The County Line – Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
Categories: Bar, BBQ, Chain, Restaurant Reviews
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Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 28, 2010

When I was a kid, I remember going to the County Line with my family.  It was always a wonderful time, all the food I could eat, and as a growing young man who didn’t care for vegetables, this was the perfect solution.  An all you can eat buffet of Chicken, Beef and Pork Ribs, Brisket, Sausage and Turkey.  We didn’t have any Turkey because my Mom has never quite been the fan. 

It was a great deal for my parents too, with three boys who could eat mountains of roast beast, we frequented ‘All you can eat’ places.  It wasn’t often, but this was one of our favorites. 

So tonight a friend of mine sends a text, County Line it’s decided, we’ll just eat at the bar.  It’s amazing the number of bars I frequent for someone who doesn’t drink.  To start with, the location is amazing.  Maybe not the most amazing place to get to, but the view is spectacular.  Make sure you sit on one side of the building or the other, mountains, or city. 

Front

So I grow up, eventually it’s time for me to buy my own dinner.  It’s not just all you can eat, any combination in any amount of meat is available.  And YES, there are vegetarian options, though I imagine they are grilled on the same grill as the rest of the meat, so how vegetarian is it REALLY?  You’ll have to ask the Chefs.

The first thing I noticed when I sat down, which having never sat in the bar before, the tables.  They are made for drinking, not eating, just a little more than the size of dinner plate.  Two glasses of water the size of small buckets, 2 pairs of glasses, a phone and a napkin, the table is completely full.  It will be interesting to fit 5 people on 2 itty bitty tables. 

CheeseballsThe menu hasn’t change in 20 years, except for the things that have changed, like the garlic mashed potatoes and Fried Pepper Jack Cheese Bites.  I’m a big fan of Pepper Jack, so of COURSE I’m going to try those.  They are pretty good, bite size, slightly spicy, but not overly so.  Golden brown and crispy on the outside, melty gooey on the inside, the texture of the cheese was a little strange, but not so much that I wouldn’t order them again and again.  

Plate one comes, my girlfriends Salmon and there you go, more than half the table is now full.  We somehow manage to pack on the cheese bits, a salad and my wonderful plate of deliciousness, the combo platter.  Two meats and two sides.  Peppered turkey, sausage, garlic mashed potatoes and today’s veggie of the day, corn on the cob.  As with almost all turkey, it’s a little on the dry side, but packed with an amount of flavor that would never be possible in a home kitchen.  How?  How do they do that?  That is not for me to know, just for me to enjoy.  Sausage was alright, the casing a little tougher than I’d like, but tender on the inside and a good touch of spice. 

Food2 Now the reason I go in the first place, garlic mashed potatoes.  They’ve changed over the years, but I’m happy to say the flavor is back to what I remember.  Chunkier than once before, but that’s a good thing.  It’s like the grew up with me.  As a kid lumpy mashed potatoes would have been completely offensive. 

Overall the service was a bit lacking.  If you want dinner, don’t sit at the bar.  The food may not be the best out there, but it’s good and if you get the right seat, you can’t beat the view. 

View 

Ok, best for last, dessert.  Me and my sweet tooth have to tell you about the ice cream.  I love ice cream, I also love vanilla and I think this is the place that started it.  As with everything else the ice cream has changed, but the vanilla bean ice cream is still the best.  It’s woody like a vanilla bean, with a deep earthy flavor.  If you thought vanilla only came in a bottle and measured by the ounce, then you’ve never tried true vanilla.  This has the flavor you are used to as well though, a LOT of it.  It’s almost like they instead of a teaspoon, they used a quarter cup.  This is the best ice cream ever, I’ve yet to find another with as much flavor.  And yes, when it comes to vanilla, I really do what to be slapped in the face with it’s potency.  You can almost never have too much. 

So where is the picture?  Well, I ate it before I had a chance.  After I took a bite, I just couldn’t stop.  I highly suggest you go get a bowl of your own.  Maybe you can take a picture for me and send it to me to post. 


