The Mighty Buzz

(Story by Mia Rose Poris / February 2018)

ALBUQUERQUE: That’s right. The Old Duke is among the hippest cities in the nation. So declares thisisinsider.com, which cites Albuquerque among other hip cities to which folks under 30 would like to move. The site calls the Que a “more under-the-radar hipster city,” ranking cities based on factors that make them appeal to young people, like “density of tattoo parlors, vegan stores, microbreweries and thrift stores, as well as any increases in rent,” according to the Dec. 1 story at thisisinsider.com. Albuquerque came in at No. 19 after Reno, Nev., and ahead of Seattle, Wash. “Downtown Albuquerque is full of breweries, cafes, and art galleries,” the article reads, “making it the perfect spot for young people to explore and enjoy the local culture.” Hey under-30s, what do you think? Are they right? What makes ABQ rad for you? Buzz us.

Many would say, for example, that Effex Nightclub on Central Avenue contributes to Albuquerque’s cool. And now we have another awesome addition from Effex Co-owner Carri Phillis at 6001 Osuna Road NE, Ste. A, just east of San Mateo Boulevard, where Carri’s Blue Agave Republic recently made its home. As of press time, B.A.R.’s Facebook page said they’d be opening soon—and a Jan. 18 post reads: “We had fun playing in the Sysco kitchen yesterday! How do you feel about a build your own Guacamole and Salsa Bar to go with your Tequila?!?” Well frankly, we feel pretty great about that. The tequila and tapas bar joins the likes of Breve Crepes and Coffee and Devons Pop Smoke Wood Fired Grill at the Osuna spot in Northeast Albuquerque. We’re excited to check B.A.R. out. You can find them on Facebook.

While we’re on a roll here, we’ve got another reason why the largest city in the Land of Enchantment is out of this world. Aside from an elevation of 5,300-some-feet, the Duke City is, of late, home to its very own astropub. The restaurant, called The Kosmos, and owned by Jerry Miller, is located at 1715 5th St. NW in the Wells Park area. With a great local beer celestion—oops, selection—plus “high quality comfort food,” as a five-star Jan. 2 Facebook review puts it, the service is also stellar and the atmosphere extra-terrific/terrestrial. Earthlings, visit the Facebook page of “the home of the Kosmic Burger,” or visit the spaced-out (in its galactic sense, of course) dig in person.

And get this. While The Kosmos may be out of this world, upon this very planet, only 246 terrestrials claim the title: Master Sommelier. With that said, big congrats to Albuquerque-area resident Tim Gaiser for being among such wine elite. The process involved in passing the Master Sommelier exam may be “more arduous and difficult than studying for a medical or law degree,” a press release says. And Greg O’Byrne, executive director of the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, adds, “Tim has been an instrumental part of the success of the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. For the past 20 years, he’s traveled here from San Francisco to lead wine seminars and instruct industry personnel at annual Court of Master Sommeliers Introductory classes and Certified Sommelier exams. I speak for many of us in the New Mexico wine community in that we can’t be more excited for the wine-related educational opportunities with Tim now living here full-time.” Among other endeavors, Tim’s an internationally renowned wine expert as well as adjunct professor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. You can find his blog at timgaiser.com/blog.

Word has it a double whammy of delight is arriving on Montgomery Boulevard just in time for Valentine’s Day. We’re talking about Tap That, a taproom of local brews, owned by Huy Nguyen, which opened last month, and its neighboring Sweet Tooth—owned by Dao Pham, who also happens to be Huy’s sweetie and business partner—which will open up on or around Valentine’s Day. With love in the air and spring around the corner, Sweet Tooth, with its front and back patios, might just be the perfect spot for sunshine, ice cream and some Boba Tea. Therefore ladies, after your man treats you to something sweet next door this V-Day, might as well buy that bro to a beer at Tap That.

