Congrats to the Albuquerque James Beard Award Best Chef of the Southwest semi-finalists. The preeminent food and drink accolades recognize the top restaurants and culinary pros in the U.S. Jennifer James of Jennifer James 101 and Jonathan Perno of La Merienda at Los Poblanos are the Duke City-based nominees. Nice work, chefs––and thanks for putting the Que in the national spotlight!
Speaking of Jonathan Perno, he’s hosting and teaming with Chef Rob Connoley of The Curious Kumquat in Silver City (himself a Beard semifinalist) for a March 20 four-course dinner showcasing the best seasonal ingredients. In tune with Los Poblanos’ field-to-fork mission, Connoley is known for creating modernist cuisine with locally farmed and foraged ingredients. The menu sounds scrumptious, so check it out online at lospoblanos.com, where you can also reserve your spot. They’ll go fast, we’re sure.
There’s no better time to explore the variety and quality of our fair city’s eateries than during Albuquerque Restaurant Week, beginning March 15. Restaurants get to put their best food forward with prix fixe lunches and dinners that start at $20 per person, and some are including culinary classes, wine tastings and other events. Visit nmrestaurantweek.com for details, participating restaurants and menus.
Albuquerque’s restaurant scene is always changing. New owners Bill and Brenda Ennisrecently purchased Limonata Italian Street Food Caffe in Nob Hill from Maxime and Daniela Bouneou, who own Torinos’ @ Home in the Journal Center. It’s all good for Limonata lovers, as Brenda’s a professional baker and plans to expand the previously limited menu to include hot soups and pies. We can’t wait to try the new offerings. Follow them on Facebook for the latest.
Expansion plans for Peter and Maggie Lukes, owners of Piattini, near the University. They are renovating a space at 3305 Juan Tabo NE, near O’Neill’s Irish Pub, for a second location of their popular Italian bistro. And the plans include changing the name of both places to Piatanzi to satisfy national trademark concerns from an out-of-state restaurant. Look for an opening this summer. Until then, head to piattininm.com for news.
Restaurant number two is also on the way for Chef Jean Pierre Gozard of the amazing Café Jean Pierre in the Jefferson/I-25 corridor. He’s taking over the old Le Café Miche spot at Third and Gold Downtown and will christen it Le Troquet, which means bistro or bar in French. Gozard’s focus will be a true-to-name bistro-style menu of simple French dishes, sandwiches, quiches and salads. Gozard’s been a quiet but admired part of the food world in Albuquerque for decades. Try the smelt appetizer at Café Jean Pierre—it’s a life changer. Opening date is unknown, so buzz us when it is!
Two is the theme for beer drinkers, too, who have another local brewpub to frequent. Bosque Brewing’s Nob Hill taproom is now open at Central and Girard. Owners Gabe Jensen and Jotham Michnovicz renovated the defunct Hollywood Video, while brewer John Bullard continues to ensure the beer will flow. Crowds are already praising the Scotia Scotch Ale and Driftwood Oatmeal Stout. Open 11 a.m. to midnight, Bosque is sure to be a local neighborhood hangout, complementing the Northeast Heights location at 8900 San Mateo. And check out Bosque Brewing’s March 25 beer dinner at Sandia Resort and Casino. Enjoy some amazing food specially paired with a selection of Bosque brews. Visit bosquebrewing.com for all the happenings.
March 6 and 7, the National Hispanic Cultural Center hosts Jesus Muñoz Flamenco for two evenings of international artists from Spain, France, Cuba, Mexico and the U.S. The program, titled ERA, plunges from the past into the present, hinting at flamenco’s tropical rhythms and blue notes. Muñoz is recognized for creating unique and original rhythms that combine his American roots and traditional Spanish influence. The newest company member adds the alto sax to a world-renowned six-string Cuban bassist, a family-dynasty flamenco percussionist and a Sevillano-influenced flamenco guitarist from France. For tickets, visit nhccnm.org or call 505.724.4771.
Kudos to Opera Southwest for closing its successful 42nd season with four performances of Giacomo Puccini’s beloved La Bohème, March 22 through 29, also at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Always a favorite, Bohème musically intertwines the youthful gaiety of the 19th century Parisian Latin Quarter with the despair of poverty, cold and death and the passion and eloquence of young love. Leading the cast in her OSW debut will be sopranoEmily Dorn, whose credits include the roles of both Carmenand Micaёla in Carmen, Violetta in La traviata and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte at the Savonlinna Opera Festival, Finland, and the Dresden Semperoper, Germany. Additional cast members include OSW favorites Sarah Asmar, who sang Desdemona in OSW’s 2012 Otello; her real-life husband Joshua Kohl, Pinkerton in OSW’s 2013 Madama Butterfly; baritone Timothy Mix, the 2013 Don Giovanni; former apprentice artist Joseph Hubbard; and local favorites Paul Bower, Joseph Cordova and Sam Shepperson. Louise Loomis will make her OSW debut directing members of the Albuquerque Youth Symphony Program Preparatory Choir in the Act II Christmas street scene. Tickets and info at operasouthwest.org.
