Burque Knows Its Beer

Image by Liz Lopez

Image by Liz Lopez

(Story by Stephanie Hainsfurther / Photographs Liz Lopez)

Think of your ideal place to savor a handcrafted brew. You arrive to find plenty of free parking and rustic surroundings. There’s a multi-leveled, dog-friendly stone patio overlooking the acequia. You can sit out there, or come inside and enjoy the antithesis of a hole-in-the-wall dive. The bar is long and invitingly wide, L-shaped, and looks out of large windows to the trees, with skylights overhead. Smartly tiled floors and no-nonsense tables and chairs stress its size and airiness. There is engaging art on the walls.

Best of all, a master brewer and his crew are on hand to serve up a solid roster of seasonal and year-round beers in trendy styles and intriguing combinations. And you can watch them do it through the taproom windows. This is the place.

Boxing Bear Brewing Co. in Corrales may have the ideal location, tucked away in the woods behind Corrales Shopping Center and to the southeast of Flying Star Plaza, but we all know that the beer is the main event. No worries. You’re in the hands of Head Brewer and Co-owner Justin Hamilton and Assistant Brewer Dylan Davis. These guys know what they’re about. “We are always asking our customers what they’d like to drink, which styles they prefer, and how we’re doing,” Justin says. “And they let us know what they like.”

Most house beers have titles specific to the sport of boxing, like Body Czech Bohemian Pilsner and Uppercut IPA; or to bears, like Hairy Mit Hefe and Ambear Ale. The origin story is about dogs, not bears. “I had two dogs, a boxer and a large pit bull that looked like a bear,” Justin said. “We had fun throwing the names around and came up with Boxing Bear, and it worked for us.”

Their annual Dogtoberfest on Oct. 6 is a fundraiser for Animal Humane and will be held at the picnic tables on the patio. They also have an intermittent “Quiz for a Cause” for Geeks

Image by Liz Lopez

Image by Liz Lopez

Who Drink that also raises money for Animal Humane. “We are very animal-friendly,” Justin says.

Boxing Bear is also very beer-connoisseur friendly. The German-style Hairy Mit Hefe is outstanding with two favorite ingredients, vanilla and clove, and a surprise—banana. The fruit lightens this Hefeweizen and makes it a smooth experience on the tongue. Also noteworthy is the Ambear, just the type of rich amber ale that makes you want to close a fist around the glass and never let go. It goes very well with Bear Naked Potato Bites, and would be compatible with the Loaded version, too. Take your pick of Green Chile Cheddar or Aioli Parmesan Sriracha; the Ambear stands up to either.

Another stalwart on the house-beer list is Chocolate Milk Stout, a multi-award-winning concoction including the 2016 World Beer Cup Gold. They call it “silky” but “satin” might be more accurate. Rich and smooth, it goes down easy, but is not for the lactose intolerant. A new seasonal presentation adds Iconik Coffee Roasters coffee to make Coffee Chocolate Milk Stout, which is delicious, complex and combined with the cocoa. (At just 5.2% ABV, the beer buzz won’t offset the caffeine high.) Also on offer is AppleBear Hard Cider, gluten-free with no sulfites.

Other award winners include BearKnuckle IPA (over-the-top hoppy, 7.2% ABV) and Featherweight Session IPA (lighter, with tropical fruit, 4.7% ABV). Seasonals of note are the Red Knuckle Irish Red (“Malt forward, rich caramel, slight chocolate. Aromatic nose, bright red color”) and Black and Blue Tart, a sumptuous ale with hints of blackberries and blueberries. Black and Blue is also offered in bottles. The quirky Space Bear Oddity is still listed as being in bottles, but has since sold out.

“Space Bear Oddity was our fourth anniversary beer,” Justin recalls. “We did it in collaboration with Odd13, a brewery in Lafayette, Colo. We went up there to brew and they came down here, and we did a limited quantity. It sold out quickly.” In fact, locals who had heard about the beer came in just to buy it.

Image by Liz Lopez

Image by Liz Lopez

Justin and Dylan are plugged into beer styles and trends, and have just come out with the seasonal Murky Milkshake, a hazy IPA. There are a few ways to haze a New England-style IPA, and Boxing Bear understandably isn’t telling which exact method they use. “We do use low hops for flavor and sweetness, and a lot of wheat and oats in our malt,” Justin says. “It has a dry hops taste, a nice aroma and no bitterness.”

Hazy IPAs have a cult following, according to Ken Weaver, a columnist at All About Beer magazine, and Justin hopes Murky Milkshake will join the ranks of local favorites. The brewery has also produced their popular Burqueño, a second hazy IPA, as a differential.

Another striking beer on the roster is Common Ground Cali-Common, a California “steam beer” (think Anchor Steam, which trademarked the term in 1981). Steam beers were fermented at higher temperatures, as ales are, starting in California in the 1800s before refrigeration. Boxing Bear collaborated with Alaro Craft Brewery on this fine U.S. Hybrid-Style beer. Common Ground won the 2018 North American Beer Association Silver Medal.

If you want to enjoy Boxing Bear beers at home, they have a Growler program, of course. If you’re staying there and want to sample a bunch, a Flight of five, 4-ounce beers is on the menu. If your date is on a beer-free diet, Boxing Bear thoughtfully offers a popular selection of local St. Clair wines: Mimbres Red, Cab-Zin, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.

As to food, there’s a menu of munchies and eight sandwiches, such as Al“Bear”Querque Turkey, a vegetarian option and a Cubano. Frito pie is a hit. There’s a weekday lunch special between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. that pairs a pint with a sandwich for $12. (No food trucks visit Boxing Bear due to the hassle of scheduling and checking paperwork.)

“In New Mexico, the brewery location has to make sure the food trucks have licensing, insurance, all of the stuff that they are required to have in order to operate,” Justin says. “I’d

Image by Liz Lopez

Image by Liz Lopez

need to hire someone full time to deal with all of it. Making casual food that goes with beer was the better option.”

New Mexico has 67 craft brewers, according to the Brewers Association. That means we have 4.4 small business breweries per capita, ranking the state 27th in the country for craft breweries. They put out more than 116,000 barrels of beer annually here, and have an economic impact of $333 million. Within the U.S. beer business overall, 23% percent of the market is craft brewers according to Craft Beer Magazine.

Justin, who has been brewing for 12 years, has plans to open a simple taproom on the East Side and would like to expand to the West Side in the future. But does Albuquerque already have too much competition in the craft beer world?

“If someone knows good beer, there are a lot of different choices here,” says Justin, who has brewed at Chama River Brewing Company and Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery, among others. “LaCumbre, Marble and Bosque customers come here, too. We all have our own regulars, and some people come just for specialties like Space Oddity. It’s a combination of having steady customers and sharing customers.”

Boxing Bear Brewing Co., 10200 Corrales Road NW, 505.897.2327, boxingbearbrewing.com.

 

Don’t Leave the Kids and Dogs at Home

Image by Daniel Quat

Image by Daniel Quat

(Story by Melyssa Holik / Photos by Daniel Quat)

It’s nearly summer, and as warming temperatures beckon us outside, one of the season’s exquisite pleasures reveals itself. It’s time, once again, for outdoor dining! And if you’re going to be outside, why not have a beer in hand? The only thing that can improve a sunny afternoon outdoors with friends (old or new) is a refreshing brew.

Quite a few local breweries have outdoor spaces that are superb for enjoying long summer days and warm summer nights. So grab some friends and a microbrew at one of these Santa Fe hotspots.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales

Image by Daniel Quat

Image by Daniel Quat

One of the most welcoming neighborhood bars in Santa Fe, Rowley Farmhouse Ales also has one of the most welcoming patios, particularly for our four-legged friends. At Rowley, dogs aren’t just tolerated, they’re encouraged. In addition to welcoming furry friends as guests, Rowley routinely hosts benefits for local animal shelters, and their “Pulls for Pups” tap automatically donates money to our furry friends. Rowley’s support for the people and animals who live here, combined with their shareable patio tables, creates a festive yet cozy sense of community, ideal for enjoying one of those signature farmhouse ales.

