The Buzz February 2015

Albuquerque

Chama River Brewing Company celebrates 10 years of concocting delicious beer this year. To commemorate the 10th anniversary, head brewer Zach Guilmette brewed and bottled the “De∙cen∙ni∙ale” Ale. This special Russian Imperial Stout exhibits intense flavors of bittersweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla and dark roasted malt with a hint of smoked character. It has been aged in a whiskey cask for nearly a year to add subtle oak and toasted notes that make this anniversary ale truly unique. This special ale honors Chama River Brewing’s long, proud history of brewing excellent, handcrafted beer. Try some for us but don’t drink it all!

And speaking of 10, Zinc hosts 10-piece brass band, The Mil-Tones, in the main dining room for Mardi Gras on February 17. Food and drink specials will be inspired by The Big Easy, and the New Orleans style jazz band will play from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. Laissez les bon temps roulez, Zinc.

More 10s! On February 10, enjoy a five-course wine and chocolate dinner at Farm & Table exploring the incredible link of wine and chocolate, and featuring stone-ground cacao in each course with a paired wine. Dr. Patricia Crown of the University of New Mexico will speak about the drinking vessels unearthed at Chaco Canyon in which traces of cacao were found, and are now housed in museums in New Mexico, including the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. These findings revealed that native people in our area were drinking ceremonial cacao through trade with Mesoamericans from over 1,200 miles away more than 1,000 years ago! Space is limited, so email reserve@farmandtablenm.com.

February also marks Chinese New Year (welcome Year of the Sheep), and Nob Hill’s The Fragrant Leaf Tea Boutique’s February 15 afternoon tea (two seatings, at 1 and 4 p.m.) feature a three-course East-West “high tea” of savories and sweets, inspired by festive New Year foods. The menu includes silky corn soup, oolong tea-poached chicken, dumplings, new year “red & gold velvet” cupcakes and coconut and red bean mochi cake, among other treats. Guests will also be served a flight of Chinese teas selected to complement the food. “We introduced our monthly, pop-up afternoon teas with a twist to showcase the diversity of teas and tea appreciation around the world while offering one-of-a-kind food menus, featuring tea as an ingredient,” said Robin Scala, founder and owner of The Fragrant Leaf. Seating is limited and advance reservation is required. Visit thefragrantleaf.com or call 505.255.0522.

In what’s new on the scene, New Mexico Piñon Coffee plans to open a coffee shop on Alameda just west of Jefferson. The state’s largest coffee roaster’s Piñon Coffee House will cater not only to coffee connoisseurs but also caffeinated beverage newbies who freeze in the face of menus full of macchiatos and Americanos. The cafe will also sell specialty teas and baked goods, and is expected to open this month. Follow them on Facebook to get the scoop. Get it? Scoop?

Also now open, Gravy welcomes hungry diners to East Downtown, across the street from sister burger joint Holy Cow at 725 Central NE. The retro diner feel of the old Milton’s remains, and the American-style, diner-inspired comfort food is receiving good buzz: a breakfast pot pie, brisket hash and the requisite pancakes, French toast and waffles, as well as huevos rancheros and a breakfast burrito. Lunch includes sandwiches and salads, fried chicken, meatloaf and chicken fried steak. Partner Chris Medina (who previously worked at Santa Fe’s Geronimo) also co-owns Holy Cow, and the owner group has plans for two more buildings nearby. Could another eatery be in the works? Gravy is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Nob Hill is making way for N’awlins Mardi Gras Café, with chef restaurateur (and native of NOLA) Eddie Adams at the helm. The space that was Serafin’s Chile Hut at 3718 Central SE will be turned into a Cajun style place based on beignets, gumbo, jambalaya and other Louisiana specialties. Adams hopes to be open by Mardi Gras (February 17). He’s no stranger to Albuquerque, either, as he owned Gulf Coast Eatery, was a food and beverage director at Garduño’s, and is the founder and CEO of Cajun Flavors Spices.

Nob Hill also has a new steakhouse. Kasey’s is a venture of Casey Armstrong-Lange and husband Gary Lange at 400 Washington SE, just north of Zuni. This family friendly steakhouse is open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, with wine and local craft beer on tap. Armstrong-Lange studied culinary arts at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island and shares chef duties with her husband. Both have worked at restaurants, for cruise lines and at a resort at Denali National Park in Alaska. The barn-shaped building was a chicken restaurant, a bridge club and an aquarium store, and has undergone an extensive renovation, retaining the signature red barn exterior. Welcome to the neighborhood, folks!

Another new place getting some serious pre-opening buzz is Fork & Fig, a project of New Mexico native Josh Kennon. Located at Menaul and Louisiana in Uptown, Fork & Fig will offer a selection of gourmet sandwiches, paninis, wraps and burgers, as well as a takeout element and will use only fresh and local products. Kennon worked as a personal chef in Los Angeles and Phoenix and received his culinary degree at Le Cordon Bleu in Scottsdale. You can get Forked seven days a week, with brunch on weekends. Visit forkfig.com for more.

