Albuquerque’s Rooftop Patios

Hotel Chaco, on of Albuquerque's top rooftop spots

Hotel Chaco, on of Albuquerque’s top rooftop spots

With bright, sunny days that ease into cool, clear evenings, Albuquerque’s weather earns its much-lauded reputation this time of year. ’Tis the season for the outdoors, from shopping in plein-air farmers markets to imbibing on patios. With their lofty vantages, rooftop terraces level up the favored bar pastimes of people-watching, city-viewing and stargazing. Here are a few spots that offer a breath of fresh air. Continue reading

Raising the Bar with Natalie Bovis, The Liquid Muse

2015-NatalieBovis-BarHeadshot-HighRes_Doug Merriam PhotographerCould Santa Fe soon join New York, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New Orleans at the forefront of cocktail evolution? We certainly will, if nationally recognized mixologist Natalie Bovis, aka The Liquid Muse, has anything to say about it. With her gregarious nature and passionate dedication, it’s easy to see why Natalie is the ideal ambassador for New Mexico’s cocktail culture.

Like many kids who grow up in small towns, during her childhood in Santa Fe, Natalie yearned for the lights of the big city. So after she earned her degree in French literature and theater from the University of New Mexico, she moved to Los Angeles, where she supported her creative pursuits by working in the hospitality field. She tended bar, and later, she worked in the marketing sector of the L.A. film industry, eventually becoming a restaurant publicist in Washington DC.

Then, in 2006, she made the decision to delve into cocktail culture full-time with the launch of her website, TheLiquidMuse.com. “The best way to describe what I do is I’m sort of a conduit for cocktail culture,” she explains. In the 10 years since TheLiquidMuse.com’s launch, she has lived up to that description. The breadth and depth of Natalie’s experiences have made her one of the most sought-after voices in the industry, and she’s garnered attention as a spokesperson, brand manager and distributor liaison for a number of alcohol companies; as co-creator of the industry wellness series Mind, Body, Spirit(s); as a frequent guest on radio and TV shows; and as the author of three books of cocktail recipes, with a fourth one in the works!

In 2013, as the Liquid Muse website was growing in popularity, Natalie began to wonder what was next for her. Natalie’s mentor—New York’s Pegu Club founder Audrey Saunders—advised her to get behind the bar again.

So Natalie decided to come back to Santa Fe and tend bar at Secreto. “I was going to be here a little while,” she laughs, “but then I realized I really did want to live here.” She felt a complete reversal of her childhood desire to escape, and she continues, “Spending time here, I realized I absolutely love it, and now, you couldn’t drag me away.” Continue reading

La Fonda, Then and Now

tony-abeyta_la-fondaThe fabled La Fonda on the Plaza has a storied past interwoven with Santa Fe’s colorful history as the country’s oldest capital and as a world-class tourist destination. Launched in the late 1800s by Fred Harvey, and a real jewel in America’s first and most famous hotel chain, La Fonda opened in 1922 on the oldest hotel corner in the U.S., occupied by one inn or another since Spanish colonists established the city circa 1610.

The fascinating story of the famed hotel, which lives and breathes its history to this day, is chronicled in a gorgeous new coffee table book, La Fonda: Then and Now. The book includes essays by Jenny Kimball, chair of the board of the investment group that owns the hotel, among those by others familiar with and connected to the hotel. Page after page of glorious photography documents life at La Fonda across nearly a century, from its décor to its illustrious guests—presidents and princesses, movie stars, spies from the Manhattan Project era and well-known artists whose work fills every nook and cranny of this grand old dame. Continue reading

Straight—well, mixed—off the Margarita Trail

Solution for a summertime cold: one spicy margarita. Escape from a torrential monsoon: shelter and a margarita. After a long hike: an icy margarita with a salty rim. Friends visiting town: Take them for a margarita. Santa Fe, of course, is full of the sweet and sour, tequila-based cocktail. Tourists savor them and locals have their favorites. There’s Maria’s millions of super-strong varieties; La Choza’s delicious concoctions, from sweet to smokey to spicy; Secreto’s smoked-sage creation; The Dragon Room’s pink margarita; Tomasita’s Gold Coin—just to name a few local faves, but of course, the list goes on and on. TOURISM Santa Fe’s ode to the Margarita? The Margarita Trail.

