The Buzz – February 2017


Squee! New Mexico Restaurant Week returns to Albuquerque March 5 through 12! Delicious dining and culinary events from your longtime favorite and/or new-on-the-scene chefs include prix fix 3-course offerings representing the diverse culinary scene in the Duke City. This is a great opportunity to dine at different places, experience incredible chefs, and service and support our local restaurants. A list of lunch and dinner participants and menus at

If you’ve been watching the construction at I-40 and Rio Grande, you’ll be pleased to know that the newest location of The Range Café is now open, including the full bar. You’ll get the same satisfying Range food, drinks and desserts, and you’ll dine under the 3-D mural of a Santa Fe Railway boxcar complete with escaping steer. This makes the fourth Range in Albuquerque. When does Santa Fe get one?

Downtown denizens rejoice at Jacky Kongphouthakhoun’s new restaurant, Crackin’ Crab, in the Imperial Building at Second and Silver SW. In case you don’t understand the seafood boil concept, there are no plates, knives or forks. You use your hands and a seafood cracker to bust open your Cajun-style crab and mussels, slurping your fingers for all the juice from the scallops, shrimp, potatoes, corn and sausage. Bibs and plenty of napkins keep you fresh. But who cares how messy you get. You have permission to eat with your hands! Check their Facebook page for happy-hour oyster and draft specials.

Also at the Imperial building is Maya, the latest from Cecilia Schmider, partnering with Dennis Apodaca, who also owns Eli’s Place on Fourth Street. Chef Apodaca creates specials everyday, so there is always something new and exciting to try, like duck tamales or calabacitas relleno. Venturing a bit from the usual New Mexican fare, the eatery also serves Monks’ Corner beer. That little corner of Silver, which also houses the Silver Street Market (a locally owned, full-service grocery store), is turning into quite the foodie hub. Hurrah for local!

Downtown’s latest venue, Gravitate, is pretty swank. Owner Jen Mulliniks opened the nearly 4,000 square feet on the top floor of the Emerald Building at 1121 Fourth St. NW, to give groups a place purposely designed for events, that wasn’t a hotel. One of her first bookings was 50 Communication Hacks, a Feb. 3 marketing, branding, communication, social media event sponsored by WriterGals, a group of independent communication professionals and open to anyone interested in hacking their professional communication. The event features insightful presentations, Q&A sessions, and panels of creative professionals. Expect to take away at least 50 fresh approaches to dynamic content, branding, marketing, web development, blogging and social media across a variety of platforms. Register at quickly because space is limited.

With all the buzz about breweries, inspiration and innovation separate the wheat from the chaff. So Nexus Brewery owner Ken Carson turned to Patrician Design’s Patti Harrell Hoech to design the interior for the redone Nexus Silver Taproom on the Westside. The new space features a unique, wall of 3,000 crushed beer cans that also functions as fun interactive games for guests. There’s nothing else like it! Adding to the unique space are massive suspended custom light drums designed and manufactured locally by Hoech and her team. The new expansion on the Westside allows folks to enjoy Nexus no matter which side of the river they live, dine, work or play on. Because did we forget to mention Nexus’ signature New Mexico soul food? Hit up

A deep respect for Mother Earth and a lifelong passion for herbs and flowers prompted Leila Duran to open Fall River Botanicals in Old Town in the late fall. Their line of hand-blended all-natural products was inspired by the traditional remedies used by Leila’s indigenous ancestors. She’s updated them to create a modern approach to whole body health and healing. They even have their eye on a site in Santa Fe…we can’t wait! Check them out at

Popejoy Hall has two shows of note in February. First, back by popular demand, The Peking Acrobats return with their amazing Chinese acrobatics. The talented troupe of jugglers, cyclists, contortionists and gymnasts provide a thrilling afternoon of gravity-defying acrobatics backed by a live traditional Chinese orchestra. These masters of agility and grace arrive Feb. 4. Then, Glenn Miller’s legacy of legendary big-band music lives on through The World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, one of the longest continuously touring acts in history. With a variety of selections from the heyday of the big-band sound alongside unique interpretations of contemporary favorites, this show brings classic swing to a whole new generation on Feb. 19. Tickets at or

