I admit that upon moving to New Mexico it took me longer than some to fully embrace the state vegetable. In fact, at the risk of losing my New Mexico residency card, I’ll go so far as to say that I still prefer my pizza and hamburgers to be chile free. Days can go by without a chile appearing on my menu, and my comfort food is more along the lines of risotto or mashed potatoes, sans chile, than it is mac and cheese with chile or a heaping plate of chile cheese fries. Chile has gradually crept into my diet, however, and I certainly don’t stare at the waitress with a blank look on my face and stutter when asked, “Red or green?” Chile rellenos and carne adovada, two dishes unheard of in the East, have become favorites. But I guess I’m kind of vanilla in my chile tastes—I like it on New Mexican food but not crossing over into other cuisines and, beyond the occasional breakfast burrito (usually eaten when there’s a tray of them at an early work meeting), it certainly doesn’t carry over into breakfast.
Blazing a new trail, as Santa Fe Culinary Academy co-founders Rocky Durham and Tanya Story have done with the Academy’s Professional Culinary Program, demands an enormous leap of faith. Careful planning has gone into this venture, but ultimately its future is unknown.
After wending my way through the Academy’s labyrinth of kitchens to the back portal, I meet with Rocky, a born-and-raised Santa Fean, and four of the program’s five inaugural students—Matthew Harman, Susan Hart, Amy Leilani and Brian Tomlinson (the fifth is Peter Hyde)—at a table with a rich patina from years of outdoor use. From where I sit, I face sweeping views of city rooftops and, in the distance, the Sangre de Cristos. The gathered student body harks from many parts of the country, including Santa Fe, and ranges in age from the 20s to the 50s. These students are risk-takers themselves, pioneers in a sense, having made their own leaps of faith by signing up. Right there, they have my admiration. With Rocky and with each other, they have an easy, friendly and mutually respectful rapport. It’s a pleasure to see. Rocky sits across the table from me, looking happy as can be.
There is simply no rest for Santa Feans in the summer and early fall. We barely pack up the tents from Indian Market (an astonishing tour de force that draws thousands of artists and collectors from all over the world to celebrate the creativity of Native culture)––and here we are setting up the party tents for yet another reknowned event––the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta. This month, foodies and oenophiles will come from far and wide to experience the creativity and spirited camaraderie of our culinary community and their passion for the finest of wines.
Tuna Carpaccio, Niçoise-style
Yield 4 appetizer or light lunch course servings
As seen in the September 2014 Still Hungry? featuring Chef Mark Kiffin of The Compound Restaurant
Seared Diver Scallops, Orecchiette Pasta tossed with Fava Bens, Peas, Green onions and Fresh Ricotta, served with Caramelized Limes and Vermouth Butter
Yield 4 appetizer servings
As seen in the September 2014 Still Hungry? featuring Chef Joseph Wrede of Joseph’s
Cast-Iron Bronzed Cauliflower with Mustard Seed and Crème Fraiche Crusted White Bean Anchovy Tomato Sauce, Fried Capers and Green Dust
As seen in the September 2014 Still Hungry? featuring Chef Martín Rios of Restaurant Martín
Butternut Squash Soup with Maple and Red Chile Whipped Mascarpone Garnish
Yield 4 servings
The days grow short when you reach September, as the lyric laments. Doesn’t that make the nights grow longer? Still adds up to twenty-four hours. And during the 24th annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta (SFWC), September 24 through 28, most of those hours are filled to the brim with tastings—Reserve and Grand—luncheons, seminars, auctions, cooking demonstrations, outings, wine dinners and celebrations, planned and spontaneous, throughout our town and county. Always an ambitious and stellar event, this year’s fiesta brings the first Gran Fondo bike ride, a kind of party on wheels. A 75 mile route (there’s a 45 mile shortcut for the more casual rider) will take participants through northern New Mexico villages, beginning and ending at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, where a Ruinart Champagne brunch will await at the finish line. If you prefer, you may skip the pedal and go straight to the tipple. 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
Tim Gaiser is one of the world’s top wine experts and educators. One of only 219 people in the world ever to achieve the title Master Sommelier, he is the former Director of Education and Education Chair for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas. Tim is also an adjunct professor at the Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley. In the course of his more than 25-year career, he’s taught thousands of students at all levels about wine and spirits. Tim is one of the most influential teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. He was a great resource for me when I was studying for the Certified Sommelier Exam, particularly when it came to advice on how to become a better blind taster. The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is proud to host Tim each year for the week’s events, including the highly anticipated Guest Chef Luncheon and Master Sommelier Throw-down as well as various wine seminars. Continue reading
When she was little, exploring among old ruins, Roxanne Swentzell remembers occasionally finding turquoise beads. She describes holding them up to squint through each tiny hole: “I was looking into the past.” These memories were so alive to her that, many years later, as a Native artist of great renown, she commemorated them by creating a large clay sculpture of a woman gazing into the past through the hole in her own turquoise bead. “We’re walking right alongside it,” Roxanne says of the past. “We’ve always walked side by side.” Sitting outside Roxanne’s living room window, the sculpture is a reminder; she holds this sense of simultaneity between her thumb and her forefinger.
