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

Still Hungry? February 2017

Hotel Andaluz 3So smack dab in the middle of the shortest month of the seemingly longest season of the year is a day that you either love or hate. Valentine’s Day. Ideally, on such a day, one dines deliciously and decadently—a late-night dinner, fine wines, a lavish dessert, a lit fire and perhaps a box of chocolate and rose petals… But let’s face it.   So in the face of the month of love, this February, we asked three of our favorite, talented Albuquerque pastry chefs to share with us a romantic dessert creation. Because truly, a day spent in the kitchen baking an indulgent, sweet and delicious treat is inevitably and wonderfully romantic, no matter how you look at it…or who you share it with (or don’t).

Chef Lilly Quiroz of Hotel Andaluz keeps it “Spanish, romantic and fancy” with her Leche Frita; Chef Willem Blom of Flying Star Café generously shares his Chocolate Crème Brulee with Grand Marnier and Raspberries; and from Heather Guay at Los Poblanos, a “subtle, sophisticated and sexy” Hazelnut Cake with Elderberry Poached Pear.

Sometimes cupid’s darts simply strike us in the guise of a spoon. Continue reading

Room at the Table – Diverse New Mexico Cookbooks

It’s perhaps no coincidence that Thanksgiving arrives just as the last brown leaves of autumn fall to earth, shrivel and dry, then grow soggy with the wet of winter snow. After the golden light of fall, it can be hard not to harbor a slight resentment, a not-so-grateful-for attitude toward the fading colors that harken winter. Still, we inevitably make room at the table for the invisible life that ultimately blooms from winter’s decay. For Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for it all—the death that brings life, this earth of ours, our warm homes, our full tables. What we have, no matter the season, is a thriving, diverse culture, rich with history, tradition, and earth, and the life these continually yield. Continue reading

Still Hungry? – November 2016

It’s the season for giving thanks, and in the fading light of autumn we—like the sky, which opens in the void left by fallen leaves—begin to turn inward, finding more space in ourselves. Of course, for some, what this really means is making more space in our bellies for Thanksgiving dinner… So this month at Local Flavor, we’re making room at our table (and in our stomachs) for the rich cornucopia of local tradition, culture, and this high-desert earth’s vast yield. From traditional Pueblo fare, straight from the land, to New Mexico’s Spanish heritage, to a beloved local chef’s native Swahili cuisine, to food that even, and especially, children can concoct, there’s a place at our table for everyone—and we hope you’ll join us.

Green Chile Stew

Excerpted from The Rancho de Chimayó Cookbook: The Traditional Cooking of New Mexico 50th Anniversary Edition by Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison Continue reading

Still Hungry? October 2016

applesA is for Apple. It’s also for Autumn. And Awesome, too, because that’s what sipping hard cider in the crisp chill of fall is. This month, four local cider-makers—Skarsgard Farms, New Mexico Hard Cider, Santa Fe Cider Works and Sandia Hard Cider—share with us a favorite dish, paired with a hard cider they’ve pressed from our local earth’s autumn bounty. Ah yes, A is for Artisanal-cider and Adult-beverage, too. Cheers! Continue reading

Still Hungry? August 2016

It’s late July as I write this, and my goodness is it hot. The apricot tree in our yard rains down big, juicy apricots, but the water that usually blesses our parched earth at this time of year has yet to roll in on the billowing back of dark clouds and thunder. And our sunflowers droop their wilty golden heads come late afternoon. Yet somehow, come drought or downpour, our local chefs are endowed with the gift of creating the delicious out of even the most dire. Such is the magic of desert-inspired cooking.

This month, Still Hungry? brings you two of our very talented chefs, who are also intimately familiar with this local soil and all it yields—or doesn’t—as their dishes are brought straight from the earth to the plate. Chef Carrie Eagle of Farm and Table tells us that this year, in this heat and drought, produce is struggling in the dry earth, but the onions are prolific. And inspired by that bounty, she’s shared with us her Sol Harvest Farm French onion soup.

Chef Jonathan Perno of La Merienda at Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm brings us a decadent breakfast to be enjoyed in the cool of the early desert-morning air. His blue-corn yogurt pancakes are rich and delicious—and especially delightful when topped with local stone fruit, which has been so bountiful this summer. We hope you enjoy these farm-created dishes as much as we do, for their ingredients reveal our earth’s local gifts. Continue reading