Bamboo Garden–Alamogordo, NM

Bamboo Garden
2617 N. White Sands Blvd.
Alamogordo, NM
(575) 437-5552
Bamboo Garden

Bamboo Garden


I was alerted that this restaurant had a “secret menu” of authentic Chinese food, and this meant the possibility of not only having a great lunch but also being able to share the information with others. This is not a far-fetched concept, since I have found similar restaurants in places such as Portales, Roswell, and Ruidoso. In fact, even the now closed Golden Palace in Alamogordo had authentic food to go along with their American style favorites.

At first the staff at Bamboo Garden seemed to have no knowledge of what I had heard, and told me that they only had one menu. After asking to speak to the chef, though, I found out that he did indeed prepare traditional style Chinese food by request, but there was no menu for it. What he offered, though, was a choice of meats and a choice of whether you want Cantonese style food or something spicy. Based on this I ordered the item pictured below.

Some web sites state that Bamboo Garden serves both Chinese and Korean food. At first this made me worried that I was seeking authentic Chinese food at a restaurant run by Korean people, but it turned out that the husband is Chinese and the wife is Korean, and they offer both types of food. The Chinese food is Americanized by default but traditional style if you want it. I assume that the Korean food is authentic because this is the way I have seen it at other restaurants.

Special Chinese Dishes

Chicken & broccoli

Chicken & broccoli with oyster sauce and black beans

The Chicken and Broccoli was a special dish (not on the menu) the chef prepared for me when I asked for authentic Chinese food. This was made with oyster sauce and black beans, and as far as I am concerned passed all the tests for being traditional style. It had a simple but very good flavor, and the ingredients were equally simple (chicken and broccoli). I normally consider this type of broccoli to be an American adaptation of Chinese food, but with the sauce the chef prepared this tasted as Chinese as it would have been with any Chinese vegetables. It is interesting that he also added some jalapenos (certainly not Cantonese, but this is New Mexico after all where everyone loves chiles). The jalapenos were in a small quantity and could easily be removed, but of course I thought it would be best to follow the chef’s suggestion and eat everything on the plate (and it was quite good with the chiles).

I know not everyone is a fanatic about ordering traditional style Chinese food like I am, but this dish was so high up on the deliciousness scale that I really have to tell people they don’t know what they are missing if they do not take advantage of this type of opportunity.

Tea
The restaurant serves a brewed jasmine tea which is excellent, and ensures that the drink is as good as the food.

Other Tips
Food here normally has MSG, but it can be omitted by request. There is no buffet but they have lunch specials (including Korean food). The restaurant is closed from 2:30 to 5:00 P.M.

If you want the authentic Chinese food, be patient. When I went the wait staff did not know about it but when I was able to talk to the chef I was able to get what I was seeking. The “authentic” food does not seem to have any different meat or vegetables, but the sauce he makes is quite satisfying and delicious.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Chinese
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun.
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Jan. 5, 2018
Number of Visits: 1
Best Item: Chicken & Broccoli

 

Asian Food Details

Tea: Jasmine (brewed)
MSG: Yes
Buffet: No

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Chicken & Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Le Rendez-vous–Las Cruces, NM

Le Rendez-vous Cafe
2701 W. Picacho Ave.
Las Cruces, NM
(575) 527-0098
Le Rendez-Vous

Le Rendez-Vous


I will admit that I like almost any kind of dessert, but I also recognize those which stand out as being a special treat (as the ones here do). Le Rendez-vous is a cafe which serves sandwiches and French dishes such as quiche (it serves breakfast and lunch every day except Monday). It seems to be competing with A Bite of Belgium on the food items, although the people at A Bite of Belgium actually recommended Le Rendez-vous to me when they did not have the dessert items I wanted.

Almond crescent

Almond crescent

The bakery items at Le Rendez-vous are definitely on the expensive side but also very rich so that they go a long way. They do have some items, though, which are less rich and less expensive, such as the Almond Crescent. I just think of these items as ones which I can eat all at once, but even the crescent was one that was so good I wanted to save some for a later time. It is not terribly sweet, but the chocolate, nuts, dough, and almond paste filling make a very nice treat.

Lemon tarte

Lemon tarte

The Lemon Tarte was my favorite of the items I tried, and also the one I cut into the smallest pieces to make it last a long time. This had a strawberry filling, coconut sprinkled on the sides, and a lemon topping. The balance between a sweet and tart flavor was quite nice, and I was a little surprised about putting lemon and strawberry flavors together (but it really worked).

Cream puff

Cream puff

The Cream Puff also had a strawberry filling, but more than the tarte and it included whole strawberries. The cream was very rich, and I also thought this was an excellent pastry.

