Trolley season begins April 1in Albuquerque. Yep, this month marks five years of Albuquerque Trolley tours of the Duke City. A big change to tours this year, too: Buy your tickets online at abqtrolley.com or visit the box office inside the new boarding location, the Hotel Albuquerque at Old Town. Congrats to Jesse Herron and Mike Silva for this tourist- and local-pleasing activity that’s drawing notice, especially for the “Breaking Bad” thematic trips to notable locations from the award-winning AMC series. See you on board!
April means the start of the Downtown Growers’ Market season, too! The Spring Market begins April 5 at 906 Park Ave (between Java Joe’s and Firenze Pizza, kitty-corner from Robinson Park), from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Growers and artisans bring fresh greens, delectable delights and unique creations, as we all get excited for another delicious season of celebrating the flavors of New Mexico. Regular markets begin May 17 across the street in Robinson Park. And a high-five to Market Manager Gina Meyers, who is an Albuquerque Business First “40 Under 40” nominee this year. More at downtowngrowers.com.
**Albuquerque’s food and drink scene is racking up more awards. La Cumbre Brewing Co.’s Project Dank IPA took the 2014 National IPA Champion honors. The competition, coordinated by Brewing News, pitted ales and lagers from 128 breweries around the country, and Albuquerque’s La Cumbre dominated the rankings. La Cumbre describes the winning IPA as “juicy [with] tons of tropical fruits, rich grapefruit bitterness, even some lemon and dill.”
**Executive Chef Michael Giese, of Pueblo Harvest Café at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, earns more kudos, this time from FSR Magazine (“FSR” stands for “full-service restaurant”). Chef Giese has been named a “40 under 40” to watch in a nationwide list of chefs. The only chef from New Mexico, Giese was with Flying Star Café before joining Pueblo Harvest. Not only does he teach cooking courses and mentor local students, he’s livened up the already interesting culinary scene at Pueblo Harvest by adding outdoor events with music. Congrats, Chef!
**Artichoke Café’s Chef Cristina Martinez took her own honors earlier this year. She won the People’s Choice Award in this year’s Souper Bowl for her green chile clam chowder. And she made history last month as the first female chef invited to the Chef Knockout, a fundraising event for the Storehouse Food Bank. Five-time heavyweight champion of the world Evander Holyfield served as celebrity judge and appraised the dishes of six premier Albuquerque chefs and their creative use of a secret ingredients. Congrats Chef Christina—keep up the good cooking!
Farmer Monte and the crew at Skarsgard Farms have entered the burgeoning craft brew scene in Albuquerque, too. They are taking their organic apples and turning them into hard cider. Called Farmer Monte’s Hard Cider, the beverage debuted in March and is available online for daytime home delivery and Stanford warehouse pick-up. Cider production is a partnership with Casa Rondeña Winery, and John Calvin’s delicious wines can be included in your Skarsgard harvest box order. Visit skarsgardfarms.com for complete details.
And speaking of Casa Rondeña, from April 1 through the end of June, the North Valley winery will show Guiding Light, a selection of images of the American West by Santa Fe photographer Craig Varjabedian. The opening reception is April 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. “All I knew was that I was being called to capture in photographs what I was seeing in this new world,” writes Varjabedian in his essay from Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait. “As a photographer, I had found my home. Somehow, I knew that my entire life had been preparing me for this place, and that New Mexico would tell me what to do. The morning light had brought me clarity, which I still feel today.” Call 505.452.7208 for hours or to schedule a viewing.
Tea enthusiasts can join an exclusive new club from the delightful St. James Tea Room. Members of the Tea Exuberance Association enjoy monthly benefits such as extra treats at afternoon tea services, exclusive specially ordered teas, early shopping opportunities with additional discounts in the shop and free entrance to the annual Holiday Shopping Extravaganza. What a lovely way to celebrate the world’s most popular beverage in all its variety. For details and to join, contact Laura at 505.681.3265. Visit stjamestearoom.com for more information.
In late March, the annual Creative Albuquerque Creative Bravos winners were announced at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History. Awards for innovation, entrepreneurship and impact on the Albuquerque creative economy went to TV and film prop master Mark Hansen, scholar Theodore Jojola, Maple Street Dance Space, poet Valerie Martinez, the Mayor’s Art Institute of the Harwood Art Center, singer Cathryn McGill, visual effects studio Pivot VFX, volunteer group Raices Collective, Route 66 Summerfest and Warehouse 508. The President’s Award for distinguished service went to North Fourth Art Center Executive Director Marjorie Neset. Bravo, everyone!