Chatter’s strings and loadbang’s lung-powered ensemble collaborate on two February concerts. Last year, New York City-based loadbang appeared at Chatter Sunday in a sold-out concert, and we’re the first stop on their tour. Both programs will feature pieces by living composers, many written for loadbang. Feb. 10 is the Late Works concert, with Chatter string trio (David Felberg, violin; Shanti Randall, viola; James Holland, cello) opening the show. Loadbang will then play a number of compositions written for them, paired with electronics. Feb.12, loadbang will be performing a variety of works, including two written specifically for their ensemble and string orchestra, in collaboration with the Chatter string orchestra. Thanks to the City of Albuquerque, this concert is pay-what-you-wish. Tickets for both concerts at

The New Mexico Philharmonic performs music by Bach, Mozart and Haydn on Feb. 12, as part of the Neighborhood Series. Matthew Greer leads the orchestra and soloists on two pianos, Amy Greer and Kristin Ditlow. The program begins with Mozart’s Overture to Così fan tutte, followed by Bach’s Concerto for Concerto for Two Keyboards in c minor, BWV 1060. The two soloists will perform Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos in E-flat Major, K. 365/316a and Haydn’s Missa brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo (Little Organ Mass) Hob. XXII:7, featuring soprano Shea Perry, will conclude the concert. Tickets are at, and often sell out, so get yours now.

The Placitas Artists Series 30th season continues on Feb. 12 at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church with classical guitarist Aniello Desiderio performing solo works by Albéniz, Turina, Coste, Scarlatti, Giuliani and Domeniconi. The visual artists on display include Karl Hofmann, acrylic; Geri Verble, jewelry; and Dennie York, pen and ink. More about this highly popular series at

Condolences to the Working Classroom family on the passing of Nan Elsasser in December. As founder and former executive director, Nan was a mentor, artistic provocateur, activist and great example to many. Through Nan’s efforts in establishing Working Classroom, the organization offers arts education and scholarships and an environment where members of the community felt safe and free to express themselves. Her spirit will be missed.

Santa Fe

Hey Santa Fe! Feb. 19 – 26, few destinations can top the authentic and diverse culinary scene of the City Different, and New Mexico Restaurant week is the perfect time to experience it. The incredible chefs of Santa Fe come together to offer Sunday-to-Sunday epicurean extravaganzas, with multiple-course lunches and dinners value priced at just $15, $25, $35 or $45 per person. Classes, too! Head for the long list of participating restaurants, menus, lodging specials and events.

If you’ve ever been turned away from Clafoutis because their parking was full to overflowing, take heart. Clafoutis is moving! Their new location inside Body on Cordova Road will be bigger, and includes tons of parking. The sign is already up; expect a March opening. Until then, enjoy their delicious French pastries, breads and entrees at their current location on Guadalupe.

And Body has made some changes, too. Their revamped Market Café has morphed into a vegan marketplace dedicated to clean food, with a more coffee shop vibe. They still serve their famous ginger teas, chais, coffee drinks and healthy juices, as well as vegan soups and noshes. Visit

Welcome to town Sabor Peruano, the new Peruvian restaurant at DeVargas mall. And welcome to the owners Adriana Brawley and Susana Hamilton, both Peruvians who moved to Santa Fe in the last year. Sources say the soups are dynamite, and the most authentic flavors they’ve had since they were in South America. Check out the papa rellena, too––potatoes stuffed with chicken, beef or cheese. Delicioso! Offerings include a full vegan and kids menu, and the weekend special of chupe de camarones is worth the visit. Head to their Facebook page for hours and daily specials.

Sunrise Springs Spa Resort, just south of town, has been recognized by SpaFinder with a Best Ahead-of-the-Curve Innovation 2016 Wellness Travel Award. The award recognizes the destination spa’s dedication to helping people live healthier, happier lives. SpaFinder lauded the resort’s commitment to restoring and revitalizing this historic, natural springs property as a place of relaxation and rejuvenation. Central to this healing oasis is the natural spring-fed pond and newly opened Ojitos outdoor soaking experience featuring private outdoor pools, mineral-infused soaking tubs, steam showers and a eucalyptus steam room. Make your reservations at Sunrise Springs’ sister property, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, also won SpaFinder accolades for Best Hot Springs, so bravo to them, too!

