The Buzz – March 2017


Kudos to Farm & Table Executive Chef Carrie Eagle for taking home the title on an episode of Food Network’s Chopped last month. The theme of the episode was Game Day Party, and Eagle took away a $10,000 prize. If you haven’t been, Farm & Table is a stomach-satisfying way to eat and drink local in the bucolic North Valley setting. Great job representing the Duke City, Chef!

Red Rock Roasters has remodeled its offices to offer a brand new coffee tasting space. The new classroom-style cupping lab, with a view to the roasters and warehouse, accommodates classes and tastings. The new retail space will display coffee beans roasted daily on the premises, home coffee brewing equipment and barista accessories and, most importantly, the kind of education and support coffee lovers and corporate customers have come to expect from Red Rock Roasters. Classes are offered every second Saturday and are free (with suggested $5 donation to the Cafe Femenino Foundation) but space is limited. Visit

Remember Blackbird Buvette at 5th and Central in Downtown? I do, and I miss it. If you’ve noticed a flurry of activity in the old space, watch for a new restaurant opening soon. Owner Jenni Zullo expects Zullo’s Bistro to open this spring, featuring Italian comfort food. Think pasta with red sauce, including a green chile red sauce. A recent transplant to Albuquerque from the Midwest (her parents moved here five years ago), this will be Zullo’s first restaurant experience. It will also have a full liquor license. Watch the progress (paint!) and for an opening date on their Facebook page.

And in other good restaurant news for the Duke City, Jambo Café is opening an Albuquerque location of its African-Caribbean deliciousness! Jambo Café will occupy the former Weck’s at 1105 Juan Tabo, opening by early spring, says Chef/Owner Ahmed Obo, who reports that half his clientele drives to Santa Fe now. The original Jambo debuted in 2009, and you lucky Albuquerqueans can soon experience the amazing goat stew, spiced salmon salad, fried plantains, Nigerian beef ribs and jerk chicken that makes Santa Feans swoon, without the drive up the hill. Plus, Obo’s soups are legendary, so much so that he stopped competing in the Santa Fe Souper Bowl because he won all the time. Watch Jambo’s Facebook page for details on the new restaurant’s opening.

And word from Rio Rancho comes that M’tucci’s Moderno Italian Restaurant is now open. Located in the Unser Pavilion, the new restaurant features some classic favorite dishes and libations from M’tucci’s Italian, as well as a two-level, full-service bar with an iconic view of the Sandias. New menu items include gnudi (fresh handmade house ricotta dumplings), braised pork cheek pappardelle, house-cut bone-in steaks, truffle and goat cheese pizza, plum-and-sage-shrub cocktails, cold-brew coffee martinis, a Manhattan flight, house-made Limoncello and more. Visit

Artichoke Café has a new executive chef, David Gaspar de Alba. Owners Pat and Terry Keene are excited about David’s new vision for the classic restaurant, including seasonally changing lunch and dinner menus focused on locally sourced food, paired with wine and artisan cocktails. He is working with Artichoke pastry chef Deirdre Lane to create an exciting new dessert menu. David began his culinary career in Portland at Screen Door, Belly Timber and Yakuza Lounge. Upon relocating to New Mexico, David worked in Santa Fe at Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves, and created the menu for Radish and Rye. His most recent project was Oni Noodles ramen food truck. Welcome to Artichoke, chef!

More Westside news! WisePies in the old Stumbling Steer building will be getting neighbors this summer. Peter Gianopoulos, the chef/owner of both Nob Hill’s Matanza and Downtown’s Q Burger, is set to open another location of Matanza. The Westside Matanza will offer barbeque and more. Adjoining Matanza will be the Desert Valley Brewing taproom. The taproom will have a large patio for outdoor enjoyment of their home-brewed libations, too. Pizza, beer and barbeque. What more could a hungry diner wish for?

The 29th annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show brings hundreds of exhibitors and their best fiery gourmet foods, sauces, spices, sweet-heat treats and rubs to town March 3-5. More than 1,000 products from around world will be available for tasting and purchase. This year, the event showcases 505 Food Fights, a cooking contest pitting six of New Mexico’s best chefs, with proceeds benefitting Project Lunchbox, which assists in relieving elementary school lunch debts. The chefs competing include Fernando Ruiz of Santacafe, Carrie Eagle of Farm & Table, Rafael Zamora of Vintage 423, Josh Kennon of Fork & Fig, Christopher Cook of Sister Bar, and David Sellers of Street Food Institute. Tickets and more at

Because the place is just so darn good and busy, The Grill has moved from its location of six years on Menaul to a bigger one at 3300 San Mateo (between Candelaria and Comanche). Says The Grill’s owner Phil Chavez, “With the community’s support, we have outgrown our former 40 seat spot to now accommodate 150 patrons and our goal is to continue to serve Albuquerque the best food in town.” I’ve had my share of burgers there—delish!

The 10th anniversary season of Polyphony: Voices of New Mexico, wraps with a collaboration with UNM’s Las Cantantes and the Cathedral of St. John choir, along with internationally renowned pianist Douglas Riva to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Enrique Granados, one of Spain’s most significant and influential composers of the modern period. March 24, hear the riveting Canto de la estrellas (Song of the Stars), Granados’ long-lost masterpiece. Preceding the concert, Prof. Walter Clark (UC Riverside) will present an expert lecture, The Life and Music of Enrique Granados, and Prof. Patricia Henning (UNM) will illuminate with Galaxies and Stars. Details at

Hope you look as good when you hit half a decade! The 50th anniversary of the magnificent Holtkamp organ in UNM’s Keller Hall will be celebrated on April 2. Internationally acclaimed organist Maxine Thévenot is the featured artist. The Holtkamp at UNM is one of the largest organs in the state of New Mexico. The organ recital will be preceded by remarks from chair of music department, Dr. Eric Lau, and a lecture by Christian Holtkamp, son of Walter Holtkamp, Jr., who was responsible for building and installing the Keller Hall instrument. Music for the recital will include pieces from the 1500s to the modern day. Tickets at or 505.925.5858.