From an acclaimed family of potters and sculptors whose Santa Clara Pueblo roots span all the way back to the days before contact with Europeans, Roxanne grew up with the code of sustainability the Pueblo people had always lived by. Back in the early ’80s, when Roxanne found herself, at 23, “homeless, living in a tent—an army tent—with two babies,” she admits feeling desperation. “So in between when my kids were napping, I spent a whole year mixing mud and making adobes. When I needed help lifting a beam or a viga into place, my mom and my aunties were there.” Continue reading
If you ask Jed Foutz, the owner of Shiprock Santa Fe, one of our city’s most prestigious Native American art galleries, about his apparent success, he’ll tell you that he never had a plan.
“I’ve never had a ‘this is where we’re going to go’ moment,” he explains. “I never dreamed of having a gallery, never dreamed of Santa Fe.”
You can’t tell by looking at the gallery. Everything appears distinctly orchestrated. The entrance on the east side of the Plaza is hardly obvious—blink and you’ll miss it. From the street, climb two flights of stairs up into the light of a sunny window, where a translucent Shiprock Santa Fe banner hangs from the ceiling. The effect is warm and inviting. In the gallery, light wood floors and white walls play beautifully with the light, and set off the incredible collection of textiles and pots, followed by displays of jewelry that will leave you speechless. The only possible incongruity lies in a small room across from the jewelry displays. A selection from Visvim, a visionary clothing line by Hiroki Nakamura, may on first blush seem out of context—until you know that Foutz has a degree in Japanese and Asian Studies. Continue reading
Nob Hill dwellers now have the opportunity to hang with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, courtesy of Michael Thomas Coffee. The Fringecrest-y coffee house has opened a second location at Bryn Mawr and Silver Avenue, just south of Central. Owner Michael Sweeney expanded the space, which was a teashop, and has partnered with East Downtown’s Hartford Square restaurant to offer food with Michael Thomas’s in-house roasted coffee and other drinks. Can’t wait to try the patio and watch the beautiful people walk, bike and saunter by.
In other Nob Hill news, O’Niell’s isexpanding next door with a sports bar called Gioco. The menu will offer artisan pizzas and flatbreads as well as the usual bar food. Of course, TVs are mandatory for a sports bar and co-owner Rob Munro promises a high-end audio-visual experience. Everyone’s estimating a September opening, just in time for football and baseball playoffs. Gioco, BTW, is Italian for “game.” Visit giocopizza.com or call 505.977.1836 to verify the opening and hours.
Another entry into Albuquerque’s booming brew pub scene, the Draft Station opened its new Albuquerque location in August. They are proudly pouring some of the best craft beer in New Mexico: Blue Corn Brewery, Chama River Brewery, Marble, La Cumbre, and others. Open seven days a week at noon, the Draft Station is located at 1720 Central Avenue SW, between Downtown and Old Town.
Downtown’s got more to look forward to as well. A new restaurant, taproom and urban grocery, Pony Jo Urban Market at Anthea, has broken ground. The brainchild of Matt DiGregory, founder of Standard Diner and Range Cafe, and Eric F. Garcia, owner of EFG Creative, Pony Jo will offer coffee, beer, wine, food, pastries and grocery store items. Rising at 4th and Granite NW, the market will be part of a three-story, 33,000-square-foot housing development called Anthea @ The Granite. Yeah for Downtown’s future!
If you missed its gallery show in Peñasco last month, you can head to the Whispiritwebsite (whispirit.net) to take a gander at its gorgeous, affordable and luxurious handmade-in-New Mexico alpaca fiber jackets, hats, scarves and other accessories. This East Mountain barn-to-closet venture from Sandy and Lee Liggett (they raise the alpacas, turn the fleece into a felted fabric and the fabric into garments) has entered the Martha Stewart American Made competition and we will hear in September whether they are a finalist. Go alpacas! Go Whispirit!
