Santa Fe - Albuquerque - Taos A Taste of Life in New Mexico
SEASON PRESENTING SPONSOR
ASPEN SANTA FE BALLET P
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet March 11-12 7:30pm
Nrityagram Dance Ensemble of India in association with The Lensic, Santa Fe’s Performing Arts Center
ONE NIGHT ONLY PHOTO: STEPHANIE MOTTA
A Sample of Our Winter Menu Items All performances are held at The Lensic, Santa Fe’s Performing Arts Center.
Tickets: 988-1234, Tickets Santa Fe at The Lensic w w w . a s p e n s a n t a f e b a l l e t . c o m
Creamy and crispy polenta, wild mushroom ragout, Oregon black truffles Crispy confit, braised shoulder wrapped in chard, seared loin, cipolinni onions, Sauce Robert
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Cinnamon Smoked New York Strip
Sous vide striploin, celery root and golden raisin kugel, thumbelina carrots, foie gras hollandaise
Partially funded by the City of Santa Fe Arts Commission and the 1% Lodgers Tax, and made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts. PHOTO: ROSALIE O’CONNOR
Coppa di Testa croquette
Two Hour Egg with Polenta Two Ways Suckling Pig Tasting
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Pureed Lentil and Pancetta Soup
403½ Guadalupe • Santa Fe • 505.984.9104 Open Tuesday-Saturday 5:30-9:30 • maxssantafe.com
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
inside: Photo: Kate Russell
Kettlebells | by Tania Cassell pg. 10 Trainer Keira Newton says, “It’s difficult, technical, very Russian, hardcore…” Sound like the fitness challenge you’re looking for? Don’t miss this story. Pamper Me | by Kelly Koepke pg. 12 Ten wonderful ways to pamper yourself—all in this issue’s spirit of restoration, rejuvenation and finding your zen.
Photo: Gaelen Casey
Buzz | by Patty and Christie pg. 08 What’s in, what’s out, what’s hot, what’s not. That’s the buzzzzzzz.
At the Table: El Mesón by Chef Johnny Vee pg. 17
Chef Johnny Vee has a lively reunion with Chef David Huertas at his Downtown paella and tapas restaurant, El Mesón. Tango, anyone? Finding Grace | by Pari Noskin Taichert pg. 23
Meet Suzette Lindemuth, the dynamic founder of The Center for Ageless Living, a very special community tucked into the countryside outside of Los Lunas.
Horseback riding has always been a part of the lore and tradition of the West. For Rick Iannucci and Nancy De Santis, it transcends sport and physical recreation when the reins are handed over to returning veterans. Kokoman | by James Selby pg. 30
Photo: Kate Russell
Photo: Gabriella Marks
On Our Cover: Horses for Heroes by Emily Ruch pg. 26
The second in our series on independent wine and spirits shops takes us to Kokoman Fine Wine & Liquor in Pojoaque. Desert Fish | by Christie Chisholm pg. 34
If it’s new and happening it must be on Nob Hill. Join localflavor at Desert Fish for the freshest fish and hottest entertainment in Albuquerque.
ON OUR COVER: Rick Iannucci of the Crossed Arrows Ranch and Horses for Heroes
March 2011 ~ P u b l i s h e r s
Patty & Peter Karlovitz E d i t o r Patty Karlovitz P u b l i s h e r ’s A s s i s t a n t Emily Ruch A r t D i r e c t o r Jasmine Quinsier C o v e r p h o t o : Kate Russell A d v e r t i s i n g : Michelle Moreland 505.699.7369. Roger Griego 505.490.1671. A d D e s i g n : Mario Moreno of INK D i s t r i b u t i o n : Southwest Circulation L o c a l F l a v o r 2 2 3 N o r t h G u a d a l u p e # 4 4 2 , S a n t a F e , N M 8 7 5 0 1 Te l : 5 0 5 . 9 8 8 . 7 5 6 0 F a x : 9 8 8 . 9 6 6 3 E - m a i l : l o c a l f l a v o r @ e a r t h l i n k . n e t W e b s i t e : w w w . l o c a l f l a v o r m a g a z i n e . c o m localflavor welcomes new writers. Send writing samples to email@example.com localflavor is published 11 times a year: Feb, March, April, May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec/Jan. S u b s c r i p t i o n s $ 2 4 p e r y e a r . Mail check to above address. © Edible Adventure Co.‘96. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used without the permission of Edible Adventure Co. localflavor accepts advertisements from advertisers believed to be reputable, but can’t guarantee it. All editorial information is gathered from sources understood to be reliable, but printed without responsibility for erroneous, incorrect, or omitted information.
Photo: Gaelen Casey
Photo: Gaelen Casey
Still Hungry? | by Chris Linn pg. 36 Here are four fabulous restaurants for take-out when you simply need the night off—and four fabulous recipes when you want to duplicate what they do best. Check out our local Santa Fe favorites—Slurp, Body and Real Food Nation—plus Albuquerque’s The Grove.
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A Taste of Life in New Mexico
Local foods at a fair price. Doc Martin’s joins
Restaurant Week New Mexico - through March 6 Multi-course dinners at amazingly low prices! Taos.NewMexicoRestaurantWeek.com
866.887.3688 | DocMartinsRestaurant.com 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, NM Fine Food & Spectacular Views The STAKEOUT is more than a restaurant… it’s an adventure! Taos Restaurant Week Feb. 27th - March 6th Our featured Menu Appetizers Wild Mushroom Risotto – Served with Wild Porcini Mushrooms, Rock Shrimp, Pancetta, Fresh Herbs, Parmesan Cheese and drizzled with Truffle Oil Calamari – Lightly fried, served with Triple Citrus Aioli and Spicy Pomodoro Sauce Baked Brie – Honey Glazed, garnished with toasted Almonds, Apple and Raspberry Marmalade Salads & Soups Caesar Salad – Romaine Hearts, Stakeout Caesar Dressing, Toasted Points and Parmesan Cheese Seasonal Soup Or Stakeout Onion Soup Roasted Beet Salad – With Candied Pecans, Apples, Gorgonzola Cheese and Sherry Vinaigrette Entrees Elk & Kobe – Tenderloin of Elk and Kobe grilled and served with a Blueberry Sauce, White Truffle Cream Sauce and a Fontina Cheese Leaf Wild Caught Salmon – Seared Sockeye Salmon served with a light Green Chile Beurre Blanc Sauce Filet Au Poivre – Our most tender 8 oz. cut served with a Flambe Peppercorn Sauce Chicken Oskar – Sautéed Chicken Breast topped with Crabmeat, poached Asparagus and Béarnaise sauce Desserts
Regionally inspired rustic New Mexican, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine Located in the historic El Torreon Hacienda 1017 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos (1.2 miles north of the Taos Plaza)
Choice From Our Menu Special Wine Pairings – Wines specifically selected for each course of our Restaurant Week menu available for an additional $5 per glass $40/person
Dinner nightly from 5 pm 575.758.2042 stakeoutrestaurant.com
101 Stakeout Drive off Highway 68 9 miles south of Taos
Monday – Saturday 5:30pm to 9:30pm Reservations Recommended 575.751.3337 www.elmeze.com
theletter addictive—and it certainly demands a connection between body and spirit. Keira earned certification as a Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor and is ranked amongst the topten women in the world in her field. Regardless of your degree of fitness, this is one story you don’t want to miss. Following our theme of reconnecting body and spirit, we quietly tiptoe to the opposite end of the spectrum and visit ten decadent spas and studios where someone else does all the work. From the “Peaceful Warrior” package designed for masculine well-being to a chocolate-chile wrap designed for anyone who has ever fantasized about being smothered in chocolate, this selection of pleasures is the perfect antidote to the wild winds of March. Our cover story reveals a new dimension to the time-honored tradition of horseback riding. Out here in the West, riding is a rite of passage, a spiritual relationship with an animal that has no peer, a way to connect with the land and one’s self that has a revered place in our history. Rick Iannucci and Nancy DeSantis of Crossed Arrows Ranch live and breathe this tradition, as do many other ranchers and horsemen. But it is Rick and Nancy’s commitment to bringing this truth to our returning war veterans that makes their story an unforgettable narrative. On the culinary side, we have several stories to tempt your fancy. Don’t miss our visit to El Mesón, where Spanish-born Chef David Huertas creates the authentic paellas and tapas that have delighted locals for close to 15 years now. And be sure to check out the scoop on the newest restaurant to open in Albuquerque’s urbane Nob Hill area. Desert Fish is only three months young as we go to press, and it has already stolen the hearts of seafood lovers. Oenophiles will want to turn straight to our story on the venerable Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor for a tour of the store with owner Keith Obermaier and his “take-noprisoners” palate. As always, the team at localflavor has had a lot of fun putting the issue together, and we invite you to sit back and enjoy our labor of love for the wild and windy month of March.
© 2011 Insightfoto.com
Photo: Kate Russell
Our opening story is meant to get your heart racing. It’s set in a no-nonsense cinder block studio where trainer Keira Newton takes her students through a workout that would level most Marines. Kettlebell fitness training is definitely hardcore--many say
Introducin g Chef Matt Ostrander
S A N TA F E ’ S N E W E S T C H E F ! The Inn and Spa at Loretto is pleased to introduce Chef Matt Ostrander as Luminaria Restaurant’s new Executive Chef. Chef Matt is no stranger to the local Santa Fe foodies. A quintessential Santa Fe chef, Matt is self trained, gaining his experience as a true Santa Fe chef in some of the great culinary establishments in the area. Luminaria menus focus on Chef Matt’s sustainable approach to his cuisine featuring an abundance of fresh, locally-grown ingredients with the perfect Southwest twist. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. Cena Pronto Three Course Menu available from 5:00pm – 6:30pm. Legacy Club members enjoy 20% savings on regular menu.
211 Old Santa Fe Trail | 505.984.7915 | luminariarestaurant.com
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
Albuquerque by Christie Chisholm
Last month I told you about the new Readings on the Rio Grande literary series Bookworks and ABC Libraries have put together, featuring world-renowned authors and their newest works. Now I can’t help but tell you about this month’s readings, and you’ll see why. It starts on Tuesday, March 1, with Alan Arkin, who’s launching his memoir, An Improvised Life. As if you didn’t already know, Arkin has appeared in more than 80 films, including Edward Scissorhands, The Last Unicorn and, of course, Little Miss Sunshine. His reading starts at 7 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW), and it’s free! A mere two days later, Yann Martel, Man Booker Prize winner and author of Life of Pi, will give a reading from his fable-like Holocaust allegory, Beatrice and Virgil. It’s at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3—also at the KiMo—and admission is free when you buy Martel’s $14 new release. Lastly, social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk brings his business-minded expertise to UNM’s Woodward Hall on Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. With The Thank You Economy, Vaynerchuk writes about how to innovatively connect with customers. This one’s totally free. For tickets and more information, visit www.bkwrks.com.
| Alan Arkin
This is really cool. The Institute for Cocktail Excellence (ICE) holds an Innovative Drink of the Year Contest, and it takes entries from all over the world. The finalists in this contest are from some of the most well-known and prestigious bars across the globe, and this year’s lineup includes the American Bar at the Savoy in New York and Elixir in San Francisco. Also on that list is Casa Vieja Restaurant in Corrales. Four of its cocktails made it to the semi-finals (more than any other bar), and now its Flip the Date—made with Medjool date–infused Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry, maple syrup, Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters and one small egg—is up against 11 other drinks. Cross your fingers and wish them luck as we wait for the results.