If you come here I think the hardest part is choosing what to buy (they all seem to be excellent). The lemon tarte, though, was one I initially was not going to choose but was recommended by the staff. This tells me that you probably will do all right by following the employees’ recommendations.


RATING: *

Cuisine: Cafe & bakery
Cost: N/A

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 27, 2017

Number of Visits: 1

Best Items: Lemon Tarte, Cream Puff

Special Ratings

star 5 Lemon Tarte
star 5 Cream Puff
star 5 Almond Crescent

Los Mariachis–Las Cruces, NM

Los Mariachis
754 N. Motel Blvd.
Las Cruces, NM
(575) 523-7058
Los Mariachis

Los Mariachis


Los Mariachis in Las Cruces could also be called the Roving Mariachis, having moved from its original location in Mesilla to the west side of Las Cruces.  The distance moved was only two or three miles, but after eating at the new restaurant I suspected some other changes had occurred, such as changes to the menu. I decided it would be best to start over with a new review and appraisal of the food, although what I tried was influenced by what I liked best at the old restaurant.

The restaurant entrance

Los Mariachis entrance

Los Mariachis’ modern building is more spacious than at the old restaurant, and the large parking lot (contrasted to the very constrained parking at the old restaurant) probably explains the reason for the move. I think its popularity in Mesilla allowed the owners to open a larger restaurant, and its current popularity is evident by the reviews I read on the Internet.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

The excellent chips and salsa are one feature that has been carried over from the old restaurant. I rate the Salsa as among the best in Las Cruces, and the Chips equally (although this is not as important as the salsa being good). The salsa had a good flavor and a good spice (“good” being defined as definitely there but not so overwhelming that it numbed my tongue so that I could not taste the flavors).

Stuffed Sopapillas

Stuffed sopapillas

Stuffed sopapillas

Stuffed Sopapillas are an item I frequently order in New Mexico because of the fact that it is almost non-existent in El Paso. Previously I had thought the ones here were some of the best in Las Cruces. After some additional experimentation I still feel this way, but with some qualifications.

The stuffed sopapillas shown in the above photo not only had different toppings but also different fillings (on the Stuffed Sopapillas plate you have several choices, and the two on the plate can be different as mine were).

The one in front had shredded beef with green chile on top. I ordered this because it was the waiter’s recommendation, and it turned out to be my favorite of the two. The most surprising thing about it was that the green chile replaced the red I had at the old restaurant as my favorite. In fact, this was easily one of the top green chiles I have had in New Mexico. The shredded beef was also excellent. The menu gives a choice of shreded beef, chicken, or ground beef, but they also allow you to make other choices (such as the beans I really liked in the stuffed sopapillas at the Mesilla restaurant).

The other sopapilla was topped with red chile with chile con carne inside (one of several choices suggested by the waiter although it is not listed on the menu). The chile con carne was spicy, though, and I really do not recommend getting something spicy inside when the chile on top is quite spicy in itself. It tasted good, but I cannot say I enjoyed it as much as the spicy green chile contrasted with the non-spicy shredded beef.

Another difference I noted, though, was in the chiles. Both were spicy, but the green chile had a fresh and crisp flavor while the red sauce seemed filled with too many other ingredients that did not make it taste like the red chile I have enjoyed over the years (or like the one I had at the Mesilla restaurant). In short, the red chile was not as good as before, while the green one was better. The sopapilla itself had the same excellent flavor as before, and I was completely satisfied with the green one (although the red was also pretty good).

Red Enchiladas
I reported on my previous review that I also really liked the red enchiladas, but now I would recommend the green.

Rice and Beans
The beans and rice were very good, very much like the ones in other restaurants. The important thing is that the beans are suitable to put inside the stuffed sopapilla if you want a vegetarian version.

Other Notes

The cashier

Specials are posted as you enter

They sometimes have specials, such as the albondigas posted on the board the day I went.

One of the keys of this restaurant is that they make substitutions to give you the food you want, and the waiter did a very good job of working with me to offer some good choices on the stuffed sopapillas. Whatever menu changes they have made are not terribly important because they will make your food the way you want whether it is on the menu or not.

I am not sure whether the red and green chiles have actually changed from their Mesilla location or whether my tastes have changed, but based on experiences at other restaurants I tend to think the former (the chiles at other restaurants still taste the same to me as before). I still like Los Marichias as much as before, but I have switched from being a red person to a green one (at least based on this one experience I have had).

I changed the chile index from “5 chiles” at the old restaurant to 4 here, and I think this is actually a good thing (there is still enough spice to really enjoy it). My stuffed sopapilla with chile con carne inside, though, was still at the 5 spice level.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Mexican New Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 27, 2017
Number of Visits: 2
Best Items: Stuffed Sopapillas, Salsa

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: Vegetable
Special Ratings
star 5 Stuffed Sopapilla
star 5 Beans
star 4 Rice
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa