We aren’t planning any trips to Albuquerque anytime soon, but when we do we’ll make sure to include a stop at a Flying Star Café. There are eight in the Duke City area, plus one in Santa Fe. It’s similar to Panera Bread, but with a far more ambitious menu. Dinner and breakfast are served all day, which means the lunch options are plentiful.
A recent road trip resulted in our introduction to the Flying Star. Orders are placed at the counter, but the fare is delivered to the table. The emphasis is on comfort food that can be prepared quickly without sinking to a fast food template.
I chose the smaller portion of the Buddha Bowl (appropriately called the Baby Buddha). Featuring stir-fried vegetables in a lemongrass-ginger sauce served over brown rice. The ginger adds a nice zing to the medley, and the fried wontons provide texture.
The Macaroni and Cheese has apparently developed a cult-like following among diners trying to discern the types of cheese included in this classic dish. A few years ago, it was the recipient of an area newspaper’s Best Mac and Cheese Award. Curly pasta is coated in a very rich, very creamy cheese sauce. It’s decadent. One of the most elevated, and least expensive, menu items is the $5.99 Grilled Cheese Sandwich: gobs of melted cheddar on toasted sourdough bread.
The café was bustling, but the food provided a nice respite from the basic off-the-highway-for-a-quick-bite meal we’ve settled for in the past.
Flying Star Café
8000 Paseo Del Norte