Friday, October 03, 2008

New Mexico: Duran Central Pharmacy

The Green Chile Enchilada at Duran Central Pharmacy.

In these modern times, who would have known to go to the local pharmacy for a bite to eat? This isn't the fifties. Long gone are the days of the drugstore soda jerkIn these modern times, who would have known to go to the local pharmacy for a bite to eat? This isn't the fifties. Long gone are the days of the drugstore soda jerk. But perhaps time has forgotten this little town known as Albuquerque - and a good thing too.

Nestled along Central Avenue, near the tourist mecca of "Old Town" Albuquerque is the quiet, lazy and not quite so easy to find Duran Central Pharmacy. It's not much as far as pharmacies go. There's the expected drug counter and pharmacist waiting to fill your prescription for vicodin or viagra but compared to the slick Walgreen's and Rite Aids of the world, it's kinda sparse.

But we're not here just to pick up some Viagra (or Pepto Bismol). We're here to see just what all the fuss is about. To the left as you walk in, slightly hidden by display racks is a countertop and eating area that supposedly serves some of the finest New Mexican cuisine in all of New Mexico.

The trouble is that it's 6:28pm and they close at 6:30pm. Luckily, we catch a break and the friendly girl behind the counter decides to accommodate us. We're grateful.

Duran's menu is small but extensive. While they don't serve Chile Rellenos, they serve just about everything else from enchiladas to sopapillas to burritos and eggs. We're not sure what to order and go with the Enchilada Plate of three cheese enchiladas, covered in green chiles, served with beans and onions. To be honest, our visit to Duran is really just a snack before our dinner at Jennifer James 101 scheduled for 8:30pm.

After a few minutes, our enchiladas arrive and they're looking quite sexy. The enchiladas are literally drenched in green chile sauce and cheddar cheese. I both excited and torn to try it.

Maria at the plaza after a round of shopping.

It's the moment of truth. In my battle against giardaisis I haven't eaten anything substantial all day and have been guzzling Pepto Bismol like it's going out of style. All my suffering and effort have been in preparation for this moment. Can I handle the zesty fire of the green chiles without it sending me frantically sprinting for the men's room? With great angst, I take a bite.

The flavor of the green chiles with the cheese and tortilla is truly sublime. These green chiles don't have the furious zing that the Green Chile Stew at Frontier had. These are mellower with a light zing that compliments the flavor rather than overpowers. It's a flavor that builds a hunger. A hunger for more. It's absolutely delicious and I just want to devour it greedily.

Along with the enchiladas is a side of pinto beans that have to be some of the best beans I've ever eaten yet. They're soft while still firm with just the right bite. The flavor is rich and nutty while being creamy. I can't get enough of them. I want more.

In the end, we must stop because we still have a full dinner to eat in a couple of hours. In the meantime, we'll wander around Old Town searching for a new jacket for Maria and sharing deep and inner secrets under the moonlight in the plaza.

Next time, I'll be sure to try Duran's Torpedo and Mexican Combination Plate.

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