It’s no surprise that two exemplary Santa Fe chefs have been named James Beard semifinalists this year. Kudos to Martìn Rios of Restaurant Martìn (a previous, multiple year nominee) and Andrew Cooper of Terra at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado for their Best Chef in the Southwest nods. This is Cooper’s first nod. The winners will be announced in late March, so watch this space!
When a restaurant is an institution, we forget how long it’s been around. Happy 30th anniversary to El Farol and dynamic owner David Salazar! One of Santa Fe’s oldest restaurants, El Farol features Spanish-style cuisine and tapas with a New Mexican twist, of course. Dinner, flamenco and jazz performances make every evening special at El Farol. Watch its Facebook page for the details on its 30th anniversary happenings.
A special congrats to Canyon Road’s Geronimo for its top spot on the Business Insider list of top restaurants in each state. Geronimo’s chef Eric DiStefano has created a refined retreat serving exquisite contemporary cuisine that rivals the best in the country. “Noted for its impeccable service and complex dishes, Geronimo was named best overall, best ambiance and best food in New Mexico by OpenTable, among other honors. It is also the only New Mexico restaurant to win a AAA Four Diamond award, as well as a Forbes Four Star award,” the publication says. Reservations at geronimorestaurant.com.
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and GeorgiaRestaurant will offer An Evening with Georgia on March 18, an evening of art and fine dining that begins with an after-hours private viewing at the museum accompanied by a glass of champagne. Then patrons will walk next door to Georgiafor a prix fixe dinner. Reservations at okeeffemuseum.org/evening. Wine for the Museum tour will be provided by local boutique wine distributor VIN Garage. “Finding the perfect wine or champagne for an occasion is my passion,” said VIN Garage owner Boo Frith. “I am providing a bold, crisp Spanish Pinord Spumante Brut to accompany the stark New Mexico landscapes in the current Modernism Made in New Mexicoexhibition.” Georgiaoccupies what was originally two U.S. Army officers’ quarters built at the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries at 225 Johnson Street, next door to the iconic Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.
The Compound hosts Opus One Winery at a wine dinner March 20, including five tasting courses created by Chef Mark Kiffin paired with five delicious, older vintage wines. This is a feather in the cap of the restaurant, as Opus is one of the most important wineries in the country. Baron Philippe de Rothschild, at the age of 20, took on the management of Château Mouton Rothschild from his father Baron Henri and, in partnership with Robert Mondavi in 1979, created Opus One. Call 505.982.4353 for reservations, because this dinner is sure to sell out.
Seriously Funny! That’s what you’ll be saying after you catch your breath from laughing March 20 through 29. Created and directed by Ron Bloomberg, three original comedies under the umbrella title Seriously Funny! will grace the stage at Warehouse 21. Bloombergis an award winning comedy writer-producer whose credits include All in the Family, Three’s Company, 9 to 5, and Home Improvement. Everything will be skewered: from the conniving, desperate and outrageous married and single women of Santa Fe to politics to the hoards of visitors who descend upon us every year. Tickets at 505.988.1234 or ticketssantafe.org.
March should see the long-awaited opening of Paper Dosa, at 551 Cordova. Co-owner Nellie Tischler writes that there are a few minor alterations that need to be made, and husband/co-owner Chef PaulRaj Karuppasamy is refining the menu. The chef’s authentic cuisine comes via his formative years in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, in South India. He opened his first Dosa in San Francisco’s Mission District to great acclaim in 2005. Hailed by the San Francisco Chronicleand the Michelin Guide: San Francisco, and winner of Best Indian, Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll six times running, the couple arrived in Santa Fe last year, where Tischler, a Santa Fe native, has family. For the last year, Paul and Nellie have been doing pop-ups around town, recently completing their 31st pop-up at Cafe Fina. Visit paper-dosa.com or their Facebook page for updates.
What we eat now is a perennial topic around Local Flavor. But what did our ancestors eat? Pre-agriculture human diets were never uniform and dietary shifts have been associated with many major evolutionary events in human prehistory. That’s the topic of a March 26 lecture sponsored by the School for Advanced Research, featuring anthropologist Leslie Aiello, who follows the evolution of human nutrition from our earliest ancestors to the modern day, drawing attention to the diversity in the human diet over time and its consequences. Diet has been associated with the evolution of the large human brain, as well as with the evolution of human cooperation, division of labor and life-history variation. Visit sarweb.org for time, location and other details.
