Albuquerque craft brews collected medals at the 2014 World Beer Cup in Denver last month: Rio Rancho’s Cazuela’s Mexican Grill and Brewery (a bronze for its Oatmeal Stout), Il Vicino Brewing Co. (silver for its Coffee Stout), and Marble Brewery (gold for its Pilsner). Add the accolades to the new breweries popping up, it’s no wonder that Livability.com ranked Albuquerque as the best mid-sized city for beer in the country. According to the editors, Albuquerque is “known for its cultural diversity, authentic landscapes and genuine characters––and that extends to its brews.” I’ll raise a pint to that!
Another brewpub should be open by the end of May, this time in the Sawmill district of Old Town. Ponderosa Brewing Company has its roots in Portland, Ore, but with an Albuquerque connection. Founder Chad Rennaker, a developer, has been involved in other Sawmill projects. Head brewer Matt Kollaja has been overseeing tank installation, and has his own New Mexico connection––he and his wife got engaged in Albuquerque. Look for a variety of beer styles, and a strong food focus because of the neighborhood setting, and a desire to be more family friendly than some other brewpubs. Watch for the opening soon at 1761 Bellamah NW.
A big welcome to Chama River Brewing Company’s new head brewer Zach Guilmette, who says he remembers Chama River when it was one of the only venues to get excellent craft beer. He’s excited to return to his old stomping grounds, and we’re excited to have him back.
Just one more beer item, I promise! Celebrate the yeasty beverage from May 22 to May 31 at events around the city. The ten-day Albuquerque Beer Week series of events brings the community together to celebrate great beers and the wonderful places in which we enjoy them. There is something for everyone to get excited about: new and existing beer lovers, foodies and the general public. A highlight is the May 25 Albuquerque Blues and Brews event at Sandia Resort and Casino, featuring bands, tastings and a charity component. Details on all events at abqbeerweek.com.
The Duke City food scene has a new fine dining steakhouse, The Crown Room at the Downs Racetrack and Casino. The buzz around town is that the space is beautiful, decorated in rich golds, coppers and reds, the service is expert and the food is even better. Executive Chef Cordell Bomar’s menu offers the usual beef, plus a deft turn with seafood, flow in daily from Florida. Have you been? Let us know if the experience lives up to the buzz. Call 505.767.7180 for dinner reservations, Thursday through Sunday.
A couple of notable expansions this month, too. First, the New Mexico Tea Company has opened a tea-tasting salon, The Green Room, at 317 Gold SW (next to Ghost Flame!). The reason? David Edwards’ original shop at Mountain Road and 12th Street has become too small for the popular, regular tasting events. Two-hour tastings feature about ten different teas, including white, green, oolong, black, pu-erh and rooibos, a bit of history and how to prepare them. He says The Green Room will also be part art gallery, part meeting space. For more, call 505.847.6523.
Next, Nicole and Greg Villareal, owners of Nicky V’s Pizzeria, have opened Pi Brewing Company right next door to their pizza, pasta and salad joint at 9780 Coors NW. Joining the pair is brewmaster Charlie Sandoval, who has been home brewing for over ten years. Says Nicole, “The space next door became available, so there will be a tap room there. Customers can order food from Nicky V’s and Pi beer at both places. We’re doing an IPA, a red, West Coast-style ale, a porter, a cream ale and an English-style pale ale.” The name comes from the brewing license they have, which allows them to produce 100 gallons or less at a time; 99 gallons happens to be 3.14 barrels. Clever, very clever. Visit nickyvs.com
Speaking of pie, the edible kind, New Mexico Pie Company is open! Owner/pie maker Andrea Schulte will hold an open house May 6, featuring an assortment of freshly baked, handmade sweet and savory pies made with pure flavors and premium ingredients. The bakery and coffee/espresso shop’s signature pies include caramel apple green chile and cherry rhubarb streusel pies along with green chile bacon quiche and pie tarts, a delicious all-natural version of a Pop Tart. Schulte’s known for her work with sweets, having been a pastry chef for more than ten years at places like Disney World, The Scottsdale Princess Resort, The Ranchers Club, Hyatt Tamaya Resort, Marriott Pyramid Hotel and The St. James Tearoom. She has won numerous awards and competitions, including The New Mexico Chocolate Fantasy and the National Bacardi Classic, which she won for a plated dessert. Find her and her pies at 4003 Carlisle NE, and visit nmpiecompany.com. Mmmm, pie.
