The other day, our 3-month-old son met our friend Paulie for the first time. I have honestly never seen this baby smile as big at a stranger as he did seeing Paulie. Then again, Paulie wasn’t just a new face, Paulie was an Italian face, and perhaps George sensed their shared heritage. With that said, these days, there’s not an event on the horizon that has me as excited as the 11-day New Mexico Italian Film and Cultural Festival, which opens on February 5th in Santa Fe and, after three days of film and food in the City Different, moves on to Albuquerque on February 8th. Continue reading
I have a dear friend in Chicago who is infamous for his “top ten” lists. Every trip, outing, or life event gets its own top ten. He posts them on Facebook with his typical “in no particular order, except number one” verbiage. I always read them, usually laugh, and frequently wish I had been a part of them. When I travel somewhere, I will send him a quick message asking for his top ten. I have discovered some of my favorite restaurants and bars that way. Well, now it’s our turn Albuquerque. We have culture, we have art, we have nightlife, and we have an incredible culinary community that has finally begun to receive the recognition deserved. So without further ado … I present to you, my Top Ten Dishes of Albuquerque for 2014. In no particular order, except number one …
Jennifer James 101
Sautéed Black Cod, Aromatic Black Lentils, Caramelized Winter Squash and Sage Brown Butter
Josie Seymour walks into my house and immediately it’s a better place for her presence. She laughs—all teeth and joy—happy to meet me, happy to meet my family, happy to share her story. Seymour is a potter and jeweler from Seama Village in Laguna Pueblo, approximately 45 miles west of Albuquerque. Continue reading
With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your loved ones and, more specifically, for the foodies on your list. This year, give the aspiring chefs in your life something new to chew on: a book that encourages them to develop their culinary skills, explore authentic New Mexican cuisine and, most importantly, share a meal with their family and friends. Here are ten of our favorite cookbooks by local authors that celebrate the flavors of New Mexico and beyond. Remember the Local Flavor war cry! Think local. Buy local. Stay local.
The holidays are nearly upon us, and with them comes a season of quiet reflection and joyful peace, when people gather together to celebrate giving, gratitude and goodwill. For Santa Fe School of Cooking founder Susan Curtis and Director of Operations Nicole Ammerman, the holiday season also represents the combination of their most cherished values: food and family. Continue reading
Santa Fe may be small but our culinary scene is thriving. Behind this success is a dedicated group of beverage professionals committed to maintaining high standards for wine, cocktails and service throughout our city. These are the sommeliers and mixologists writing your favorite restaurant’s wine list or mixing your drink at the bar. While some have been at it for years, others are just beginning their careers and a few are on the path to become certified sommeliers. These young beverage professionals are excited about what’s new in the world of wine and cocktails, but they’re not just looking to other cities for trends—they’re setting trends themselves. In anticipation of the New Year, I spoke to a few of Santa Fe’s up-and-coming sommeliers about what they’re excited to drink in 2015. Continue reading
Anyone who has spent Christmas in the Land of Enchantment knows how beautiful winter in New Mexico truly is. Farolitos line our streets and buildings, offering a warm glow to the midnight blue of our night skies, while the snow makes itself at home on mountaintops and adobe walls. There are other perspectives from which to view the season, however, and this year we encourage you to do so. Experience winter in the Land of Enchantment through the eyes of artists who translate to canvas those magical elements that only they see. This year, support your local artists and galleries—give the gift of art.
Cynthia Rowland, “Sur la Pointe,” 20 x 16 in., oil on canvas, $2,250
New Mexico Art League
Our Still Hungry? column usually brings you recipes to try out at home, but we decided to try a new recipe this month. To wrap the year up we asked some of our favorite chefs what they’re planning in the kitchen for 2015 that’s big and bold—a new ingredient, a new technique, what they’re looking forward to in their kitchens in the next year.
I spoke to eight chefs and got eight different and fabulous answers, all of which were conveyed with such passion and enthusiasm that I think I gained a few pounds just listening. I also learned that Santa Fe chefs are willing to go to great lengths to bring us new ideas. Chef Matt Yohalem spoke to me from Las Vegas, where he was getting ready to head out to a 24-course dinner. Chef Cristian Pontiggia was getting ready to head off to a gastronomic tour of New Orleans. Chef Catherine O’Brien took time out from her European vacation to give me her thoughts. Is it too late for me to be a chef? Continue reading
With Mother’s Day brunch in mind, Beth Draiscoll offers a Zia Diner staple, their Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. “We smoke whole sides of salmon here at the Zia,” she says, “but I think good commercial lox is also just fine.” Beth notes that at the Zia, “We use the iconic blender Hollandaise first made famous by Julia Child. It holds fairly well and doesn’t ‘break’ as some recipes tend to do.”
To prepare the hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of black pepper
1/4 pound butter (1 stick), melted and warm
Whisk the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, cayenne and black pepper in blender. With blender running, slowly drizzle in melted butter and mix until sauce comes together and thickens.
To put it all together:
8 English muffins
8 eggs (two per serving)
1 ounce Nova lox
Sprig of dill or Italian parsley
Poach eggs and rest on paper towels while toasting English muffins. Place Nova lox on each toasted muffin, top with a poached egg and pour some Hollandaise over each. Garnish with a sprig of dill or chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.
Recipe by Beth Draiscoll of the Zia Diner; recipe appears in May 2014 Local Flavor
Once you allow the mountains into your heart, there’s no turning back. You see them and they call to you, you are inextricably drawn to them. Towering above steep valley slopes forested in fir and spruce, a green so dark it is nearly black, snow covered Kachina Peak tears at the sky. Wind whips tendrils of snow from the ridge line, outcrops of rock peek through the pure white slopes. Watching puffy fair-weather clouds race by the high horizon gives me a moment of vertigo. Jesse Keaveny, chief marketing officer for Taos Ski Valley, is taking me on a back road tour of the area and has pulled the car over at a vantage point. Continue reading
A review I read recently in the New Yorker about a new Slavic restaurant in Brooklyn ended with a simple statement: “wear sweatpants.” It made me chuckle as I had to admit to myself that the phrase was an apt metaphor for my writing in Local Flavor this year on the Santa Fe food scene. With so many fantastic restaurants and so much culinary talent to cover, no wonder I found myself loosening my belt a notch or two.
Santa Fe is truly a foodie town; it comes as no surprise that we’re rated in the top ten of Conde Nast’s Reader’s Choice Award for 2014. I think anyone would agree that all of our dedicated chefs and hospitality professionals deserve the praise.
But I was asked to choose my ten favorite dishes. So, what makes a Top Ten dish in my mind? Certainly flavor, first and foremost, with creativity and dish execution also being important factors. The atmosphere of the restaurant and the caliber of the servers bear merit as well, although I believe gobbling up a messy burger on a picnic table by the roadside with sauce running down your chin can win just as much kudos as a fine dining experiencethe likes of Geronimo or Georgia—well, almost.
From pickles to poutine, it was a delicious year. I remember last year, after my Top Ten List of 2013 came out, a few readers told me that they were going to try each of my celebrated dishes to see if they agreed with my votes. With the New Year upon us, I think that’s a great idea…just don’t forget the sweatpants!
Evan and Gavin Keene, brothers age 30 and 26 respectively, have been in the Albuquerque restaurant business since they were old enough to bus tables. They’re mellow and recognize that they have a lot going for them in their gigs at Farina Alto and Farina Pizzeria—Evan is part owner of Alto and Gavin cooks on the line at the pizzeria in East Downtown. All of this was something they grew into as a natural path through their family. Continue reading