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El Paso & Southern New Mexico

inspired outdoor living

inspiration ideas resources

an El Paso adobe hums with life

in with the old vintage meets modern in Las Cruces

mind, body, spirit

Santa Fe spa getaways VOL. 1 NO. 2 SPRING 2013


Custom Landscapes ■ Pools & Spas ■ Water Features Outdoor Kitchens ■ Pergolas ■ Fireplaces ■ Lighting

El Paso & Southern New Mexico


inspiration ideas resources

58 southwestern



38 in with the old

With their antique collection and historical aesthetics in mind, a Las Cruces couple builds a home with mountain and canyon views.

48 a home in harmony

An innovative floor plan, creative siting, and a feel for synchrony set this Las Cruces home apart from the rest.

Janiece Ward’s Upper Valley home exemplifies her love of nature, while her garden is a haven for migrating hummingbirds.

64 Spanish Colonial revived


An El Paso family with ties to Santa Barbara brings some California style to West Texas.

SU C A S A S p r i n g 2013

Top: Janiece Ward; Left: Bill Faulkner

58 humming with life

in every issue

6 Inside Su Casa

8 Life+Style Southwest Rethinking outdoor living spaces, water-friendly xeric landscaping, home renovation expert Steve Thomas talks gray water systems, mosaic tiles for kitchens and baths, and more.

30 Design Studio

Stained glass artist Gail Boone shares her colorful world, ornamental iron makes a statement, and Torres Welding celebrates 30 years of business.

72 Su Libro

A vegan chef shares her favorite recipes, and an award-winning garden designer uses cacti as his design centerpieces in two brand new books.

74 Vida Buena Acupuncture treatments go needle-free, Rolex watches stand the test of time, and beauty product recommendations from a local expert.

82 Live Performance Calendar

Music, drama, and dance performances for the spring season.

84 Travel The best spas for a Santa Fe getaway and luxury cruising through Alaska.

92 Su Cocina Chef Johnny Vee plans a party with two doctors in their lovely kitchen, vegetarian dining options in El Paso, and ingredients and recipes to create delicious Spanish cuisine. 104 Dream On A backyard with unforgettable views of the El Paso valley. On the cover: The inviting entryway to a Las Cruces home mixes Western and Southwestern aesthetics. Read about it on page 38. Photograph by Bill Faulkner.

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S U C A S A S p r i n g 2013

Courtesy of Holland America Line


Inside Su Casa

intricately connected

T Quality

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Contractor & Builder Packages

915-351-6868 11221 Rojas Dr. El Paso, TX 79935 M-F 8am - 6pm • SAT 9am - 5pm

hank you for opening up this, the second issue of Su Casa for the El Paso and Southern New Mexico communities. Our first issue was so well received, and we are delighted with all the new friends we have made in this process. The exciting news is that we’re only getting started! We are bursting with ideas to assist you in your home and life decisions. Our motto at Su Casa is, “Your home is your life. Make it beautiful.” We say this because our homes are extensions of our lives, reflecting our loves, interests, family, travels, and so much more. Our homes define who we are as individuals and who we are at our cores—themes that we eventually carry out in the designs of our homes. Thus, while Su Casa is filling you with ideas for your home, we’re also offering you exciting ideas to make your life more beautiful overall. In this issue of Su Casa magazine, you’ll learn about upcoming music concerts and great restaurants in our community, find recipes and cool kitchen gadgets, and discover why Rolex is director James Cameron’s wristwatch of choice. You’ll discover exciting new health and beauty treatments and get advice on gardening in our challenging climate. We’ll introduce you to vegetarian cuisine in our community and an El Paso physician who uses cooking as his own personal therapy. You will also see examples of exciting glass art and stunning ironwork and learn how to integrate both into your home.  Su Casa is about providing inspiration to make your home, as a reflection of your life, beautiful. In this issue, you’ll tour an El Paso home that integrates design influences from Santa Barbara, California, as the owners seek to connect their El Paso life with their previous one. Traditionalists will enjoy seeing how a Las Cruces couple deliberately incorporated a historical look into their newly built home. Our homes and our lives are intricately connected, each displaying our individual personalities, tastes, and passions. It all starts with ensuring we are beautiful on the inside first, so that we can easily translate that beauty to the exposed sides of our lives, including our homes. May this issue of Su Casa provide you with inspiration, ideas, and resources to make every aspect of your life so much more beautiful.