Santa Fe

Santa Fe has been named one of three finalists in the Sense Of Place category of the National Geographic 2017 World Legacy Awards (winners will be announced in March). The World Legacy Awards range from entire countries to small islands and from urban hotels to jungle retreats––all driving the sustainable tourism transformation of the global travel industry. Says the site about our City Different, “Always a vibrant western hub, careful downtown preservation work has allowed Santa Fe to retain its historic character for today’s travelers…Long home to major cultural events celebrating its Native American, Spanish, and Anglo heritage, the city continues to support a full calendar of annual festivals…” More at

Congrats to three New Mexico chefs named semifinalists in the annual James Beard Foundation Awards. The culinary equivalent of the Oscars, the semifinalist list includes two chefs familiar with the nods, as each has reached the semis multiple times: Jonathan Perno of Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Albuquerque and Martín Rios of Santa Fe’s Restaurant Martín. The newcomer is Rising Star Chef of the Year nominee Colin Shane of Arroyo Vino. Finalists for all award categories will be announced on March 15, so cross your fingers and toes for our Local Flavor favorites!

Have you heard that Verde Food is now serving lunch at the San Mateo location? Yep, you can now enjoy a 100-percent organic lunch made fresh and served fast: nutritious salads, soups and grain bowls made to order from scratch using only whole ingredients. Even the bread is made with organic wheat and baked fresh. And one of the highlights of the menu is the Verde juiced burger—a house-made veggie burger featuring juice pulp and amazing plant-based super-foods like sweet potato, quinoa, ginger and turmeric. Now seriously, where else can you get an all-organic lunch for $10? That’d be Verde.

Bring your own bags, jars and bottles, to a Greenhouse Grocery food cooperative pop-up event March 5. This is the first in a series of planned events to give the public an opportunity to purchase high-quality food at reasonable prices and see first-hand what Greenhouse Grocery, founded by BJ Pheiffer, has to offer. Buy produce and more from some of the region’s finest growers and ranchers––Monte Vista Organic Farm, Romero Farms, Ranney Ranch, and Valley Root Food Hub––as well as organic, natural and specialty grocery staples from UNFI. Deborah Madison will be there, as well as live music by Laurianne Fiorentino and Michael Kott, and Joey Wilson. Street Food Institute will serve up delicious fare. Tickets at

Back Street Bistro’s gone take-out only while owner David Jacoby works out difficulties with the landlord. And St. Patrick’s Day is coming, so order your traditional corned-beef and cabbage dinner for take out now! Check in to Jacoby’s blog for a weekly update on the menu, which always includes the Bistro’s legendary Hungarian mushroom soup. Good luck chef!

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make tapas, or learn anything from La Boca’s Chef James Campbell Caruso, mark March 25 on your calendar for a tapas demonstration cooking class with full recipes. That includes lunch with the chef! The menu includes tortilla Espanola, romesco sauce, jamon serrano, bikini seared tuna, white anchovy vinaigrette, Basque potato salad Fabada, white-bean stew with morcilla and chorizo escalivada, and roasted vegetables Spanish style. OMG. Reserve your spot today, because this is a coveted experience. Call 505.982.3433.

Local Flavor cover girl Stephanie Hatfield (Feb. 2014), has released her third album, Traces. “I had no idea what to call my third album, so I just referred to it as ‘Tres,’” she says. “Which became ‘Trace,’ then ‘Traces.’ Many of my songs came from traces of images and dreams. I took inspiration from the trace, and then made more of it.” Her new sound is marked by Latin influences, including Mariachi guitar and trumpet, layered with her folk-rock heritage. It’s also the first album she took the lead on producing, and it features two members of Santa Fe’s Mariachi Sonidos del Monte, Eric Ortiz on trumpet, and Santiago Romero on guitar. Learn more at

Laura Crucet Hamilton, chef/owner of Pig + Fig Café in White Rock, throws amazing wine dinners. I know first hand. They sell out in minutes. In February, she donated 100 percent of the profits from a six-course gourmet dinner with wine pairings from Hahn Family Winery to the local nonprofit, Self Help, Inc. Since 1969, Self Help has provided emergency financial assistance for utility payments, rent deposits, groceries and car repairs, and seed money for people to start small businesses. More at “As a restaurant owner, I’ve worked with a lot of people who have used Self Help to make ends meet,” Hamilton says. Visit to get on the email list so you can find out about upcoming wine (and beer) events.


The banner’s up next to Taos Java for Ziggy’s frozen yogurt shop. Who is Ziggy? She’s a pug of a pooch owned by Bowe Ellis, who along with business partner Steve Kennebeck is bringing froyo to Taos this spring. The pair say they’ll have 15 flavors of frozen yogurt, gelato and sorbet (they’ve been asking for suggestions on their Facebook page, and an extensive toppings bar. The self-serve format will include toppings like biscochitos, churros, piñon, red-chile raspberry sauce. Ziggy’s already a social-media star, so check her out, and watch Facebook for details of the opening date. Save the red-chile raspberry sauce for me.

by Kelly Koepke

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