Every fall, the Rio Grande Agricultural Land Trust celebrates its work keeping farms and ranches in production with an annual Harvest Dinner. This farm-to-fork event, held this year at Farm & Table in Albuquerque’s North Valley, brings together some of Albuquerque’s finest chefs and farmers in a beautiful evening dining under the stars. Join the Land Trust on September 14 for an evening not to be missed, featuring five courses of exclusively local cuisine. Call 505.884.6557 for details and reservations.
The Museum of the American Military Family, The Telling Project,and the Bob Woodruff Foundation are proud to present Telling: Albuquerque, a testimonial theatrical performance by Albuquerque-based military veterans and military family members. The performances will take place at the South Broadway Cultural Center, September 11 through 21. All performances are free to the public.The Telling Project, a non-partisan not-for-profit organization, works with military veterans and their families to facilitate communication between veterans and civilian communities across the United States. More at thetellingproject.org.
The 3rd annual Albuquerque Mini Maker Faire, September 13 and 14at the Albuquerque Balloon Museum, is a two-day, family-friendly adventure in creativity, invention and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the maker movement. With hands-on experiences for all ages, it’s part science fair, part county fair and part something entirely new. It’s a place where people showwhat they are making and sharewhat they are learning. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, poets, students, authors and commercial exhibitors. They are people who embrace the do-it-yourself spirit and are of all ages and backgrounds. Makers create, build, invent, re-purpose, hack, alter or otherwise change and improve the world around them through thinking and creativity, using circuit boards, wood, clay, fabric, LEDs, metal, plastic, robotics, yarn, sewing machines, computers, hot glue guns, paint, batteries, fire, electricity and recyclables—just about anything you can imagine. The aim of the Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community. Visit makerfaireabq.com for a list of activities and times.
Kudos to Elena Heiss of the National Institute of Flamenco for her national recognition and dance scholarship from the Princess Grace Foundation USA. She’s one of a handful of winners of the 2014 Princess Grace Awards for emerging artists in dance, theater and film. The winners are nominated by schools and nonprofit performing companies.
Everybody loves cookies, right? Mike Silva loved them so much that he opened Rude Boy Cookies at 115 Harvard so he could offer cookies, milk (including non-dairy milks) and his “rude boy” attitude to the city. Silva is co-owner of ABQ Trolley Company. He working with Kristin Dowling to create the recipes and the cookies. The menu includes classics like chocolate chip and peanut butter, gourmetoptions like s’mores and oatmeal cream pies, and vegan and gluten-free choices. Ice cream and milkshakes flavored with syrups from local chocolatier Joliesse Chocolates, too! Visit rudeboycookies.com.
The Placitas Artists Series kicks off its 28th season September 21 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church with violist Willy Sucre and La Catrina Quartet. Sucre, a longtime musical presence in the Albuquerque area, is currently member of the New Mexico Philharmonic. La Catrina Quartet, based at New Mexico State University, is comprised of violinists Daniel Vega-Albela and Roberta Arruda, violist Jorge Martínez-Rios and cellist Jorge Espinoza. A pre-concert reception features the art of Dave Garner (photography), Renée Brainard Gentz (fiber art), Ann Pollard (acrylic painting) and Betty Temple (acrylic painting). Visit placitasartistsseries.org.
Last year’s FUZE.SW Food + Folklore Festival was such a success, they’re doing it again! September 12 through 14 at the International Folk Art Museum, participants will explore Native American foodways and how they have influenced New Mexico’s unique culinary traditions. Two full days of panel discussions, workshops, book signings, hands-on activities and food are scheduled with an impressive roster of presenters that includes more than 60 renowned Native American and James Beard Award-winning authors and chefs, nationally recognized scholars and poets. Sunday, the public is invited for the free FUZE.SW MarketPlace, featuring New Mexico-grown, produced and prepared foods for sale, with local food trucks. Register at museumfoundation.org/fuze or call 505.992.2715, ext. 9.
**One of Santa Fe’s local favorites, Dinner For Two has some new energy! Chef Andrew Barnes and his bride were married this year, and have invigorated the eatery’s 13th year of business with a new vision: a tap and tasting bar featuring New Mexico crafted beers and produce from their Cerrillos farm. They’ve added a lot of fun “bar food,” including duck ‘pato’ tacos, buttermilk-siracha fried chicken with bacon gravy, Maryland style crab cakes, duck and fig sausage, and beer battered ono fish n’ chips. Join them from 4 to 6 p.m. daily for $1 off all draft beers, and half off all appetizers at the bar. September 26 they’re featuring New Mexico’s Black Mesa Winery’s winemaker Carl Johnson with a menu to complement the wines. Call 505.820.2075 for reservations.