Rowley Farmhouse Ales, 1405 Maclovia St., 505.428.0719, rowleyfarmhouse.com

Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery

Newcomer Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery has a roomy, well-thought-out patio area complete with a playground for children, plenty of seating, docks and quiet power sources for two food trucks, and a bar built around a koi pond. The spot is serene and feels secluded, despite its location right on Agua Fria Street.

It’s the realization of a long-held dream for Business Manager Jason Fitzpatrick and Brewer/Distiller Jason Kirkman. The pair opened two locations in April after years of searching, dreaming and preparing.

They wanted their brewery to be large enough to cater to a diverse cross-section of the community, and they envisioned it as a community space that could bring people together. “We thought about it like a large home, with a kitchen, a living room and the outdoor space is like the backyard,” Jason says. “It was hard to find that location; we searched for over a year for the right spot.”

After a long search, the old Club Alegria building on Agua Fria stood out above the rest. “Every other place we looked at was some kind of compromise,” Jason Kirkman says—spaces were either in the wrong location, too small or lacked outdoor areas. But the Alegria location was just the right size and scale, with a perfect outside space to match. “When the weather is good,” Kirkman observes, “that’s where you want to gravitate.” Many people like to gather and enjoy a few beers with friends outside, but not everyone wants to go to the trouble of inviting people over and hosting at their house. But in a public space, he says, “a group of friends can just go, meet up and be accommodated.”

It was important to Kirkman and Fitzpatrick that their brewery act as an extension of people’s homes, so they strove to create a relaxing and comfortable space for folks to gather. Music is a key part of creating the right atmosphere, and as they book local musicians, the two seek to honor Tumbleroot’s history as Club Alegria. “A lot of what we’ve done is respect what was here before,” Kirkman says. “There are features here that we didn’t want to change, that were defining characteristics of the place. We want it to be new and fresh and representative of our experiences, but also about what people bring to it.” That philosophy shows even in the name. Tumbleroot is a combination of contrasting words. “Roots” is an obvious reference to community and history, and “tumble” is a playful juxtaposition that brings to mind travel, adventure and gathering new experiences. “Can you be rooted, and yet also draw experiences from outside your community and your family?” Kirkman asks. That’s the question he and Fitzpatrick ponder as they celebrate Alegria’s past and re-envision its future. Tumbleroot’s intentional, carefully considered details reflect that vision nicely. Though it’s the most recent addition to the brewery scene, Santa Fe can look forward to many beautiful evenings and Saturday afternoons on the gorgeous patio.

Tumbleroot Brewery and Distillery, 2791 Agua Fria St., tumblerootbreweryanddistillery.com

Rufina Taproom: Second Street Brewery

Image by Daniel Quat

Image by Daniel Quat

Just around the corner, in the up-and-coming Rufina Arts District, Second Street’s latest addition also boasts a lovely and large patio space. Since it’s situated on a west-facing hill, Rufina Taproom offers extraordinary views of New Mexico’s spectacular sunsets. The size of the space also allows them to host an array of community events like live music, fundraisers and large-scale group functions. Rufina Taproom has held benefits for Parkinson’s research, for Adelante homelessness programs and for animal shelters. In contrast to the other Second Street locations, Rufina’s patio is very dog-friendly. “Immediately, people started asking and starting bringing their dogs,” Second Street Brewery Director of Art and Marketing Mariah Cameron Scee says. Mariah, who’s also the front-of-house manager at the new location, says they’ve already held a costume-contest fundraiser for the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, “and soon, the Española shelter is interested in doing a happy hour with dogs here.”

In addition to using their spacious patio for fundraisers, one of Second Street’s goals in creating the space was to be available for beer-centric events. They hosted the New Mexico IPA Challenge immediately after opening, and in June, they’ll hold the first-ever Crab & Pilsner Festival on the 16th and 17th. The event will feature 16 pilsner entries and, of course, crab.

It’s not just for events and performances, though. Rufina Taproom’s also easily able to accommodate casual gatherings of friends. Mariah explains, “It’s big enough you can show up with nine or 10 people and find a place on the patio. Thirty people can come and all be here without taking up the entire brewery.” She points out that this kind of space was really lacking in the Rufina area prior to the taproom’s opening, and it’s been hugely successful. “People love the patio, it very quickly became a spot for people to hang out,” she says. “In the neighborhood, it’s very much becoming a gathering place, a meeting place after work.”

As they look to the future, Mariah says they’d like to do even more community events, including popup and craft markets, and events with their already popular live music. “I’m looking forward to seeing a summer of people hanging out here,” she says enthusiastically, amid Rufina Taproom’s busily buzzing patio. From the looks of it, she’s not alone.

Rufina Taproom: Second Street Brewery, 2920 Rufina St., 505.954.1068, secondstreetbreweryrufina.com

The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company

Image by Daniel Quat

Image by Daniel Quat

Speaking of amazing views, The Bridge’s expansive vistas are at the top of the crop. Its location on the edge of town makes for stunning desert views in almost every direction. It has frequent live shows in a wide variety of musical genres, from rap to rock to world music and everything in between.

The Bridge has ample outdoor space that can hold 1,000 people, so it’s excellent for performances, and while the location is primarily known as a concert venue, it also serves as an event space for political rallies, fundraisers, receptions and other public and private events. For its huge capacity and undeniable beauty, it’s difficult to top The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company.

The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company, 37 Fire Place, santafebrewing.com/event-space

Draft Station

If landscapes aren’t quite your thing, head downtown for a different sort of view. When it comes to people-watching, the Santa Fe Plaza is truly incredible. Where else might you see a harp player, a man taking his pet iguana out for a stroll, a squadron of bicycle cops and a classic lowrider all in one afternoon? On any given day, the Plaza has no shortage of buskers, dog walkers, tourists, locals, performers, merchants, families and loiterers all going about their business (or lack thereof) in the city’s main square.

Draft Station’s balcony is arguably the best vantage point for taking it all in, and when Santa Fe Bandstand gets going, it’s hands-down the most popular spot for watching the show. It’s in such high demand, in fact, that scoring one of the coveted tables on the balcony can be almost as satisfying as the show itself! Top it off with Draft Station’s selection of local taps, and a summer afternoon can’t get much better.

Draft Station, 60 E. San Francisco St., 505.983.6443, draft-station.com

Desert Dogs Brewery & Cidery

There’s no doubt Draft Station has really cemented their place as a leading Plaza balcony, but it’s seeing some competition in the new Desert Dogs Brewery & Cidery. Since Desert Dogs is less visible from the Plaza, it can provide a welcome repose for tourist-weary locals. Inside, there are bar games that invite conversation and mingling: pool, foosball, shuffleboard and even four-person tiki toss.

Outside, Desert Dog’s balcony is teeny-tiny, but incredibly popular. What it lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in excitement. If you don’t run into a few friends on the balcony, you’re bound to make some new ones because the space is so intimate. And since it overlooks the affectionately named “Barmuda Triangle”—composed of Crowbar, Evangelo’s and The Matador—the view from the Desert Dogs balcony is interesting and entertaining, to say the least.

Desert Dogs Brewery & Cidery, 112 W. San Francisco St., 505.983.0134, facebook.com/desertdogsbrewery

As the days lengthen and the yearning to be outside intensifies, it’s easy to grab a few friends to enjoy a few beers. And when that mood strikes, why not let one of Santa Fe’s breweries host you in their backyards?

The Mighty Buzz

(Story by Mia Rose Poris)

ALBUQUERQUE

Spring is a comin’ and so is the heat. The 30th annual National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, March 2 – 4, brings the spice to the Duke City. The event, held at Sandia Resort and Casino, boasts more than 1,000 products—from hot to BBQ, from award-winners to first launches, from near and far—to taste or take home. Highlights this year include “Dr. BBQ” Ray Lampe and renowned BBQ cooking show host and Chef Rick Browne, plus the 505 Food Fights, contests that pit New Mexico chefs against each other to benefit New Mexico Kids Matter, a volunteer advocacy group that works in the court system to provide a caring and consistent adult to focus on the well-being of a single child in foster care. And Fiery Foods Show Founder Dave DeWitt will debut his new book, First Skin 500 Squirrels: The Eyewitness History of Barbecue. Visit fieryfoodshow.com to check out the Food Fights chef line-up.

If your tongue’s a-tingling from various spicy sauces, hit up High and Dry Brewing to put out that fire. High and Dry, which touts great beer, small batches, conversation and food trucks (could one ask for anything more?), opened its doors at 529 Adams St. NE last month in the Highland neighborhood. A Feb. 12 Facebook review raves, “Great family atmosphere, great beer and really is a place for everyone! It was so nice to see families and furry friends at the brewery today!” Check them out on Facebook or at highanddrybrewing.com.

Speaking of high and dry…the University of New Mexico is looking to be a lot less dry in the near future, due to last month’s approval of a $650,000 taproom project, according to a Feb. 14 UNM press release. This month, representatives will present the proposal to the Higher Education Department, before construction commences in the summer. In the release, Chris Vallejos, associate vice president of Institutional Support Services at the university, said the addition of the taproom is part of recent initiatives to make the campus a “destination university.” Watch for an August opening in the Student Union Building.

There’s yet more news in the realm of brews in the Que, too: Award-winning La Cumbre Brewing Company is opening a Westside taproom on the corner of Coors Boulevard and Montaño Road, next to the Sprouts Farmers Market. As of press time, opening dates were yet to be announced, but if you’re dying for a taste of some of that Elevated IPA (and beyond) straight from the source, head to 3313 Girard NE; they open at noon—lacumbrebrewing.com.

And word has it the old Albuquerque Brewing Co. spot at 8620 Pan American Freeway NE, is soon to be home to Ninja Fitness Academy. From cold beer to hot bods, right? In the genre of the TV competition American Ninja Warrior, Ninja will incorporate “training styles like obstacles, rock climbing, and weight lifting,” according to the gym’s website, along with “all the tools to have fun, and stay healthy.” Burn off that beer, baby, just in time for summer—look out for an April opening.

And from beer to beans, in the land of caffeine, Rio Grande Boulevard is soon to be home to Cutbow Coffee Roastology, the culmination of the 25-plus years experience of a nationally renowned artisan coffee roaster and New Mexico native, Paul Gallegos. “Coffee lives and breathes, especially while being roasted,” the Cutbow website reads, and so do the trout from which came Cutbow’s name. A portion of proceeds from every bag of coffee sold is donated to the Hermit’s Peak Watershed Alliance, which works to assure quality water in some of Paul’s father’s favorite fishing holes. Cutbow Coffee Roastology is located at 1208 Rio Grande Blvd. NW. When open, the roastery/tasting room/coffee bar will hold public cuppings every Friday at high noon. Cutbowcoffee.com.WEBIsleta-John_Pierre_Vincent

Another new addition to the culinary the scene—Isleta Resort & Casino’s Embers Steakhouse has a new chef! A warm welcome to Executive Chef John-Pierre Vincent, who “brings to the Embers kitchen an unparalleled zest for cooking, fostered by a childhood spent helping his French grandmother prepare nightly meals,” according to a press release. The Venezuela native—he speaks five languages!—worked in fine-dining establishments as well as world-renowned, even Michelin-rated locations across Europe and the U.S. We’re thrilled he’s made New Mexico home, and look forward to visiting with Chef John-Pierre at Embers for their fine cuisine and awesome views of the Bosque. For reservations, call 505.244.8288.

WEBGMCherie-04Congratulations to Cherie Montoya and her local staple, Farm  & Table restaurant! Last month, the beloved, local field-to-plate eatery was featured on The Travel Channel show Food Paradise in an episode in homage to sumptuous steaks, vegetables and farm-to-table restaurants. We’re proud of Cherie and the folks at Farm & Table for keeping it local while reaching the globe. Visit farmandtablenm.com and travelchannel.com.

Should your evening of March 3 be open, and if you’ve been hankering to hunker down in some Old Hollywood Glamour (that’s the theme), The New Mexico Philharmonic’s Red Carpet might just hit the spot. The sixth annual gala benefits the NMPhil and the Young Musician Initiative, and Delphia and her Deltones provide the tunes. You’ll dance, you’ll bid at the silent auction and you’ll feast and sip wine…and all for a great cause. Tickets go for $150; visit at nmphil.org.

 We’ll end our visit to the Que with a dabble in dessert and coffee. March 17 and 18 bring to town the Southwest Chocolate & Coffee Fest, a festival dedicated to, well, chocolate, and coffee and gourmet foods galore, of course! The event brings to Expo NM the finest chocolatiers, coffee roasters, candy makers, bakers, breweries, wineries and beyond, plus live entertainment, professional cooking demos and a zone for the kiddos with free activities. Delightfully delicious. Visit chocolateandcoffeefest.com for more info.

 SANTA FE

WEBJG_01This just in, folks—breaking news on the Santa Fe culinary scene: According to multiple sources in the know, Chef Colin Shane left his position at Arroyo Vino toward the end of February for a position at a swank and trendy Nappy Valley/Sonoma-area restaurant, though lips are closed as to which one. And the departure falls amidst the James Beard Award finals, to boot—see below; Colin was named a semifinalist in the “rising star” category. Arroyo Vino Restaurant Manager Brian Bargsten, who was in the middle of negotiations as of press time, did not confirm who the new chef might be…We’ll be excited to see who steps into Colin’s legacy. And the very best of luck in your California endeavors, Chef!

Of only two cities across the globe, Santa Fe was recognized in the Best Food/Beverage Destination Experience category in the annual FoodTrekking Awards, which were introduced by The World Food Travel Association in 2015 to recognize the excellence of food experiences afforded to customers and visitors by industry stakeholders. The capital city’s nomination was inspired by the success of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, which highlights 31 tequila cocktails offered by various restaurants and bars around town. You can pick up a Margarita Trail passport at a TOURISM Santa Fe visitor center or at a participating restaurant. Visit worldfoodtravel.org for the complete list of the FoodTrekking awards.

And many a-bravo to our James Beard Award semifinalists for doing it yet again! Chef Colin Shane was named in the Rising Star Chef of the Year category for his role at as executive chef at Arroyo Vino (a position he’s since left; see above), and Chef Martín Rios of Restaurant Martín was named in the Best Chef Southwest category. Both talented chefs were named in these categories last year, too. On March 14, we’ll learn who the finalists are…so visit jamesbeard.org then; and the winners will be chosen in May. Fingers crossed, and congratulations to both chefs!WEBJGMartin-Rios-EDIT

Last month marked the 24th annual Souper Bowl, presented by the Food Depot, a local food bank that works to create “healthy, hunger-free communities in Northern New Mexico.” This year, folks sampled delicious soups from beloved local chefs who competed for Best Soup in four categories—Cream, Savory, Seafood and Vegetarian, not to mention the coveted Best Soup category. Every year, local businesses sponsor the event and restaurants donate their time and talents…and hundreds of gallons of soup. Drum roll, please, for the winners…Best Overall Soup and Best Savory Soup: Nath’s Inspired Khmer Cuisine, Chef Kim Nath Nau, Chicken Tom Yum Soup; Best Seafood Soup: Chef Andy Barnes, Dinner For Two, Lobster Bisque; Best Vegetarian: Chef Antonio Quintana, Kingston Residence of Santa Fe, Cold Pistachio Soup; Best Cream Soup: Chef Ahmed Obo, Jambo Café, Curry Roasted Garlic & Coconut Cream Bisque. Last year’s Souper Bowl served some 160,000 meals that might otherwise been missed. So if you missed this year’s Bowl, mark your calendars for 2019.