There are three awesome events coming to Popejoy Hall this month, and I couldn’t decide which one to promote—so I’m going to tell you about all three. First, Dance Theatre of Harlem gives a one-
| Martha Graham Dance Company
night performance on Thursday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. This fantastic ballet company’s neoclassical style often gives way to other forms of dance, making sure audiences are always surprised. In more dance news, Martha Graham Dance Company is also coming through for one night only on Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Three years ago, the company commissioned three choreographers to develop variations of its classic “Lamentation” for a September 11 performance. The results were so successful that the company has now asked more choreographers to create similar pieces. These, along with a Martha Graham piece from 1935 called “Panorama,” will be on the program for the night. Finally, and on an entirely different note, The Aluminum Show will be here on Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m. and on Saturday, March 19, at 3 and 8 p.m. Have no idea what The Aluminum Show is? Just know that’s it’s amazing, and that dancers, gymnasts and strange animated forms will all be swathed in one of America’s favorite household accoutrements. It’s flashy, funny and good for kids and adults alike. For tickets and answers to all of your questions, call 505.925.5858 or 877.644.8661 or visit www. popejoypresents.com.
to bring life to the weird whatsits of Wonderland. Tickets range from $10 to $25 and can be found at the KiMo Box Office (505.768.3544) or at ticketmaster.com. Raise your glasses to St. Clair Winery, which just won Best White Wine for its Gewürztraminer (try saying that five times fast) at the San Francisco Wine Chronicle Competition. The New Mexico wine was chosen out of 5,000 entries for the title. St. Clair harvests the grapes for this wine in the middle of the afternoon to encourage heat in the flavor, then presses them immediately afterward. Oak is avoided in order to bring out hints of apricot and flowers, resulting in a wine that also features notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Congratulations, St. Clair! Keep those glasses raised because that’s not the only honor St. Clair came home with. DH Lescombes’ 2009 Pinot Noir took home the silver medal at the Pinot Noir Shootout and Summit also held in San Francisco last month. Beating more than 350 other wines for the ranking, it features a nose of oriental spice and jasmine and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and red berry. Suddenly, it feels like spring. If all this warm weather and wind has made you think about getting your trowel dirty, don’t miss CelebrateSeedNM! in Old Town on Saturday, March 19. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there’ll be a number of plantingcentric activities on and around the Plaza, including seed distribution to the public; a seed exchange center; Native American ritual dancing; Native seed planting and talks; demonstrations on subjects like seed winnowing; workshops and presentations; movies such as Dirt, the Movie and King Corn; panel discussions with expert growers; and a kids’ area with planting, reading and art activities. That should motivate you to get your gardening gloves out of hibernation. For more information, visit www.cabq.gov/crs/ newfun.html.
Los Poblanos, of the spectacular organic farm, historic inn and cultural center, also has a little store on its North Valley property? Called simply The Farm Shop, it’s a purveyor of all things wonderful. Want one of the Swiss-made Glaser hoes used by serious organic farmers the world over and nearly impossible to find in the U.S.? Get one here. Need one of the fantastic organic lavender-infused soaps, lotions and oils made by Los Poblanos? You’ll find the entire assortment on its shelves. Crave some of Chef Jonathan’s homemade caramels, spiced pecans and chocolate? Buy fresh, crisp brown paper bags full of them. It would take too long to list the entire scope of products you’ll find in this modest-sized shop, so you should just visit it and see for yourself. From little sculptures made by local artists to some of the most high-performing cutlery on Earth, The Farm Shop seeks out the best and tucks it in a sweet, pitched-roof package. I just love this place. 4803 Rio Grande NW, 505.344.9297. www.lospoblanos.com.
by Patty Karlovitz firstname.lastname@example.org Big news from the Inn and Spa at Loretto: Matt Ostrander has been named the Executive Chef of their signature restaurant, Luminaria. Matt has already earned his stripes in Santa Fe with stints at The Compound, Bistro 315 and Geronimo, all of which gave him a chance to refine his culinary style, blending French inclinations with his Southwestern training. Matt also has a degree in Ayurveda and plans to use this knowledge to make more health-conscious decisions in creating his menu—namely, using only the freshest ingredients available and by preparing every dish in a holistic manner. He will definitely be a chef to watch! Bravo to the Loretto for a bold choice, and congratulations, Matt!
Here’s a tasty tidbit. According to P’Tit Louis co-owner John Phinizy, the bistro is already in the process of opening a second location in Nob Hill. Situated on Silver between Wellesley and Bryn Mawr, in that adorable stretch next to Cafe Giuseppe, the new place will mimic the same turn-of-the-century Parisian feel as the original Downtown spot, with the same delightful menu. Phinizy says the new digs will be open sometime this summer. So keep a lookout, Nob Hillers. Alice in Wonderland. Ballet. The KiMo. That’s all I needed to get entirely stoked about Ballet Repertory Theatre’s performances Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 6, at 2 p.m. Choreographer Alex Ossadnik premieres his newest work for the company, which uses classical ballet magazine.com
| Executive Chef Matt Ostrander | Los Poblanos
I should beg your forgiveness for not telling you about this sooner, but I only recently discovered it myself. Did you know that
The 550-judge panel of culinary elite across the nation has spoken, and the finalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards have been named. Stand up and take a very deep bow, Jennifer James and Martín Rios,
for your nomination as Best Chef of the Southwest. And a huge round of applause for The Compound’s Mark Kiffin (already bearing the honor of Best Chef of the Southwest 2005) for being a finalist in the category of Best Service. Restaurant Martín, jennifer james 101 and The Compound have all been on the cover of localflavor more than once during their distinguished careers. Local treasures with national reputations— our sincere congratulations!
Join the Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails and some of our top chefs for a night of decadent gourmet desserts inspired by—you guessed it—Girl Scout Cookies! The annual Cookie Caper will be March 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the very beautiful Encantado Resort. Competing in the Caper this year are Encantado, Garbo’s at RainbowVision, La Casa Sena, Scalo, Cupcakeology, Stone Kiva, Napoli Coffee, the Lodge and Savory Fare. The $50 entry fee benefits the local Girl Scouts and is a fun way to taste the sweet creativity of these very gracious chefs. 505.343.1040.
I hope that this image inspires you to stop by William R. Talbot Fine Art, Antique Maps & Prints to see the truly wonderful show that has been assembled. It’s entitled Modernist Printmaking: Early 20th Century Works from the Southwest, Mid-West, and Mexico by American Regionalists and will be up through April 4. 129 West San Francisco Street on the second floor. www.williamtalbot.com.
Bishop’s Lodge just named Chef Christopher McLean to its top spot of Executive Chef. Like any chef worth his salt, McClean has traveled the world over and worked with some of the best. We wish him well in his new kitchen at Bishop’s Lodge and look forward to his interpretation of the Nuevo Ranchero cuisine that the Lodge is known for.
In late January, more than 1,200 Santa Feans attended The Food Depot’s Souper Bowl XVII and raised over $83,000 for hunger relief in our community. Twenty-seven restaurants competed for the honor of Best Soup in Santa Fe. Jambo Cafe captured the Best Soup Award as well as the Best Vegetarian Soup for their entry, Curried Black Bean Sweet Potato with Coconut Cream. The Best Cream Soup honor went to Dinner for Two, for their Sherry Corn Crab Bisque. The Best Seafood Soup honor went to La Plazuela at La Fonda for their entry, Smoky Crab Bisque. Finally, Gold Dust Restaurant won the Best Savory Soup for their Pasilla Pepper and Roasted Garlic with Chicken and Chorizo. Jambo Café took a third award home as well, Best Decorated Table. Other restaurant participants in Souper Bowl included Amavi, Anasazi Restaurant, Bon Appetit at IAIA, Café Café, Café Pasqual’s, The Club at Las Campanas, Flying Star Café, Flying Tortilla, Garbo’s at RainbowVision, La Casa Sena, Louie’s Corner Café, Luminaria Restaurant at the Inn and Spa at Loretto, Osteria d’Assisi, Palacio Café, Pizza Etc., Rio Chama, Santa Fe Capitol Grill, Slurp, Steaksmith, Terra at Encantado, Turquoise Trail Bar & Grill, Whole Foods Market and Zia Diner. Keep passing the love around by supporting the restaurants that so generously gave of their time and creativity for the event (and let them know how much you appreciate all that they do). If it seems that every charity event in town centers around restaurants and chefs, it’s because it does.
Our region’s most respected and well-known culinary anthropologist, Lois Ellen Frank, will be at the Unitarian Universalist Church on March 14 to give a talk, highlighted with her award-winning photos. Lois, a Native American herself as well as a food historian, has spent more than 20 years documenting foods of Native American communities throughout the Southwest. She is also the author of the James Beard Award–winning book, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations. The presentation, entitled “Seeds of Health—The Hunger for Ancestral Food,” begins at 3 p.m., with refreshments featuring some of Lois’ special recipes. Dance in New Mexico is one of our oldest and richest traditions. Today, the art of dance as it is performed here has a cultural diversity that our ancestors could not have dreamed of. Each year the New Mexico Dance Coalition showcases some of our finest choreographers as they present original pieces in ballroom, modern dance, jazz, tango, circus arts, belly dance and a few that defy labels. The 24th Annual Choreographer’s Showcase is March 25 and 26 at the Railyard Performance Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids under 12.
| “River Baptism” 1935 By Howard Cook
New Mexico’s largest gathering for pen aficionados (more than 20 different companies are attending) will be held this year on March 12 and 13 at Sanbusco Center. Santa Fe Pens, also located at Sanbusco, will unveil its Santa Fe Edition XIII collector fountain and rollerball pens produced this year in the U.K. by Conway-Stewart Pen Company, one of Europe’s oldest names in fine pen
production. For more detailed information, go to www.santafepens.com. In celebration of its 27th anniversary, La Casa Sena is hosting a gala dinner on March 17th with a beautifully conceived menu that not only highlights Chef Patrick Gharrity’s own culinary creations but also features favorite items from past menus--a thoughtful concept that the staff notes, “showcases how the menu has evolved under the watchful eye of each chef throughout La Casa Sena’s history.” A culinary trip down memory lane--Kelly Rogers, Gordon Heiss…. For reservations and more information call 505.988.9232. www.lacasasena.com. If you were inspired to saddle up after reading our cover story in this issue I have even more exciting news. Horses for Heroes just announced a collaboration with the Express UU Bar Ranch in Cimarron that sounds like the dream of a lifetime. As Rick Iannucci of Crossed Arrows Ranch said, “It will be an opportunity for “city slickers” using our horses or horse folks who already have a horse to experience a working ranch and the spring (June) or summer (August) cattle gather.” Lucky participants will be able to drive and work with the Cowboy UP! veteran cowboys on a four night and three-day cattle drive. It will be open to the public but limited to five or six people or couples, so if this appeals to the cowboy in you, call now. Sue Fullen at the Express UU Bar 575.376.2035 or email information@ expressuubar.com.