Melinda Gipson, a baker for more than 20 years at some of Boise’s and Santa Fe’s most popular restaurants, has opened her own charming bakery, Sweet Lily Bakery, at 229A Johnson Street. “Desserts connect family and friends—a family outing to the ice cream parlor, a giant gingerbread cookie at Christmas, sweet homemade treats by Grandma for the long trek home or a fancy dessert to end a wonderful meal with a loved one,” says Gipson. “That’s the true power of desserts, the sweetness lingers long after the flavor fades from one’s taste buds. Desserts make memories.” Sweet Lily Bakery offer a variety of desserts (including gluten-free options) of the highest caliber. Visit them on Facebook.
One of the world’s best-loved zydeco bands, Buckwheat Zydeco, plays the Farmer’s Market Pavilion September 24. Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr. was the first zydeco artist signed to a major record label, to perform on a national television show, and to launch his own record label. The multi-Grammy nominee’s stellar recordings and tireless touring have taken the Bayou State native’s Creole-French rave-ups and soulful breakdowns to new heights worldwide. Over three decades, Buckwheat Zydeco has emerged as the best of the best. Bring your dancin’ shoes for this one. Visit brownpapertickets.com for tickets.
If you’re a fan of pickles, and really, who isn’t?, then head over to Barrio Brinery, Santa Fe’s source for fine fermented foods. Opening its doors in September at 1413-B West Alameda, the shop purveys hand-crafted small batches of pickled cucumbers, escabeche and other lacto-fermented (not vinegar based) goodies. Owners Pat Block and Yvette De La O started fermenting because of their passion for high-quality, hand-crafted foods and a hunch that many others in the community share that passion. Rather than just preserve food, lacto-fermentation actually increases the nutrients in the food as well as adding beneficial bacteria that we are finding out are essential to healthy immune function. Visit them at barriobrinery.com or call 505.699.9812 for hours.
You’ll also be able to get Barrio’s treats at Santa Fe’s newest and only cheese specialty shop. John Gutierrez is co-owner and proprietor of Cheesemongers of Santa Fe at 130 E Marcy Street, opening in September. Gutierrez has worked in cheese shops and creameries in San Francisco and elsewhere and partners with Forward Foods for this local fromagerie. The cheese cases will hold up to 150 different varieties and more for the holidays, with a 50-50 split between domestic and international choices, including some made in New Mexico. Patrons will also be able to get cold cuts, honey, jam, chocolate and breads, making Cheesemongers a must visit destination. Call 405.642.8782 for hours.
Congrats to Robert Ruiz, general manager of Garrett’s Desert Inn, on being named Innkeeper of the Year by the New Mexico Lodging Association. Keep up the good work, Robert!
Kudos to La Fonda’s Bell Tower Bar, named to Fodor’s Travel’s list of the best 15 rooftop bars in America. Praising the sunset views, light Southwestern fare and extensive beverage menu, the write-up notes the Bell Ringer Margarita, which allows guests who try one to ring the eponymous tower’s bell. Open every day depending on the weather.
Rising Stars in the Southwest’s third annual fundraiser, Reaching for the Stars: Supporting our Local Teen’s Dreams to Careers Program, is September 20 at the Governor’s Mansion. This local nonprofit dedicates itself to helping community adolescents develop their leadership skills by setting goals and focusing their direction on positive life choices. Coinciding with National Hispanic Heritage Month, this year’s event includes tapas, local wines and flamenco entertainment from Juan Siddi, Mina Fajardo and Joaquin Gallegos, as well as a silent auction featuring some of the region’s top artists and retail shops. Governor Martinez proclaimed September 20 Hispanic Youth Leadership Day, which will be honored and celebrated during the fundraising event. Tickets at risingstarssouthwest.org.
New Mexico has lost a pioneer in the wine making industry. Henry Street, a member and officer of New Mexico Vine & Wine Society andthe New Mexico Wine Growers Association, author of The History of Wine in New Mexico: 400 Years of Struggle, and owner with his wife Mary of Ponderosa Valley Winery, passed in July. Ponderosa grew to be the largest Riesling vineyard in New Mexico. Our condolences to Henry’s friends and family.
Want to win a million dollars? Head to Angel Fire Resort’s Million Dollar Hole-In-One Charity Classic on September 13 for a chance at some of the $3.6 million in cash prizes. The PGA-ranked golf course at Angel Fire Resort hosts this inaugural 18-hole charity event, open to the general public. Proceeds benefit the National Veterans Wellness and Healing Center and Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Northern New Mexico. Registration is first-come, first-served, by calling 575.377.4488. More details at angelfireresort.com.