An Albuquerque stalwart is growing, with liquor! Range Cafe is expanding its 4401 Wyoming NE location with an eye to introducing a beer and wine bar, and adding 20 percent more seating. Owner Matt DiGregory is converting a patio into dining space, increasing the selection of beer to at least 12 local brews on tap. Construction proceeds apace and the restaurant remains open during the work. Have a plate of blue corn enchiladas for us, people!

And another longtime shop is moving after 23 years in the same location. Now We’re Cooking left its home at Academy and Wyoming NE for new digs at Paseo del Norte and Wyoming NE in LaCueva Town Center. Nancy Herring, who owns the store with husband Matthew Segura, says the new space is bright, cheery and full of gadgets, cookware, tableware and cooking doo-dads, just like the old one. Congrats on the move, and we can’t wait to shop at the new digs.

Put all those new cooking gadgets to work at an Instituto Cervantes’s The Flavors of Spain cooking class. Learn to prepare the dishes that make Spanish cuisine world famous from Chef Rosa, who is from Andalucía, Spain. From an early age she learned the art of combining the characteristic ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine to obtain delicious and healthy dishes. February 27’s class features pisto manchego, pollo en pepitoria, and natillas caseras. Call 505.724.4777 for details. And if simply eating is more your speed, then February 28, Chef Rosa will prepare a special prix fixe, multi-course Galician dinner before the Carlos Núñez show at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Carlos and the band will be at the dinner to welcome everyone and give a little musical introduction to the evening. A master of the local bagpipes, or gaita, Núñez is one of Galicia’s most revered artists. For info on the show and the dinner, visit ampconcerts.org.

On a sad note, we bid goodbye to Local iQ, the bi-weekly publication dedicated to arts, culture, food and music in Albuquerque. Their contribution to the Duke City scene over close to nine years was notable, always bringing to light the quirky happenings that make Albuquerque such a delightful place to live.

Santa Fe

Been wondering what’s happening in the old La Unica Cleaners building in front of Santa Fe’s popular salad place, Vinaigrette? It’s Modern General, a new coffee/juice bar, baked goods and general merchandise store, the brainchild of Vinny’s owner Erin Wade. Wade’s going for a classic general store vibe, brought into our modern times. Which reminds me, it’s time to Eat Your Peas or All Kale Caesar, isn’t it? Follow Vinaigrette’s Facebook page for details on opening dates for Modern General.

A hop, skip and a jump from Vinaigrette is The Design Center, where The Kitchen Window is serving up fresh, delicious and did I mention delicious? food. Chef/owner Rachael Lobb says the menu is simple, including Frito pie, sandwiches, salads and homey favorites like mac and cheese. With prices that will barely break a Hamilton (that’s a tenner—more 10s!), it’s no wonder this place has garnered a loyal following for breakfast and lunch Monday through Saturday. Or maybe it’s the red chile candied pecan brownie? Or the breakfast/lunch taco specials? It’s definitely comfort food on the cheap at 418 Cerrillos Road.

A big welcome to Russell Thornton, the new head chef at Joe’s Dining. No, chef/owner Roland Richter isn’t leaving, he’s simply sharing the load with Thornton, whose experience in the Santa Fe restaurant scene includes many years as part of Santa Fe Dining Corporation’s family of restaurants (most notably, Rio Chama). The Joe’s menu of locally sourced, organic and clean cuisine remains, as well as Joe’s advocacy for locally farming.

February 12, Kent Jacobs signs his new book Zuni Stew, to benefit the New Mexico Museum of Art. Based on Jacobs’ many years living among the Zuni as a young doctor, Zuni Stew also reveals his love and intimate knowledge of New Mexico as the book takes the reader into the vastness of the landscape throughout the state: Zuni, Route 66, Albuquerque in the early 70s, the Jicarilla Apache reservation and Taos. Author and arts supporter, Jacobs lived with the Zunis, absorbing their culture, religion, ceremonies, and spirit of the land. Jacobs has also served for 14 years as a regent for the Museum of New Mexico. He and his wife were recently awarded the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Call 505.476.5068 for info.

A very happy birthday to 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar. To celebrate 20 years, Chef Louis Moskow has some specials to commemorate the occasion. Tuesdays are now 1/2 price wine by the bottle nights, Thursdays you can indulge in 1/2 price premium spirits and on Sundays all Santa Fe Spirits are just $5. As always, the $8 bar menu and 5 plates for $35 deal is not to be missed. Bonne Anniversaire, 315, and here’s to 20 more! Visit 315santafe.com.

A fond farewell to The Spanish Table, that purveyor of Spanish, Portguese and North African foodstuffs, housewares and cooking essentials. The shop, a Santa Fe institution since it opened in the summer of 2002, was a magnet for chefs and foodies and always had a knowledgable and passionate staff. They were the epitome of what a great specialty shop should be and they will be missed. Fortunately, you can still shop online at spanishtable.com.

Kudos to this year’s Souper Bowl winners! Dinner for Two’s Andy Barnes took top honors for his King Trumpet Mushroom soup (divine), blowing away the 28 other restaurants that competed in four categories. Other winners include Terra at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado for its cream soup entry: creamy vegetable with cranberry coulis. Best vegetable soup went to Café Bon Appétit at Santa Fe University of Art and Design for its wild mushroom soup. Best seafood was taken by The Pantry for a seafood butternut squash concoction. All proceeds from the annual January event benefit The Food Depot, a food bank that supports food pantries throughout Northern New Mexico. Soup is, after all, good food.

