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!

Get Out the Hard Stuff!

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Everywhere I look, trees have thrown off their colorful robes. Crackly piles of yellow leaves lie everywhere, piling up in corners and covering the ground between tree trunks. The afternoons, ever shorter, have a wonderful crisp feel and most days I can smell piñon and cedar fires burning in nearby kivas. Wool sweaters and hats are being pulled down from the top shelves of closets and we’ve all got our eyes on the Santa Fe ski basin, waiting for snow. It’s here: winter has crept up on us. I’ve traded in my salad bowl for the Crock-Pot and likewise it’s time to retire mojitos and mint juleps in favor of darker spirits and warming winter cocktails. I asked some of northern New Mexico’s most talented bartenders for their favorite cold-weather creations. Their original recipes and twists on old classics will have you feeling warm and fuzzy through the holidays and beyond. Continue reading

Up the Road a Piece

Here you are in Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta. You got up early and went to the balloon glow, walked among the balloons, oohed and aahed over the mass ascension and posted enough photos on Facebook and Instagram that your friends are not only no longer “liking” them, they’re on the verge of blocking all further posts from you. You look at your watch at 9 a.m. and think, “What now?” You could stick around for the chainsaw carving (do you really want to?); you could go visit the other attractions in Albuquerque, of which there are many, but the other 100,000 people you were rubbing elbows with this morning will be crowding the Bio Park and the museums; or you could just go to your hotel and spend the day at the pool, thereby missing anything that the Land of Enchantment has to offer.

Visit Santa Fe

The United States is the most vacation poor country in the world. Do you really want to spend your few, precious days away from the office fighting the masses or wasting the day emulating the vultures from “The Jungle Book”? If it’s further amusement you’re seeking, there’s an option: hop in your car and travel the fifty miles up I-25 to Santa Fe. Continue reading