Bridging the Gap
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Everybody loved the February cover that featured Jeff and Ramona Schwartzberg dancing in the kitchen at the New York Deli. Seems that the fancy steps are a regular routine for Ramona, a professional flamenco dancer for 20 years as well as an avid salsa dancer. Under the name of Gypsy Moves, Ramona teaches a dance exercise class (with a little “Cuban motion”) at Studio East on Camino del Monte Sol. The hour-long classes are held Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and Friday mornings at 10:15 a.m. 505.920.6827.
Call today 877-620-4996
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I’m still dancing—this time en pointe. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet will debut two new ballets from choreographers Jiri Kylian and Nicolo Fonte, once again showing their commitment to commissioning and performing groundbreaking work by both world-renowned and up-and-coming choreographers. It’s March 11 and 12 at the Lensic, with the remarkably talented ASFB dancers on stage. 505.988.1234.
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A Taste of Life in New Mexico
s l l e b e l t t Ke
s t o r y b y TA N I A C A S S E L L photos by GAELEN CASEY
It’s a Saturday morning in the L-shaped studio of Santa Fe’s Dynamic Kettlebell Fitness.
About 30 students are swinging their kettlebells under the direction of trainer Keira Newton, and despite the rigor of the workout, nobody groans, complains or tries to sneak a moment’s downtime when Newton’s back is turned. In fact, she has to keep admonishing them to hold back when they’re too eager to launch into the next round. “You’re not going yet, y’all! Hold on, hold on!” She clicks her stopwatch to start the new series of movements (“Use your breath, not your momentum!”) and then, when the timed period is over, has to rein in the overzealous once again: “Stop! You’re done, you’re done!” Despite their quaint name, evocative of The Sound of Music, kettlebells are cast iron weights that look like cannonballs with handles, used with very precise movements to provide an intensive, full-body workout for strength, cardio and flexibility. Russian references to kettlebells date back to at least 1704, and in the former Soviet Union they were used as a training tool by Olympic athletes, the military and your regular everyday muscle men. Over the last decade, Pavel Tsatsouline, a former instructor for the Russian Special Forces, has spread the kettlebell creed in the U.S., and the newly converted are passionate in their praise. “I never enjoyed a gym until kettlebells,” says Val Johnson after Newton’s class. “I’m putting lotion on, and I feel muscle where it used to be mushy.” “The cool thing is, it works with a whole range of people and body types,” says Marta Miskolczy, a runner who uses kettlebells for strength training. “I don’t like
weight rooms, and I don’t love lifting weights. It’s an alternative to going to gyms.” The word “addictive” crops up frequently, and it’s an addiction Newton identifies with. “It’s difficult, technical, very Russian, hardcore … but also I like how simple it is.” She compares kettlebell training to a martial art: Even black belts continue to refine and improve their skills. “You’re always learning, you’ve never reached the top, so you don’t get bored. I didn’t think I would find it so interesting. If someone told you weight lifting is interesting, would you believe them? You know, like, really? In the past I would have said, ‘OK, whatever, Meathead!’” She laughs. Nobody could call this very feminine and trim instructor a meathead. Watching her demonstrate to the class, I’m reminded of the ballet dancer Sylvie Guillem at the peak of her game: The combination of grace, strength and agility is spellbinding, and, also like Guillem, Newton appears to be beyond the law of gravity, the silver stripes on her Nikes flashing with her fast footwork. Newton’s introduction to kettlebell training was through watching her husband. “I thought that it looked really strange and sort of barbaric, and I teased him about it. Finally he said, ‘If you think it’s that silly, why don’t you just try it?’” She did and was humbled by how tough it was—as well as intrigued that the mere 30-minute workout he led her through could make her so sore the next day. She took herself to a certified trainer who taught her to do the workout properly; correct form and technique are major watchwords for Newton, and she warns repeatedly against people just picking up a kettlebell and going for it on their own. Soon she was hooked. Newton had just had a baby and didn’t have time for her usual twohour stint at the gym, but she could squeeze in a kettlebells workout while baby was napping. “It had an effect on my body even though I was only doing fifteen minutes a day. I went slowly to twenty minutes, then thirty, to rehab from that pregnancy and shed the baby weight, and I ended up doing kettlebells through my pregnancy with my second child.” Now, at nearly 39 years old, she’s stronger, fitter and faster than she’s ever been, and the proof is in her medical exams. “My heart rate is in an elite athlete’s level; that surprises me. I’m at a lower heart rate now than six years ago. And oxygen—it was 100% the capacity of the lung, and the doctor is like, ‘I’ve never seen that before.’ Not in a million years did I ever think I would be here.” Newton earned certification as a Russian Kettlebell Challenge (RKC) instructor, and as a team leader her certification level ranks her amongst the top ten women in the world. She’s also a Feldenkrais practitioner, experienced with body mechanics and helping people
recover from injuries, which dovetails with her kettlebells work. “You have to focus on your form. It’s a way to be more present with what you’re actually doing, that awareness of self.” She has seen her students transform their bodies dramatically, and 40 pounds of weight loss isn’t unusual. But it’s not just about getting into physical shape. “I love to see the confidence it can build, the excitement of getting stronger. For a woman to be able to do a push up or a pull up, or for a woman to use a very heavy weight in some of the lifts that we do, it can be quite empowering.” Women start working with 18-pound kettlebells, as opposed to perhaps five-pound weights in a gym. “If you want to build lean muscle mass, you have to lift heavier weights to build definition and muscle. They’re often very afraid of that 18 pounds, fearful of building bulk, but they feel good after class. You use the whole body to lift the kettlebell and focus on the whole movement of the muscle, rather than isolating muscles. It’s a more functional movement, more relevant to life.” Newton’s business partner, Jennifer Grossman, has lost 55 pounds through kettlebell training and nutritional changes—the first 36 of those pounds in three months. “I look like an entirely different person, and I’m only half way to my goal,” she says. “In order to make the body transformation stick, the mind has to change too. Changing a lifetime of habits that don’t support good health takes time, patience and perseverance. It also takes incredible focus. The good news is that through a strong kettlebell practice, people discover what it’s like to have intention, how to focus and use that focus throughout their life. That in and of itself is almost life changing. People feel empowered in more than just the physical aspects of the studio.” A sense of community is vital to Newton. She often works with timed intervals rather than counting reps. “Students can focus more on their form than thinking about numbers, and they don’t have to compare themselves to someone next to them. If their swinging is slower I don’t want them to get self-conscious. If they all go for the same period of time, everyone’s on the same page.” She pairs people off for some exercises, so they get to know each other and are more supportive to each other in class. “When you give support, you stop feeling alone, separate, different. And when you feel a connection, you come to class more often. We want people to enjoy what they’re doing. If you’re going to exercise you have to enjoy it, because that’s what’s going to keep you there.” Dynamic Kettlebell Fitness is at 3201 Richards Lane, Suite B in Santa Fe. 505.984.9000. www.dkbfitness.com.
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
pamper s t o r y b y K E L LY K O E P K E
photos by GAELEN CASEY
he spring winds have begun to blow, heralding warmer weather and the chance to fling off the confines of jackets, sweaters and socks. To pamper your skin, face and feet, we sampled local day and resort spas to find the most decadent, luxurious and unusual ways to prepare yourself (or someone special) for spring.
Santa Fe Bliss > Santa Fe Bliss’s I AM Balance dual treatment— massage combined with acupuncture (or acupressure if you’re needle sensitive)—is deeply relaxing and rejuvenating, says Janice Bequette, who, along with business partner Yvette Powell, created the experience. The massage stimulates the body’s circulation and lymph system, while acupuncture awakens and strengthens the flow of chi. Because, really, we could all use a little stimulation and flow to get us moving after the closed-in energy of winter. “We’ve found that people hit a really deep state of relaxation with I AM Balance,” says Janice. “They reach bliss every time—their cheeks are rosy and they float out with an incredibly great feeling.” $70 for 50 minutes or $95 for 80 minutes, the I AM Balance is an affordable pampering and the perfect blend of East and West in the City Different. 505.820.1572. www.santafebliss.com.
Absolute < Nirvana Spa One of winter’s nastier leavings is the itchy, dry skin that has been hiding under clothing layers and socks. Give your body a good once-over with this Bali-inspired treatment from Absolute Nirvana Spa and Gardens. The Lemongrass and Coconut Indulgence, as owner Carolyn Lee describes it, “starts with a ritual foot cleansing to ground and center you. Then a full body massage using lemongrass oil transports you away. Next, we use a natural, organic coconut and raw cane sugar scrub for added exfoliation. A masque of warm, organic, virgin cold-pressed coconut oil moisturizes the entire body. A short stay in a private steam room allows pores to open and the oil to penetrate more deeply. After you rinse, your therapist leads you to a handcarved granite tub sprinkled with rose petals….” (Tropical fruits, handmade truffles and Javanese ginger tea are served tubside.) OMG! At $250, you can’t NOT afford this. 505.983.7942. www.absolutemirvana.com.
Q Beauty > Now that your skin is silky smooth and ready for spring, how about your tresses? Q Beauty’s clinical hair treatment, the brainchild of master stylist Cenneth MacDonald, comes with diagnosis and cure for what ails your locks. Using the purest proprietary plant formulas developed by Rene Furterer, of France, MacDonald customizes the 60 to 90 minute session for your particular problem—dry and damaged, oily, weak, limp or unruly. “This is the best-kept secret in the hairdressing world,” he says. “In my 30-plus years in this business, these products are the most highly performing in the world and the only products that work.” Each treatment comes with a neck, shoulder and head massage to relax you, too. So whether you have long-term concerns like hair loss or weakness, or temporary issues stemming from pregnancy or hormone changes, Q Beauty’s got the cure for $50-$100. 505.984.2884. www.qbeautygroup.com.
Aurora Skin Care >
Inn and Spa at < Loretto Men enjoy a little pampering, too—and the Inn and Spa at Loretto is ready to oblige. Their Peaceful Warrior package was one of the best that we found. Combining a Thai herbal massage, facial and manicure, Peaceful Warrior is 80 minutes of masculine well-being. The treatment starts with Samunprai, a traditional hot Thai massage that has remained unchanged for centuries. A hot poultice of balancing, healing herbs soothes the muscle aches and bruises of your battle-weary soldier, opening the pores and bringing a deep medicinal heat to the muscles to release tension and revitalize the mind. Then the Gentleman’s Indulgence (available separately) facial addresses general skin needs like aging, fine lines and clogged pores and the specific complaints of a man’s skin—ingrown hairs and over exfoliation from rough shaving. A manly manicure scrubs and buffs away rough cuticles and dry patches. For $338, the Peaceful Warrior turns your savage beast into a smooth operator. 505.984.7997. www.innatlorettto.com.
