Category Archives: Fun Food Friday

Fun Photo Friday — 54 Days at Sea, Alhambra Favorites

Young Lady with Book

Today’s photo gallery and slide show of Alhambra favorites. Click on any image below to enlarge and engage the slide show:


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Fun Food Friday — Fatigas del Querer

Fatigas del Querer

One can develop quite the appetite walking around Madrid all day. For one thing, your constantly bombarded along the streets with views of delectable sandwiches:

Madrid sandwich shop

And delightfully decadent jamón serrano: and jamón ibérico:


Jamón serrano

Our travel companions Earl and Dolores were in need of a rest, so Ursula and I headed out on our own for dinner. We asked some of the locals where to go for tapas, and many of them pointed us in the direction of Fatigas del Querer (see this article: Hidden gem in Madrid: reader’s travel tips and their Facebook page). We were not disappointed. When you first enter you pass by the bar:

Fatigas del Querer

This restaurant may look small on the outside, but it’s deep:

Fatigas del Querer

And there’s even more seating in the back:

Fatigas del Querer

Fatigas del Querer

Ask your waiter for assistance. The food portions are generous, which means your waiter can best advise you on how much to order and what plates are best for sampling among your party. Our order consisted of garlic shrimp, which was perfectly cooked and loaded with garlic flavor:

Shrimp in garlic butter

Ursula, being European, loves air-dried meats, hams, and sausages of every type, so of course you know what made up one platter. This platter was quite a load of food for the two of us, and the samplings were exquisite:

Assorted cured meats, blood sausage, and cheese

The sausages and bread sticks were also quite delectable:

Sausages and bread sticks

Fatigas del Querer is Spanish for “Toils of Love”, and love of tapas were evident in every tasty bite of every tasty morsel. The restaurant is well worth finding, but it’s not easy to locate. The address is Calle de La Cruz 17, and Calle de la Cruz is a very small street southwest of Plaza de la Canalejas. If you can locate the plaza, which is fairly easy, then you’re only about 500 feet/150 meters from the restaurant.


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Fun Food Friday—Sparky’s World Famous Burgers, BBQ, and Shakes

Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ, and Shakes

Sparky’s Burgers, BBQ, and Shakes really is rapidly becoming world famous, so that’s not hype you see above the entryway and the long line waiting to get inside. And while Sparky may be famous for their award-winning green chile cheeseburger, it’s the barbecue that keeps Ursula and me returning even though Sparky’s is 160 miles round trip! And if you thought the outside decor was on the kitschy side, wait until you step indoors:

Sparky’s souvenirs

Sparky’s has grown over the years to the point that it has taken over the entire frontage of the building. The entryway takes you to the cash register and kitchen, where you place your order. You then walk past the souvenir stand and into the first of two huge dining areas. The second dining area has some really hokey 1930 and ’40s honkey-tonk/western musicians, and they do have a tendency to sing off-key, so we try to keep to the first dining area. Which reminds me of a joke:

A gentleman stepped up to the bar and ordered a drink. He turned to the rancher standing next to him and said, “I’m going to put some money in the jukebox. What kind of music do you like?

The rancher said in a slow drawl, “Why, mister, I like both kinds of music.”

“Both kinds?” the gentleman asked.

“Yep. I like country and western.”

The first of Sparky’s two dining areas

Sparky’s is such a hit that it’s only open four days a week—Thursday through Sunday from 10:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. So don’t even think of driving through Hatch on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday! You can also give up all hope of sampling this place on New Year’s Day, after 3:00 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving and Black Friday, and Christmas Day.

Sparky’s menu may appear basic, but the food isn’t. Here are our drinks, a freshly squeezed blueberry lemonade and a guajillo chile and mango shake:

Guajillo chile-mango shake and blueberry lemonade

Did I mention that Sparky’s has an award-winning green chile cheeseburger? Here it is, complete with true Hatch green chile and a side of incredible beans:

Sparky’s award-winning green chile cheeseburger and delicious beans

That burger is even better than it looks, beating out in my opinion even the famous Owl Café and the Buckhorn Tavern. Both Owl Café and Buckhorn are situated in San Antonio, New Mexico, just south of Socorro. You may remember Bobby Olguin of Buckhorn Tavern. He’s the guy Bobby Flay made the mistake of challenging to a green chile cheeseburger throwdown. Mr. Flay lost. Mr. Olguin’s business has been a gold mine ever since with long lines to get in. And having tasted both, Sparky’s is still better in the green chile cheeseburger category . . . but not by much! You owe it to yourself to try both, on different days of course!

However, I’m here to tell you  that the green chile cheeseburger isn’t even the best item in this place. Sparky’s barbecue is.

Peoples’ Choice barbecue platter with cole slaw side

The Peoples’ Choice platter gives you a sampling of smoked sausage (a tad on the salty side); a succulent smoked rib; some of the best smoked brisket you’ll ever taste short of my own; and some of the best slow-smoked pulled pork you’ll ever eat except maybe for this recipe. Another great side here is the cole slaw with pineapple chunks. Go to Sparky’s with a friend. That way one can get the beans and the other the slaw, then go halvsies.

Sparky’s deserts are also very good, including their delightful fruit pie, but we’re going elsewhere for dessert in a moment. So, let’s say goodbye to Sparky’s:


And head south along NM-185, past Radium Springs, and into Las Cruces, New Mexico. Here we stop at Caliche’s Frozen Custard for some of the best ice cream you’ll find this side of a New Jersey frozen custard stand:

Caliche’s Frozen Custard—a Las Cruces institution

Be ready for a long line here, as well. It’s that good!

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