Photo by Kim Jew

Jim Long / Photo by Kim Jew

And if you’re looking for a local haunt away from home this Valentine’s Day night, consider Hotel Chaco. Last month, the Old Town hotel made the list of the Best New Hotels in USA Today’s “10 Best Readers’ Choice” travel award contest, ringing in at No. 10. The 118-room luxury hotel, part of the Heritage Hotel & Resorts group formed by Jim Long, “celebrates American Indian heritage through a collection of works by contemporary Native American New Mexican artists,” according to USA Today. “The hotel features a rooftop restaurant and lounge, outdoor swimming pool with hot tub and 24-hour fitness center.” Wm. Mulherin’s Sons in Philadelphia, PA, came in first, followed by Lodge Kohler in Green Bay, Wis. Hotel Chaco opened in 2017, and we’re super excited for the 2019 opening of Heritage’s Sawmill Market, an artisan market of restaurants, food vendors, galleries and beyond, in the old lumber warehouse just across from the hotel. Visit hotelchaco.com.

SANTA FE: Lest you worry about those post-Valentine’s Day blues (surely someone must have this worry…), a mere four days afterward, Restaurant Week returns to Santa Fe, before heading to Taos on the 25th. From Feb. 18 through 25, restaurants all around the capital city (we counted 40 of them) are participating in the most delicious week of the year. The event is an awesome way to check out restaurants you might not otherwise have tried—or simply love way too much—and save a little dough while you’re at it. Plus, you don’t need tickets to attend, though definitely consider making reservations, since after all, we all want to partake of this tour de taste. As nmrestaurantweek.com puts it, “Restaurants get to ‘put their best food forward’ in order to gain new fans and can experiment with menu items. Above all, it showcases New Mexico as one of the world’s premier dining destinations.” Most restaurants offer a three-course, prix-fixe dinner option that ranges from $15 to $45 per person (you can order off the regular menu for the regular price, too) depending on the restaurant, and a specially priced, two-course lunch offering, to boot. After the trek to Taos, Duke City’s restaurant week begins March 4. Visit nmrestaurantweek.com to see the lineup and learn more.

March 1 and 3 bring us three events made possible by the Châine des Rôtisseurs and the Santa Fe Community College Foundation that your taste buds won’t want to miss. On the 1st, a Guest Chefs Culinary Arts Dinner, with paired wines(!), supports the SFCC Culinary Arts Scholarship Fund/Châine des Rôtisseurs Endownment Scholarship and celebrates the  college’s culinary students who’ve been selected to compete in the Châine’s Far West Regional Young Chef Competition. With that said, the $100 price tag is totally worth the splurge—not to mention, there are only 100 such golden tickets to be had…therefore hurry! But if you can’t make the dinner, on the 3rd, free of charge, the Châine’s Far West Regional Young Chefs Competition is followed by the Châine Culinary Arts Ribbon Cutting. And the guest-chef lineup is impressive, comprising local faves Jen and Evan Doughty of the Palace Restaurant and Saloon; Mark Connell of State Capital Kitchen; and Cristian Pontiggia of El Nido, who join SFCC Co-Lead Chef Instructors Patrick Mares and Jerry Dakan. Made up of nearly 25,000 members, the Chaîne “is an International Association of Gastronomy,” reads its website, that brings “together enthusiasts who share the same values of quality, fine dining, the encouragement of the culinary arts and the pleasures of the table.” Visit sfcc.edu/foundation/events for tickets to the dinner.

Meow Wolf is making big moves. Few locals and tourists—it’s after all top among myriad reasons to visit Santa Fe, right?—are unfamiliar with the interactive art installation located in the old Silva Lanes bowling alley, which has garnered national attention and help from the likes of George R.R. Martin. And the ever-expanding art collaborative is branching out to the Mile High City, with an opening of a new concept set for 2020, as well as to Las Vegas, Nev., set to open late 2019. The Denver exhibition will be even larger (by far) than that in the City Different, with 60,000 square feet of exhibition space—we’re talking triple the size of the House of Eternal Return here—while the Vegas permanent exhibition (more details will be available later this year) is looking to be about 40,000 square feet. The Santa Fe install opened in March of 2016, and is going ever strong. Exciting stuff for our homegrown art scene! Look out for more project updates throughout 2018, and check out meowwolf.com.