Welcome to Colin Shane as new head chef at Arroyo Vino in Aldea. Shane, previous chef Mark Connell’s sous chef, is manning the stoves now. Shane has worked with some talented mentors, including Martìn Rios, and he has a great team beside him. He’s also completely changed the menu, and added a communal family meal every Thursday night. The idea is to serve uncomplicated food, family style, as you would at home. It’s a way for people to enjoy dinner and conversation and not worry about what to order, as the menu changes weekly (the regular menu will also be available). The family nights continue through April. Visit arroyovino.com for more.
The Los Alamos Beer Co-op is now Los Alamos’ first and only brewery, and only the fourth cooperative-owned brewery in the United States. The LABC’s pub will be called Bathtub Row Brewing, a reference to the city’s historic Bathtub Row, named during the Manhattan Project era because the buildings on that street were the only ones that contained bathtubs. LABC member/owner and board member Amy Engle says that people are beginning to understand the benefits of the cooperative model, “and that is very exciting. We are very excited about finally putting our small town on the craft beer map.” The LABC anticipates a spring opening, after hiring both a professional brewer and general manager to offer several varieties of beer, along with root beer and cider. Visit losalamosbeer.coop or check on Facebook for the latest.
An international honor for L’Olivier Restaurant. It has been selected as one of only 1,500 French restaurants worldwide, and the only restaurant in New Mexico, to participate in the first annual Goût de France/Good France event, sponsored by the French government. The Goût de France/Good France project is organized by world-famous chef Alain Ducasse and the France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. On March 19, restaurants and embassies will celebrate France’s gastronomy by inviting the public to share a French dinner. In each participating restaurant, the event showcases a vibrant, innovative cuisine, while remaining true to French cuisine’s values of sharing, enjoyment and respect for good food and local sourcing. L’Olivierwill feature Chef Xavier Grenet’s trademark: elegant and refreshing cuisine combining classic French culinary techniques and innovation, with great awareness and respect for our planet and its resources. Five percent of the evening’s proceeds will be donated to the Santa Fe Watershed Association. Reservations are required, so call 505.989.1919.
In a town known for excellent antiquing, consignment and thrift shopping, Santa Fe Fine Consignment ranks highly. Owner Diane Kipp has curated an exceptional selection of furniture, accessories, barware and art at 851 West San Mateo next to Studio Nia and Midtown Bistro. I found a vintage crystal decanter and highball set there recently, in the airy, light filled space. No cluttered rooms and aisles here, and definitely no dust from items that have spent far too long unloved. Tell them Local Flavor sent you.
Welcome to Shawn Patrick, who will be leading Creative Santa Fe’s new initiative Startup Santa Fe, a public/private partnership with the City of Santa Fe that will provide access to entrepreneurial resources and support the development of a startup culture in New Mexico.Patrick is a serial entrepreneur with more than 25 years experience building software and hardware companies in both consumer and enterprise markets. He relocated from Silicon Valley to Santa Fe to found a new startup and to open a chapter of the Founder Institute in New Mexico, a leading worldwide technology incubator. More at creativesantafe.org.
New to gardening in Santa Fe? This free two-part, hands-on class from the Santa Fe Master Gardener Association will cover the basic elements of vegetable gardening. You will learn how to plan, design, prepare, plant and maintain the beds to create a healthy and bountiful vegetable garden. The class was developed by Jannine Cabossel, the “Tomato Lady” at the Santa Fe Farmers Market, and will be taught by her and other experienced members of the Santa Fe Master Gardener Association. The class is limited to 30 people and begins March 15. Visit sfmga.org.
Taos Retaurant Week starts March 22, so reserve your times early, as participating restaurants often fill up for these special prix fixe meals. Here’s your chance to enjoy exceptional dining at value prices during a slower time of the year. Head to nmrestaurantweek.com for complete details.
Congrats to Ron Cooper on again being named asemifinalist for Outstanding Wine, Beer or Spirits Professional by the James Beard Awards. Cooper’s Del Maguay Single Village Mescal, based in Rancho de Taos, has raised the quality of the Mexican beverage and created a market for mezcal throughout the U.S. Founded in 1995, Del Maguay introduced the world to previously unavailable 100 percent certified organic artisanal mezcal produced the original handcrafted way. Through deep cultural relationships with Zapotec Mexican Indian producers in the remote villages of Oaxaca, Mexico, Del Maguey harnesses ancient, original organic processes. Combining these methods with varying micro-climates and terroir gives each creation its own unique, rich, sweet and smoky character. Visit delmaguay.com for more.
Story by Kelly Koepke