What can you say about a town that changed its name to be on a game show? Originally called Hot Springs, NM, TorC (as we call it) is renowned for its warm baths and access to Elephant Butte. The warm waters bring with it a slew of artists, hippies, psychics, and such, along with the New Mexico regulars of ranchers and farmers. TorC is not a place I would normally consider for a getaway. But friends got us a room at the Blackstone Hotsprings.
Each room is themed - we were in the Jetson's room, and each room has its own hot spring tub - very large tubs.
Very clean and worth a visit - you can also soak in the tubs as a visitor daily from 12-6.
For breakfast I recommend the Happy Belly Deli. Its a greasy spoon that's not so greasy. Just your basic breakfast fare, but fast, friendly and filled with talkative locals.
For dinner we ate at Bella Luca Café. Let me take my snob hat off and say that this was a very good meal. Slightly piqued classic Italian and pizza - everything was prepared well and generous portions. But, for any regular readers, you'll know this isn't really my thing. I find classic Italian to be unimaginative and boring. However, I can guarantee that this will be your best dinner selection if you visit. For an appetizer we had aranciani - fried risotto balls.
Our table had the eggplant Parmesan and filet, but I opted for the scallops on risotto. Very classically prepared and just al dente enough. The server said their scallops are flown in twice a week which as a restaurant owner I think is slightly inaccurate. My guess is that their Sysco truck delivers twice a week and these most likely come in frozen. Either way, they were good.
We were so stuffed from pre-dinner apps in the hotel that we all split a creme brulée which was adequat if not large.
So I obviously did not fully take off my snob hat. Really, you'll like this place, but don't go expecting a gourmet meal. And don't take my word for it - they're listed with Fodor, Frommers and Wine Spectator, so they have a nice backing.
Farina Alto – Albuquerque, New Mexico
4 days ago