My second day in Albuquerque began with a step back in time with a visit to Petroglyph National Monument. Located on the westside of Albuquerque, the monument is home to the world's largest accessible collection of prehistoric rock art.
It was fascinating to walk among the estimated 24,000 images. Albuquerque's weather, with abundant sunshine, low humidity, scant precipitation and a wide, yet tolerable, range of temperatures, has helped to preserve the carvings over thousands of years.
After exploring the monument, I headed to Torinos' @ Home. Operated by the husband and wife team of Maxime and Daniela Bouneou, the food is fresh and as appealing to the eye as it is the palate. Who would have guessed that I would have the best Italian meal of my life (at least so far) in Albuquerque?
From lunch, I ventured to historic Old Town Albuquerque to catch a ride from Jesse Herron and Michael Silva, owners of ABQ Trolley Co.; Jesse is the driver, and Mike, the guide. Their unique open-air trolley has a stucco-texture paint treatment, which mimics the many adobe buildings situated throughout Albuquerque.
Driving along famed Route 66 and through the city's varied neighborhoods, the tour provides a glimpse into Albuquerque's past and present. It was from Mike, for instance,that I learned that Albuquerque has become of the most popular cities in the U.S. for movie and television production. Recent movies and television shows produced in and around the Albuquerque area include: Breaking Bad, Wild Hogs, No Country for Old Men and Transformers.
I continued my tour with guides from Tours of Old Town, who provided a walking tour of the downtown plaza, which is surrounded by unique shops, galleries and historic buildings such as the San Felipe de Neri Church. The church was build in 1793 and is the oldest surviving building in the city of Albuquerque.
All of my walking left me hungry. That was soon fixed with a visit to El Pinto. Serving authentic New Mexican cuisine, El Pinto is one of Albuquerque's most popular restaurants (and home to outstanding margaritas).
New Mexican cuisine is a product of Native American, Mexican, Spanish and American influences. It is similar to the Tex-Mex style of cooking but includes a much greater use of red or green chiles.