For the seventh year, the Albuquerque Art Business Association honors area artists who excel in the arts and give back to their communities. By sharing their time, talent and passion, they help give birth to the next generation of art lovers and artists and sustain the hope that New Mexico will continue to be home to thousands of working artists for many years to come. This year’s Local Treasures celebrate eight artists: Marilyn Drake, George Howard Hayes III, Reg Loving, Pam Lujan-Hauer, Marcia Newren, Augustine Romero, Dianna Shomaker and Mary Sundstrom-Gramer. The President’s Award will go to architect Bart Prince for creating extraordinary liveble art with his designs. The public awards ceremony at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is September 7 from 1 to 3 p.m. Go to artscrawlabq.org/local-treasures for more on all the recipients.
SCA Contemporary Art welcomes the University of New Mexico’s incoming Masters of Fine Arts graduate students as they introduce their work to the Albuquerque community at the annual At First Sight exhibition. A group composed of 17 artists from Pakistan, China, Germany and 10 states in the U.S., these artists bring fresh perspectives on art, ecology, ceramics, electronic arts, painting, drawing, photography, printmaking and sculpture. September 11 at 6 p.m., the artists will show individual presentations and discuss their work leading up to graduate school. SCA Contemporary Art is located at 524 Haines NW, and the exhibition will be up until September 12. Visit scacontemporary.com.
516 ARTS opens Floyd D. Tunson: Son of Pop, a solo exhibition of Colorado-based African American artist Floyd D. Tunson, who for over four decades has been among the most highly regarded and influential artists in the Rocky Mountain region. He has achieved a rich and diverse body of work that includes painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and mixed media. The exhibit runs September 27 through December 13 at 516 ARTS, with an artist/curator talk on September 25 at6p.m. in the auditorium at Central New Mexico Community College’s Smith-Brasher Hall. Visit 516arts.org for details.
Mark your calendars for September 15 for the launch of the International Folk Art Market’s online marketplace. This new site will showcase the folk art of 18 master artists representing 16 countries. Online shoppers will be able to buy jewelry, textiles, baskets and more! Check folkartalliance.org/ifam-online and support international artists all year long.
September is art tour month in Santa Fe and environs. Start with the 21st annual Pojoaque River Art Tour September 20 and 21. Diverse work representing three cultures distinguishes the outstanding art tour, with 16 stops and 24 artists spaning Pojoaque Pueblo, Nambe, Pojoaque, and San Ildefonso Pueblo. On Friday, September 19, an artists’ reception hosted by Than Povi Fine Art Gallery (Exit 176 in Cuyamungue) features food and refreshment, dances, a silent auction and more. Stop by Than Povi for maps or visit pojoaqueriverarttour.com.
On the last weekend of the month September 27 and 28, visit artists’ studios in beautiful Pecos, Rowe and Glorieta for the Pecos Studio Tour, representing a loosely knit group of artists living in and around the village of Pecos. Just 20 minutes from Santa Fe on I-25 north, this small community hosts a blend of unique artists in all media. More at pecosstudiotour.com.
Tour the historic studios of E.I. Couse and J.H. Sharp, two of the founders of the Taos Society of Artists, and enjoy a delightful stroll through Virginia Couse’s vintage garden when The Couse Foundation hosts an open house on September 6 at 146 Kit Carson Road. Also visit the studios of Randy LaGro, Ed Sandoval, Ann Huston, Gail Goodwin, and Gene and Sara Jean Gray. On exhibit will be E. I. Couse, the Painter and His Craft, which features Couse’s painting techniques, and examples of the photographs, drawings and sketches he used in his process. The exhibit runs until October 11. Check out couse-sharp.org for details.
You’ve got two weekends to experience the High Road to Taos Scenic Byway Tour, offering magnificent vistas of snow-capped peaks, alpine meadows and charming traditional Spanish and Pueblo villagesthat haveinspired many artists and artisans. Explore and help sustain the rural economy of this centuries-old region. Always the last two weekends of September, the 2014 tour takes place September 20, 21, 27 and 28. Details at highroadnewmexico.com.
The Paseo is a festival dedicated to bringing the art of installation, performance and projection to the streets of Taos, September 26 through 28. Occurring in collaboration with the Taos Fall Arts Festival (which runs through October 5), The Paseo unitesthe 2014 fall arts venues, creating a new platform for the public display of art within the Taos Historic District. Workshops, artists presentations, discussions and more. Visit taosfallarts.com and paseotaos.org for more.