Kudos to the Albuquerque Film Office, winner of the Outstanding Film Commission prize from the Location Managers Guild of America. Albuquerque beat out three southern California film commissions, as well as a group from Iceland. According to the organizers, the award recognizes the organization that rises above and beyond the call of duty. “It is no surprise to those of us who work closely with Ann Lerner and her hard working team at the Albuquerque Film Office, that they have been awarded such a prestigious honor,” Mayor Richard Berry said in a statement. “The critical assistance they provide to the industry is a key reason Albuquerque is considered a great place for filmmaking.”
A location featured in film (Terminator Salvation) and television (Breaking Bad, among others), the derelict Rail Yards, is getting new life as the Rail Yards Market beginning Sunday, May 4. This new Sunday market will run until November and will enliven the downtown rail yards with food, art and music. The opening ceremony at 9 a.m. that day features Circulo Solar Ollin Xochipilli, an Aztec dance group, blessing the endeavor. Visit railyardsmarket.org for details on the renovation of the Blacksmith Shop, one of the historic buildings on the 28.3acre site that comprises the Rail Yards. Improvements include new glass, fire-suppression, roof repair, electric service and a 130-car parking lot just outside the shop’s front door where the market will be held.
**You can go from food to fashion downtown, if award-winning fashion designer Melissa Lea Beasley has her way. Beasley, who recently opened a studio in the Galleria, is hosting the first New Mexico Fashion Week, May 29 to 31 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. Co-sponsored with the city, the event showcases professional clothing and accessory designers from around the area. A trade component, runway show, market with juried booths offering the finest New Mexican, Southwest, and other American made fashion products, supplies and services, and a fashion photography contest. Proceeds from the event go toward a permanent location for Albuquerque Apparel Center School of Fashion Design. Visit newmexicofashionweek.com for complete details.
We’re excited for a new fine dining place to open, this time with a familiar face behind the stove. Brett Sparman, late of Luminaria at the Inn at Loretto, has been named Executive Chef at Georgia. This latest venture from Lloyd Abrams should be open by Memorial Day weekend in the shuttered O’Keeffe Café spot next to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on Johnson Street. Georgia features a full bar, separate dining area and an amazing patio. “We’ll be doing modern American, very clean, simple food,” says Brett. “I’m definitely hoping to work closely with lot of local farmers for seasonal food, balancing all of my experience and techniques. I’m creating a whole new thing here.” The menu will feature lunch and snacks like oysters, cheese plates, charcuterie and wine, with the primary focus on dinner. No website or phone as of press time.
And now, some new faces at a familiar location. Welcome to Galisteo Bistro’s new owners Brant Keller and sonTomas Allan Keller, the new chef. The Keller men come to Santa Fe from Naples, FL, and Tomas is a Le Cordon Bleu graduate. “Between the two of us, we hope we can expand without messing up what Rob and Marge [Chickering, the former owners] created,” says Brant. “We wouldn’t buy the restaurant if we didn’t like what Rob and Marge did. Tomas (who is 23) brings some youthful energy. We’re going to make some tweaks to the menu, and bring in some seafood, some more diversified meats, including game. We want to open for lunch, too, offering a working person’s lunch and happy hour between lunch and dinner featuring small plates at a discount.” Call 505.982.3700 for reservations.