Speaking of fabulous facials, Aurora Skin Care’s natural skin treatments use Dermalogica products exclusively. Aurora’s Chinese acupressure facial blends Eastern medicine’s view of the body as a holistic being with European techniques. On a quiet Downtown Santa Fe street in a charming adobe casita, clients experience the bliss of stimulated circulation and lymphatic flow as well as the release of toxins, cleansing, exfoliation and moisturization. Says Aurora’s Dawn Christensen, “Of the 365 known acupressure points in the body, 26 of them are on the face. I use finger pressure to encourage the chi to flow smoothly. This facial is gentle, safe and effective for conditions like dry skin, sensitivity, aging and toning. It has the added benefit of releasing endorphins, increasing healing and boosting the immune system, too.” At $75 for a one-hour treatment, Aurora’s Chinese acupressure facial is luxury worth repeating. 505.920.2429. www.auroraskincaresantafe.com. A Taste of Life in New Mexico
Great Face & Body > What the Japanese call Koh-Do, or “incense appreciation,” is the basis for the E-Koh-Do body scrub at Albuquerque’s Great Face & Body. Owners Andre and Keith West-Harrison brought their incense-inspired body scrub with them when they relocated their spa to Albuquerque from New Orleans several years ago. Of the $85, one-hour treatment, Keith says “The sense of smell is one that triggers memories and provides ambience, so we created this service that not only exfoliates and puts moisture back into the skin, but also triggers deep emotions through the lighting of one of the Nippon Ko Do incense line of five scents—earth, air, water, space or fire—during the scrub.” The scrub itself is blended specially for the client’s individual needs to address skin type, potential allergies and age, using a housemanufactured base of fair trade organic sugar and oils (also available for retail). Don’t let the winter itchies follow you into spring, people. 505.404.6670. www.greatfaceandbody.com.
While you’re in the Duke City, head to Albuquerque Baths, the latest addition to the city’s burgeoning spa culture. Centrally located near Downtown, this venture, launched by massage therapists Michelle Collins and Henry Bruner, came out of a desire for a soaking experience that didn’t require driving to Santa Fe, Ojo Caliente or Truth or Consequences. Try the deeply relaxing Hot Stone Massage to loosen knotted muscles and melt away tension before or after you soak. “For people who have very tight muscles, the heat of the rocks goes right into the tissues. We leave the rocks on to transfer heat or as a therapeutic tool to get into tight areas. It’s like sitting on a hot rock warmed by the sun; using rocks to transfer heat isn’t a new idea, but it’s a really great one.” A 70-minute massage is $90 and 90 minutes is $110. Affordable and close to home, Albuquerque! 505.243.3721. www.abqbaths.com. 14
Estrellas < Moroccan Spa
La Bella Spa Salon >
La Bella Spa Salon, with two locations in Albuquerque, has a wonderful opportunity for family—specifically female relatives—to spend three hours of pampering time together. The Mother and Daughter Package ($220 per person) invites the lucky recipients to share 60minute Fountain of Youth facials and 60-minute Aroma Journey massages side by side. Then they’ll finish with an hour-long Express Manicure/Pedicure to alleviate stress. The Fountain of Youth facial combines anti-aging, stimulating and invigorating properties to bring a radiant and youthful complexion to mom (the benefits accrue for daughter, too). For the massage, a personalized blend of flower and plant extracts leaves skin feeling silky smooth while delivering a relaxing and therapeutic rub down. The mani-pedi uses an exfoliation soak followed by a gentle nail and cuticle grooming complete with choice of polish. Better yet, La Bella gives you a candle with the scent you chose for your massage to continue the experience at home! 505.899.5557. www.labellaspasalon.com.
Estrellas Moroccan Spa’s henna body art is just plain fun—not to mention ideal for parties, weddings or other celebrations with a group. The traditional symbols represent blessings and well wishes to help celebrate many important milestones. In fact, the use of henna to draw designs on a pregnant belly is an ancient calming practice. Owner Jay Payne also offers a crystal water henna service that’s unique to the area. “You write something on a water vessel, which is then frozen. We then microscopically look at the frozen crystals and create a henna design of that pattern.” Crystal water henna starts at $50 (depends on how long the tattoo design takes). Regular henna body art treatments begin at $50 for 15 minutes, with most designs taking 20 to 90 minutes. What a way to express your love for someone special—or to express yourself on a special occasion. 505.995.0100. www.estrellasspa.com.
< La Posada
de Santa Fe
If you haven’t been pampered to the point of blissful incapacity by now, treat yourself to a little something for dessert at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort & Spa. “Our chocolate chile wrap begins with a dry loofa exfoliation,” says the spa’s lead therapist, Hillary Froehlich. Next, you’ll be smothered in a moisturizing and antioxidant-rich chocolate and chile mixture—made by local organic skin care company, Milagro Herbs, from ethically wildcrafted medicinal plants—and tenderly swathed in cloth. Once you’re all wrapped up like a bar of Mexican chocolate, slip into a deeper state of relaxation while your therapist gently massages your face and scalp. After you’ve soaked up all the yummy benefits of your wrap, enjoy a leisurely hot shower and a final application of chocolate-scented skin food, a lusciously emollient cream that will leave you dreaming of chocolate long after you’ve left this delicious Palace Avenue sanctuary. 505.986.0000. www.laposada.rockresorts.com. A Taste of Life in New Mexico
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At the Table story by CHEF JOHNNY VEE
p h o t o s b y K AT E R U S S E L L
here’s a great quadrangle Downtown bordered by Marcy Street, Washington Avenue, Lincoln Avenue and South Federal Place that’s become quite the buzzy little Restaurant Row. You can get Italian (Il Piatto and Osteria D’assisi), high-end contemporary Southwestern (Santacafé and the Anasazi), great steaks and chops (The Bull Ring), and Spanish (El Mesón and La Boca), all within a plate’s throw of each other. There’s even a cozy bar with a disco dance floor (Rouge Cat) that caters to a variety of alternative lifestyles, should the night and too much wine send you off in that direction. It’s an enclave with something for everyone of every culinary (and cultural) persuasion.
I frequent many of these establishments and have chronicled all of them at one time or another in my writing. As I planned this month’s At The Table column, I realized that it had been many years since I checked in with David Huertas at El Mesón. A man of few words, Huertas, operates slightly under the radar, not chasing the media as other chefs do, but rather going about his business doing his cooking thing, content with customer feedback and good reviews. Tired as I was of the cold weather of late, it was a pleasure to take my palate on a brief vacation to sunny Spain and spend an evening with the handsome Huertas, his charming wife, Kelly, and adorable daughter, Rianna, over numerous tasty tapas and a paella chock full of lobster. When I arrive, Huertas is busy in the kitchen preparing our feast, so I settle in the Chispa! bar and music lounge where Kelly is just finishing up a glass of wine with a girlfriend. Though not planned, it’s fun to chat with her and get some thoughts about her husband’s success, an added element in my chef-interview process. Daughter Rianna is upstairs hanging with some kid friends, having just returned from a hip-hop dance class. Dad sends up a big plate of orange segments and fruit salad for the young ‘uns. I tease him by saying, “I would have thought grilled chorizo and garlic shrimp would have been more in order.” Dad thought differently—the fruit plate was a much healthier option. Kelly reminds me that I had announced Rianna’s birth nine years ago, in print. We both remark how time has flown. “I still remember your fantastic mascarpone cheesecake,” I mention. “Good,” she replies, “we have it on the menu tonight.” Apart from being the part-time pastry chef at El Mesón and a full-time mother, Kelly also writes plays, one of which was just presented in the Benchwarmers series at the Santa Fe Playhouse. Getting back to the culinary side, I ask, “How did you two meet?” “When I first moved here from New York, one of the jobs I did was bartend at The Cowgirl. I met David there. If you remember, when he opened El Mesón it was just the restaurant. We were married when he added the bar, and at first the idea was that I would run the bar. Then Rianna came along, and that kinda changed everything,” she finishes with a laugh. At last the chef joins us, starting my meal off with a crisp La Gitana Dry Manzanilla Spanish Sherry and plate of roasted Marcona almonds with crunchy sea salt. “Remind me of your work history and how El Mesón came to be,” I start. “It’s hard to believe we will be open 15 years next year. We opened the original space in 1997,” the relaxed and guapo Huertas begins. “If you remember, this
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
used to be Dee’s Restaurant, and we started with just the one room, adding Chispa! in December of 2000.” Huertas and I had worked together at La Traviata, just around the corner (now Il Piatto), when he cooked with and filled in for chef-owner Ken Calascione when he went on an extended trip. At the time Huertas was a cool-headed 25-year old able to back up the mercurial (but brilliant) Calascione. We reminisce about the crazy fun we had in those days prior to Huertas’ marriage, fatherhood and restaurant ownership. “So where did you grow up?” I inquire. “I was born in Madrid and lived there until I was 16 years old. My mom is American, and my dad Spanish. I came to the U.S. to attend a liberal arts college in Ohio, studying political science. Right away I felt the cafeteria food was so bad, and when I moved into an apartment I started cooking for my roommates. We found this enormous wooden cable spool that we used as a dining table—it sat 16, and I started hosting dinner parties charging five dollars per person. Of course, the guy-girl ratio was always better for the guys.” (Huertas is the second chef to admit to me that being a good cook was a chick magnet—Ó Eating House’s Steve Lemon being the other.) “Between my third and fourth year I went back to Spain to do an apprenticeship at a very fancy hotel called the Villa Magna, in Madrid. I worked in all the different areas of the hotel, but it was there that I realized I loved the kitchen the most. The cooks prepared 280 staff meals every day, and it struck me that in a kitchen everybody is working together to basically make people happy. It was a European-run kitchen with state-of-the-art equipment, including copper pots and pans, and all the different stations were responsible for each part of the meal—great training.” After graduating with a degree that he would never actually use, his interest in cooking grew until eventually Huertas decided to get serious and attend the Culinary Institute of America. Upon attaining the hallowed degree, Huertas started his career as a line cook and worked his way up the culinary ladder. He worked at a place called The California Grill, in Caracas, Venezuela. There was a stint in a restaurant owned by a mobster whose heavies “encouraged” David not to leave when he decided to move on. “Do the Italians and the Spanish traditionally get along?” I ask. “The Spanish have a saying that Spain is like an organized Italy,” he says with a chuckle.
| Owner, Chef David Huertas
“How did you end up in Santa Fe?” I ask. “My grandparents lived here when I was a kid, so I would visit them regularly. I remember going to Zozobra, and everyone would be all dressed in suits and ties. I even did my apprenticeship from the C.I.A. at Bishop’s Lodge when the Thorpe Family still had it. So I knew the town well.” By this time, my tapas tasting is well under way. A bottle of the chef ’s favorite, delicious Dominio de Atauta Spanish Red, has been popped. Huertas tells me the Tempranillo grapevines are between 120 and 160 years old. There is salty Manchego with house-made membrillo using Chimayò quince, a wonderfully light fried calamari, Catalanstyle grilled bread rubbed with garlic and topped with tomato and Serrano ham, a goat cheese salad with pears and pine nuts, and my favorite—a roulade of pounded veal cutlet stuffed with both Serrano and Manchego and served with a spicy tomato sauce. Would there be room for the soon-to-come paella? You betcha! Huertas continues, “Before La Traviata I worked at The Double A, which became Cowboy, and also was a sous chef at Santacafé. With El Mesón, I have the chance to be authentic and pay homage to the recipes of Spain. I was excited when La Boca opened around the corner. The idea of tapas is to go to different places and have a few plates here and there. There was no real tapas scene when we opened. El Farol had a buffet setup I think. I decided to add the bar and live flamenco music, because tapas dining is all about nightlife. We have it all under one roof here.” Music and dancing are a very important part of the El Mesón theme. In addition to Flamenco, there is also tango dancing weekly and jazz and acoustic performances. “Robert Duval was here many times dancing tango with his beautiful wife when he was filming in New Mexico,” Huertas brags. Even our new governor, Susanna Martinez, has dined on Huertas’ cuisine. (Continued on page 32) 18
PO S A D A
S A N TA FE
R E SO RT & S PA
Join us for the Art of Dining
Restaurant Week March 6—13 Santa Fe’s neighborhood restaurant, Fuego, is celebrating Restaurant Week. Restaurant Week Prix Fixe menu is $30 per person starting at 5:30pm. 330 E. Palace Avenue, Santa Fe Reservations 505-954-9670 • Opentable.com localflavorad2_Layout 1 2/23/11 3:08 PM Page 1
A Feast for the Senses
Dinner Reservations: 505.995.2334 505.982.5511 Main
www.lafondasantafe.com 100 E. San Francisco St. Santa Fe, New Mexico
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
This ad was designed by New Mexico Restaurant Week and donated by localflavor
So many restaurants, so little time!