Story by by Kelly Koepke
Many of the cities I’ve lived in boast that the culinary scene is one of the main reasons to live there and its main tourist attraction—but boy, nothing tops Santa Fe. It’s why I moved here 20 years ago and I’m blessed to be able to make a living in a career that keeps me well fed, well quenched and with a notebook full of gossip and happy tales about our more than 200 restaurants and the players who staff them.
I always think of the Wine & Chile Fiesta as the ultimate celebration of our gastronomical prowess and a capping off of the intense summer season in our restaurants and hotels. It’s a time most of our culinarians come together with one common goal: to show off their comradery and that one signature dish that sets them each apart. It’s also a terrific time to discover what your new favorite wines will be for the coming year.
This past season there were new restaurants, old restaurants with new owners, old restaurants with new chefs, pop-up dinners, food trucks, coffee houses, gastropubs and cafes all vying for our attention along with all the other wonderful eateries already in business. Thinking back over the year, I must admit I didn’t get to as many of the new eateries (and there were many) as I would have liked. Here is a partial list of the places I did visit and a recap of what Santa Fe foodies are buzzing about.
If I visit a new restaurant three times in a week, you can bet I am excited about it. Joel Coleman’s Fire and Hops gastropub is that kind of place: casual, friendly, with a large affordable menu. Almost every dish I’ve tried, I’ve loved—and I’ve pretty much sampled them all: the fish-n-chip fritters and the green papaya salad were two faves. Joel, who has fathered two other of my favorite restaurants, Mauka and Koi, is a hardworking chef who keeps honing his skills toward more delicious food. I was sad when he left town to try out the San Francisco food scene and glad he has returned with more worldly travels under his belt; I think he’s hitting his stride.
It’s no secret I have been a fan of Joseph Wrede’s food since I first visited his groundbreaking Taos hit, Joseph’s Table. Finally Joe has settled in locally and re-established his culinary clout with Joseph’s of Santa Fe. His dishes surprise and provoke me. Pink peppercorns pop up in an otherwise classic vichyssoise. I could dine on the half duck confit every day! Even the New York Times saw fit to celebrate Wrede’s cookery in a half-page article early this summer.
Izanami is a place I love to take gourmets to show them our eclectic food scene. I think Founding Chef Kim Müller and her team made an impressive splash with the interesting menu served in one of the prettiest and most dramatic dining rooms in town—well, almost in town—even garnering a James Beard nomination in the best new restaurant category. Miso-glazed eggplant and shaved Brussels sprouts are must tries. Muller has recently turned the stoves over to newcomer Chef David Padberg, who comes here from Oregon. It will be interesting to sample his additions to the menu and don’t forget you can soak and stay at Ten Thousand Waves pre or post your meal.
Georgia, next to the O’Keeffe Museum is getting lots of buzz. I’ve had a great meal in the stately dining room as well as yummy casual food (plump and garlicky mussels, voluminous crab cakes, Sherry vinegar-splashed shishito peppers) in the handsome bar. Kudos go to owner Lloyd Abrams, who transformed and enlarged the once claustrophobic space into a restaurant to be reckoned with. I asked Abrams, who is one of the partners at Geronimo, if he felt his new venture might be competing with himself. He replied, “No, I think folks will dine at both of my restaurants.” I like his spunk. With Chef Brett Sparman in the kitchen (he hopscotched across town from Loretto’s Luminaria), you know you’re in for some absolutely great food.
New-to-town Chef Marc Quinoñes took over at Luminaria—one of the prettiest outdoor dining destinations in town. I was impressed with the young chef’s cooking after enjoying a tasting menu as I did research for Local Flavor. I’m looking forward to trying foie gras “French toast,” and strawberry brined duck with duck fat risotto—wow! Quinoñes made a big impression with diners in Albuquerque before coming here and we’re lucky to have him.
There were some fun and different dining opportunities this year with pop-up dinners and one-night food events. The ever-in-motion Andrew Cooper out at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado added a beautiful chefs table to his kitchen to lure gourmands who like to get up close and personal with kitchen activity. Rocky Durham, over at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy, had his students cooking some scrumptious vittles at the charming Guesthouse restaurant, which serves as a classroom for the emerging culinarians. I went to two pop-ups at Mu Du Noodles, one a celebration of regional Mexican cooking and another by soon-to-be restaurateur Paulraj Karuppasamy of Paper Dosa, who has been wowing with his fantastic East Indian cooking around town.