And a bittersweet goodbye to Spencer Beckwith and his thought-provoking KUNM morning arts program, Performance New Mexico, which bid audiences farewell in March. For ten years, Beckwith covered the state’s arts and culture scene. He plans to continue with occasional coverage for KUNM’s news shows. Adieu, Spencer. We’ll miss you.
Happy Birthday, Café Pasqual! Thirty-five years at the forefront of the Santa Fe culinary restaurant scene is an amazing accomplishment––what a testament to founding chef and owner Katharine Kagel. Every detail that makes this restaurant great is a testament to her vision and her determination. This is not just a business, not just a restaurant, this is something you do from your heart. Happy Birthday, Katharine, and congratulations to the entire staff at Café Pasqual’s for 35 years of genuine local flavor.
The James Beard Award finalists were named last month, and though no New Mexico chefs made it to the next round, a notable Santa Fean foodie did. Deborah Madison’s divine cookbook Vegetable Literacy battles it out for best Vegetable Focused and Vegetarian Cookbook. Yay, Deborah and yay, veggies!
A round of applause to local author Anne Hillerman, who took up the mantle of her late father, Tony Hillerman, to continue the Chee and Leaphorn series of novels. Last year’s debut, Spider Woman’s Daughter, recently won the 2014 Spur Award for Best Novel from the Western Writers America. Awards are given for works whose inspiration, image and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West.
The 14th Annual Santa Fe Film Festival runs May 1 through 4, with a program of over 40 films, panels, juried awards, workshops and parties. To warm you all up for the event, the 2014 Dream Awake Portrait Project, from Santa Fe photographer Bill Stengel, captured the portraits of 32 Santa Feans daydreaming with their eyes shut. The striking black-and-white images grace the festival’s marketing materials. The opening reception for the Dream Awake Portrait Project Show is April 11, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Betterday Coffee Shop (905 W. Alameda), and the portraits will remain on exhibition through the end of the festival. Visit santafefilmfestival.com for more info. The website lists venues, including the Jean Cocteau Cinema and the Center for Contemporary Arts, as well as films and filmmakers, such as Peter McCarthy, who will screen a sneak preview of his new, locally made film Death and Taxes.
Bring your taste buds to the Museum Hill Café as it presents Brasil: Food Popular, a tasting menu inspired by Brasil & Arte Popular, the exhibition currently at the Museum of International Folk Art. Indulge in the flavors of Brazil with exceptional international wine pairings. There will be duck tostaditas, Brazilian empanaditas, the traditional Brazilian stew feijoada, churrasco-style grilled steak and more. The exhibition itself presents a fascinating range of more than 350 pieces from the museum’s rich Brazilian collection: graphic woodblock prints, colorful ceramic and wooden folk sculptures, toys, puppets and religious art. You can also check out lively festival dramas with dance, music and costumes. Visit museumhillcafe.net and internationalfolkart.org
We’ve long loved The Cowgirl BBQ for its food, and now we love it even more for its expanded taproom selection. Beer enthusiasts can enthuse over 24 different craft beers. Beverage director Colin Noll says the wide array of artisanal brews will feature a number of rare, limited-release selections. Daily pint specials mean that exploring the crafty array will be affordable, too.
**Eldorado Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef Anthony Smith will bring a bit of his British roots to Santa Fe on April 24 when he debuts his own specialty ale at an exclusive small brew batch dinner at Eldorado’s AGAVE Lounge. “After I arrived to the United States, I couldn’t readily drink English style ale. All they had at that time was Bass Ale,” says Smith. Now, a lucky few will try “Chefster’s Ale,” an English style bitter that Smith has been home brewing for more than 20 years. The chef’s cookout will take place at Santa Fe Brewing Company and is open to the public, where he’ll be serving his AGAVE Lounge specialty Green Chile Cheese Kobe Beef Sliders as well as bratwursts and BBQ favorites. This is the first time Chefster’s Ale has been brewed for public consumption, which Smith did as a guest brewer at Santa Fe Brewing Company. Tickets for the dinner are for sale at both Santa Fe Brewing locations, the AGAVE Lounge, and through Eldorado’s eventbrite.com account, 505.995.4530 or visit www.eldoradohotel.com.
Just up Guadalupe, Tomasita’s is tapping the power of the sun to provide 85 percent of the restaurant’s electricity needs, while providing shade to guests parking in their lot. We applaud them for making the investment in 210 solar panels and taking advantage of our abundant sunshine. I’ll have a margarita blended with green energy, please!
