One of the first things anyone notices about Chef Ahmed Obo is his smile: it’s warm, sincere and frequent. His beaming goes beyond charm and optimism, however. It reflects his heartfelt desire to give of himself: everything and anything he can.
Thanksgiving’s approach brings with it a cornucopia of memories and associations, especially those related to delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. It’s traditionally a time of gathering together with people we love, sharing with them our special ritual foods and getting the chance to rediscover, if we’re lucky, how much these people and places dear to our hearts really mean to us, even with their quirks (maybe even because of their quirks!). Continue reading
The small adobe building on East Marcy Street, previously home to an office space filled with cubicles, now houses the very last thing you might expect and something you’ll be delighted to discover: several enormous deli cases soon to be filled with more cheeses than you can name. I’m surprised by the large, open room, saturated with sunlight from rows of windows and skylights that cast reflections off the glass case fronts and light up the pale mint-colored counters. When I arrive to meet John Gutierrez, one of the partners behind Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, he’s moving from case to counter and back again, grabbing different cheeses and expertly slicing them into an array of shapes.
Something deep inside of me connects with this elemental life, tears well in my eyes, my heart pounds, I have never seen anything like this. The force to migrate, the desire for winter shelter are as constant as our days and the changing of the seasons. It wasn’t so long ago we humans did much the same; a little bit of the pull is still in us. Continue reading
Everywhere I look, trees have thrown off their colorful robes. Crackly piles of yellow leaves lie everywhere, piling up in corners and covering the ground between tree trunks. The afternoons, ever shorter, have a wonderful crisp feel and most days I can smell piñon and cedar fires burning in nearby kivas. Wool sweaters and hats are being pulled down from the top shelves of closets and we’ve all got our eyes on the Santa Fe ski basin, waiting for snow. It’s here: winter has crept up on us. I’ve traded in my salad bowl for the Crock-Pot and likewise it’s time to retire mojitos and mint juleps in favor of darker spirits and warming winter cocktails. I asked some of northern New Mexico’s most talented bartenders for their favorite cold-weather creations. Their original recipes and twists on old classics will have you feeling warm and fuzzy through the holidays and beyond. Continue reading
Chef Jonathan Perno grew up in New Mexico in a household that had a “lot of traditional New Mexico food, especially around the holidays.” Meals were always at the table and the food was the focal point. “We were always excited when she made cakes,” Chef Jonathan says of his mother. He and his brothers would crowd into the kitchen to see who got the beaters, the spoon and the bowl to lick clean. Continue reading
Chef Fernando Ruiz’s mother told him to always “cook from your heart.” Red chile pork posole was a staple at Chef Fernando’s house—his mother made it at least once a week from a recipe passed down from his mother’s mother. To this day, “it reminds me of my mom, every time I see it on a menu.” Continue reading
Ask Chef Fred Muller for a recipe from his mother’s kitchen and he doesn’t hesitate a second. Fried chicken. “I’m from the South,” he says. “Fried chicken is served at any family event.” Fred started helping out in the kitchen for selfish reasons; he was always starving and he thought that if he helped out, dinner would appear that much faster. One of his earliest tasks was to be in charge of putting the chicken in a brown paper bag and shaking it to coat it with the seasoning. Fred warns not to be discouraged if your fried chicken is not perfect on your first try. It takes a little practice, but the end results are well worth it. Continue reading
Chef Cristian Pontiggia’s first memory of food is his mother’s ravioli. “I was about 5,” he says, when he had his first awareness of food. He remembers tasting his mother’s homemade ravioli with tomato sauce, “simple, but so tasty. I still have the memory in my head.” Continue reading
1 1/2 pounds beef steak, cubed
2 Tablespoons shortening1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh corn cut from cob
3 medium zuchini, diced
2 medium summer squash, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green chile
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Monterrey Jack cheese
Brown beef in shortening in a large skillet at medium-high heat. Lower heat and add water to beef. Cover and simmer at low heat until tender. Add more water if needed. Add remaining ingredients, except cheese, to beef and cook at medium heat until squash is tender. Add cheese, stir lightly and enjoy!
Wagner Farms is located at 5000 Corrales Road in Corrales. 505.459.0719, wagnerfarmscorrales.com.
