And All That Jazz

We’re getting settled around the table, four of us, for a little jam session of sorts. This would be me and the three directors of the New Mexico Jazz Festival: Tom Guralnick, Bob Martin and Bumblebee Bob Weil. There’s a lull in the conversation and I guess it’s my turn to say something. My job is to get to the heart of the matter, so I spit it out: “Three non-profits collaborating, three directors, presenting at six venues in two cities…” I pause to let the scope of what I’ve said sink in. It’s amazing, these guys aren’t just talking about how nice a collaborative effort would be—they’re doing it!

NM Jazz Fest

Bob Martin, Bob Weil and Tom Guralnick

“Wow, that sounds good!” exclaims Tom. We’re all laughing. Bob adds, “I wish we had come up with that!” Well, gentlemen, please be my guest and use it however you like.

“You’re in your ninth year,” I say. “How do you make it work?”

The bottom line is that each of these men eats, drinks and sleeps jazz, and each brings a broad range of experience to the table. And they’re buds who, like any friends who have hung together for this long, have a good chemistry going. Continue reading

A Sip of Santa Fe

MOVE over wine, it’s finally time to share your spotlight. For years, wine has been the go-to beverage for elite dining establishments. Restaurants employ top dollar sommeliers who spend years studying wine and its nuances in order to properly pair the perfect Cabernet Sauvignon with your rib-eye. Some restaurants even have cicerones, experts in the art of ale to make sure you get the IPA with the correct IBUs. But what about the bartender? Bartenders spend countless hours studying spirits, creating cocktails and learning techniques. They are up in the wee hours of the morning polishing bar tops and pulling floor mats. It’s tough on their knees, shoulders, wrists and especially their relationships with the “daywalkers.” They always work on holidays, weekends and evenings. Heck—anytime the rest of the world isn’t working, chances are the bartender is. When you are starting your day, the bartender is just ending his. But finally bartenders are starting to get credit for their creativity and hard work and the popularity of the cocktail is on the rise.

Gaelen Casey

Photo of Quinn Stephenson by Gaelen Casey

There has been a craft cocktail movement all over the world throughout the last decade. In cities like London, Tokyo and New York, the cocktail scene is well-developed and the bartender’s reputation has returned to that of the pre-prohibition days, when bartenders were stars and some even made more money than the president of the United States. The movement has spread and bartenders are now being given titles like “mixologist” or “cheftender” to better reflect the highly skilled profession.

I remember the first time I realized what an art form bartending was. For years, I studied wine. I was always looking for the right wine to pair with food—trying to decipher which wine from what region would have the right acidity level or which grape had the perfect aroma to compliment a dish. I was taking the creations of two other people, the chef and the winemaker, and trying to make a match. One day, I was trying to find a pairing for a dish that was giving me some problems. I needed more acidity and was looking for more tropical fruit and I just couldn’t find the right wine. I also thought a little spice, like cardamom, would have been perfect. It dawned on me that I could actually create those flavors in a cocktail myself. A little caramelized pineapple, a homemade cardamom/star anise syrup, some fresh lemon juice, a dash of rum and BOOM! That day my focus shifted from wine to spirits and I never looked back. Continue reading

Georgia of Santa Fe

Georgia of Santa Fe

Standing in the dining room of Georgia, one of the newest restaurants to hit the Santa Fe culinary scene, you’d never know that in January the whole place was gutted from floor to ceiling for a complete renovation. Walls were torn apart to be reinsulated, original ceilings were exposed and plumbing and electricity overhauled. From the dust and debris a gorgeous space has emerged. In the dining room, luxurious leather banquettes and tables covered in white linen line the freshly painted walls, which are hung with contemporary art. Stemware and chrome ice buckets reflect light from the pendant lamps that hang suspended from the ceiling. A zinc-topped bar and a wall that displays the restaurant’s wine selections dominate another room. Continue reading

One with the Music

There’s a belief out there among certain scientists that music is the sonic manifestation of the human heart. If that’s true, then it stands to reason that the experience of hearing music performed live, in real time, brings its listeners’ heartbeats into harmony. And if that music is performed by musicians playing from the heart, then it elicits a heart-opening experience for all the listeners within its vicinity—which is what people talk about when they talk about music giving them chills.

Santa Fe Bandstand Plaza Shot

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For the Love of Dance

It’s a banner year for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet! On July 11 and 12, they bring an inspiring program to the Lensic: Square None, choreographed by Norbert de la Cruz III; Jiří  Kylián’s Return to a Strange Land; and the company’s newest creation, The Heart(s)pace, by Nicolo Fonte. (The Encore! performance is August 30 if they sell out before you get your tickets.) On July 18, Juan Siddi Flamenco will perform for the first time since announcing their groundbreaking partnership with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Jean-Phillipe Malaty, executive director of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, talks to Local Flavor about an exciting collaboration “that’s never before been done in the field of dance.” We can’t wait for the curtains to open.