This year, TOURISM Santa Fe takes the City Different’s love of the tequila-based cocktail, with its endless creative potential, on the road—or the trail, as the case may be—which began on Cinqo de Mayo and is now in full swing. But the margarita dates back long before this year’s Cinqo, and “Santa Fe can boast that it was the first city in the new world to import tequila from Mexico,” Al Lucero, author of The Great Margarita, writes in the Santa Fe Margarita Trail Passport, the ticket to featured margarita recipes, discounted specialty drinks from 31 participating restaurants and bars, and fun prizes. Local Flavor set out to try each and every one—and this month, Still Hungry? asked a few of our favorite participating bartenders—Robert Morrison from Santacafé, Rochelle Roybal from Agoyo Lounge and Winston Greene from Bar Alto—to shake up a special drink just for our readers. These drinks are delightful, delicious and of course, different. So grab a passport ($3), hit the trail and enjoy! Continue reading

Radish & Rye—Farm Inspired Cuisine

bYKv1_wU8K_XKa8oXMvsAGsC40Z8D-Tc97vYOOGsvPgBy way of a serendipitous chain of events, three veterans of the Santa Fe restaurant scene, Camille Bremer, Dru Ruebush and Quinn Stephenson, have come together to create their own restaurant: Radish & Rye. I meet with them the morning after opening night at their location in Santa Fe, the charming Craftsman bungalow formerly occupied by Ristra, and ask how it went. Camille’s face lights up. “The energy,” she says, “was fantastic.” They had a full house.

In the late 1990s, Quinn, who heads up the beverage program at Radish & Rye, was tending bar at Geronimo and was Camille’s boss. “She made it clear throughout our friendship,” he says, “that she always wanted to own her own restaurant and I always knew she could. A lot of people talk about it, and she started looking for it.” Years later Dru was interviewing with Camille for a job (I presume she hired him), and shortly thereafter they became a couple. “We started talking about having a restaurant … not very long after we got together,” says Dru. His dad had “that entrepreneurial mindset,” and thus Dru grew up with running his own business in mind. “When we saw how much we were giving to other people’s businesses we decided we needed to do this for ourselves. And so when we really made the decision to do that, we approached it in a very methodical way. I started working kitchens and basically said we need to learn every aspect of this business.” Dru, who recently went back to school to get his MBA, handles the business side of things. “So this has really been a five, six year process for us. A lot of thought has gone into it.” Camille is the operating owner. “Day to day, running things, on the floor, I’m here all the time,” she says. “I have a lot of love for this place and I’m happy to be here.”

These restaurateurs believe in their craft, and their enthusiasm is infectious. I ask about the name, at once playful and catchy. Camille looks at Dru, smiles and says, “Dru grew up in southern New Mexico. His grandparents had a farm in Deming, and he always tells the story of when he was a little kid and he would go out with a salt shaker into the radish field and sit and eat radishes.” I can identify with this. Radishes and salt were and still are one of my summertime favorites. Continue reading

2015 James Beard Finalists Announced!

The finalists for the 2015 James Beard Awards—largely considered the Oscars of the food world—have been announced, and we could not be more proud that two of our local stars in the culinary community have made the list.

Photo compliments of Del Maguey

Photo compliments of Del Maguey

Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mescal in Ranchos de Taos has been nominated for Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional. He is up against four other individuals from Dogfish Head Craft Brewery (DE), Littorai Wines (CA), Mina Group (CA) and Buffalo Trace Distillery (KY). Congratulations! We wish you the best of luck.

 

 

Photo by Gabriella Marks

Photo by Gabriella Marks

Martín Rios of Restaurant Martín in Santa Fe has been nominated for Best Chef Southwest alongside five other of the region’s most talented chefs: Kevin Binkley of Binkley’s (AZ), Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue (TX), Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine (TX), Hugo Ortega of Hugo’s (TX) and Justin Yu of Oxheart (TX). We are thrilled to have you in our local community—best of luck!

 

 

Thank you both for putting New Mexico on the map!