Like most other boys growing up in Terre Haute, Ind., Dick Rice’s head was filled with dreams and ideas, but they didn’t include flying his own hot air balloon. Outside of Jules Verne and “The Wizard of Oz,” ballooning wasn’t a real life concept to most kids in those days. Dick’s path to ballooning was much more of a long, strange—and grounded—trip, involving four years of college to become a certified public accountant and, after graduation, a job in the tax department of a firm in Chicago. Continue reading
When I walk through the front door of Gruet Winery in Albuquerque, I’m hit with the wonderful smells of wine production: the sweet, fragrant aroma of freshly pressed grapes and the earthy smell of oak barrels. I can hear the gentle, high-pitched clinking of bottles as they move through the bottling line. Laurent Gruet, the son of founder Gilbert Gruet and the company’s winemaker, shows me around the winery.
There are several containers of fresh Chardonnay grapes just in from the vineyard waiting to be pressed. Nearby, a giant hydraulic grape press reaches nearly to the warehouse ceiling. Rows of tanks, the largest of which can hold 60,000 bottles of wine, fill one room. Workers scurry across the wet concrete floor busy with various tasks. Bottles ready to be sold move like little soldiers through the bottling line. Each bottle is disgorged, topped up, corked, labeled and prepared for sale—a thousand cases per day. It’s a beautiful, circular process that symbolizes how far Gruet has come in 25 years. I sat down with Laurent to talk about the history and future of Gruet, and to find out what the future may hold for the wine industry in the Land of Enchantment. Continue reading
Friday, November 21, is the Citywide Artscrawl and Holiday Kickoff, with five percent of sales of participating galleries going to charity. Of note is New Grounds Print Workshop & Gallery’s Hot Off the Press—Open Studio, Fundraiser and Printing Extravaganza with seven artists pulling prints: etchings, gravure, linoleum cuts and serigraphs, available for sale at a discount during the reception only. Participating artists include Diane Alire, Ray Maseman, local treasure Mary Sundstrom, Kaitlin Reese, Wayne Chinander, Nikolaus Hudak and Ren Adams. Visit newgroundsgallery.com for details.
November 22 through 23 marks the 33rd anniversary of the Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale, a juried art show featuring some of New Mexico’s finest artists. Visitors have enjoyed the transition to the holidays for many years while shopping, talking with the artists and meeting old friends amidst the creative wonders. Anasazi Fields Winery, where Jim Fish and his partners make their own wine from New Mexico grapes and fruits is once again a hub of activity, along with the big tent east of Presbyterian Church and Placitas Elementary School. Organic goat cheese and colorful ristras, garlic and local honey, free wine tastings, a raffle and all kinds of art from painting to photography to clothing and accessories to jewelry. Visit placitasholidaysale.com for times and directions.
Framing Concepts Gallery host its 24th annual solo artist show with David Schwindt, a talented landscape artist whose renderings of the Southwest landscape offer a sense of space and awe at the grandeur. Schwindt has been painting outdoor studies for his studio work since he purchased his first French easel in the mid-1970s. He’s won many awards, including three first place awards in oil at the New Mexico State Fair. He has been invited to jury and judge local and national shows and enjoys teaching plein air painting. Schwindt’s Road Trip 2014 opens November 21. Visit framingconceptsgallery.com.
One of New Mexico’s most notable artists, Gustave Bauman, is well known for his scenes of local life, flora and fauna on everything from calendars to totes to T-shirts. The New Mexico History Museum opens Gustave Baumann and Friends: Artist Cards from Holidays Past, an exhibit of handmade Christmas cards, on Friday, November 7, with a 5 p.m. reception, gallery walk and book signing of the companion book by co-curators Tom Leech and Jean Moss. The exhibition, which features around 100 cards by Baumann and some of the greatest Santa Fe artists of the 20th century, runs through until the end of March 2015. On November 15 and 16, you can make your own holiday cards with provided paper, envelopes and supplies. And remember, Sundays are always free for New Mexico residents.
Adobe Gallery announces the exhibition and sale of over 70 Hopi katsina carvings ranging in age from the 1930s to the present day, November 14 through January. The Katsina Carvings of Hopi Pueblo opens with a reception on November 14 at 5 p.m. Katsinas are spirits or personifications of things in the real world, and a katsina can represent anything from a revered ancestor to an element, a location, a quality, a natural phenomenon or a concept. Pre-sales of these intriguing figures are being accepted at 505.955.0550, and visit adobegallery.com for more.