Bruce Adams Publisher

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

You You Can Can Teach Teach an an You You Can Can Teach Teach an an You You Can CanNew Teach Teach an an Old Old House House New Tricks! Tricks! Old Old House New Tricks! Old OldHouse House HouseNew New NewTricks! Tricks! Tricks!

inspiration ideas resources

Published by Bella Media, LLC Publisher Bruce Adams Business Development Bob Skolnick Associate Publisher B. Y. Cooper Editor Jessica Muncrief Executive Editor Amy Gross Associate Editor Samantha Schwirck Contributors Tiffany Etterling, R. Monroe Heather Parra, Julieta Rios Tom Ruggiero, Steve Thomas John Vollertsen Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Contributing Designer Michelle Odom Photography Bill Faulkner, Jesse Ramirez Wayne Suggs, Janiece Ward

For advertising information contact: office 915-581-2300 mobile 575-649-8340 Customer Service Manager Julieta Rios Operations Manager Ginny Stewart-Jaramillo

Please direct editorial queries to For subscriptions, call 818-286-3162

Copyright Š 2013 by Bella Media, LLC. El Paso Office 550 South Mesa Hills Drive, Suite D-1 El Paso, TX 79912 915-581-2300 Santa Fe Office 215 W San Francisco, Suite 300 Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-983-1444 Su Casa (ISSN 1084-4562) is published four times a year (March, June, September, and December) by Bella Media, LLC, 215 W San Francisco, Suite 300, Santa Fe, NM 87501. $9.95 for 4 issues or $15.95 for 8 issues. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to Su Casa El Paso, PO Box 15305, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5305.

Imagine Imaginethe thePossibilities Possibilities Imagine Imagine the the Possibilities Possibilities Imagine Imaginethe thePossibilities Possibilities

Life+Style Southwest

desert mirage When Mother Nature surprises the Southwest with unexpected blasts of cold weather, many homeowners brace themselves to see if their palms and cacti survived the freeze. The owners of this El Paso backyard, however, remain carefree—secure in the knowledge that weathering only enhances the look of their 21-foot, galvanized steel palm tree. Created by Desert Steel artists Eric Carroll and Richard Turner, this sculpture beautifully complements the colors and textures of the locale, setting the tone for an enchanting desert oasis.

Bill Faulkner

Desert Steel, 316-282-2244, Desert Walk (Las Cruces Distributor), 575-525-0737

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on the market


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fabulous panoramic views of mountains, sunsets, and El Paso city lights Own a magnificent luxury estate home at the top of Ocotillo Estates, a gated community on El Paso’s Westside. This beautiful, 5,415-square-foot, 4 bedroom/ 6 bath home is designed with hardwood and stone floors, cantera fireplaces, ceiling treatments, and two-story seamless glass windows for spectacular views. Custom cabinetry and Wolf and GE appliances are the hallmarks of the kitchen, while the outdoor living area features a beautiful infinity edge pool and spa, cantera patio decks and balconies, plus tiered desert garden landscaping. List Price: $1,275,000 Contact: Sandy Messer, Sandy Messer & Associates, 915-329-6111,

Well-appointed both inside and out, this lovely estate features cantera stone, high-end appliances, and an infinity edge pool.





Maintenance & Supplies


129 Thunderbird Dr. Ste B El Paso, Texas 79912

The views go on for miles from this magnificent Ocotillo Estates home in West El Paso. A sumptuous outdoor living area maximizes enjoyment of the surrounding landscape.