More on the culinary beat: Everyone needs a loyal hound, especially when it serves food. The Loyal Hound, a new gastropub serving everybody’s favorite foods: fried chicken, fish and chips, fried pork chops and the like. A collaboration between Renee Fox and husband Dave Readyhough, the Hound is designed to be local pub food with modern flair, in the old Hidden Chicken space on St. Michael’s Drive. Dave was most recently the General Manager at Rio Chama and has managed restaurants for Santa Fe Dining for 14 years (Sleeping Dog Tavern and Blue Corn Café). Renee’s a veteran of the Santa Fe food scene, working for Fiasco Fine Wine and previously GM of the Inn of the Anasazi and closed O’Keeffe Café. She’ll be behind the scenes at the Hound heading up menu and recipe development. “This is the kind of food that we want to eat when we go out,” Renee says. “It will be comfort food, a little eclectic. We’re hoping to open late May serving lunch and dinner, closed on Sunday initially.” Call 505.690.3516 for hours.
May’s the debut month for The Rancho De Chimayó Cookbook: The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico 50th Anniversary Edition, by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison. This beautiful full-color keepsake cookbook celebrates the food and heritage of one of northern New Mexico’s signature restaurants, from the authors of 16 cookbook and travel guides, who write with passion and wit about the food and culture of the Southwest. They are among the nation’s most-lauded culinary professionals, with honors that include four James Beard awards. Congrats Jamisons! I’ll be heading to my local bookstore for sure.
If you’ve been missing Marble Brewery’s now closed Plaza taproom, then head to 505 Cerrillos (the Luna complex next to Ohori’s Coffee and Talin MarketMarble’s new space with a patio balcony that’s ideal for sipping and people watchingon May 18 for its grand-reopening. Part of Outside Magazine’s Bike and Brew Fest May 15 to 18, this promises to be a celebration of craftbeer culture at venues around town (including Dr. Field Goods, Coyote Café and Cowgirl), as well as exceptional road and mountain biking. The Festival features music from Cedric Burnside and local Alex Maryol, activities including the 29th Annual Santa Fe Century bike ride, as well as kinder, gentler cruises to the local brewpub, art, music, film, bike-in movies and bowling. For complete details, visit outsidesantafe.com
Participating in Bike and Brew will be Blue Corn Cafe’s new head brewer James Warden, he of the diploma in Brewing Science and Engineering from the American Brewers Guild. Meet him and sample some of his first specialty creations on Blue Corn’s downtown patio May 16 during their Bike and Brew party.
The closure is only temporary, but it was sad to see Tecolote Café shut its doors last month, especially since this New Mexican eatery has been one of Santa Fe’s most popular breakfast spots since 1980. Owner K.T. Adkins is on the hunt for a new spot for Tecolote and based on the outpouring of support on social media, is sure to find one soon. I have often dreamed about the Tecolote bakery basket (no toast!), Sheepherder’s breakfast and their top-notch service. Watch their Facebook page for a big announcement when K.T. and crew reopen their doors.
Spring has sprung at the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm in Abiquiu, and you can help them celebrate the 2014 season on May 17 and 18. The festivities include the opening of the Lavender Tea House where visitors can enjoy lavender infused teas, coffees and scones, and learn about this healing plant. Owner Elizabeth Inman and her staff proudly dedicate themselves to growing the finest organic lavender in New Mexico, which they harvest, sell and steam-distill for their full line of bath and body products, culinary lavender and herb blends, candles, sachets and more in their Lavender Shoppe. Visit purpleadobelavenderfarm.com for directions and details on this sweet endeavor.
The readers of USA Today have spoken. Santa Fe has been rated the No. 1 girls’ getaway. To which we say, of course! Between the shopping, art and culture, world-class restaurants, hotels to meet any budget, renowned spas, live music and stellar natural environment, what’s not to like? Oh, husbands, boyfriends and men are generally welcome, too.
Speaking of hospitality, Corey Fidler has been promoted to General Manager at Hotel Santa Fe The Hacienda and Spa. After a career of more than 20 years that includes time as the beverage director at the Eldorado Hotel and helming both Food & Beverage and IT at Hotel Santa Fe, Fidler was appointed to the GM’s position last month.
Also taking on a new role is Randy Randall, this time as executive director of the Santa Fe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Randall’s more than 45 years’ experience includes ten years as GM of the Eldorado Hotel, board service for the American Hotel and Lodging Association, chairing the New Mexico Lodging Association and a stint as a tourism commissioner for the State of New Mexico.