Continuing through January 18, and in conjunction with the current Georgia O’Keeffe: Ghost Ranch Views exhibition, the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is host to Miguel Covarrubias: Drawing a Cosmopolitan Line. This show presents artwork that links Covarrubias’ commercial art, scholarly publications and studio practice, to demonstrate the cosmopolitan modernism of his life and work, which were deeply influenced by his life-long practice of moving between modern cities and sites remote from New York or Mexico City. It reveals his influential role as part of a global network of modernists, including Georgia O’Keeffe. Ghost Ranch Views brings together brilliant paintings of the harsh geography and spectacular color at Ghost Ranch, the site of O’Keeffe’s most famous landscape paintings. It includes paintings of the landscape, bones and landscapes with bones and flowers, her most iconic contribution to American modernism. Visit okeeffemuseum.org for details, and plan a trip to Ghost Ranch to compare the paintings with the real life experience!
Story by Kelly Koepke
If there are three things Duke City dwellers love, it’s chile, beer and coffee. Travel & Leisure magazine recently ranked Albuquerque number four on its list of cities known for coffee. The magazine cited the New Mexico Piñon Coffee Company’s blend made with piñon and the coffee milkshake from Golden Crown Panaderia. With a double shot of espresso, that milkshake is sure to keep you up nights! Head there, or to one of our other favorites like Michael Thomas (with two locations now!), Zendo, or Daily Grind and find out what makes our humble burg special coffee-wise.
Remember last year’s appearance of a struggling local joint on Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible? Chef Robert Irvine and crew were back in town in October to work his unique brand of magic on Nob Hill’s Shade Tree Customs & Cafe. The custom motorcycle shop and eatery transformed itself on October 21 for the grand reopening the next day. Shade Tree drew the attention of the show that turned around Downtown’s Pasion last year by asking fans on Facebook to support the restaurant. The episode will air early in 2015, but you don’t have to wait to see the changes, you lucky local, you.
Sunday, November 2, is your last chance for the season’s Rail Yards Market. In addition to food and drink, this Sunday you can get your yoga on, hear poetry, music (marimba!), bellydance, and clap along to a National Institute of Flamenco performance. The Sunday festivities take a break until next spring. For a full list of events and times, head to railyardsmarket.org.
Here’s something you don’t hear about every day: New Mexico-made balsamic vinegar. And yet Steve and Jane Darland founded Monticello Balsamico 17 years ago. Both will be at Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm’s La Merienda restaurant to discuss their artisanal vinegar on November 1, and to enjoy Chef Jonathan Perno’s specially chosen menu that includes the balsamic as an ingredient. My mouth is watering just reading it: caramelized parsnips with aged gouda, chives, crispy shallots and Monticello Balsamico; three-cheese speck agnolotti with herb salad and Monticello Balsamico; roasted quail stuffed with quinoa, orange, balsamic honey glaze and poached pears filled with pastry cream, wrapped in a puff pastry with Monticello Balsamico caviar and candied tarragon. If learning about biodynamic farming while drinking wine is your thing, then the November 13 Biodynamic Wine dinner is for you. Learn about the farming philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner that includes the soil, sun, moon, wildlife and the spirit of the land. The wines will be paired with items from a menu that changes seasonally and currently includes an artisanal cheese plate, local beans salad, grainy mustard and herbed chicken roulade, potato gnocchi and herb-crusted rib eye.
The round of holiday art markets has begun with perhaps the largest, and truly a New Mexico tradition, Weems International Artfest, November 14 through 16 at Expo New Mexico. This year’s featured artist is sculptor Michael Naranjo. Showcasing over 280 local and regional artists, this year’s Artfest promises to be bigger and better than ever. Artfest offers educational activities for children and adults through Children’s ArtSMart, artist’s demonstrations and student art booths, and it always benefits a charitable organization (this year it’s Veterans Heading Home). Visit weemsinternationalartfest.org for times and a complete roster of artists.
**(website)An expanded Winter Spanish Market returns on November 28 and 29 to the Hotel Albuquerque. This year’s 26th annual event promises to be 50 percent larger, with well over 100 traditional Spanish Colonial artists. Get your holiday shopping done from purveyors of handmade santos, tinwork, straw appliqué, weaving, pottery, precious metal, colcha, bone carving, furniture and woodcarving. Planned during the event are a champagne brunch, live music, the procession of artists from the San Felipe de Neri Church, live demonstrations and more. For more information on the event, please visit spanishcolonial.org.