Life+Style Southwest


S U C A S A S prin g 2013

outside the box Forget what you’ve been taught; today’s outdoor living spaces are all about convenience and relaxation

by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner


here’s no time like the present to appreciate nature—starting with your own backyard. This year, toss out what you think you know about designing an ideal backyard space and start thinking outside the box, particularly where the standard rectangular pool is concerned. The new trends are all about ease and relaxation—just what your backyard retreat is intended for. With innovations in outdoor cooking all the rage, the traditional backyard barbecue rules are just begging to be broken. Resigned to the idea that you must place your main outdoor living spaces as close to the home as possible? You might want to reconsider that. It’s no longer necessary to make multiple trips inside because most every indoor convenience has been translated into outdoor use. Refrigerators, stoves, wine chillers, incabinet storage, and even televisions are available in outdoor-use versions, and are all must-haves for the ideal outdoor entertaining area. So now you have free rein to take into account other considerations when planning your layout: Where are the best views? Will the far side of the yard offer more privacy? Perhaps there is more entertaining space in another area? Decide where you and your guests would most want to be, and make that space, not your back door, your guiding point. Many homes in El Paso and Las Cruces, especially those at the base of the mountains, were erected on irregularly shaped lots tucked into the rocky landscape. Instead of fighting the natural shape of your plot, embrace the multi-tiered layout, and use it to your advantage. Landscape designer Mark Nash of Nash Patio & Garden loves to work with the natural flow of the land; he even chose his own personal residence because of the sloping lot. “The real charm is all the different levels,” he says. “It gives the prop-

Saul Salvidar of Cost Plus Pools vamped up this pool’s basic shape with arching water features, ambient fire pits, and an elevated spa. A full kitchen and bar sit poolside. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM






7410 Remcon Circle El Paso, TX 79912 P: 915-587-9800 F: 915-587-9802

A beach entry (above, top) leads the way into an outdoor oasis designed by Gino Farina of Blooming Paradise. Farina makes the most of space by incorporating visually interesting architectural elements right into the pool (above). A cozy fireplace nook (left) maximizes the spectacular views.

erty character.” This design outlook also allows you to break away from the idea that your space should be designed with one primary purpose in mind. Just because you entertain frequently doesn’t mean you can’t also incorporate some cozy nooks for private relaxing. Of course you’ll want a large gathering space for bigger groups, but also scatter around smaller, more intimate seating areas for a change of scenery. Pools and spas create major focal points, so going bare and basic simply doesn’t make sense. Don’t limit yourself to geometric designs if gentle curves would better match the flow of the land. Neither your pool nor its attached spa have to necessarily be at ground level. Play with elevations to take advantage of views and create architectural interest. And don’t be afraid to get a little creative by incorporating beach entries, decorative tile and stone, fire elements, and water features. The same carefree attitude should also apply when choosing the surrounding foliage. Manicured beds of carefully tended flowers are out. Opt instead for verdant vegetation that crawls and creeps and grows of its own accord (think English garden). The more overgrown, the better. If you think that’s not possible in the arid Southwest climate, you aren’t talking to the right experts. There are plenty of vibrant floras, including some exciting cacti and xeriscape options, that flourish in the desert. (See “Desert Beauty,” page 18.) A skilled landscape designer can install built-in irrigation systems that will keep your plants healthy with minimal effort on your part, leaving you free to spend time in your backyard for the right reason: complete and utter enjoyment of your personal oasis.

resources Blooming Paradise 915-549-7352 Cost Plus Pools 915-494-7285

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Waterfalls & Spillways In-Ground Cleaning Systems Negative Edge Pools Pool-side Kitchens

(915) 494-7285

Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000 Photo by Bill Faulkner






S U C A S A S prin g 2013













CREATING SPECIAL OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES FOR FAMILY AND ENTERTAINMENT Custom Pools, Spas, Pergolas & Trellises Outdoor Kitchens, Fireplaces & Fire Pits Outdoor Living with Custom Surfaces Professional Landscape Design Underground Irrigation Systems

Life+Style Southwest

desert beauty Native plants hold the secret to successful xeric landscaping in the Southwest

by Tiffany Etterling

Photographs by Bill Faulkner


ush green lawns may be standard in the American Midwest where rainfall is plentiful, but here in the Southwest, local landscaping experts agree that some of the best yards are created entirely with native vegetation that requires minimal water. It’s called xeric (pronounced “zeeric”) landscaping, and the main goal is water conservation. Note that the correct term is xeriscaping, not “zeroscaping,” says Sherri Taylor, assistant landscape designer at 150 Sunset. “Xeriscape doesn’t mean no-water use; it just means low-water use.” “Xeriscaping is almost the norm today in the Southwest,” says Mark Nash, owner of Nash Patio & Garden in El Paso. “It used to be probably 80 percent traditional and 20 percent xeriscape. Now it’s the opposite.” This surge in popularity relates not just to drastically reduced watering needs, but also to ease of maintenance. Xeric plants generally don’t require pruning or fertilization and can even benefit from the natural soil.

