NE, Suite G.

The locally owned pizzeria moved from its former space along Wyoming near San Antonio.

The relocation means Straight Up no longer offers dine-in service, but customers can still get their Chupacabra pizza and Devil Dog calzones via carry-out or delivery. In fact, Straight Up expanded its delivery area southward as part of the move.

Straight Up’s phone number is 796-9343.

Earthwise Pet Supply owner Ivan Santistevan plays with his dog Brody at the store. Santistevan and his wife Tanya recently opened the store in Albuquerque’s Eastdale Shopping Center. (dean hanson/journal)

Chimichangas and chicken wings

When AJ Perez came to the University of New Mexico to join the Lobo track team, he brought more than his shotput prowess.

Perez’s father followed him from Arizona to open a restaurant, giving Albuquerque diners another option for enchiladas, tacos and huevos rancheros.

Mexicanisimo Mexican Kitchen & Catering opened in November at 4320 The 25 Way NE, Suite 500. It’s near the intersection of Jefferson and Pan American Freeway, in the same shopping center as Pars Cuisine.

“It actually started with me coming to UNM. My dad saw the opportunity to open a restaurant, decided to let the idea flow and here we are,” said Perez, who works the Mexicanisimo counter when he’s not going to school or training.

Perez’s father, Jacob Ruiz, keeps busy in the restaurant’s kitchen, whipping up everything from chicken tortilla soup ($4.99 for a small) to chimichangas ($6.99 for three mini chimis) to the Mexicanisimo Super Nachos (either beef or chicken plus rice, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, guacamole and beans for $8.99).

The menu also features salads, sandwiches and chicken wings.

Ruiz, who’s been in the food industry for more than 30 years, said he focuses on home-style cooking.

“How grandmother made it — old-fashioned style,” he said.

Mexicanisimo is open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday.

The phone number is 433-2143.

In other Mexican food news…

El Norteño is spreading northward.

The Mexican grill has added a second location at 4410 Wyoming NE, near the Wyoming/Montgomery intersection. Open from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, it serves all the El Norteño staples (chicken mole, fish tacos) but is also incorporating some new foods. Customers can get sopaipillas there, and owner Monica Manoochehri is gradually adding baked goods.

El Norteño will maintain its existing restaurant just down the road at Wyoming and Constitution at least through 2013, Manoochehri said. The hours there have been scaled back to 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Buy a drink, support the arts

Want your martini money to make a difference?

ArtBar by Catalyst Club, a members-only, full-service bar, is now accepting members. Slated to open this spring in the Downtown space formerly occupied by Jazzbah, ArtBar will turn its revenue into general operating grants for arts nonprofits in the Albuquerque area. It will also serve as a space for exhibits and performance.

Memberships are available for $25 at, though organizers say the alcohol sales will ultimately be the major source of revenue.

Catalyst Club was founded by Skye Morris-Devore, Shastyn Friedman, Julia Mandeville and David Hargis, all of whom had a connection to the Tricklock Theatre Company.

“The conversation kind of emerged for this very pointed discussion of how we could kind of stimulate alternative funding sources, not just for Tricklock but for nonprofits in general,” Mandeville said.

Peruse the Pear

Duke City thrift-store enthusiasts have yet another shopping option.

The Golden Pear thrift boutique opened in December at 1331 Juan Tabo NE, north of Constitution.

The small shop is associated with Casas de Vida Nueva, a nonprofit raising funds to build a therapeutic farm in Belen for adults with mental illness.

The space is brimming with second-hand goods, mostly housewares. Recent finds included a pair of painted, child-size rocking chairs, some folk-art straw mobiles from Mexico and dishes aplenty.

“We have a lot more to put into the store — a lot of art and imports,” said Margery Musser, the volunteer who manages the store.

The Golden Pear is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

If you have a retail tip to share, please contact me at 823-3864 or For more updates on the local shopping and dining scene, visit my blog at

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