ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When hunger strikes during that weekend bike ride, consider steering yourself toward the West Old Town neighborhood.
Old Town Farm owners Linda Thorne and Lanny Tonning are relaunching Bike-In Coffee, an outdoor “café” open only to cyclists. Riders can now roll onto the sprawling property from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays for a cup of joe, smoothie or even quiche prepared with the veggies grown on site.
Customers can munch at tables situated throughout the garden or sip java under the shade of a covered porch.
“It’s way fun, and the bicycle people just really, really dig it,” Tonning said of the concept, which the couple tested for a few months last fall. “It’s all different kinds (of cyclists); we get the hard-core speed bike guys and the casual riders and the family with their kids (in the) bike trailer being towed by the bike.”
Old Town Farm is easily accessible by bike. It is located next to the I-40 Trail, a paved multi-use path that connects to the Paseo del Bosque trail and then runs along the south side of the interstate.
Cyclists can also arrive from Montoya Road. Old Town Farm is located at 949 Montoya NW, northwest of the Mountain/Rio Grande intersection.
Bike-In Coffee is part of a gradual transition at Old Town Farm. Once home to dozens of horses, the focus has shifted more toward agriculture. Though there are still a few horses on the grounds, Thorne and Tonning have devoted an increasing amount of time and space to growing.
Thorne said the farm yields a wide range of fruits and vegetables. The list includes approximately 10 types of tomatoes, six kinds of sweet peppers, cucumbers, cucuzza (a versatile Italian squash), chile, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, various Asian greens, plums, peaches, cherries, applies, nectarines and raspberries.
Thorne — who has sold food baskets to subscribers for years — decided last year that she would open the farm Sunday mornings to customers who came on bikes, “a nice way to keep it calm in the neighborhood,” she said.
Thorne and Tonning advanced the concept by selling coffee — their specialty is a cold brew/espresso blend — and fresh goodies prepped in a food truck they purchased instead of building a commercial kitchen.
The menu at Bike-In Coffee varies depending on what’s in season, but Thorne said it will always feature something sweet and something savory: A muffin and a quiche, for example. They also incorporate their veggies into soups, salads and smoothies.
“The smoothies are great. Everybody loves it. They’re sitting here and they order a smoothie and we go out and clip the greens and walk past them with the greens and they’re like ‘What? Is that going into my smoothie?'” Thorne said.
Although the farm is still wearing its brown winter coat, the owners say it is a lush setting in warmer weather. Customers last fall often stuck around for hours, enjoying the ambiance and the WiFi.
“They didn’t come in and pound a cup of coffee and speed away,” Tonning said. “They’d sit here and chat.”
Tarts, tamales and other treats
Add Sara’s Pastries & Deli to the list of lunch options at Journal Center.
Sara Correa launched the bakery and restaurant last month at 7600 Jefferson NE, Suite C, opening up in the same shopping center as Dos Hermanos and Starbucks.
Walk into Sara’s and you’ll see a glass case stocked with an array of seductive, scratch-made desserts. It’s a lineup that includes mousse, peach cake, key lime meringue tarts and tiramisu.
Then there’s Correa’s favorite, the Pecan Temptation. It’s a pecan cake made with brown sugar, filled with whipped cream and dulce de leche and then finished with a dark-chocolate drizzle.
Although it might be tricky to see past the sweets — even the sunny, peach-painted walls are lined with framed pastry pictures — Sara’s also offers some heartier options, like sandwiches and quiche.
The roast turkey and roast pork sandwiches “are the stars” of the lunch menu, Correa said. Both sandwiches include red onions, habañero peppers and a choice of sauce — habañero, jalapeño or green chile — and are served on fresh-baked French bread with a side of chips for $8.50.
There are also empanadas and Peruvian-style chicken tamales.
Correa, who hails from Peru, said her menu has both Peruvian and European influences.
“It’s something very different from the usual,” Correa said.
The new venture has given Correa — who runs Sara’s with her family and friend/fellow Peruvian Karla Mejia — a chance to showcase the culinary skills she’s honed throughout her lifetime.
She had previously worked at the Victoria’s Secret call center in Rio Rancho, but said last summer’s management change at the facility gave her the push she needed to follow her dream.
“This is my passion. I love to bake,” said Correa, who learned from family members and by taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu school in Lima. “I quit my job and decided to start this and share a little bit of what we do.”
Sara’s is open from 7 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday.
The phone number is 385-8247.
♦ The store lineup is changing a little at Cottonwood Mall. As I previously reported on abqjournal.com, the West Side shopping center lost its Gap store last month but has announced that three new shops will open this spring. They are Francesca’s, a women’s clothing/accessories boutique; Shoe Palace, a family footwear store; and Crazy 8, a children’s clothing chain.
♦ Pandora Jewelry has opened a new concept store in Coronado Center. The jewelry maker famous for its charm bracelets has taken over the upper-level space formerly occupied by See’s Candies.
♦ Mykonos Cafe & Taverna is now serving breakfast. Despite the restaurant’s Greek/Mediterranean theme, owner Joe Cesarano said it’s a pretty conventional morning menu. That means breakfast burritos, pancakes and steak and eggs. Mykonos is located at 5900 Eubank NE in the Mountain Run Shopping Center.
♦ After 12 years working there as an employee, Crystal Medina is the new franchise owner of the Baskin-Robbins at 2201 Central NW. Medina first started at the shop as a 20-year-old college student.
“I put a lot of hard work and dedication into it,” she said of her decision to buy the franchise near Old Town. “I might as well just invest in myself since I’m already doing a good job.”
— This article appeared on page 11 of the Albuquerque Journal