That same weekend, the Santa Fe-based Indigenous Fine Art Market launches its November Holiday Showcase in Albuquerque, November 29 and 30, with a special champagne party and silent auction benefit on November 29, at the Hotel Andaluz. Find holiday gifts or decor for your home, support Native artists and chat with artist like Navajo jewelers Darryl Dean and Rebecca Begay, Chickasaw jeweler Kristen Dorsey, Hidatsa sculptor Kathy Whitman-Elk Woman, Navajo painter Gilmore Scott, Blackfeet jeweler Tchin, Jemez sculptor/painter Joe Carejo, Jr. and Taos/Santa Domingo jeweler Althea Cajero. Some 50 artist will participate. Check indigefam.org for complete details.
Kudos to three New Mexico published or authored books selected for honors in the annual Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards, which recognizes exemplary children’s books. Two books took gold medals: How Chile Came to New Mexicoby Rudolfo Anaya, illustrated by Nicolas Otero, translated by Nasario Garcia and published by Rio Grande Books; and the non-fiction account, Eugene Bullard: World’s First Black Fighter Pilotby Larry Greenly, published by NewSouth Books. A bronze medal was awarded to Santa Fe-based Azro Press for Catherine Kirkwood’s animal-based novel, Looking for Tula. Nice job everyone involved!
If the idea of enjoying exquisite classical music in an intimate setting, where the audience can brush shoulders with soloists and orchestra members alike, the New Mexico Philharmonic’s Neighborhood Concert series is for you. Kicking off the season on November 16 at St. John’s United Methodist Church is Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass, Hob. XXII:11, under the direction of Matthew Greer. The program begins with Mozart’s Divertimento in D Major, K. 136, followed by his Piano Concerto No. 23 in A Major, K. 488, performed by Amy Greer. Soloists are Ingela Onstad, soprano; Darci Lobdell, mezzo-soprano; Seth Hartwell, tenor; and Michael Hix, baritone, with the Quintessence Festival Chorus performing the choral sections. More on the season and tickets at nmphil.org.
The City Different ranked in the top ten cites in the world, as ranked by Conde Nast Traveler’s readers! Santa Fe, at number 10, includes highlights like our charming downtown, adobe buildings and art galleries, naturally, as well as our different side of American history. Of note were the Museum of International Folk Art on Museum Hill and the Basilica Cathedral of St. Francis, which inspired Willa Cather’s iconic novel Death Comes for the Archbishop. We’re encouraged to “chow down on enchiladas from The Shed and biscochito cookies from The Chocolate Maven paired with coffee from the quirky closet-sized Holy Spirit Espresso, then make sure your day ends at Santa Fe Spirits’ new tasting room.” To see how we compared with other world cities, visit cntraveler.com.
The diners of Open Table have chosen Santa Fe’s Arroyo Vino restaurant and bottle shop among the Top 100 Wine Lists in America, highlighting restaurants that offer the finest selections to complement every dish. Arroyo Vino (the only New Mexico restaurant on the list) serves an ever-changing menu of contemporary American small plates designed for sharing. The wine program consists of a dynamic by-the-glass list as well as over 750 bottles in the adjoining wine shop. Congrats Brian Bargsten, Mike Mabry and Chef Mark Connell for this achievement!
The sale of La Fonda on the Plaza made headlines last month, as the latest in a round of signature hotel ownership transfers. The historic and recently renovated 180-room La Fonda remains a New Mexico-owned venture, now under the stewardship of siblings Jennifer Kimball and Philip Wise. The new owners don’t plan any major changes, and Kimball knows the hotel intimately as she was already a part owner and chairman of the board of the company selling the hotel. Guests and frequenters of the hotel’s restaurant and bar shouldn’t notice a thing except continued great food, ambience and service.
In other hotel news, the Eldorado Hotel, which recently came to New Mexico ownership, has promoted Douglas Libby to general manager. “I am very pleased to announce Doug’s promotion,” said Adrian Perez, president of Heritage Hotels & Resorts, the hotel’s owner. “His leadership skills combined with a strong sales and marketing acumen will serve the hotel well, as will his familiarity with the property and the market. This is a welldeserved promotion and we’re thrilled to have him leading the team at Eldorado.” Libby was most recently the regional director of sales and marketing for the company, overseeing five of Heritage’s properties in northern New Mexico.
