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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Preparing for the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

May 31st, 2016

It’s time to start preparing for the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the busiest time of the year for tourist visits. While the event is fun, no doubt, the festival can get a little chaotic if you’re not adequately prepared for it.

Here are some ways to make sure your visit goes smoothly to make your first or next time as enjoyable as it should be.

Hot Air Balloon artistic photoTry Not to Book Late Flights to Albuquerque

The festival’s balloon events start early, at around 6 A.M. This means that if you’re flying into town the night before, you may experience delays that cause you to miss the events entirely.

Not only are flight delays potential setbacks, but rental car companies typically close after midnight, which can make it impossible to find a set of wheels when you desperately need them.

If you want to avoid these complications, try to fly in earlier, ideally a full day before the event at the latest.

Make Sure to Wear Comfortable Clothing

Albuquerque isn’t warm all day long. It may shoot up to the 80’s later in the day, but the mornings can be a little chilly. If you want to stay comfortable, it’s ideal to wear jackets and pants throughout the balloon events that keep you warm until it’s time to switch to lighter clothing in the afternoon.

The grass field where the balloons launch can make the feet cold in the morning, which is why it’s suggested you wear closed-toe shoes throughout the events.

Stay in Albuquerque Throughout the Weekend

2014 saw particularly cold and windy weather linger in Albuquerque, meaning that the balloons were unable to launch. If you only allow yourself one day in town to see the balloons launch, you may find yourself disappointed in the end.

Instead of making the balloon events the highlight of your trip, try to plan your trip around them as well. Think of good restaurants to visit, bars to enjoy, museums, landmarks, or even a Breaking Bad tour that you can use to supplement your trip and serve as main events if the balloons remain grounded.

There are plenty of things to do in Albuquerque that can occupy more than a weekend, so avoid making the balloons your sole focus.

Albuquerque Internaltional Balloon FiestaUse the Shuttle Buses to Ride into Town

If you want to save money on traveling through town to the Balloon Fiesta, consider taking the Park & Ride shuttle bus. It’s economically sound and can get you to the event in no time, along with other areas of the city.

To further save money, consider staying at local hotels to keep you both close and within your budget. The combination of low prices and convenience is always invaluable. Bed and Breakfasts in Albuquerque and the surrounding area offer a variety of accommodations and the best local expertise, so you may want to check them out as well. There is something for everyone in all price ranges.

Balloon Glow - Photo by Helen Vanderbeek, Albuquerque, NM

Balloon Glow – Photo by Helen Vanderbeek, Albuquerque, NM

Take an Airport Shuttle or Uber When Leaving

Want another way to save money at the end of your trip? Once you’ve gotten your share of fun from the Balloon Fiesta and everything else you wanted to do in Albuquerque, consider taking either Uber or a local airport shuttle back to the airport.

Renting a car can cost upwards of $100 a day, while an Uber drive or shuttle ride can cost significantly less. Certain hotels are located close enough to the airport to save you plenty of money on a trip through these services. You can save a lot more this way, as the average Uber drive alone shouldn’t cost you more than $20 between any major locations in town.

These are some of the key ways you can make the 2016 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta one of the best experiences during your weekend stay in Albuquerque. You’ll be able to avoid any stress while taking full advantage of what the entire city has to offer you, while also saving money in the long run.


by a guest blogger


Very Special Chimichurri Recipe

December 12th, 2015

We have a new favorite condiment here at our house, and living at ground zero of the salsa world, that is saying a lot. But although this saucy condiment is new to our family, it isn’t new to the world. From parts way south of the border, like Argentina and Uruguay, the culinary world has received chimichurri, a condiment of mixed veggie matter that is used for preparing and/or dressing grilled meats. Since discovering this culinary delight, we have been using it for everything, because it’s so much more than just another salsa.

chimichurriThe true origin of the strange name isn’t really known, but I like the explanation that the name may come from a Basque term, tximitxurri, (which looks kind of Aztec to me). A loose translation is “a mix of several things in no particular order”. Yup, that’s about it.

People from the Basque region of Spain settled in Argentina and other parts of South America in the 1800s and perhaps brought this recipe with them, or adapted the ingredients from their new homeland into this tasty condiment.

There are basic ingredients in all chimichurri sauces, which includes parsley, garlic, vinegar, and oil, but what makes our new chimichurri recipe so special is that we have made some changes that really make the flavors pop. Like New Mexico’s chili salsas, chimichurri may be red or green, red being the tomato version. I’m not eating too much of tomato products anymore because I’m somewhat allergic. So – green it is. Never be afraid to experiment.

For our version of chimichurri, we went with a flavor infused olive oil and that made a HUGE difference. We have a few different flavors around, and this time we used “Persian Lime” infused olive oil. We used this limey chimichurri on shrimp tacos and the added lime flavor was beyond perfect. But would it be good on fried pork chops? Absolutely. The next night it was awesome on pork chops too.

olive oilAdobe Nido Chimichurri
yield is about 2+ cups – use fresh, not dried ingredients!

1 green jalapeño
4 green onions (scallions, use the white and light green parts)
2 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Lime infused olive oil*
1/2 cup any type of parsley (cilantro may also be used, but I don’t like it much)
1/2 cup Italian oregano
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
a pinch or 2 of red pepper flakes

This can be done without a mini food processor, but that is what works best. Pulse chop the parsley first and then adding all the other coarsely chopped ingredients, spices and liquids. Blend quickly until everything is well mixed and then let sit at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend.

No food processor? No problem. All the whole ingredients must be very finely chopped, and then add the spices and liquids and whisk together well. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry.

After 30 minutes the sauce is ready to use. You may marinate with the chimichurri, or just use it as a condiment on hot to cold foods. It was great on a sandwich too. Enjoy!

* I bought our flavor infused olive oil at the ABQ Olive Oil Company in Corrales. They have two tap rooms in Albuquerque where you can go in and sample any oil or infused balsamic vinegar they sell, and they have quite a few. Plan to spend a little fun time there when you go.

points of interest :: abq to do list

copyright 2009 :: sarah dolk, adobe nido bed and breakfast, albuquerque nm :: photos by susan see, abq, nm & marianne groszko, mariannephotography.net