Q is for Queso @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

As you've seen from H is for Hatch Chiles, they're the bee's knees in New Mexico and they're in everything here. Creme brulee, bagels, wine (no, I'm not kidding), and one friend even ordered a lobster roll with green chiles. Being from New England, she was not thrilled with the result, but that's not the point. The point is, New Mexicans love their chiles, even putting them in things that, well, probably shouldn't be tampered with.But queso isn't one of them. It's made for Hatch chiles.In the interest of finding a delicious restaurant-style queso dip you lovely readers can try, I tracked down two recipes on the interwebs (Pinterest, to be specific), and taste-tested them for you.It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it.Queso Recipe #1: Roasted Hatch Chile Queso Dip from Cook Like A ChampionQ is for Queso experiment 1A photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 20, 2016 at 4:50pm PDTFirst off, this recipe was very...
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P is for Petroglyph National Monument @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

Picture from WikipediaPetroglyph National Monument falls under the National Park Service, and stretches along Albuquerque, New Mexico's west mesa. As the NPS website says, "Petroglyph National Monument protects on of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved into volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers."There's a visitor's center, but there aren't any petroglyph viewing areas there, so you'll have to go to the trails, which you can hike.There are three trails where you can see petroglyphs and one without any. It's very neat to be able to be up close and personal with such vivid history.xoxo Sarah...
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O is for October: Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta @AprilA2Z #AtoZChallenge

Considered to be the most photographed event in the world, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the largest ballooning event in the U.S. and is held every October.How have I not shared this pic? Autumn in #Albuquerque. #ABQ #newmexicoA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 30, 2016 at 4:35pm PDT The Fiesta has many events, including mass ascensions, special shapes, and even special events and competitions.What makes ballooning in Albuquerque so good? It's what's known as the Albuquerque box--predictable wind patterns that are great for ballooning. Below is a diagram of how the winds in the Albuquerque box work from Balloon Fiesta Park. The balloons rise and are taken south by southerly winds, then rise and are swept north in the higher altitude by northerly winds. When they drop in altitude, they are caught by the southerly winds again which bring them back to the park.Pic from WikipediaOf course, things don't always go so neatly, so each balloon...
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N is for Nob Hill #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z @abqnobhill

Nob Hill in Albuquerque is actually named after Nob Hill in San Francisco, and is considered to be the commercial area alongside Central Avenue (which we discussed on C day as also being U.S. Route 66) and the surrounding residential areas. Nob Hill is east of the University of New Mexico, and encompasses a roughly square shape that runs from Lomas on the north side, Girard on the west, Garfield/Zuni to the south, and Washington on the east.Nob Hill (which turns 100 this year) is a vibrant community filled with locally-owned shops and restaurants. Events are often held along Central (like Route 66 Summerfest).It's a great place to enjoy a small-community feel in a city, and a wonderful place to enjoy a night out, whether you want to go to the cinema, go dancing, or enjoy a nice meal out.Gotta love the old-fashioned signage! #ABQ #albuquerque #nobhill #nofilter #newmexicoA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Mar 20, 2016 at 5:55pm...
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M is for Museum (Nuclear Science & History) #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History (yes, I'm aware it technically starts with N, but I'm taking liberties here) is located in Albuquerque, and is a great way to spend some time.Lovely day to get your science on! #ABQ #albuquerque #newmexicoA photo posted by Sarah Allan (@sarahallanauthor) on Apr 2, 2016 at 4:13pm PDT We've gone once so far and we had a great time. It's easy to get to, has plenty of parking, and, best of all, is very interesting.When we visited, there was a Modern Marvels from the History Channel show that they broadcast in the little theater. It was about 45 minutes long, and gave a great history of the Manhattan Project and nuclear science in general. It was worth watching before we went and explored the rest of the museum because we found we recognized names, locations, and dates from the show as we walked around.The museum itself isn't huge, but it's laid out...
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L is for La Luz Trail #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

Picture from WikipediaThe La Luz Trail is an approximately 8 mile hiking trail that leads from the base of the Sandia Mountains to Sandia Crest.It's a strenuous trail and folks attempting it should be in appropriate physical condition. Be sure to leave enough time to do the loop (or take the tram down), bring plenty of water and snacks, and to wear proper gear.It offers lovely views of Albuquerque and the surrounding area.No, we haven't done the trail yet, but it's on our list of things to explore!xoxo Sarah...
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K is for Kirtland AFB #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

Kirtland Air Force Base is a big part of Albuquerque. It's in the southeast part of the city, and adjacent to Albuquerque International Sunport (the airport).It was born out of three private airfields in the late 1920s, and actual construction was completed in the early 1940s. Before it was named for Col. Roy C. Kirtland, it was known as Albuquerque Army Air Base. During WWII, B-17 and B-24 bombers were trained there. After the war, the base was placed under a different command and took up the task of test flight activities for the Manhattan Engineering District, the same organization that produced the atomic bomb.In 1973, Kirtland enlarged due to the combining of Kirtland, Manzano, and Sandia bases.Kirtland is also celebrating its 75th anniversary this year!It's currently the sixth largest base in the U.S. Air Force, and is known for being home to the Nuclear Weapons Center, and is also home to other well-known research facilities such as Sandia National...
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J is for Jackrabbit #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

New Mexico has a variety of interesting wildlife in general, including Black-Tailed Jackrabbits which inhabit a good portion of the state.Picture from WikipediaEven stranger, though, is that New Mexico--the southern bit, anyway--is home to jaguars. They're extremely rare, but they are listed as a native species.So, of all the interesting things that can kill you on your outdoor explorations--snakes, falling, etc.--fierce felines are also on the list. They're not common, though, because most of New Mexico is dry and desert-y, and jaguars prefer places with trees. So just watch out for the mountain lions and you'll be all set.xoxo Sarah...
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I is for Isotopes Baseball #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

One nice thing about Albuquerque is that they have a Minor League Baseball team! The Isotopes are part of the Pacific Coast League and are the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.Albuquerque Isotopes logo from WikipediaAlbuquerque and New Mexico is often associated with nuclear research and technology (Sandia National Labs, Los Alamos, and the Manhattan Project), the name is very appropriate. And the Isotopes do have an interesting connection with The Simpsons television show.They play at Isotopes Park, and in 2016 they have their home opener on Friday, April 15th.While not being huge baseball fans (it's a snoozer to watch on TV, in my opinion), the Isotopes games are a lot of fun to go to. There's a good variety of food to eat, and they have some fun giveaways and theme nights.xoxo Sarah...
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H is for Hatch Chiles #AtoZChallenge @AprilA2Z

If you talk to anyone who's lived in New Mexico, the chile season (which runs each fall) begins and ends with Hatch.Hatch is an area (the Hatch Valley, and the village of Hatch) that grows New Mexico green chile (no, they're not jalapenos--they're their own thing, and a specific type, of which there are several varieties).The green chiles are sharper in flavor and have more front heat, while the ripe red ones tend to have a more complex flavor and less front heat but more back heat.In the late summer and early fall, the chile harvest begins. You'll start to see crates of Hatch chiles showing up in grocery stores, and there will be chile roasting areas, too, where if you get a certain amount, you can get them roasted for free.If you can't get to New Mexico to get some fresh roasted chile or to the Hatch Chile Festival in early September, Hatch does sell it online.Picture from Hatch Chile...
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