In fact, the best technique is letting plants native to the desert grow into their natural shapes—they’ve adapted to the climate and grow into forms that actually help them conserve water. A good balance of plant types is also key. Joe Kane, nursery manager at 150 Sunset, explains. “Really, xeriscape is just good management of water and landscape. It’s about grouping plants together that have similar water requirements. Cacti may be in a xeriscape, but so can many other plants.” Mike Gaglio of High Desert Native Plants concurs. He works with local developers to salvage, reclaim, and resell natural desert plants that would otherwise be destroyed due to development. “The Chihuahuan Desert is botanically one of the most diverse areas in the world,” Gaglio says. “While we aren’t as green and lush and don’t have as much biomass per square foot as a forest, we actually have more diversity in terms of plant life because of the different adaptation strategies plants [require] to survive in this climate.”

“The Chihuahuan Desert is botanically one of the most diverse areas in the world.” —Mike Gaglio

Mark Nash played with light and shapes in this El Paso home’s xeric landscape. In addition to plenty of green foliage, he also added pops of red, yellow, and purple color (opposite).


S U C A S A S prin g 2013

resources 150 Sunset 915-585-0801 Blooming Paradise 915-549-7352 High Desert Native Plants 915-490-8601 Nash Patio & Garden 915-587-6000

The deserts of West Texas and Southern New Mexico are home to thousands of native plants ideal for creating a vibrant, colorful landscape. “Now green and color are common in xeriscapes, where they didn’t used to be,” says Nash. For pops of color try Texas Sage, Sedum, Lantana, Gaura Red Hot Poker, Damanitia, Shrubby Senna, and Blackfoot Daisy. To achieve an authentic Southwest look, don’t forget about traditional native cacti adorned with deep purple prickly pears. Texture and movement are just as important as color. “Visually you’re after something different with xeriscaping,” says Nash. “Using native grasses in abundance and at varying heights is growing in popularity. You’ll have great movement from our breezes.” Other good choices for adding shape and texture include Sotol Cactus, Spanish Dagger, Ocotillo, Barrel Cactus, and smaller accent trees like Palo Verde, Mexican Elder, and Chitalpa Desert Willow. Nash recommends adding visual interest by putting these shapes against a rock wall and lighting them at night to take advantage of shadows. Gardens and backyards are all about enjoyment, and going native just makes sense. Forget barren and beige—choose flora with an eye to diverse colors, textures, and forms. As Nathan Andrews, landscape designer for 150 Sunset, notes, “The beauty of xeriscaping is that you don’t have to go out and mess with it, yet it just gets better and better every year.”


Tips for the

Ultimate Xeriscape


Vary water flow. Drip or bubble irrigation systems with multiple valves allow control over the amount of water released to meet the varying needs of different plants.


Choose cacti with care. Species that thrive in Phoenix may not work at the slightly higher altitude in this region. Mark Nash says when in doubt about cacti surviving a particularly cold night, just throw a burlap sack over them. And don’t plant cacti in proximity to other xeric plants; they prefer to get their moisture from the air, not via roots.“Cacti will rot when too close to the drip irrigation system,” he says.


Keep shade in mind. The oppressive sun in this region leads many homeowners to plant large trees for some added protection. A native mesquite tree (Nash recommends the Honey Mesquite and the Chilean Mesquite) is great for adding shape and texture, but almost all xeric plants need quite a bit of sunlight, so take care that planting is done outside the shade region. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



Su Casa magazine Online Resource Guide A free, comprehensive guide for consumers who want to tap into design, architecture, and building communities.



S U C A S A S prin g 2013




Da ily DE D






Op en

Custom Landscaping Outdoor Living Areas

April showers bring power outages El Paso Electric’s tips for weathering the storm Power outages are more common in the spring and summer months, thanks to stormy weather and increased air conditioning use. El Paso Electric (EPE) puts its more than 100 years of experience providing electrical service to West Texas and Southern New Mexico toward minimizing outages as much as possible, but when outages do occur, EPE offers these tips: • Prepare an outage kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered or windup alarm clock, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries, a manual can opener, and a first aid kit.