And every Monday this month, you’ll find Chef Kim Nath Nau of Nath’s Inspired Khmer Cuisine at Milad Persian Bistro. If you didn’t get a chance to try her winning soup at the Souper Bowl, you won’t want to miss checking out her pop-up dinner creations (and if you did try the soup, you know what we mean). Chef was born in Cambodia, and while she grew up surrounded by Khmer—or ethnic Cambodian, cooking—her Thai great grandmother was a restaurateur, and her Vietnamese grandmother cooked for festivals in Buddhist temples. Her inspired Thai-Khmer fusion dinners are held March Mondays from 5:30 till 9:30 p.m. Visit chefnath.com/pop the Wednesday prior to the dinner to see that week’s menu and make reservations. See you there!

A couple months ago, we buzzed that Beestro, formerly on Marcy Street, had closed its doors…and to stay tuned for its reopening. Well, they’re back! “We’ll bee opening in the Plaza Galeria at 66 E. San Francisco St., in the former Subway,” reads a Jan. 26 mailing list email from Greg Menke, Devon Gilchrist and the whole Beestro team. “We’re shooting to open mid March of 2018.” Stop by mid-March and the doors of the beloved sandwich shop just might bee open. “On your next walk to the plaza stop by our new building, Plaza Galeria. Many years ago, the building was a JC Penney. And long before that (1760-1859) it was the site of Chapel of the Lady of Light. A plaque, left of Native Jackets display windows, commemorates the Chapel,” the Beestro folks say. Such cool stuff. We’ll bee there.

Let’s take a little stroll to the Baca Street-area Railyard District, with its contemporary architecture and old-school neighborhood feel, where there’s a fresh addition in the hood. Not far from Counter Culture and Undisputed Fitness, Opuntia, located at 922 Shoofly St., is an awesome spot to relax, sip tea, nibble avocado toast(!) or get some work done. More next month!—as one Jan. 11 Yelp review puts it, “the atmosphere is super zen.” Serving a variety of teas and treats (from savory sandwiches and salads to breakfast fare), Opuntia, which means prickly pear, also offers what they call botanical curiosities. A Dec. 3 Facebook review puts it like this: “Ok, my new favorite spot! This space is absolutely gorgeous, calm, botanical curiosities captivating….” If you haven’t paid them a visit, stop on by for a relaxing reprieve. Visit opuntia.cafe or check out their Facebook page.

Over by the tracks, two East Coasters have settled happily in at the Railyard Artisan Market every Sunday, with their gorgeous, delicious pastries—gluten free!—and savories, to boot. “We also have a wide range of vegan options to make our food accessible to all groups,” Matthew and John of Drift & Porter tell us in an email. “Drift,” they explain, signifies “the ‘drifter in all of us,’ the ‘one with no roots.’” And “Porter” symbolizes the “’server,’ not only to ourselves and the community, but to the grand universe…” Stop by and say hi to these two sweeties and pick up a treat on Sunday. Your taste buds will thank you.

WEBGMarks-L-Olivier-06Oh la la, L’Olivier! The World’s Greatest French Dinner is coming to town… Seriously. Dubbed the greatest such dinner, Goût de France is “a fun celebration of the vitality of French cuisine, forging ties between chefs around the world,” according to a press release. In restaurants across the globe—150 countries—on March 21, France is on the menu, and L’Olivier was the sole New Mexico restaurant chosen to participate. The menu features an aperitif with a starter, two main courses, a cheese platter or a dessert, accompanied by French wines and champagnes. Inspired by Auguste Escoffier, who launched the Dîners d’Épicure initiative in 1912, Goût de France involves international chefs and embassies to serve French-style dinners on the same day in various cities all over the world. Call L’Olivier at 505.989.1919 to make reservations or for more information.