Congrats to AMP Concerts on their $25,000 matching grant from The Levitt Foundation to grow the Santa Fe Railyard Concert Series this summer. One of only 15 nonprofits around the country! The money is a major boon for the May-through-September musical and movie events. It will allow them to continue to enhance the series, which included last year’s wildly popular Prince tribute. Maybe David Bowie this year? Head to for more on the group’s regular and special programming in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Kudos to Debra Garcia y Griego, director of the Santa Fe Arts Commission, for her appointment to the board of Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education in America. The group collectively includes leaders in the areas of cultural policy, business, innovation and the arts. Since 2000, Garcia y Griego has been responsible for management of the Arts Commission’s funding of nonprofit arts organizations as well as the public art program.

Happy belated second birthday, Cheesemongers of Santa Fe, and a fond farewell to John Gutierrez, one of the founding partners. He’s leaving things in the capable, fromage-loving hands of Suzy Thompson and Steve Reynolds (and the crack team of expert cheesemongers), who have also owned and operated Oklahoma’s Forward Foods since 2006. What doesn’t change is the shop’s cheese-and-wine and cheese-and-beer classes, or the Raclette Happy Hours on Fridays from 4-6 p.m. Visit Mmmmm, cheese.

Learn about the libations someone figured out could be made from the agave plant at the Second Annual Mezcal and Tequila Festival, Feb. 10 and 11 at Eloisa. Guest speakers, Santa Fe chefs and mixologists, tastings, cooking demos and mescal- and tequila-themed dinners will all be part of these festive days. And while you’re at it, give a big welcome to Eloisa’s new Food and Beverage Director Rick Pedram. Pedram oversees the food and beverage operations of Eloisa, Bar Alto and catering and banquet operations for the Drury Plaza Hotel. He’s late of the Eldorado Hotel & Spa and The Brown Palace in Denver. But back to tequila––visit their Facebook page for details.

Modern General’s got a new eat-in option—modcakes, not your average flapjack. The savory, sweet and plain pancakes complement the store’s toasts, bowls, sandwiches and salads, and feature interesting, healthy ingredients like roasted red pepper, kale, cabbage and flax. For gluten-free diners, choose teff and corn instead of traditional wheat. They’re savory, they’re sweet and Modern General’s twist on everyone’s favorite childhood breakfast. Because they think breakfast needs a wake up. They could be right. Visit

Terra Cotta has announced their winter happy hour Monday through Thursday form 4-6 p.m. in the bar. Enjoy $6 appetizers paired with one of 75 $6 wine-by-the-glass options. (You can also order off the regular menu.) But with crispy onion rings, smoked salmon mousse, brisket sliders and fire-roasted red pepper hummus, who needs “real” food? Need an excuse to head to the delightfully French country space on Johnson Street? Not me. And not you, either.

Find yourself fading in the mid-afternoon? Head over to the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi for a pick me up from their artisanal hot chocolate cart. Indulge in a variety of delicious seasonal treats and beverages including the Kentucky Hot Tub made with Jim Beam, hot chocolate and served with marshmallows and nutmeg. Or the Lucha Libre, Republic Resposado tequila, kahlua, ancho chile liqueur and Mexican hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream. If a warming drink isn’t enough, try their housemade snacks, including chocolate bark, chipotle caramel nut popcorn and bizochitos. The cart is open Thursday-Saturday from 3-5 p.m.

And while we’re on the topic of chocolate, join Slow Food Santa Fe at Cacao, and learn to distinguish craft chocolate from the mass-market kind and why and how to choose it. Feb. 4 at Cacao’s Richard Lane location, they’ll be making chocolate drinks from scratch—everybody can customize their own drink: sweet, spicy or pure. There will be a factory tour and the chocolatiers will walk you through the entire process from raw beans to chocolate bars. Space is limited so check the Slow Food Santa Fe Facebook page for details.

Meow Wolf was closed for what seemed like forever in January (only two weeks, really) to install entirely new exhibits (a new secret passageway!). As of Feb.1, there are new rooms, experiences, sculptures and a new portal from the House of Eternal Return into the multiverse. Audiences will have the chance to interact with new musical instruments and discover new clues and content about the mystery of the family. There will even be new, secret messages written throughout the exhibition that can only be discovered with special flashlights. The featured new exhibition is a brand-new, interactive and immersive experience from musical legend Doseone (Adam Drucker). Visit for more.

Congratulations to the 2017 Souper Bowl winners. This annual competition du potage benefits The Food Depot, Northern New Mexico’s food bank. Best overall soup went to Chef Kim Nath Nou of Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen, which also took the prize for best savory soup for their Thai Cambodian coconut chicken soup. Best vegetarian went to Chefs Jen & Evan Doughty of The Palace Restaurant & Saloon, while best cream version gave top honors to Executive Sous Chef Kevin Walsh Terra Restaurant at The Four Seasons Rancho Encantado. The seafood soup crown went to Chef Antonio Quintana of Kingston Residence of Santa Fe.