Come visit our Organic Garden Nursery

(Flowering Plants, Trees, Shrubbery, Pottery, Statuaries)

• Know the location of your home’s fuse box or circuit box.

Consult with Experienced Horticulturists

• Cordless phones don’t work if the power is out. Have a standard phone or cell phone as a backup.

Your Complete Source for Distinctive Outdoor Living

• Automatic garage door openers also don’t work without electricity. Check the instruction booklet—ahead of time— about overriding manually. • Avoid opening refrigerator and freezer doors. A full, unopened freezer should keep food frozen up to 48 hours. Food should stay cold in an unopened refrigerator for 24 hours. • Disconnect appliances that turn on automatically when power is restored or that may become damaged due to voltage irregularities (computers, VCRs, televisions, stereos, answering machines, etc.).

Tap into energy savings at and click on the sunny side logo.




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Bill Faulkner


tree troubles solved Gary Guzman, owner of Color Your World Garden Center in Las Cruces, is one of the foremost gardening experts in the area. His website and blog are invaluable resources, providing tons of information and advice on everything related to gardening in the Southwest. Here he weighs in on what your trees’ leaves may be revealing and offers simple solutions to keep your trees healthy. Problem: Leaves are green but wilting Possible causes: Overwatering, probably from improper drainage. What to do: Check your drip system. Make sure you are not over- or underwatering. Check for grubs (worms about the size of a thumb with white bodies and brown heads) about 4-6" into dirt. Problem: Severe yellowing of leaves Possible causes: Iron or nitrogen deficiency, or the tree may be at the end of its life. What to do: Add a fertilizer high in iron and/or nitrogen. Do not overfertilize. Problem: Brown in center of leaf Possible causes: Excess slat in soil. Too much direct sunlight. Lack of water. Possible

Bill Faulkner

an Exclusive Builder

Are your trees trying to tell you something? Over- or underwatering, too much fertilizer, and insect infestations all show distinctive signs through a tree’s leaves. Learn to read the signs to keep your trees healthy and green.

infestation of borers (small insects that bore holes in trees). What to do: Up the water usage and check for borers. Purchase borer control from a nursery.

for Exclusive Living

Problem: Tree leaf totally brown Possible causes: Late frost, normal aging, or root rot. What to do: Not much can be done if the cause is frost or aging. If the leaves are turning brown only at the bottom, this is the normal aging process.

Color Your World Garden Center 575-521-0496


Grisel Ortega | 915-491-2056 |

Conserving water, one home at a time


n my current work with Habitat for Humanity International, I was dispatched to a refugee camp in Maai Mahiu, Kenya, to cover the completion of Habitat’s 500,000th home. The houses are small—300 square feet—built of stone concrete floors and metal roofs. Cooking is done in the courtyard outside, and the toilet facilities consist of a stone latrine. Owning one of these homes is a huge advance from living in a refugee tent. But there is no water. Women and girls carry it from cisterns a quarter of a mile away, or down from the mountains when the cisterns are empty. This represents a major investment in time and labor, and there’s never a guarantee the water you carry won’t make you sick. If there is one luxury that we in the United States take for granted, it’s clean, potable water. Even here in the arid Southwest, it’s delivered straight to your door, no questions asked. In El Paso, most of our water comes from the Rio Grande; in Southern New Mexico, it comes from the Mesilla Basin, Jornada del Muerto, and the

Rio Grande. And much of that imported water is “wasted” in the sense that it is underutilized. Smart homeowners who install low-flow showers, faucets, and toilets are helping to dramatically reduce domestic water waste. (Simply switching from a regular toilet to a low-flow toilet saves 9,000 gallons of water a year!) But still much of the water we use at home could be better utilized. Here’s what I mean: “Gray water” (sometimes spelled greywater) is the water produced after showering, brushing teeth, and washing clothes. Collected properly, that water can be used to irrigate your garden or trees, and as allowed by code in some states, even flush your toilets. An average family of four in the Southwest uses 192,720 gallons of water a year—about one-third the water in an Olympicsized pool. By some estimates, a combination of a gray water system coupled with replacing all of your home’s fixtures with low-flow versions could reduce one home’s water usage by

“Standardized, manufactured gray water systems should become as routine to install as water heaters.” —Steve Thomas more than 40 percent. Add to that additional rain catchment and xeric planting, and a home could potentially see a negative use scenario. Now imagine if we all did this! My thinking is that standardized, manufactured gray water systems should become as routine to install as water heaters. They should perform reliably, be reasonably priced, and allow us as homeowners to do our part in preserving the resources that make the Southwest such a wonderful place to live. Consider installing a gray water system in your new home or retrofitting your current home with one; it’s the right thing to do. And I promise, a heck of a lot easier than carrying water a quarter mile from the local cistern.