Along with the continued celebration of the farm-to-table concept at many local eateries, small artisan businesses are cropping up that support that fresh and local notion. The Real Butcher Shop continues to grow and develop while two new establishments—the Barrio Brinery, owned by Patrick Block, and Cheese Mongers of Santa Fe, owned by John Gutierrez—will keep epicureans up to their belly in pickles and cheese—I can’t wait! (More on these two exciting developments next month…)
At Epazote on the Hillside, Chef Fernando Olea has diners cooking their meals on hot rocks right out of the roaring pizza oven. It’s a lovely greenhouse setting with many other dishes rounding out the menu, including Olea’s famous moles.
Some chefs spread their wings and headed out of town with satellite versions of their original. The amazing James Campbell Caruso is showing Albuquerque what Santa Fe chefs are all about at his booming restaurant, Más in the sexy Hotel Andaluz. The very sophisticated dining room is the perfect venue for his trend setting tapas.
L.A. chef (and former Santa Fean) John Sedlar sets his sights on the City Different with Eloisa, due to open this fall at the swanky Drury Plaza Hotel. Sedlar grew up here and through the years has set the trend when it comes to promoting our Latin culinary heritage. I’ve dined at all of his previous restaurants, including St. Estephe, Rivera and Playa, and he really is a celebrity chef in my book, based on all I’ve tasted. It will be interesting to see how he competes on his home turf.
Chef Tony Smith has been holding down the fort during the ownership transition at the Eldorado Hotel and even had time to create his own English Bitter style ale, Chefter’s Ale. The thirsty Brit teamed up with the Santa Fe Brewing Company to produce the brew and although I am not a beer drinker, my peeps that are love it.
I loved a recent dinner prepared by Tomas Allan Keller, the new chef at the Galisteo Bistro—the kid’s a pro though only 23. His partner is his father Brant Keller. Both hail from Florida and are a welcome addition to our community.
Loyal Hound satisfies the gastropub crowd in the midtown neighborhood—try the devilled eggs, delish. If you missed the Flavor’s story on them in the August issue, go online to find it. A great couple with tons of experience in hospitality.
Restaurant Martín added a nifty dining room addition to extend the patio and offer a terrific new party venue. With wife Jennifer, who somehow manages to run the restaurant and The Horse Shelter, Chef Martin Rios continually garners national media attention (he was once an Iron Chef contestant) and still takes the time to volunteer for Cooking with Kids, an organization that I also work with and adore.
Burger wars heated up with three hotspots all within a buns throw of each other. I can’t decide if I love Brian Knox’s Shake Foundation rendition, Bang Bite’s burgers (one has pork belly on it) or Santa Fe Bite’s more classic version … so many burgers, so little time. Whew!
With the world getting crazier and crazier, I’m happy to hear that some of the players in the hospitality field are committing to a healthier lifestyle with one chef happily attesting to his faith on social media as the place he goes for support in his work. What a great idea—amen to that!
Story by Chef Johnny Vee
“Not only do we want to present the world to New Mexico,” says Globalquerque co-founder Tom Frouge, “but we want to present New Mexico to the world.” Talking with Tom and his fellow co-founder Neal Copperman, it’s clear these two are doing just what they’ve set out to accomplish.
Now in its 10th year, “New Mexico’s Celebration of World Music and Culture” will again take over the campus of Albuquerque’s National Hispanic Cultural Center September 19 and 20. Imagine immersing yourself in the music, dance, film, art and—lest we forget—food of 11 countries, including Texas. Ever wonder what apipa or a tamburais? Or what they sound like? This is your chance to find out. “The music presented at Globalquerque is from the very traditional to the very cutting edge,” Tom says, “with the common denominator that no matter how contemporary the band is, it has to have an element of their culture.”
The festival kicks off Friday morning with a special program that’s free to school groups, featuring performances from a selection of the bands. “We’ve had as many as 1800 school kids on the plaza,” says Tom. “They’re dancing, doing trains around the place…” This has to be the sweetest of good times, with all that excited kid energy. Friday and Saturday evenings, ticketed music and dance performances take to three stages at the Center simultaneously. (Advance tickets are available at a discounted rate through September 18—see the website for details.) The Global Market will be open if you want to take a break from the music, check out the arts and crafts or have a bite to eat. Throughout the day on Saturday, everything is open and free to the public, with more music, workshops, the Global Market, the whole kit. There’s a lot happening.
Often, it’s not what we say but how we say it. With songs sung in languages from around the world, many of us are bound to miss the stories. But the gesture and the spirit of performances always come through clear as a bell. Celebration, joy, heartache—these qualities are innately human and music is the universal language to express them. “We like to call Globalquerque a festival of discovery,” says Neal, “because usually people find the thing they are most excited about when they leave the festival is not what they were most excited about going into the festival.”