TAOS

Did you know? Earlier this year, TripAdvisor named Taos (along with the City Different) among 2018’s top destinations. The reasons? Well, top among them are its events—Music on the Mesa festival, to name a fun one—and Taos Pueblo, Georgia O’Keeffe and the glorious Rio Grande Gorge Bridge…not to mention a growing and inspired culinary scene. Hey, Taoseños, what makes Taos the delicious, special place it is for you? Where’s your favorite spot for a drink, a bite, a stroll, a view? Buzz us on Facebook.

Flights of Fancy

ChiliLineBrewing-Beer_DSC3846Northern New Mexico has an astounding number of craft breweries, and more are opening all the time—far too many to discuss here. While the sheer volume of breweries can be overwhelming for consumers, competition can brew creativity. To stand out from the crowd, breweries here will often specialize in and excel at a specific style of beer, or a particular method of brewing.

Two new breweries in particular are carving out a niche for themselves in the diverse New Mexico brewing landscape: Alexander Pertusini’s Chili Line Brewing Co. in Santa Fe and Shyla Sheppard’s Bow & Arrow Brewing Co. in Albuquerque.

As the son of restaurateur Lino Pertusini, Alexander grew up in the restaurant industry. By contrast, Shyla is blazing a new path as the country’s only female Native American brewery owner. Chili Line is one of the smallest breweries in New Mexico, both in terms of brewing system and its classically compact Santa Fe building, while Bow and Arrow is housed in a spacious Wells Park warehouse in Albuquerque. At first glance it would seem these two breweries could not be more different, and they do each have a distinctive personality. But scratch the surface, and the similarities are striking. Both owners draw inspiration from the past, and their beers are deeply influenced by personal heritage and historical perspective. Continue reading

In the Midnight Hours…

Nightlife-MeowWolfe-LK_MG_8232Santa Fe is notoriously known as a sleepy little town, lacking in options for late-night revelry. “They roll up the sidewalks at nine p.m.,” the joke goes. But Santa Fe is shaking off that reputation with plenty of places to shake it on the dance floor, belt out karaoke or take in a show. Believe me, there are places to have fun into the wee hours of the morning, if you know where to look.

Visitors and recent transplants to Santa Fe, here are some ideas on how to spend your midnight hours in our not-so-sleepy town!

Uniquely Santa Fe

Among the state’s most-instagrammed locations, Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return has been called a combination of children’s museum, art gallery, jungle gym and fantasy novel, but that doesn’t really capture it. It’s really something you have to see for yourself––it is truly indescribable and highly regarded as a must-see for any visitor. But here’s something you may not know about the wildly creative art installation: At night, it transforms from a child-friendly playground into a psychedelic—and much more grownup—concert venue. Meow Wolf stays open late when there’s music, sometimes as late as 2 a.m., depending on the show. You can delight in the elaborate House of Eternal Return and enjoy the current band or DJ—all sans the rug rats.

Meow Wolf: hours vary during shows; 1352 Rufina Circle, 505.395.6369, meowwolf.com.

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Through the Years…KoKoMan

Kokoman_DSC1269It’s an all too familiar story. A person with a casual interest in wine is served that epiphany wine, a wine so good their eyes are opened to what wine is all about. And then begins that precipitous descent into the depths of wine geekdom.

One of the rules that geeks learn early on, when searching for that next epiphany wine, is not to be fooled by the appearance of a wine store. Oftentimes, the grittiest, most unostentatious of wine shops will harbor unknown wine treasures. Invariably, there is someone behind that shop who has an abiding interest and passion for fine wine. That characterization fits Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor in Pojoaque to a T. It’s not much to look at when you enter the front door, but take that sharp turn to the left and all sorts of wine treasures are there for the taking. And the mind behind it all is none other than Keith Obermaier, a fixture on the New Mexico wine scene for a good many years. Continue reading