Steve Thomas is a home renovation expert and the spokesperson for Habitat for Humanity International. 24

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What is a gray water system? Gray water is the water produced when you use your bathroom sinks, showers, tubs, and laundry. The water from these sources is considered to be suitable—that is, clean enough—to irrigate certain home gardens and landscapes. This reuse of your household water is an excellent conservation method, especially here in the arid Southwest. A gray water system is a method of plumbing a home whereby this usable gray water is routed to a holding container and then used for irrigation of most non-food plants. It must be strictly marked as nonpotable. Depending upon what state you live in, there is usually a limit to how much gray water your system may produce each day without a permit. In New Mexico, 250 gallons is the daily limit; in Texas it’s 400 gallons.

What water cannot be used in a gray water system? The water from dishwaters and kitchen sinks, because it may contain food particles or organic matter, is not usable in a gray water system. Likewise, water from toilets—referred to as blackwater—cannot be reused around your home in any way.

How hard is it to install a gray water system? There are two costs to consider: parts and labor. In a new home, dual plumbing is easily and inexpensively done during the build stage, but it’s important to find a builder or plumber experienced with installing gray water systems. Retrofitting an existing home is a bit more complicated and costly—again, an experienced installer is key—but is well worth the effort in terms of conservation of potable water. Sources: New Mexico Office of the State Engineer; Greywater Action

Douglas Merriam

it’s okay to go gray

by Steve Thomas


3012 E. Yandell Dr. El Paso, TX 79903 915-566-0095


by Sierra


Experience Our Passion for Hardwood Floors




Life+Style Southwest

mad for


Miniature tiles make big statements by Jessica Muncrief

Interceramic’s Pietra Cristal line spruces up a shower.


ncorporating tiles into walls, countertops, and other surfaces gives unparalleled personalization to any room. And bringing immediate pizazz to those plain, bare spaces has never been more fun thanks to mosaic tiles, one of the hottest trends sweeping the design industry. “Mosaic tiles have become increasingly popular of late,” says David Holguin, general manager of Interceramic in El Paso. “They are commonly used in all interior and exterior areas. The look is very modern.” 26

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Far left: Courtesy of Interceramic; Courtesy of Daltile (2)

Mirroring the modern look of bamboo is Daltile’s ultra-thin Caprice tile. Copper blend mosaics from Daltile (below) add a gleam to suede background tiles.

From over-the-top elegance to subtle decorative detailing, mosaic tiles are perfect for homeowners who know what they like and aren’t afraid to show it.

Shiny metallics are trending, as evidenced by these lines from Emser (above, top), Interceramic (above, right), and Daltile (above, bottom). Emser’s glass Lucente tiles (right) are a traditional look in shiny honey. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


By definition, mosaic involves combining small pieces of glass or stone to create a bigger picture. In terms of tile, however, it’s not necessary to create an actual image. With an exciting variety of colors, shades, and shapes, these smaller tiles stand on their own, creating vibrant focal points that truly reflect personal tastes. Inside, mosaics work well on kitchen and bar backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, and shower walls. Outdoors, consider incorporating them into pool, spa, and water fountain designs.

