I stared at those mountains every day of my life until I was 18 and it never occurred to me to climb them. Drive lifted Landcruisers over them? Mos def. But now I am decidedly chuffed that you're going for it.
Northern NM cuisine, as far as I'm concerned, is defined by green chili cheeseburgers at Blake's Lottaburger, the stuffed sopaipilla at Rancho de Chimayo and the Allsup's chimichanga.
Should you feel the need to experience someone else's childhood, check out Overlook Park in White Rock, NM and Jemez Falls. They are among the only places I consider beautiful in that, my hated homeland.