Welcome to the Jean Cocteau Cinema, Jacques Paisner and sister Liesette Paisner, who have taken over programming of the 1970s theater reopened by George RR Martin. The programming team behind the success of the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, named in Moviemaker Magazine’s Top 50 Film Festivals three years running, will now also program the Jean Cocteau Cinema with a fresh vision and wide-ranging content. They take over for local cinephile Jon Bowman who helped reopen the theatre and recently retired. The Jean Cocteau programs will still feature eclectic films, both classic and new, blockbusters and independent films, author evens, as well as continue to provide a space for independent filmmakers. Current films and events at

Feb. 26 – 28 is the annual ARTsmart New Mexico Art of Home Tour, wherein ARTsmart teams with local real estate agents to showcase the best art and homes of Santa Fe. Take a tour of Santa Fe’s culture and history through its architecture and art. Proceeds benefit ARTsmart’s educational art programs in Santa Fe schools. Visit for tour locations and to purchase tickets.


The snow is falling. It must be time for the 31st Annual Taos Winter Wine Festival. With 40 world-class wineries and 24 great Taos restaurants hosting events Feb. 1-4, head north! The winemaker or owner of the winery attends and pours for you, and this year’s lineup includes Josh Jensen of Calera, Martine Saunier of Martine’s Wines, Jake Bilbro of Marietta, Michael Etzel Jr. of Beaux Freres, Charles Neal of Charles Neal Selections, Bill and Dawnine Dyer, Matt and Sarah Licklider of Lioco, Orlando Peccchenino of Pecchenino Vineyards, Eric Baugher of Ridge Vineyards, Nate Klostermann of Argyle, Evan Martin of Garryana, Kent Rosenblum of Rockwall, Peter Rosback of Sineann and more. Events occur in the town of Taos and Taos Ski Valley. Details at

Welcome to El Monte Sagrado Resort & Spa, Cristina Martinez! As the new Executive Chef, Martinez has a solid pedigree, having run her own catering company, worked at at Hotel Albuquerque, Pueblo Harvest Café, The Lodge at Santa Fe, and most recently, served as Executive Chef of Albuquerque’s Artichoke Café for the past four years. She brings her passion for layering flavors to influence to the cuisine at El Monte Sagrado’s dining room and bar, and plans to source ingredients from many local growers as well as begin farming on the hotel’s property. If that weren’t enough, she collaborated with legendary chef Mark Miller (of Coyote Cafe fame) to create those new menus, which debut this month. More details here:

And if you didn’t get your fill of exceptional food and wine then, Taos Restaurant week is Feb. 26 to March 5. Special lodging rates at hotels make this the perfect time to plan a budget-friendly gourmet getaway. Visit for participating restaurants, menus, lodging specials and events. Eat well, y’all!

The buzz is loud and strong for The Coffee Apothecary, Taos’ newest coffee shop next to Gearing Up Bicycle Shop at 616 Paseo del Pueblo Sur. Owners Pablo Flores and Lydia McHaley want you to experience their above-average cup of Joe and apothecary products— natural skin-care products made of healthful ingredients like lime peel and tangerine, geranium and eucalyptus, all made in house by McHaley. Coffee runs in Flores’ blood his father is the original owner of Elevation Coffee in El Prado (now under its own new management) and currently helms Albuquerque’s Espresso Fino, where Pablo also worked. Pastries come from local business Sweet Sol Baking Co. Visit their Facebook page for hours, specials and more.

Feb. 8 is Local Writers Night in Taos, featuring Katy Grabel, Rick Haltermann and Brinn Colenda. This free event is the culmination of Somos’ Taos Winter Writers Series. Grabel is a former newspaper reporter and freelance journalist, whose memoir Girl in a Top Hat is about traveling in her father’s magic show when he launched his last bid to be a Vegas headliner. Haltermann is a photographer, musician and jazz DJ at KTAOS. Through the combination of original writing, poetry, quotations, art images and photography, his Curriculum of the Soul discusses the tools we are given, how to apply them to suffering and to being in the world. Colenda is a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel who writes political-military thrillers. Details at

by Kelly Koepke

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