We love Axle Contemporary, the gallery on wheels, and look forward to eating its latest exhibition, The Royal Breadshow. Yes, eating! Opening Friday, May 2, 5 to 7 p.m. at SITE Santa Fe, and running through May 11, The Royal Breadshow displays 200 miniature porcelain sculptures from dozens of professional and amateur artists, the result of clay sculpture workshops around the city. Beginning May 16, local bakeries Cloud Cliff, Panaderia y Tortilleria Sani, Intergalactic Baking Bread Company and Chocolate Maven will bake the miniature sculptures into special festive loaves, available for purchase at the Farmers Market, the bakeries and at Axle Contemporary. Each loaf will be accompanied by a paper crown with a special laudatory word and writings about bread. Proceeds from the sales of loaves will be donated to local organizations that feed the hungry. More information at axelart.com.
On May 3 the Santa Fe Master Gardener Association hosts the 10th annual Spring Garden Fair at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds. This free event includes exciting speakers, demos and exhibits, tool sharpening, food and the “Ask A Master Gardener” station. Youngsters will have fun at the Junior Gardener Corner, while a “Garden Shop” browse might discover a treasure! Of course, it’s the best plant sale in Santa Fe, too. Visit SFMGA.org for more.
Dave Grusin, part-time Santa Fean and fulltime composer, conductor, musician and jazz legend, will be starring in a benefit concert for the Santa Fe Waldorf School at the James A. Little Theater on May 22. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an extraordinary musician promises not only to be a sell-out crowd, but a historic event showcasing the talents of Grusin’s “Friends” with local jazz pianist John Rangel and two other well-known musicians: Seattle’s Michael Glynn and Ryan L. Lee from Kansas City. Vocals will be performed by Waldorf School’s Choir Director and jazz artist, Barbara Bentree. Tickets at 505.988.1234.
May’s also the month to learn to spice up your food, courtesy of Savory Spice Shop. Learn about curries, both vegetarian and meatfocused in two separate classes. And join the two Kates, Kate Collins, owner of Grapeful Fine Wine and Spirits Consulting, and Savory Spice Shop owner, Kate Wheeler, for an effervescent evening of champagne and hors d’oeuvres on May 23. Taste eight to ten fine sparkling wines and true Champagnes that accompany five to six appetizers. Space is limited in all classes, so call 505.819.5659 to RSVP.
May 17 from noon to 4 p.m. is the Sixth Annual Taos Bike Swap, and this time it’s at one of Taos’ newest burger joints, The Burger Stand @ Taos Ale House, 401 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. What’s better than a burger and a beer? The opportunity to dust off your old ride and clean out the shed! Vendors will set up in the parking lot that day to show off their wares, and 20 percent of sales goes to benefit TEAM FITaos, an all-ages and abilities, inclusive local cycling team. The Burger Stand recently opened with a diverse selection of smallbatch handcrafted beer and eclectic and delicious burgers, gourmet hot dogs, vegetarian options and kidfriendly fare in a family welcome environment. Night owls will appreciate food served until 11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday music, too. Call 575.758.5522 for info.
May sees the opening of a Harwood Museum of Art exhibition of 121 works donated by Gus Foster, an avid art collector and Museum supporter, from May 17–Sept. 7, 2014. In 2013, Foster donated a remarkable collection of 391 contemporary works of art by 83 artists to the Museum. The Museum also plans to publish a 96-page color catalog featuring an essay by Evan M. Maurer, Director Emeritus of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. “Of the more than 300 pieces, only three or four were done by people that I didn’t know personally,” Foster said. “I have seen and followed their careers as friends and neighbors for over four decades, and that gives you some insight into their creative process. Though my work isn’t part of this gift, all of these works have informed my own vision.” Beginning on May 18, professionally trained docents will lead tours of “Highlights from the Gus Foster Collection” every Sunday at 1 p.m. through Sept. 7. Visit harwoodmuseum.org for more.
By Kelly Koepke