If it’s February, it must be ARTFeast, now in its 18th season. ARTfeast celebrates the city’s world-class dining scene, prominent artists and galleries and unique homes over three days. On February 20, enjoy jazz, classic cocktails and designs by Patricia Michaels at It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere, an event featuring hearty appetizers by Walter Burke Catering. Bid on a set of 12 unique salad/dessert plates inspired by Kandinsky’s color theories, a wine trip to Oregon’s pinot noir countryside and silk scarves designed and batik-dyed by De Vargas Middle School students who were inspired by International Folk Art Market celebrity Gasali Adeyemo. The next night, it’s the Gala Dinner, Paint-Out and Auction, with three courses by Adobo Catering, paired with select fine wines and a dessert bar to die for!Live and silent auctions include an array of fine art, travel and adventure packages, food and wine excursions and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have dinner with and become a character in Honorary Chair Valerie Plame’s next novel. And on February 21 and 22, the annual Art of Home Tourthrows open the doors to 12 dream residences for tours of the design and artwork that makes Santa Fe legendary. If you’re wondering about the Edible Art tour, that’s moved to the summer when the weather’s finer for strolling galleries. Head to artfeast.org for complete details and tickets.

Love wine? Then join the La Casa Sena and Rio Chama Steakhouse 2015 Wine Clubs. The extraordinary membership has real privileges: when dining at either restaurant members enjoy retail wine prices on all bottles on the wine list. Join one and use your membership at both restaurants. This would be a great value at any restaurant, but because each of these places boasts a truly superior wine list, it’s a double winner. Count me in!

If driving to Albuquerque for authentic dim sum isn’t your idea of fun, Chef Johnny Vee’s Dining Out On Dim Sum in Chinatown class at Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe should tide you over until you can catch a flight to one of the coasts. Learn to make (and eat your heart’s fill of) classics like hot and sour soup, hoisin ribs, shrimp dumplings, mu shu duck scallion pancakes and more. All served with copious amounts of tea. Register for the February 21 class and see all the February offerings at lascosascooking.com.

Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa became the first hotel in the U.S. to power all of its guest rooms with solar energy. Using proprietary smart grid technology from Stay.Solar, the hotel’s commitment to green initiatives costs its guests nothing, yet addresses their concerns about environmental responsibility. Clean, green electricity from the sun on demand means Hotel Santa Fe has raised the bar on what travelers and groups should expect from their accommodations. “By being the very first hotel in the country to take advantage of Stay.Solar’s powerful system, Hotel Santa Fe is leading by example, combining the service and luxury we are known for with the most innovative approach to sustainability available,” says Managing Partner Paul Margetson. For every dollar devoted to solar production at the property, an additional dollar goes to supplying solar panels to be installed at a Santa Fe non-profit to help meet that organization’s power needs, too.

We all know The Lensic is a local treasure. Now the rest of the country does too, as the performing arts center made USA Today’s list of the best historic movie theaters in the country. The Lensic hosts more than 200 events every year, from theater, music and dance to poetry, films and lectures, and the staff does a tremendous job. Richly deserved recognition, everyone! Go to lensic.org for upcoming programming.

Susan Eagan is no longer at the boutique wine shop that bears her name, Susan’s Fine Wine and Spirits on Cerrillos Road. As one of the most influential wine dealers in New Mexico, a mentor and guru to a host of Santa Fe wine aficionados and a powerhouse behind Wine and Chile Fiesta we look forward to seeing what projects she will tackle next. Whatever it is, you can be sure it will done with passion and that famous Irish smile.

Taos

The Kyote Club is Taos’ new hot spot for great food, delicious beverages and delightful service set in an equally delightful atmosphere. The location at 330A Paseo Del Pueblo Sur was last occupied by Casa Los Córdovas, and is now the project of Ky Quintanilla, who spent six years at Lambert’s of Taos. The Ky in Kyote is Quintanilla’s nickname, and if the good reputation and reviews he garnered at Lambert’s are an indication, Kyote Club should be off to a great start. He’ll feature the same fresh fare he’s known for as well as a smaller plate selection in an atmosphere he’s calling “culinary bar,” with music and a casual vibe. Open 7 days a week, call 575.751.3302 for more details.

For over 25 years, Red River has been throwing one of the best Mardi Gras parties on this side of the bayou, complete with colorful costume balls, crawfish boils, krewes, parades and festive Cajun and Zydeco music. This year is no different with over 50 exciting events and activities taking place during the six-day festival. The week is filled with costume balls, bead tossing, singing and dancing, Cajun and Creole gourmet delights, parades, a kids costume contest, a Cajun cook-off, burning of the wild Tchoupitoulas, crawfish boils, a downhill gator race and more! Visit redriver.org/mardigras for details on Mardi Gras in the Mountains, February 12 through 17.

 

Story by Kelly Koepke


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