LA S A N TA FE
PO S A D A
R E SORT & S PA
N Santuario de Guadalupe T.
W. WA TE
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DA ST .
DE VA R
New M State Capi exico tol Buildin g
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A Taste of Life in New Mexico
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Terra at Encantado | 877.262.4666 | 198 State Road 592
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ST. OV AL
IS D ANC T. FR 84 S 285/
IS D ANC T. FR 84 S 285/
Sunday Brunch Mediterranean & Italian
Four Courses with Champagne $27/person – 11am - 3pm
Inspired Cuisine by Chef Owner Steven Lemon
Dinner 7 nights
Three course Prix fixe menu Mon & Tues 5-8 $19 Wine Dinners every 3rd Thursday March 17 featuring Italian Wines
15 mins. from Santa Fe | 84/285 North, 86 Cities of Gold Rd. Between the Nambe Shop & Pueblo of Pojoaque Poeh Museum
amavirestaurant.com 221 Shelby, Santa Fe 505-988-2355
Reservations 505.455.2000 Mon 5pm-9pm Tues Thru saT 11am-9pm Closed sunday
restaurant week March 6–13, 2011
where local farming and great food come together Santa Fe’s locavore restaurant
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch 505-471-3800 | JoesSantaFe.com
2801 Rodeo Rd (where Rodeo meets Zia Rd) 7:30 a.m - 9:00 p.m. | Tues – Sun
erra at Encantado Resort will be participating in Santa Fe’s annual restaurant week with a special three course menu— $40 per person. Menu Highlights First Course: Avocado and Beet Salad with smoked trout crostini, grapefruit vinaigrette Second Course: Sous Vide Duck Breast with jumbo asparagus, wild rice and foie gras croquettes, blackberry cassis sauce Dessert: Gianduja Dark Chocolate Torte –hazelnut shortbread
Reservations: 505.946.5800 198 State Road 592 I Santa Fe I encantadoresort.com
See Ya at the Zia! Join us for Restaurant Week Three course dinner $20.00 Call for Reservations
326 S. Guadalupe •
988-7008 • www.ziadiner.com
finding s t o r y b y PA R I N O S K I N TA I C H E R T photos by GABRIELLA MARKS
“When I graduated from college, I wanted to change the world,” says Suzette Lindemuth, the founder of the Center for Ageless Living. Today, she sits at a round pink table in her office above the Garden Gate Day Spa and Salon. It’s one of the many structures on the Center’s six-acre property located off the highway between Los Lunas and Belen. Tall cottonwoods,
with their gnarled branches, border the land to the north and south. Plum, quince, cherry, peach and other fruit trees stand near the pond, their first tiny spring buds greeting the new season. Though the office’s windows are closed against the morning’s chill, Sandhill Cranes can be heard trilling in the distance. When Lindemuth began building the Center in 1990, she knew she wanted to create an entire environment with all the components possible to encourage healthy, joyous aging. “I wanted a sustainable community where we’d recycle water, we’d grow our own food, where there would be enough diversity on campus so that people here would be able to build friendships—and so that people from the outside would want to come and support our efforts,” Lindemuth says. To do so meant looking at the relationships between the various systems in which—and with which—we humans interact daily. Lindemuth soon realized her approach to these goals couldn’t be summed up easily in a sound bite. So she resorted to art. The Center’s logo is a loam-colored tree with five green leaves. Each represents one of the Center’s divisions: the day spa and salon, restaurant, community programs, residential living and elder personal services. What makes this effort so interesting is the way Lindemuth integrates her goals and services into a vibrant interdependent whole. “We focus here on the art of aging gracefully. We define grace as the ability to have inner flexibility, resilience and acceptance,” Lindemuth says, pausing to consider her next words. “Good, healthy food is essential to the process, as is exercise. We also want to cultivate inner and outer beauty. There’s strength, too—
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
both mental and physical. And we want to celebrate wisdom—the sage part of us. We want and need to share the journey that elders have gone through.” Every building on the Center’s grounds has a well-conceived purpose to support the entire endeavor. There are three assisted-living homes, each of which houses 15 residents. Every week, in addition to yoga classes, these elderly occupants automatically receive either a massage or salon appointment. But what about the other people in their worlds? The Garden Gate Day Spa and Salon grew out of Lindemuth’s understanding that no one exists in a vacuum. “Caregivers and adult children often feel guilty or overwhelmed by the aging process. They also worry about finances—their own and those of their parents,” she says. Lindemuth wanted these important people, as well as her own employees, to be able to relax and benefit from affordable spa experiences too. At the same time, as director of the Center, Lindemuth needed to be mindful of its financial health. “Forty percent of the elderly here are lowincome,” she says. So Lindemuth created the public spa to meet several needs. The facility has all the amenities you’d expect to find—full body massages, facials, wraps, salt glows, foot rituals and more. A customer can spend the entire day at the spa enjoying its services, taking a dip in the outdoor year-round heated pool and one of the two hot tubs. Ablebodied visitors might not be aware of this, but Lindemuth made sure the rooms are big enough to accommodate people in wheelchairs or those who might need an assistant to enjoy a spa experience too. So many aspects of the Garden Gate Day Spa are environmentally sound and sustainable that it was selected by Day Spa Magazine as the 2010 Top Green Spa for its commitment to “green.” And then there’s the food. Lindemuth knew from her own childhood in rural Pennsylvania how much better fresh herbs and produce taste than their cellophane-wrapped counterparts. She added several gardens to the Center’s grounds, including some with beds raised high enough for people with limited mobility to get their hands in the rich brown soil. From the beginning, Lindemuth served good healthy food to her residents. But what about other people? Shouldn’t caregivers, families, and people in the surrounding areas have access to the same quality comestibles? That’s how the Green House Rotisserie came into being. Since its opening as a take-out bistro in 2004, it has become a popular resource for fresh baked breads, pastries, gourmet main meals, soups, salads and the restaurant’s signature rotisserie chicken. “So people visiting our Center can come for a full-day spa experience and then pick up dinner before they go home,” says Lindemuth, with a grin. The Center’s food programs don’t end there. Lindemuth makes a point of buying from local growers whenever possible because she firmly believes that building communities involves supporting other communities. She also started the Field to Food initiative when her gardens provided more bounty than the Center could use. Each growing season, Lindemuth partners with the Belen Meals on Wheels program to get her fresh produce to more than 150 homebound recipients. She is now working to involve other local farmers so that even more people can be served. To build and increase a sense of community internally and externally, Lindemuth has also developed educational programs such as intergenerational gardening days with her residents and local school children. Each year, gatherings and celebrations are a mainstay in the Center’s large open park. One of the most popular events is its Field to Food annual gala fundraiser in June. But how does all of this feed into “aging gracefully?” Though she has always found jobs to help people live better lives, 24
| Founder Suzette Lindemuth
Lindemuth found her passion in the mid 1980s. At that time, she worked at two rehabilitation hospitals as a recreational therapist. She saw that there weren’t many options for older people who couldn’t live alone any longer, but who didn’t need intensive medical care. Then Lindemuth read Betty Friedan’s The Fountain of Age. “I remember being incredibly moved by the book,” she says. “It opened my eyes about aging and about isolation.” If there weren’t good options for the elderly who needed assistance, Lindemuth would create them herself! She soon opened the first of three residential homes in Albuquerque. But in the beginning, her good intentions didn’t go quite as planned. “Even in a small group milieu, a person can feel utterly isolated,” Lindemuth says. She soon realized that many older people correlate self-sufficiency with being alone. “They say, ‘I’ve lived alone all of my life.’” Lindemuth shakes her head. “But it’s not true! They were born into families. Most married and had children. We’re social beings. We all function better when we’re part of a supportive, loving community.” Lindemuth wanted to create an environment where people “feel welcomed and part of a community very quickly.” Building community however, involves more than a token game of bingo. Lindemuth wanted to really improve her residents’ lives. She offered all kinds of activities and exercise programs. “We had on-site salon services in my homes, because people who look better usually feel better too,” Lindemth says. “We provided massages, because touch is so incredibly important to human beings and the elderly often have lost spouses or others who might give them this much-needed connection.” She also introduced alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractics and aromatherapy. Lindemuth even tried to address her residents’ attitudes about eating because she knew that better food meant better health. “One
La Casa Sena Celebrate with us during the month of March!
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Thank you to all of our guests for their support. Follow us on Facebook during the month of March for Anniversary Specials 125 East Palace, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505) 988-9232 | lacasasena.com
time I offered a wonderful gazpacho soup in one of my homes. This was in 1987.” Lindemuth’s eyes widen with amusement and she soon bursts out laughing. “A cold soup made of raw vegetables? They threw it at me!” Even with tomato-stained clothes, Lindemuth didn’t give up. She learned from those experiences and vowed to build a community where people of all ages could be involved with people of all ages, a place where a fresh picked lettuce—from her own gardens—would be on her residents’ plates, a place founded on green principles of living where everything supported and depended on everything else. Since her college graduation, Lindemuth has had decades to think about what makes a real difference in the quality of peoples’ lives. A lot of it comes down to this: “Community isn’t just one person. We all need to give a little--and why wouldn’t we?” Lindemuth looks up, her brown-gray hair backlit by the window’s reflection, her face in semi-shadow. “It’s such a simple little thing. We’re all here to help each other.” The Center for Ageless Living is located at 3216 NM 47 south of Los Lunas. 505.865.8813. www.nmagelessliving.com. Their annual Field to Food gala gourmet dinner and celebration will be held on June 24. Tickets are $45/person. 505.865.8813. Pari Noskin Taichert is a multi-published novelist, two-time Agatha Award finalist and founder of Murderati.com. She is also chair of Left Coast Crime Santa Fe which will bring mystery authors and readers from around the world to the City Different, March 24-27, 2011: http://leftcoastcrime.org/2011/
The Perfect Place For Any Occasion! Host your next dinner party, business meeting or reception at Rio Chama.
