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Gallup, NM


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Gallup, New Mexico has captured my heart for its natural beauty and cultural vibrancy.  The food scene is evolving, but let me share my notes so you may avoid the duds I have endured.

If you seek personality, your best bets are the El Metate Tamale Factory, Westend Donuts & Deli, and La Montanita Coop Food Market.  El Metate is located near downtown, in a residential block, and has some rocking food.  Westend Donuts is in West Gallup, and is run by a dedicated owner, great donuts, apple fritters, and good subs on thoughtful bread.  La Montanita is back downtown, has local products, fresh produce, bulk grains, and just good ingredients.

For the bar scene, there are two areas to check out.

My favorite spot is the Coal Street Pub, located in the heart of downtown Gallup.  Nice beers, decent kitchen, fun bar to meet the locals.  Live music on certain nights.  Should you yearn for a shot, take "the Walk" down a block to the American Bar, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last Saturday.  Head back to your bar seat at CSP.  After last call, head 3 blocks down to Sammy C's, named by CNN as one of the top 100 sports bars in the nation.  Fun venue with tons of autographed jerseys and headshots.

Another tour starts with the 49er's Lounge in the legendary El Rancho hotel.  The 49er's Lounge has recently been named one of the top 50 bars in the Nation by Esquire's David Wondrich, and it certainly has the bones to someday live up to this potential.  Someone needs to bring a cocktail program to this venue.  Thereafter, head to Goodfellas for a nice divey bar scene.  After last call, cross the street to Panz Alegra to keep the night alive with all the rowdy friends you've just made.

Honorable Mentions:
Blunt Coffee:  funky stand that has the best beans in town.
Angela's Café:  inconvenient hours, but located at the Amtrak station.  Solid café, I enjoyed my chicken salad croissant.
Badland's Grill:  best NY Strip in town for sure, I'd stick to this entrée and not much else.
Fratelli's:  local love for this pasta/pizza/gelato joint, but thoroughly unremarkable.  Still beats Applebee's where I had "issues" after eating half my salad, and is a bit more distinctive than the perfectly acceptable (for Gallup) Cracker Barrel.

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