Photo by Gaelen Casey

Leonardo Razatos / Photo by Gaelen Casey

Plaza Cafe Southside’s doing the impossible. And it’s bloody delicious. Or at least, alt-bloody delicious, but delicious nonetheless. The Café’s bringing in “a much-hyped meat alternative that looks, cooks, tastes, smells, and yes, even bleeds like the real thing,” the folks at the Cafe tell us. Their Impossible Burger is a 100-percent plant-based alternative to the real deal (with an even higher protein content) that, according to “chefs, farmers and scientists,” recreates “the experience that meat-lovers crave.” Plus, the creation of such Impossible patties calls forth fewer natural resources than does beef. Leonardo Razatos and Belinda Marshall, whose family’s been serving tourists and locals at their Plaza Café locations since 1947, plan to offer tasting samples before adding the Impossible Burger to their menu full-time. Visit plazacafesouth.com or find them on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you’re among the first to grab a bite!

What’s really, literally quite hot in Santa Fe? Louis Moskow’s homemade hot sauce. Seriously, since the Buzz is all about what’s hot, let me just tell you, you might want to to hit up 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar for some of that sauce…which you can purchase ($5) and bring home and enjoy on just about everything. And while you’re there, the dinners are darn good, often locally sourced, the wine list is amazing, and the half-off happy hour oysters (try one with that hot sauce) are so fresh. Last time I was there, I heard a diner put it like this: “If I’m not on my couch, I’m here at this table…” To which I’ll just add: If I’m not on my couch eating hot sauce, I’m here eating oysters.

Guess what, guys. Santa Fe Brewing Co. has gotten approval to open a new—that’s to say, its fourth!—taproom on Galisteo Street. According to Brewing Co. General Manager Alana Jones, it’s looking like they’ll open the doors of the new downtown dig in March. “It’s exciting to have a little spot downtown that fits our taste,” she tells us. The brick Galisteo Street building, which recently housed Santa Fe Cigar Co., has about 1,600 square feet of space, a central bar and a shaded outdoor patio—just perfect for upcoming spring and summer sips outside (plus, Alana says, they’re thinking of having food trucks stop by, too). Speaking of sips, on Jan. 20, the Brewing Co. launched their Black IPA 2.0, part of the Winter In & Out Series. It’ll be on the shelves for a couple months, Alana says, so grab it while you can. Checkout their Facebook page or visit santafebrewing.com.

Have you heard of the Double Up Food Bucks program? It’s a truly wonderful opportunity for folks with SNAP/EBT benefits to make use of a dollar-for-dollar match to get free New Mexico-grown produce at participating markets, groceries and farm stands. “It’s an awesome thing, to take out $50 in tokens and then be able to buy $100 worth of fruits and vegetables and beans, for example,” a local customer at the Santa Fe Farmers Market tells us. It works like this: if you spend $10 (or any other amount) from your SNAP EBT card at a participating outlet, Double-Up gives you another $10 to buy fresh fruits and veggies grown in New Mexico. Double-up’s available even in the winter, when something fresh out this local earth tastes as sweet and fresh as ever. Check out doubleupnm.org to learn more about the community wide program and find participating locations across the state.

TAOS: In January, Chokolá Bean to Bar, among 20 national finalists, was a winner of the Good Foods Awards for its Guatemala, Verapaz 70% & Maya Mountain, Belize 70%. The awards are “a three day-long celebration of the exceptional food and drink crafters who are pushing the envelope in both craftsmanship and sustainability,” according to the Good Foods website. Owned by wife-and-husband team Deborah Vincent and Javier Abad, Chokolá’s been around since 2012, and Javi and Deborah have since taken the shop to true chocolatey, Taos-style heights. “Every morning, the pure Alpine air is laced with the rich aroma of our freshly roasted cacao beans,” their website reads. “By ethically sourcing beans of the highest quality and by crafting small, select batches, we follow the bean to bar process to bring out each bean’s unique, nuanced flavors and aromas, yielding our premium single origin chocolate bars.” Visit chokolabeantobar.com or stop in for a treat and watch them in action in their open kitchen—they’re just off the Plaza. And check out goodfoodawards.org to learn more. Congrats!

And don’t tell anyone, but… Chef Chris and Valerie Maher of Cooking Studio Taos have a secret supper up their sleeves. This means participants know they’re in for a treat, but they won’t know the supper spot until the day of the event. Go solo and meet new friends or bring your sweetie along for a belated Valentine’s treat. Learn more and book your spot for the Feb. 16 dinner ($78 per person, plus tip the night of) at cookingstudiotaos.com. The rest is a secret, so we’ll leave it at that.


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