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A Taste of Life in New Mexico
STUFFED OLIVES Manzanilla olives are a delight on their own but especially so when they are stuffed with complimentary ingredients: try anchovy stuffed, lemon stuffed, or Piquillo pepper stuffed Manzanilla olives from The Spanish Table. We also carry Paella Burners, Cookbooks Clay Cookware: Tagines & Cazuelas Jamon Serrano, Chorizos, Smoked Paprika Olive Oils from Spain & Portugal YES, WE SHIP!
The Spanish Table
109 N Guadalupe, Santa Fe, New Mexico M on - Sat 10 am to 6 pm ; Sun 11 am to 5 pm (505) 986-0243
FROM SANTA FEâ€™S RAILYARD PARK & PLAZA TO SUN MOUNTAIN, THE TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND WORKS TO SAVE THE LANDS THAT SANTA FEANS LOVE.
PLEASE HELP US CREATE PARKS AND PROTECT SPECIAL PLACES THROUGHOUT NEW MEXICO.
1600 Lena Street Building C Santa Fe, NM 87505 505.988.5922 www.tpl.org/newmexico Photos: Left, Don Usner. Right, Maggie Muchmore.
s e s r o H for heroes s t o r y b y E M I LY R U C H
p h o t o s b y K AT E R U S S E L L
all and slender, with rivulets of goldenbrown hair cascading loosely down her back, when she greets me at the door my first thought is that this woman is as stunning as she is strong. Before I have a chance to introduce myself, Rick comes striding across a ruddy stretch of Saltillo tile and shakes my hand warmly. He immediately offers me a cup of tea, and Nancy pulls three mugs from the cupboard. As we wait for the kettle to boil he asks about my time in the service, my family’s ranch and whether or not I take honey in my tea. Meet retired U.S. Marshal and former Green Beret
Rick Iannucci and his fiancée, Nancy De Santis, both of the Crossed Arrows Ranch. Together they administer the Santa Fe-based nonprofit
Nancy De Santis and Rick Iannucci
Horses for Heroes-New Mexico, Inc., and Cowboy Up!, its visionary horse therapy and vocational rehabilitation program for veterans. Steaming mugs in hand, we file into the living room and sink deep into the cushions of two overstuffed sofas. Rick is an eager storyteller, and by the time I’ve taken two sips he is well on his way to recounting how he and Steve Price of the Bonanza Creek Ranch shared an epiphany that ultimately led to Cowboy Up’s creation. He recalls the moment when, weary with the sweet exhaustion of a long day spent gathering cattle, they realized how beneficial cowboying could be for combat veterans. The room fades, and I’m saddling up with my uncle in the dark, slipping through shadows of mesquite and redberry juniper while dawn is just a thought on the horizon. Maybe, I muse, cowboys have had it figured out all along, and I mention what feels right to call the spirituality of horsemanship. “Which is huge for us,” Rick responds. “Some of the old timers get it. They don’t say it like we say it. You know, ‘I don’t know about no zen stuff, Rick, but I sure do feel right when I’m ahorseback!’” That “zen stuff” is exactly what Rick and Nancy strive to share with veterans suffering from physical injuries and combat trauma. “The effects of war, especially in the space age, and multiple deployments— the operational tempo is unlike anything anybody’s ever experienced before,” Rick says. “I see these kids comin’ off these airplanes—they don’t even shave and they’ve got a combat patch.” I shake my head, remembering the day my youngest joe celebrated his eighteenth birthday in a forward operating base chow hall. “Holy shit!” Rick says, “This kid will have seen more combat than all of his ancestors put together in his short little lifetime.” Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for young soldiers to serve three or even four deployments of twelve to
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
eighteen months apiece in today’s modern, all-volunteer military, and some serve more, so it’s little wonder we’re seeing such a high incidence of PTSD among returning vets. Rather than shying away from this overwhelming problem or becoming paralyzed with despair, Rick and Nancy approach it in the no-nonsense manner of a cowhand mending fence—sometimes literally. Through partnerships with the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association and seven member ranches, Cowboy Up gives veterans a chance to try their hands at a variety of common ranching procedures, relying on the remarkable similarities between the cowboy and warrior cultures to provide them with vocational rehabilitation that goes far beyond preparation for a new career. Horses are at the heart of the program’s success. “The horse is the first equation of the program,” says Nancy. “When they come in here and work with horses, it’s their first handshake of getting back to themselves and touching their center,” she says, “because they’ve been so lost, especially with coming back into society and trying to reintegrate.” Rick leans over and selects a ginger cookie from a dish on the coffee table, considers it for a moment and then delicately nibbles off a corner. Between bites
he tells me how a lot of the guys feel they get more from an afternoon on the ranch than they get from months of treatment at the VA. “No disrespect to the VA, they’re just outgunned out there. I mean they’ve just got people comin’ home in buckets.” “I think that’s what nature does for our spiritual being,” Nancy responds, “You’re stuck in a white room, you’re already kinda tense.” “And you’ve spent the last four or eight or twenty years,” I add, “being conditioned not to talk about that stuff.” “Especially to somebody you just, like, ‘What do I have in common with you, and why should I dig down and tell you anything?’ Whereas they get out here...” He glances out the window at the silvery folds of sagebrush-dappled foothills. “You know, we’re not counselors, we’re comrades. So when we sit around that fire up there, after you get off your horse, first of all you’ve already had a great experience, ‘cause you’ve done the physiotherapy part—I don’t care who you are, you get on that horse you’re gonna feel fine. It’s just the balance, the motion, they even have a whole science called hippotherapy that delves into the movement and how—” “—the horse mimics a human’s walking,” Nancy cuts in.
Horses for Heroes utilizes a combination of hippotherapy, therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted psychotherapy, but Rick and Nancy don’t get too caught up in the terminology. They’re happy to admit that they’ve stumbled, albeit with decided skill and intention, onto a powerful recipe for the restoration of body, heart and soul—equal parts camaraderie, American Quarter Horse and Turquoise Trail, a pair of fencing pliers and a pinch of faith—and they tailor the ingredients to suit the unique challenges faced by each individual veteran with impressive results. “We had a girl that was in a wheelchair for three years,” says Rick. “They just never dreamed she’d ever go horseback again. We got her ahorseback, and she’s ridin’ now and doing very, very well.” “Her horse,” Nancy says, “is her therapy.” She smiles and crosses her legs at the knees, faded blue jeans mirrored in a matching pair of friendly, blue eyes. Beneath the tidy bristle of a horseshoe mustache, Rick is smiling, too. “The things that we see happening are just so rewarding, so magical at times,” he says. “You have the magic of the horse, and then you start seeing people transforming again and the light coming back in their eyes.” That sense of satisfaction is enough to make all the sacrifices and hard work
worthwhile. Occasionally the nonprofit receives a donation, but it’s predominantly funded out of Rick’s pension. “The balancing act for me,” he says, “is not to put my family in the poorhouse while still maintaining operational levels of efficiency for the program. So that means the right amount of saddles, the right amount of horses. You know the expression ‘They eat you out of house and home’? Well we get that, because they literally do.” By partnering with the VA and the New Mexico Military Order of the Purple Heart, who handle intake and vetting, Rick and Nancy have managed to virtually eliminate administration costs. None of the instructors are paid, so essentially every cent of every gift goes directly to the program. “Basically it goes to feed the horses,” Rick explains. Of course, you won’t catch these two complaining, not least of all because they get to spend every day working with horses on their beloved (and breathtaking) Crossed Arrows Ranch. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” says Nancy, “the most rewarding.” I’m suddenly reminded of a freckle-faced girl in purple ropers and a pair of hand-me-down chaps, memorizing words like “fetlock” and “withers” and dreaming of one day growing up to be a bona fide cowgirl. When Nancy throws on her old, tan cowboy hat with a hawk feather resting on the weatherworn brim, I realize this woman is living my dream. With a knowing grin, I recite an old Arabian proverb— “The wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears”—and ask, “How have they managed to enchant mankind for so long?” “Well, I like the Arab quote there,” says Rick. “Man’s search for meaning has always centered around things which are magical and majestical to him. The Indians call God the Great Mystery, and I think horses rank right up there with that level of creature. They are a great mystery.” “The sheer size of them and beauty of them,” says Nancy with reverence, “I’ve always found that hard to put into words, to be honest with you.” “They’re scary, and at the same time they’re gentle. Kinda like the ocean,” Rick reflects. “When you see the ocean, you go, ‘Wow, that is just so beautiful.’ And waves are crashing, and you know that if you swam out there you’d probably get sucked right out into a tide and perhaps drown unless you can defy nature and death. The way I look at it is these creatures are gifts from God, and God has allowed us to establish a partnership with them to accomplish the things we need to do in life.” “I’d say freedom, too,” says Nancy. “To be on that horseback and go with the wind in your hair and ride like the wind!” Unable to say it any better myself, I nod in agreement. “You got a pair of boots?” Rick asks, without warning. “We might even be able to rustle you up a pair.” As it happens, I have a pair of boots in my Jeep at this very moment. “Because I didn’t know what might happen when I came out here!” I say, laughing. “Well, why don’t you come with us?” he asks. “You don’t mind if they get muddy, do you?” If you are a veteran or know of one who may be interested in Horses for Heroes-New Mexico, Inc., they can be reached at 505.798.2535. www.horsesforheroes.org. If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please visit the website or mail a check or money order made payable to Horses for Heroes-New Mexico, Inc., PO Box 1882, Santa Fe, NM 87504.