You can get a sneak peek from the website via short videos of the performers in the lineup. I’ve watched a couple and have been briefly transported to China and Hungary, discovering strikingly new qualities in the music. The music of Liu Fang from China is haunting, full of longing and quite moving. Söndörgő, a five guy tamburitza band from Hungary, gave me a whole new take on folksong themes. I have no idea what they were singing about, but can picture a Saturday night gathering in a small Balkan village, people dancing a step perhaps much like a contra dance and having some fun as we all love to do. All this from two short clips.
Having our minds and hearts opened to something new is the best. This is the nugget for Neal. “When we bring a band from Pakistan that’s fronted by two women,” he says, “not only is that confronting the sort of male-centric perspective you might assume would come from Pakistan, but we’re also putting forward culture from a people who are sort of vilified [here] on television.” People visiting Globalquerque are “seeing them in a new and different light,” he says. “They appear more human. It’s like, ‘Wow, they have pretty music! Their music talks to me, and I got to speak to those people and they’re really nice.’ And all of a sudden people’s views of Pakistan or the Pakistani people change.” Hats off to Neal and Tom for bringing this to us. “With music,” says Neal, “you find all these connections.”
You start getting the picture as to how this all came about by reading Tom’s bio: “He began his music career one Sunday night in 1964 watching the Ed Sullivan show.” As a kid in Connecticut, he was mesmerized by “the lads from Liverpool” who, unbeknownst to them, opened Tom’s eyes to culture outside his home turf. “I swear, the next day I started fighting with my mother about growing my bangs out,” he says, and we share a laugh. I remember similar arguments with my folks. “It was a cultural shift that really put me on the path,” Tom says. Over the years, he worked for perhaps a dozen record labels before starting his own artist management company, Avokado Artists.
Meanwhile, in the Washington D.C. area, Neal was getting into a diverse and lively music scene. He “always loved music, was always wrapped in the latest sounds and quirks and fashions,” he says. “It was the excitement. It’s always been a fascination of mine … I could see just about anyone I could imagine.” His work in math and computer science brought him to Albuquerque. “It was a more quiet scene here,” he says, “but there was an openness to it I couldn’t find on the coasts.” Neal started getting involved. “The Outpost Performance Space, for example. I’d just go up to the people that ran it and say, ‘I love what you’re doing here, can I help?’ And people were responsive. So the openness of the community here was really exciting. I was able to get involved in things I was passionate about that I’d only been able to experience as an observer. I started volunteering.”
Neal continues, “I had engaged in something that changed the community I lived in. I was thrilled. I was like, ‘Wow, I’m actually making a difference in the town I live in,’ and that was a really beautiful thing.” When faced with a turning point in his work life, he decided to not return to the East Coast and said farewell to working in the sciences. He stayed in Albuquerque and created his own business, AMP Concerts. Right on Neal!
In 2005, Tom went to the music festival globalFEST in New York City and the concept of bringing shows together from around the world really clicked with him. Tom recalls a decisive moment. “A friend turns to me and asks, ‘What do you think about doing a globalFEST West?’ And I said, ‘That is brilliant! What do you think if I do this in New Mexico instead of L.A.?’ And she says, ‘I think that’s brilliant!’”
Tom and Neal’s paths had already intersected a few times, so they got together on the idea. “I’ve always been a huge fan of world music,” says Neal, “so Tom and I had a base right there. International music is always a little bit of a fringe.” They gathered the support of then Mayor Marty Chavez, and soon after the Center signed on as the venue. “This was January 2005 and the first Globalquerque was in September of that year,” says Tom.
“The acts we bring in are all world-class touring bands. We have had a number of award-winners, including many Grammy winners, grace our stages over the years.” They market the festival nationally and internationally, putting Albuquerque on the world-wide, music scene map. “We also are fortunate,” says Tom, “to be at a world-class facility like the National Hispanic Cultural Center, whose people from the top down are the best,” and there couldn’t be a more perfect setting. With this festival, as Tom points out, it’s more than the music. “From the ambiance, to the sound, to the “extras” like the Global Village of Craft, Culture & Cuisine,” they put their hearts into it. Tom adds, enthusiastically, “Festival goers can be confident they will have a top-quality musical and cultural experience. It’s the whole experience …”
For more information, visit globalquerque.org.
Story by Gordon Bunker
Photo credit: Pascal Perich, Postales