As senior marketing director for Daltile Corporation, Lori Kirk-Rolley makes it a point to stay abreast of the latest in the design world. Mosaics are still trending for 2013, says Kirk-Rolley, who shares a few updates. “Looking forward, expect to see more modularity, or use of tiles in varying sizes together,” she says. “It’s a refreshing return to basic: crisp, recognizable geometric patterns with a new twist.” For homeowners who like to make a statement, mosaic tiles fit the bill. High-definition glass tiles add texture, movement, and depth—as well as a little sparkle—to any space. To really turn heads, opt for gleaming metallic hues, create patterns with alternating color, or combine solid and frosted tiles in similar tones. Lorana Leonard from Hacienda Carpet and Tile in Las Cruces interjects a note of caution, however. “The issue we see with trends is that homeowners often tire of them quickly,” she says. That doesn’t mean forgoing fresh and modern interiors; just put forethought resources into style choices. For those afraid of overdoing it with mosaics, Leonard recommends choosing more Daltile neutral colors that coordinate with flooring, cabine- Las Cruces 575-647-2001 El Paso 915-593-3616 try, and other architectural elements. Also consider balancing the eye-catching mosaics with more traditional mediums like natural stone and ceramic. Emser “Combining mosaics with a standard tile is the best 915-633-9988 option for budget-oriented customers,” says Holguin. Indoors and out, these small, colorful tiles are Hacienda Carpet and Tile bringing new life to unremarkable rooms and 575-525-2088 spaces. From over-the-top elegance to subtle rative detailing, mosaic tiles are perfect for homeInterceramic owners who know what they like and aren’t afraid 915-593-7357 to show it. 28

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Courtesy of Emser; Courtesy of Interceramic

The alternating tones in Emser’s Lucente Blend mimic a natural stone backsplash in a kitchen. Applying thousands of tiny and colorful Interceramic Pietra Cristal tiles on a large wall (left) creates visual interest.

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Design Studio

a touch of

by R. Monroe Photographs by Bill Faulkner


Gail Boone colors El Paso with her stained glass artistry

Gail Boone and her husband moved to El Paso 36 years ago, in part because she had read that the city enjoyed nearly 300 sunny days each year. All that sunshine makes for pleasant living (although, Boone admits, trickier gardening). It also illuminates the subtle warmth of glass art—something that Boone, founder of stained glass studio The Glass Act, appreciates more than most. Although Boone has always had an artistic bent, it wasn’t until she took an introductory stained glass class that she discovered the creative passion that she’s since turned into a successful small business. During that first class, Boone realized that there was something about the process of sketching a pattern, selecting colors, and cutting glass that seemed to suit her. “I did a skylight for my second project,” she remembers, sounding a little in awe of her own audacity. “I just took off with it.” In those early days, Boone worked in her home’s garage—on the floor. After building several windows for her home’s entrance, it occurred to her, “Hey, I need a workbench!” Boone has come a long way from those early days building windows on the garage floor. When she and her husband moved from the Eastside to the Westside of El Paso, they converted the new home’s three-car garage into a stained glass studio, complete with several workbenches. The house itself is a testament to Boone’s two-and-a-half decade dedication to glass art, featuring a dozen stained glass windows alongside medicine cabinets, lamps, and other examples of glass artistry. One of Boone’s favorites is a desk lamp with a natureinspired pattern. “It’s just leaves and a couple 30

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Gail Boone has found a way to encourage others to embrace the craft that changed her own life several years ago.

The Region’s Premiere

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of berries,” Boone says, but the deceptively simple pattern allows the glass to take center stage. Its green varies in hue from the bright color of early spring shoots to a deep jade, the kind of nuanced shadings that are more commonly associated with paint than with glass. In fact, the entire lamp was cut from one piece of Chicago Art Glass that Boone had been saving for just such a special project. Boone gives her clients’ projects as much attention as she does the work that goes into her own home. Although she describes her own style as traditional, she enjoys working with clients to design the perfect door, window, or skylight that will best suit their home style. This attention to detail and to each client’s needs has made her work a sought-out addition to many notable El Paso homes. Most days, Boone wakes up before dawn to read the Bible and get an earlymorning workout in before embarking on the day’s projects. She shares The Glass Act workspace with artist Kathleen Luciano, her longtime friend and occasional collaborator. Aside from their friendship, Boone values her working relationship with Luciano because the two women see colors in a different but complementary way, she says. “If I see something green, she’ll see it blue. We see different, and it works out perfect.” Boone and Luciano don’t just collaborate on stained glass (although they do plenty of that). They also take on other decorative challenges for clients, such as a recent project crafting a mosaic cross to go in

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In her home workshop (opposite), Boone often draws from her love of nature and the outdoors when designing her glass projects. A desk lamp with delicate leaves (above) is one of the artist’s favorite creations.