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
n a m o k o K story by JAMES SELBY photos by GABRIELLA MARKS
ith last month’s issue, localflavor began a series featuring Northern New Mexico’s independent wine merchants. Why these? Being neighbors proffering things to taste, they fit the mission of the magazine. Specifically, attention is being paid because we observed something distinct occurring. In addition to being a small business struggling to keep the lights on, each shop, grand or modest, is guided by individuals in lockstep with consumers concerned with husbandry of fields and waterways, who revere craft and have high regard for natural process, vineyard to table. The indistinguishable
them intent on putting hands-on wine at your table. I was invited to the home of a family newly relocated from Europe to Tesuque, and my eye went to some Châteauneuf-duPape and Crozes-Hermitage by a good producer in the Côtes du Rhône. The host was asked where he liked to shop for his wine selections locally. “Oh,” he said, “I buy them online.” When told he had fortuitously plunked down a couple of miles from Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor, one of the great wine shops in New Mexico—indeed, the U.S.—he looked askance. “Oh, you mean the place that looks like a warehouse for kegs?” Well, yes, they have those. But take note: Big red letters on the building say BURGUNDY. Now walk through the doors of Kokoman and meet owner Keith Obermaier. A dash of salt peppers Keith Obermaier’s thick, cayenne-colored hair, not much gray for a guy who came from Chicago to attend the University of New Mexico thirty-odd years ago to matriculate in engineering, a path that left him unfulfilled. Leaving college, he took work in Durango as a carpenter and, subsequently, in Central Oregon, on a cattle ranch. “It was fun,” he industrial choices are still says, “but it was very hard work.” available anywhere, but more By this time, he had started a than ever, in your neighborhood family and begun to rethink life retail outlet, they share the shelves after a nightmarish encounter with wines made in the artisanal with a chainsaw left the side of spirit. We wanted to explore his face nearly paralyzed. As it this community and introduce so often will, New Mexico had local merchants, one by one, gotten under his skin and he rewho have journeyed to wine settled in Santa Fe. Using brains country, walked rows of vines, rather than brawn, Obermaier and met the farmer who grew the found success working “hedges” grapes. If not the farmer, then the for Smith-Barney but, again, not winemaker; if not the winemaker, satisfaction. the importer or supplier—all of
“My father was a concert violinist,” says Keith. “He gave up what he loved to make a career as a physicist and do the ‘right’ thing. I didn’t want to make that mistake.” One of Keith’s customers at the brokerage had a floundering liquor and beer mart north of Santa Fe up for sale. It was called Kokoman (named for the mythic boogeyman parents call up to keep young children in check.) It sat at the crossroads to Taos and Los Alamos in a community called Pojoaque (“watering hole” in Tewa) in what had been a converted gas station. In 1984, the keys were passed to Keith and “Fine Wine” was officially added to the business name. In the beginning, it was one bottle at a time. “We didn’t even have shelves,” says Keith. “All the product sat on boxes. Half the space was blocked off.” Seeing the space today, it’s difficult to imagine. The first room you enter, the size of a high-school gym, has a long wall of beer coolers and a bank of microbrews, 800 of them. What doesn’t fit on the shelf is stacked on the floor. An aisle is given to bulk wine in large formats, and two more are set with aperitifs, liqueurs and spirits. “If the product is distributed in New Mexico,” says General Manager Jerome Valdez, who started working there as a teenager and has been there longer than Keith, “it’s in Kokoman. Or we can get it.” The real oasis is in the adjoining room, where a maze of racks, shoulder-high, is encompassed by even taller shelves lining the walls, all jamfull of wine. Stacked on top of these are crates from the châteaux of Bordeaux, their august names burned into the wood: Margaux, Latour, Lafite-Rothschild, Mouton-Rothschild, HautBrion. Then there are the Grand Cru Domaines of Burgundy: La Tâche, Romanée-Conti, Clos de Vougeot. All empty chests that tell the tale of treasures come and gone. Actually, some are still there, in one of two enclosed wine cellars kept at proper
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
temperature and humidity and protected from too much ardent fondling. But all you need do to peruse them is ask a friendly clerk. The rest of us walk among a select offering of 3500 wines in all price categories. There is a $10 rack, a $5 bin, a discount shelf for remainders of discontinued bottles and stacks of wines purchased in volume and priced accordingly. Or meander with a shopping cart (10% is taken off any mixed case of twelve bottles) through the regions of the world. Say you’re looking for a Pinot Noir. Oregon? Over there. California? There. Burgundy? Voilà. Or Riesling. German, Alsatian, Austrian, Australian. Domestic? More than you know. Most customers prefer to wander on their own. But if you’re looking for something specific, or dare chance a wine you haven’t tried, Wine Director Phil Hemberger is likely to pop up from behind a wine rack to be of assistance. Hemberger moved to New Mexico to work as a chemist at Los Alamos. “Twentyfive years ago, Kokoman was the first place I stopped on my way up to the lab,” says Phil. “Been coming here ever since.” Happily retired, he took a job there helping in the wine department a couple of days a week to increase his knowledge. (Really, to get the employee discount.) Not without some reluctance at giving up his free time, Phil stepped into the full-time position of manager. Asked if he misses mixing things in test tubes, he pauses and says, “I wasn’t that kind of chemist.” That humor and graciousness, a scientist’s efficiency and an earnest predilection toward fine achievements in all endeavors mark his new tenure. Free public tastings occur, without fail, every Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring a guest winemaker or distributor, frequently providing food to enhance the experience. Martine Saunier, an importer with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and a home in France, made her annual trek in early February to
Kokoman appear at the Taos Winter Wine Festival and conduct an event at Kokoman. One of the holdings in Martine’s portfolio is Domaine Morey-Coffinet, a small producer in Chassagne-Montrachet, among the great communes of Côtes d’Or. While a “chateau” in Bordeaux denotes a house surrounded by its vineyards, in Burgundy, following the French Revolution, these valuable properties were broken up into “domaines,” in some cases with only a row or two of vines, resulting in hundreds of small family wineries. Wines from these sites can be heartstoppingly expensive, but most families bottle simple “Bourgogne” appellated wine as well, from grapes sourced from outside their own vineyards. As the 2009 Morey-Coffinet Bourgogne Rouge is sampled, it is telling to watch Keith, known for his take-noprisoners-palate, look at the color, inhale and sip. Graceful and silky, the youthful, regional wine, with classic Pinot Noir flavors of grenadine, tart cranberry and a finish of cinnamon, over delivered for its modest price. Paradoxically, it was elegant and powerful, evoking a musky scent of earth and of the human body. “That is just wonderful,” says Keith putting down his glass, clearly happy with what he has discovered. Kokoman Fine Wine & Liquor is located at 34 Cities of Gold Road off of NM 285 North. 505.455.2219. www.kokomanliquors.com. They are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Who: David Taylor What: Volunteer chef Where: St. Elizabeth Shelter When: Tuesdays or Fridays Why: “I’m a Mason, and we believe in volunteering in the community. Working at St. E’s makes me feel good.”
Building Futures • Changing Lives www.steshelter.org
You, too, can volunteer to join our fabulous kitchen team. Just call Susan at 505-982-6611. Compliments of localflavor magazine
(Continued from page 18) When the paella arrives, it’s amazing, loaded with seafood and big chunks of lobster. I quiz Huertas on his paella secrets. “We have four paellas on the menu, and it’s all about skill, talent and timing. We always start from scratch. No par-cooked rice, we use bomba rice from Valencia. And really good broth is, of course, important. A good paella can be done in 25 to 27 minutes.” (And this one is great!) Rianna comes by to say goodnight. She is excited that she and her dad are going away for a father-daughter snowboarding weekend in Colorado over the Presidents’ Day weekend. I ask her if she likes to cook. “Yes, I like to make up recipes. The first thing I made was too salty, then I made a bread with too much dill, then I made some basil-cinnamon muffins that had too much cinnamon,” she adorably confesses. Clearly a palate in progress. We box up two-thirds of the paella, and I manage one bite each of Kelly’s decadent flourless chocolate cake and beyond-creamy cheesecake— still as delicious as I remembered it. Seeing Huertas interact with Kelly and Rianna, it is clear this family business is a happy one. After his wife and child have left, Huertas reflects, “There is something in the air in Spain, a scent and smell. I smell it here in Northern New Mexico—thyme, oregano, sage, all coming together. That’s why Santa Fe inspires me to cook authentic Spanish; it just fits.” A man of few words perhaps, but articulate just the same. El Mesón is located at 213 Washington Street in Santa Fe. 505.983.6756. www.elmeson-santafe.com. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to closing. 32
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A Taste of Life in New Mexico
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lbuquerque needs a restaurant like Desert Fish. If there’s any doubt, just walk into the Northwestthemed seafood eatery for lunch or dinner service any day of the week. Already, within a mere two months of opening, Desert Fish is almost always packed to its steel, unfinished wood and blue-walled gills (I just can’t help myself ). Albuquerque has spoken: The people want fish.
Actually, the people want really good fish—the kind that tastes like it was pulled out of an ocean a few hours before being slid onto their plates, the kind that’s rare in our landlocked burg. And that’s exactly the kind Desert Fish serves up. I had my own special kind of reawakening at the restaurant. I’d been a vegetarian for four and a half years, but I’d dabbled in the idea of going back to fish for about half that time. After stealing samples of my lunchtime dining companion’s cioppino—a stew filled with shrimp, Dungeness crab, salmon, clams and mussels in a gorgeously savory tomato broth—I realized I’d suddenly become a pescatarian, because there wasn’t a chance I was stopping there. When I returned for dinner a few days later, I ordered the fish and chips. Desert Fish’s version features two hefty strips of beer-battered Alaskan cod perched atop a bed of fries—you get to choose between sweet potato, truffle and house.
story by CHRISTIE CHISHOLM photos by GAELEN CASEY
Rounding out the plate are three green-chile hushpuppies, tartar sauce and a crisp, red bell pepper–laced side of coleslaw. I, of course, chose the sweet potato fries for my fish’s bedding, and they, like the rest of the meal, were wonderful. Lightly crisp on the outside yet tantalizingly tender on the inside and sprinkled with large flakes of sea salt, they’re possibly the best sweet potato fries I’ve tasted. And the cod—oh, the cod. Perfectly cooked, the fish flakes apart in large chunks but retains its juices, and the beerbattered casing is neither mushy nor crunchy, striking a hard-toachieve balance between the worlds of soft and firm. In fact, everything about Desert Fish’s menu is about balance. On the most obvious level, its items run the spectrum from easily affordable to special-occasion expensive. For example, you can get a bowl of clam chowder for $5, various oysters from the iceclad oyster bar for $2 to $3 a pop, the Mojito ceviche (rock cod marinated in lime juice, light rum, sugar and mint and served with house-made blue corn chips) for $8, the cioppino for $22 or the Caesar seafood platter (with two Dungeness crab clusters, six oysters and a half pound of cocktail shrimp atop romaine lettuce spears with Caesar dressing, cocktail sauce and drawn butter— whew) for $32. Obviously, most of the menu floats in seafood territory, but there is a grilled tarragon chicken and a grilled rib eye steak au poivre for the meat eaters. And there are a couple of veggie-friendly options, too—mushroom kabobs grilled with other fresh vegetables, a green salad in a honeyed balsamic vinaigrette and the various fries options are the only pure vegetarian items, but a couple other dishes would do well with substitutions. The most delightful way balance is found on the menu, though, is through individual dishes. Everything my dining
companions and I tasted succeeded in finding this balance of flavor and texture. The cioppino’s broth manages a touch of sweetness amid its savoriness. The breaded cod in the fish and chips keeps its structure and is still succulent. A flourless chocolate torte—draped in homemade whipped cream, strawberry slices and mint leaves—is almost mousselike in its texture, resisting the urge so many similar tortes have to be overpoweringly dense and rich. And to top it off, Desert Fish serves coffee from what I believe is the best roaster in the state—Red Rock Roasters—which always provides a perfectly balanced cup. Desert Fish is 28-year-old Tessa Zemon’s first entrepreneurial endeavor, and the place first opened its doors on December 10. A great measure of its success is obviously due to Executive Chef Carrie Eagle. Originally hired as Desert Fish’s sous chef, Eagle was plunged into the position after the previous executive chef left four days before the restaurant was slated to open (all Zemon and Eagle will say about the departure is that it “wasn’t the right fit”). After 15 years of experience in the food service industry (which includes helping open JC’s New York Pizza Department and most recently working as a catering chef for Zinc, Seasons and Savoy), Eagle’s used to working under pressure, and Desert Fish opened without any big setbacks. Changing executive chefs at the last minute wasn’t the restaurant’s only hurdle. Originally, Zemon co-owned Desert Fish with Peter Martin, who has a long history as a restaurant manager as well as a musician and booker. Martin is from Seattle, and the concept for the restaurant was his. The two met while working at a restaurant in Santa Fe—Martin as the general manager and Zemon as a server and bartender who also dealt some with the financial side of the business—and they designed Desert Fish together. But due to family issues, Martin moved back to Seattle at the end of January, and now Zemon is the sole owner. “We were prepared,” she says of the transition. “We’re moving forward well.”