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Rudy’s – 2321 Carlisle Blvd NE Albuquerque, NM

by Nick
Categories: BBQ, Chain, Restaurant Reviews
Tags: No Tags
Comments: 5 Comments
Published on: March 25, 2010

Sign

Barbeque places are a dime a dozen, meat, smoke, eat, repeat.  So what makes a good smokehouse?  Juicy meats, nice and smoky without overdoing it, a good sauce and an atmosphere that says, hey, it’s just food, come on in, sit down with your neighbor and make sure to grab some napkins. 

Rudy’s, located just off the freeway, across the street from the Hotel/Indoor Water park can’t be missed with it’s Bright Red Exterior.  

At first glance (or first couple dozen glances, because I’ve been here a LOT), you notice the sign on the side wall.  Now go back and actually READ the sign…I’ll wait…   Now what in the world would cause a restaurant of any kind to advertise themselves as the worst of anything?  Surely this place can’t be the worst, I mean if you advertised as such and it was true, wouldn’t that mean you’d do no business?  Well there is a reason they are still open, so pay not attention to the wall before you, seriously, it’s just weird.  

WorstBBQ

As you enter the place the first thing you notice is the line wrapped around a trough of sodas chilling in icy water.  Red and white are the colors of choice, as a lot of places have.  Didn’t they do a study to say that color combination makes you hungry?  If it’s not the colors it’s definitely the smell.  Even driving by you can smell the sweet smoke of slow roasted meats.  Quite the selection, but I always get the same thing.  Turkey, Ham, potato, pudding.  Menu

The potatoes are smoked and a nice dark brown color.  They are typically HUGE too.  It would be very easy to go there and just get a potato.  You can also get the potato loaded with your choice of meat, but I suggest you buy them separately and mix the two yourself.  Sour cream, butter, cheese, no bacon, no extra salt or black pepper.  The butter and cheese provides enough salt for the soft and fluffy interior of this smoky delight.  Just warm enough to melt all the cheese, just a hint of the smoke flavor helps bring out the potatoness of the potato.  It just tastes really natural.  I always plan on saving the skins, but by the time I’m done with the rest of the food, I feel the need for a nap and it never happens. 

Once upon a time I think I got the brisket, I remember not being a fan.  I’ll try it again sometime, but then there’s turkey.  Oh yay, turkey, that dry gravy soaking meat that you have at Thanksgiving.  It’s a good thing my mom makes a good gravy because the turkey is always dry.  That’s turkey, right?  WRONG.  This turkey is something else.  It’s moist and succulent, amazingly flavorful (yeah, flavorful turkey) and probably the best thing I’ve ever had smoked.  Dinner

Once upon a time my parents had a smoker.  My favorite thing was the smoked turkey, which they very rarely did because outside of the 2 months at the end of the year, how often do you see turkey in the grocery store?  It was good, very very good, but sadly a distant memory, but I’m happy to say this turkey is as good as it comes. 

The ham is also smoked and it’s amazing.  Salty and sweet, smoky like bacon, but meaty and juice.  Though today’s batch had a fair vain of fat, it was easy enough to cut out.  The downside, you pay by the pound, so that was some expensive fat! 

There are sides, most of which are served in line in their chill chest.  Several of the options are desserts, which I’ll get to Sidesmomentarily. With all the sides served family style, this is not a place you go on your own, unless you are just going for the potato.  It really deserves to be enjoyed with a large group of people at one of their large picnic type tables.  They serve a very good slightly spicy BBQ sauce on every table with salt and pepper in the old (cleaned out) beer bottles.  BTW, the turkey and the ham, do not need sauce.  I honestly think the sauce overpowers the turkey and serious, it’s juicy turkey with a ton of flavor.  Dessert

  My sweet tooth is a-calling.  A simple dessert, pudding.  Whipped topping from a can and sprinkled with chocolate cookie crumbs.    The crumbs are also used inside the pudding to give a slight texture to the pudding, though when the chunks are large, they get soggy, it’s somehow still good.  Well, how can you really go wrong with chocolate?  Only thing missing is an IV, but then again that would bypass your tongue, and that would be a shame. 

Every time I go to Rudy’s, I eat too much.  Everything is full of flavor and tender, juicy bits of Barbeque heaven.  It’s a chain in NM and TX, but they seem to do things right.  They are typically very consistent and have a wide selection of food for every taste, except maybe a vegetarian, unless you eat butter sour cream and cheese, then go get a potato. 


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