Sharen Bradford

Sharen Bradford

Local Flavor: What was the vision behind the collaboration between Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and Juan Siddi Flamenco?

Jean-Phillipe Malaty : Myself and the artistic director, Tom Mossbrucker, being a little bit older and being in the business longer, remember how it is to start a dance company from scratch. We were advising Juan and helping out as friends, but there comes a point where one needs more help than just friendly advice. Juan’s company had been struggling for six years—not artistically [but in other ways]—so we dreamed up the idea of combining forces.
We are celebrating our 18th season. We have survived the recession—it took a lot of our focus and attention. This was the right time to take on another project—to take on Juan and relieve him of pay roll managing, fundraising, budgeting, producing. [The collaboration] is something that really came out organically. It really made sense; we were two great companies, and the opportunity presented itself to collaborate and share resources. We already share our company between two communities, Aspen and Santa Fe, so we are used to that. It’s who we are, collaboration. We have the resources, knowledge and wealth of experience. It feels good to be in a position to share that. Continue reading

Fish in Saffron Sauce

This recipe appears in the July 2014 issue and was created by Ana Enriquez, of The Spanish Table

A cazuela is great for cooking fish dishes because it goes from stovetop to oven to table. This is one of those recipes I do on weeknights when it is my turn to cook. The results exceed the effort by a country mile. All you have to remember is to pick up fish on your way home from work. The fillets of any firm fish that do not fall apart when cooked will work. I prefer halibut, but I have even done this recipe with salmon. Continue reading

Spanish Table Classic Paella

SaffronFor more than six decades Santa Fe has been celebrating its unique Spanish heritage with the nationally renowned week-long celebration known as Spanish Market. But for locals, all things Spanish are enjoyed and celebrated on a daily basis and no shop in town is as important to us as our very own Spanish Table––a cultural and culinary jewel that carries a unique array of Spanish ingredients, specialty cookware and colorful ceramics.

Manager Ana Enriquez enjoys working with the many local chefs who stop by for specialty ingredients as well as savvy home cooks. For our Still Hungry column this month, Ana offers up three classic Spanish recipes whose ingredients conjure the unique flavors of Spain: an easy-to-make fish in saffron sauce, a light, refreshing sangria and a classic summertime paella. Continue reading

Chef Johnny Vee Wants to Know

Mark Quiñones

Of all the personality characteristics I think a chef should have in order to make a real difference in a restaurant, spunk, pluck and enthusiasm are at the top of my list. Those traits, a great palate, confident use of salt and a certain savvy when it comes to customer relations and the media, and I give that culinarian an almost 100 percent chance of success. Even before I met or tasted the food of Chef Marc Quiñones—newly ensconced at Luminaria at the Inn and Spa at LorettoI had heard about his spirit. One person at the Loretto remarked, “The guys a tiger in the kitchen.” That’s all I needed to hear. Bring on the food. Continue reading

Rooftops of Albuquerque

Apothecary June 2014We all know and love Albuquerque’s famous watermelon sunsets. (Of course our daytime weather doesn’t leave much to complain about either, with a massive blue sky and an average of 300 days of sun per year.) With the promise of a breath-taking sunset practically every night, a view from the top is the ideal way to take in the beauty, and like most large cities, Albuquerque has a rooftop bar scene available for your front-row viewing pleasure. Continue reading

So Many Roads, So Little Time

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If you’re thinking of getting into (or back into) motorcycling, there’s no underestimating the value of rider training. For this, a great place to start is the New Mexico Motorcycle Safety Program, with courses from basic to experienced. Classes are held in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. They can be reached at 505.338.2054 or

For curvy bliss in Northern New Mexico, here are a few more of my favs. Continue reading

The Buzz July 2014


New in Nob Hill! Nu Asia Vegan is the latest in restaurants showcasing the amazing things chefs do with vegetables. Try all-you-can-eat vegan sushi, seven days a week for lunch and dinner, as well as other vegan specialties: tempura, tofu, soy crab, bulgogi and more. Owner Philip Esparza is from the Philippines, his two partners, Hkung S. Maran and Brang Jangma, from Myanmar. The trio has developed an extensive pan-Asian menu. Call 505.508.1908.

More Nob Hill news—Yanni’s Mediterranean Grill is serving up produce grown in its very own urban garden. This women-owned business now has a women-run urban farm. Farmers Paloma Sanchez and Gretchen Garcia constructed a 60-foot raised bed, filled it with organic soil and compost and planted chiles, tomatoes, cucumbers, every herb imaginable, watermelons, eggplants, squash, fig trees, etc. “We are taking a farm-to-table approach here at Yanni’s to educate our customers on the importance of organic, natural and non-GMO foods,” says Yanni’s co-owner Nicole Martinez. “We hope to partner with UNM’s sustainability program next spring and hope to have a summer camp for young children by next summer.” Watch the Yanni’s Facebook page for photos and the latest farm-to-table treats. Continue reading