You wouldn’t know there had ever been a hitch when walking into Desert Fish, which is split into two equally elegant dining areas. The larger main room, which seats 100, features sea-blue booths that wrap around white-topped tables, a large, full-service bar and a stage for bands, which play at least three nights a week. When Zemon and Martin were developing the space with architect Jeff Chiavetta of Daily Design, live music was a priority for them, and they designed the acoustics accordingly. The second space is a quieter 50-seat dining area, which can be separated from the main room by three sliding, wood-paneled doors. Desert Fish also has a patio that faces Central, and it will be put into use once the weather warms. Zemon and Eagle have other plans for the restaurant, too, which include growing their menu and their wine list, already boasting 60 offerings from small, water-adjacent vineyards around the globe. Eventually, Eagle wants to use as much local produce as possible in her ingredients. “I have every intention of using Los Poblanos,” she says, referring to the local organic farm with community-sponsored agriculture. One thing that will stay the same, though, is Desert Fish’s seafood, which is all wild-caught and flown in fresh from Ocean Beauty and Seattle Fish. If the large number of people flooding through Desert Fish’s doors continues, Zemon and Eagle’s goals may not be far off. Zemon seems relieved by how receptive the city has been to the restaurant. “You put in so much work, and you wonder, will people like the product?” she says. “Taking a concept unique to Albuquerque is scary and risky, but the community has embraced us.” Desert Fish is located at 4214 Central Avenue SE in Albuquerque. 505.266.5544. www.desertfishabq.com.
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
l l i t S Fig and Prosciutto Salad Chef Jason Greene of The Grove Cafe & Market
hungry? by CHRIS LINN
The Grove and salads—the perfect match. Using as many locally grown and produced items as possible, Jason combines unexpected and amazing flavors, taking salad well beyond its standby role as a side dish. Also offering fresh-baked breads and desserts and unique entrées, this gem of a restaurant sparkles in its East Downtown Albuquerque setting.
5 cups arugula 1 cup marinated figs 1/2 cup roasted hazelnuts 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds 4 ounces thinly sliced La Quercia prosciutto 4 ounces Old Windmill Dairy goat cheese 3 ounces red wine vinaigrette
Chef Arturo Suarez of Body If your dietary restrictions mean you always have to cook your own meals, happily, you have a dining-out alternative in Santa Fe. Body offers meals that are gluten-, sugar- or dairy-free, vegan and raw! But don’t think that means “not tasty.” Every mouthful will surprise you with its flavor and texture. Ingredients are organic; many are locally produced. And the kitchen staff welcomes special requests.
Marinated Figs 1 cup sliced dried figs 1 cup water 3 Tablespoons honey 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar 1 sprig thyme 1 teaspoon salt Bring water, honey, red wine, thyme and salt to a boil in saucepan. Pour over figs and let cool at room temperature. Store in liquid; figs will keep up to one week. Red Wine Vinaigrette 1/2 cup red wine vinegar 1/4 cup Dijon mustard 4 cloves garlic 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns 3 cups grape seed oil 1 Tablespoon salt In a blender add red wine, garlic, Dijon and peppercorns; blend until smooth. With motor running, slowing add oil in steady stream until mixture is emulsified. Add salt and check for seasoning. Toss the greens in a few ounces of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the arugula on a platter. Scatter the marinated figs through out the greens. Spread the pomegranate seeds and hazelnuts throughout the greens. Break the goat cheese into pieces and distribute. Arrange the sliced prosciutto so it sits on top of the greens. The Grove Cafe & Market, located at 600 Central S.E., Suite A, in Albuquerque, is open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 505.248.9800. www.thegrovecafemarket.com. 36
4-6 servings cooked brown rice 4-6 servings cooked black beans with salt, onions and carrots in the broth. Spice to your own preference. 4-6 servings steamed kale. The kale should be steamed for only about ten to fifteen seconds so it does not become bitter. Ginger Sauce 1/8 cup fresh, chopped ginger 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 Thai chili 1/8 cup water 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar 1/4 cup olive oil Place all items in a blender and emulsify. Dress the dish with the ginger sauce. Serves 4-6 Body is located at 333 Cordova Road in Santa Fe. The cafe is open 7 a.m. - 9 p.m., seven days a week. 505.986.1111. www.bodyofsantafe.com.
t’s your day for self-indulgence. You’ve scheduled your massage and an afternoon of building endorphins at the gym. But there’s no time for that leisurely lunch—and, frankly, idling in line at an indistinguishable fast food restaurant does not fit your vision of the perfect afternoon. Fortunately, localflavor is tuned into some amazing take-out places that are healthy and indulgent. If you don’t believe us, take a look at the recipes they shared straight from their take-out menus.
Caribbean Black Bean Soup Chef Carlos Briceno of Slurp Slurp owner Carlos Briceno spent his youth surfing the pale blue waters of the Caribbean. He brings the taste of his native Venezuela to “Santa Fe’s Only Airstream Eatery,” an unlikely but inviting vintage ’67 iconic trailer that cheers up this otherwise somber locale. While you wait for spring to warm you, try this soup to fire up your insides. Be sure to get some of their fresh-baked focaccia to go with it. 1 #10 can black beans (102 ounces), with juice 56 ounces chopped tomatoes in juice 2 Tablespoons olive oil 2 onions, finely diced 4 whole cloves garlic Water to cover 1 Tablespoon vegetable stock concentrate 1 bunch fresh cilantro 1 bay leaf 2 Tablespoons allspice 1 teaspoon cumin 2 Tablespoons dried red pepper flakes (or to taste) Salt and pepper to taste Sauté onions and garlic until lightly browned. Add beans, tomatoes, water, stock concentrate and bay leaf and bring to a simmer. Add allspice, cumin, red pepper flakes and half the cilantro and continue to simmer 15 to 30 minutes. Add remaining cilantro before serving. Garnish with pan-fried, ripe (sweet) plantains and a touch of sour cream, if desired. Serves 8. Slurp is located at 444 Galisteo Street in Santa Fe, opposite the State Capitol parking garage. They serve breakfast and lunch 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. 505.603.1800.
Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna with Parmesan Cream Sauce Chef Kim Müller of Real Food Nation Restaurant Like the other establishments in this column, Real Food Nation works with local producers to acquire the ingredients for their unique menu items. You can stop in for a coffee or a leisurely meal, and take-out is quick if you don’t find it hard to make a choice among their flavorful offerings. And just in case you really are on the run, lo and behold, there’s a drive-thru window. So call ahead and pull up to a real food treat! Squash Filling 1 large onion, finely chopped 2 ounces unsalted butter 3 to 4 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into ½ inch pieces 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley 1 Tablespoon chopped basil 1 large bunch lacinato kale, thick stem removed and leaves coarsely chopped Sauté onion in butter in a deep skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 10 minutes. Add squash, garlic, salt and pepper, and cook until squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, basil and kale. Cool the filling. Sauce 1 teaspoon minced garlic 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter 5 Tablespoons flour 5 cups whole milk 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper Make the sauce while the filling cooks. Cook garlic in butter in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderately low heat, stirring for one minute. Whisk in the flour and cook the roux for three minutes, whisking constantly to avoid scorching. Add milk slowly while whisking. Add bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat. Discard bay leaf. Assembling the Lasagna Preheat oven to 375. 1/2 pound whole milk mozzarella, coarsely grated 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 12 pieces of 7 by 3 1/2 inch no-boil lasagna Toss cheeses together. Spread 1/2 cup sauce in a buttered 13” by 9” by 2” (or 3-quart) baking dish and cover with three pieces of pasta, leaving spaces between sheets. Spread with 2/3 cup sauce and one third of the filling; sprinkle with a heaping 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat layers two more times, beginning with pasta sheets and ending with cheese. Top with remaining three sheets, remaining sauce and remaining cheese. Tightly cover baking dish with buttered foil and bake lasagna in middle of oven for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until golden and bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes more. Let lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10 Real Food Nation is located at 624 Old Las Vegas Highway in Santa Fe, at the intersection of US 285. Hours are Tuesday to Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. 505.466.3886. www.realfoodnation.biz.
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
La traviata Giuseppe Verdi
Welcome to Albuquerque’s #1 destination for Food, Beverage & Entertainment!
e l eva te d l o u n g e
k la aB
Great views, a unique downtown atmosphere
Mon - Sat 4pm to 2am 301 Central NW - 2nd Fl Albuquerque
l e tt a , c o u r
KiMo Theatre March 19th, 22nd, 25th at 7:30 pm March 27th at 2 pm information 243 0591 tickets ticketmaster.com and 800 745 3000
Season Sponsors - Garcia Automotive and Brabson Foundation REDW - Opening night sponsor
Santa Fe Pens Presents
The 16th Annual Santa Fe Pen Fair! Sat., March 12th, 10aM-6pM Sun., March 13th, noon -5pM
Santa Fe Custom Tornado by Retro 1951 exclusively at
Santa Fe Pens
Quality Service for more than 15 Years • Journals 20 Pen Companies• Fine Stationery • Writing Accessories Inks & Refills • Pen Restoration/Repair/Appraisal 500 Montezuma Ave. Sanbusco Market Center at the Railyard, Santa Fe 505-989-4742 www.santafepens.com
Monday – Saturday Noon to 2:30pm
Restaurant Week March 6th to March 11th
Daily 6pm – close
Daily 5pm – close
Celebrate “New Mexico Restaurant Week” in authentic southwestern elegance—with fresh, seasonal dishes artfully inspired by executive Chef, oliver Ridgeway. choice of starter
• select salad • anasazi signature soup • tequila Cured salmon Carpaccio
choice of entrée • slow Braised Beef Brisket • Blue Corn Crusted trout • vegetable Chile Rellenos choice of dessert • Crema Catalania • Citrus olive Cake • selection of home Made ice-Creams & sorbets
thRee CouRses: $30 peR peRson special pricing on select bottles of wine
Live music every Friday night 113 Washington ave. • santa Fe, nM • 505.988.3030 • innoftheanasazi.com
The Compound Restaurant 653 Canyon Road, Santa Fe Reservations 982.4353 compoundrestaurant.com
a day of beauty
$150 per person 3 hours of bliss for two Manicure-Pedicure Choice of Aroma Facial or Aroma Massage
505-819-2140 | www.buffalothunderresort.com Value $300 each. Special Package $300 for two. Minimum purchase of one package. Tax and gratuity not included. Reservations based on availability. Management reserves all rights.
A Taste of Life in New Mexico
Soul or Sin? Choose.
JULY 1, 6, 9, 15; AUGUST 1, 8, 15, 20, 24, 27
Be seduced by one of the greatest of all operas as Faust trades his soul for the chance to attract Marguerite. With melodies to die for, smoldering arias, and a red-hot ballet...donâ€™t miss the temptation Gounod's masterpiece delivers as Faust joins the Santa Fe repertory for the first time! Enjoy video and audio highlights online.
I 505-986-5900 I www.SantaFeOpera.org