Railyard neighbor Jean Cocteau Cinema now has its liquor license, serving up adult beverages to cinephiles in addition to the awesome popcorn (with real butter!). And in April, multiple authors will grace the stage for readings, signings and conversation. Authors like 11-time Hugo Award–winner Connie Willis, Pulitzer Prize–winner Junot Diaz and Anne Perry. We’re giddy with anticipation! Go to jeancocteaucinema.com for dates, times and tickets.
William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps and Prints presents its annual exhibition of historic and contemporary works depicting the missions and moradas of New Mexico, April 14 through May 9, with prints, paintings, drawings and photography. Missions & Moradas: Icons of New Mexico, 1925–1985 features the work of Gustave Baumann, Morris Blackburn, Charles M. Capps, Howard Cook, William Dickerson, Gene Kloss, Bertha Landers, Barbara Latham and Theo White. The missions of New Mexico were a favorite theme of early 20th century modernist artists. Their images of mission churches, especially, endure as icons of New Mexico. Visit Monday through Saturdays, at 129 W. San Francisco St, 2nd floor, 505.982.1559.
We take turquoise, both the stone and the color, for granted in New Mexico. Consider that people in the Southwest have used turquoise for jewelry and ceremonial purposes and traded valuable stones—within and outside the region—for over a thousand years. Learn more at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture’s newest exhibition,Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning, opening April 13. It highlights the museum’s extensive collection of Southwestern turquoise jewelry and presents all aspects of the stone, from geology, mining and history, to questions of authenticity and value. Details are at indianartsandculture.org
Run, Ron, run! Ron Cooper, proprietor of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal in Ranchos de Taos, is still in the running for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that Cooper, now a finalist in the category, will beat out stiff competition when the winners are announced in May.
Harwood Museum of Art hosts a landmark exhibition through May, Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962-2010, marking the first retrospective to highlight Price (1935-2012) and his long-term commitment to drawing. A part-time Taos-based sculptor, Price sustained a quiet storm of intense creativity with drawing that until recently remained under the art world’s radar. This exhibition includes a selection of 38 works on paper tracking Price’s dedication to drawing over a period of 50 years and demonstrating his ongoing exploration of the medium. This retrospective was curated by Douglas Dreishpoon, Chief Curator, Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and co-organized by The Drawing Center in New York City. More at harwoodmuseum.org
Taos chef, foodie and author of The Homegrown Gourmet, a cookbook with gardening and healthy living tips, Brigitte Pauli-Barlos will appear on an April episode of the Food Network show “Chopped.” We don’t know the date, because as of press time, the Season 20 listings hadn’t been updated. “Chopped” features four contestants challenged to prepare edible meals using combinations of ingredients presented to them. Will their courses be delicious or will they be chopped? You can guess from the title of the show what happens to those who don’t perform under pressure. Winners receive $10,000, so there’s real money on the line. Check foodnetwork.com/shows/chopped.html for upcoming episodes.
Last month, the Department of Game and Fish, along with volunteers from the community, stocked the Rio Grande Gorge with almost 10,000 Rio Grande cutthroat trout. Anglers, schoolchildren and cutthroat trout enthusiasts packed the fish down to the bottom of the gorge in bags filled with three to four gallons of water and containing more than 100 live fingerlings. “Anglers make this program possible, not only by volunteering but by funding it through license fees and through an excise tax on fishing equipment, rods and boat fuel through the Sport Fish Restoration Act,” said Jason Blakney, coldwater fisheries biologist for the department. “Sportsmen have invested in this program and make it possible to have a wild population of Rio Grande cutthroat trout in a large river system.” Hey, homesteaders and locavores, it doesn’t get any more sustainable then this.
In this day of fast food and fast lives, the entire family that creates CHE Chimichurri have chosen the slow, simple and healthier way to make their handcrafted meat marinade in Taos. CHE Chimichurri is a project of Carla and Bret Burden, with labels designed by Bret’s dad, Gary, and his wife, Jenice; website by brother Jesse; marketing by sister Amanda and, of course, taste-tested by sons, Jose and Lucas. Carla was looking to complement the flavor of the family’s favorite cuts of meat, not cover it up. These Patagonian-inspired marinades/sauces are available at Cid’s in Taos, La Montanita and Eldorado Market in Santa Fe and Whole Foods Market in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Visit chechimichurri.com.