Just in time for the holidays, another Heritage hotel, Hotel Chimayó de Santa Fe, offers two new tours to enchant guests and locals alike. One focuses on the haunted history of Santa Fe. With Santa Fe being the oldest capital city in the United States, we have a rich legacy of history from which to pull scary tales, as told by tour leader and historian Peter Sinclaire. The second is a food tour in partnership with Food Tour New Mexico that includes hands-on demonstrations and mixology classes at some of Santa Fe’s most noteworthy restaurants. “We created these food tours as a way for visitors to New Mexico to have a more memorable, hands-on experience,” explains Nick Peña, owner of Food Tour New Mexico. For more visit Hotel Chimayo at hotelchimayo.com.
Congratulations on the marriage of two member of Santa Fe’s culinary community. Michelle Roetzer, lead instructor for the culinary arts at Santa Fe Community College and Leslie Chavez, former chef at Tecolote Café and caterer. Both work at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, too. You make beautiful brides, ladies!
Fall and pie, two of our favorite things. On November 2, you can visit the New Mexico Museum of Art for a free screening of the documentary short Pie Lady of Pie Town by artist Jane Rosemont, followed by a slide lecture from photographer Joan Myers. And there will be pie, naturally. Visit nmartmuseum.org for details.
More pie (and ice cream and coffee) can be had at the annual Holiday Pie Mania on November 15, when you can learn all about the crust from Santa Fe chefs like Tomas Keller (Galisteo Bistro), Andrew Cooper (Terra), Christian Pontiggia (Osteria d’Assisi), Xavier Grenet (L’Olivier), Dionne Christian (Revolution Bakery), Irene Barba (The Swiss Bakery & Bistro) and Aline Salazar (Midtown Bistro).Bid on your favorite pies at auction, to be taken home with you or picked up fresh in time for Thanksgiving. Local Flavor’s own Johnny Vee is host and auctioneer, and all proceeds benefit The Foot Depot. More at thefooddepot.org.
The Santa Fe Children’s Museum invited some of the same (and some different) top chefs in Santa Fe to design gingerbread houses for display at the Museum during November, to be auctioned off! Vote for your favorite house at the museum or online, with a chance to win museum passes. All the deliciously decorated houses will auctioned November 12 through 14, with proceeds from the sale benefitting the fun, educational and entertaining programming of the organization. Talented chefs from Osteria d’ Assisi, Terra at The Four Seasons Rancho Encantado, La Posada de Santa Fe, the Eldorado Hotel and Luminaria at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, and more will compete for top honors! Visit santafechildrensmuseum.org.
The voters have spoken and chosen Taos Pueblo as the second Best Native American Experience in the United States. The voters were USA Today’s readers. New Mexico also took first place with Acoma Pueblo coming in the top spot. In fact, five of the top 10 winners are based in New Mexico! It’s no surprise Taos Pueblo earned honors as it has been continuously inhabited for over 1,000 years and is the only living Native American community to be designated both a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and a National Historic Landmark. The other New Mexico winners were Santa Fe Indian Market, the Gathering of Nations Powwow and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, both in Albuquerque.
Taos Chamber Music Group’s November concerts remind us of the passage of time. The first series of concerts, Time Change on November 1 and 2, marks the actual time change (turn your clocks back!) as well as changes in musical meters and styles. From Brahms’ Trio in A minor, Op. 114 for clarinet, cello and piano to Judd Greenstein’s Changefor electric guitar, flute, clarinet, bass and piano, to more recent compositions influenced by music from the Renaissance (Gary Schocker’s Dream Travels for flute and guitar and Benjamin Britten’s Nocturnal for solo guitar). Featured artists are Colin McAllister on guitar, Nancy Laupheimer on flute, Sergei Vassiliev on clarinet, Sally Guenther’s cello, Patrick Neher’s bass and Kim Bakkum on piano. On November 23, TCMG pays tribute to Ralph Guenther, composer, professor, flutist and Taos School of Music board member for over 20 years, in honor of his 100th birthday. Details and tickets at taoschambermusicgroup.org.
Story by Kelly Koepke