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the chapel of a local Christian radio station. Boone and Luciano incorporated small, significant objects belonging to the radio station’s employees into the mosaic work, including everything from pieces of jewelry to cut-up bits of an old driver’s license. Boone also teaches stained glass classes to students of all ages. While large or intricate projects require a masterful touch, basic stained glass is within anyone’s grasp, she says. Case in point: A decade or so ago, Boone decided she wanted to teach her mother (who was visiting from New Orleans) how to work with glass. “She said, ‘No, no, no, I’m too old,’” Boone recalls. But with a little more prodding,

her mother tried it out—and fell in love. “She went back to New Orleans and took some classes there. Now she’s 80-something years old, and she’s still doing it!” Boone says. Stained glass is now something of a family craft: Boone’s most recent student is her nine-year-old granddaughter. In teaching others, Boone has found a way to pass on a tradition and to encourage others to embrace the craft that changed her own life several decades ago.

The Glass Act 915-256-1771

Design Studio

by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner and Jesse Ramirez



New twists (and swirls) on a centuries-old art form

It was an early discovery in the history of mankind: Heating metal to high temperatures makes it malleable, allowing it to be molded and shaped into useful forms. This knowledge opened the way to blacksmithing, one of the first artisan trades. Tools, weapons, and armor were the primary forgings, but around the medieval period, it became apparent that iron could be curled and scrolled into beautiful decorative elements. Wrought iron (literally translating to “worked iron”) soon adorned cathedrals and large homes, eventually becoming a staple accent of Spanish, French, and Tuscan architecture. Today, as homeowners couple the traditional beauty of these styles with modern conveniences, ornamental iron has become more useful than ever. Not only does it provide a measure of security and stability, but industrial machines allow for more detailed and more elaborate designs to truly enhance the look and value of homes. Common iron elements like fences and security screens are still popular, but today they are much more personalized and ornate. The standard front and side gates are spruced up with fancy scrollwork or paint color. Jesus Rivera of All In One Service Wrought Iron in El Paso often incorporates bronzing techniques or even dual colors into his custom designs for added interest. “But, I always use an anti-rust primer before painting,” he quickly notes. “A lot of companies skip that step and the iron starts rusting within just a few years. With the proper primer it will last forever.”

Elite Design and Production brings the ironwork inside with a wrought iron staircase (top right) and decorative iron accents (above). 34

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With modern metalworking machines making iron more adaptable than ever before, intricate designs like grape leaves or the family monogram can be incorporated. Utilizing solid pieces of metal creates additional privacy and allows for the addition of silhouette cutouts of Native American symbols, Western scenes, and other shapes for another element of personalization. Many homeowners are forgoing security screens altogether and taking the ironwork right to the front door. Cindy Torres, vice president of Torres Welding in Las Cruces, says entrada doors are increasingly popular requests from clients. Decorative iron accents on wooden doors is one application, but constructing the entire door of metal is also becoming more common. The iron offers superior front entrance security in addition to creating a stunning first impression of the home. Incorporating glass into the design makes it lighter and less imposing. The real beauty of ironwork is that it is sturdy enough for outdoor use, but elegant enough for interiors as well. Indoor staircases, banisters, and railings can be beautifully constructed out of iron without giving the space an industrial feel. Monica Saenz of Elite Design and Production in El Paso says they get a lot of interior ironwork requests and that the metal works seamlessly with other natural elements like stone and

wood. “We often match exterior elements with the same iron designs inside to give a cohesive look to the entire home,” says Saenz. Ironwork is practically mandatory for authentic oldworld European homes, but it also beautifully complements a number of other design styles. The rustic feel is perfect for Craftsman, cottage, and adobe-style homes, and sleek metal accents fit nicely into modern styles as well. “A lot of people like the ornate curves and scrolls, but we also match contemporary styles, usually with straighter lines and simpler designs,” says Torres.

Iron offers superior front entrance security in addition to creating a stunning first impression of the home. Although ironwork can make a big statement, Saenz says you don’t necessarily have to live in a grand mansion to make it work. She began building her clientele by focusing on the smaller home niche. “Iron accents provide unique touches even to smaller and single level homes,” she says. “Any client, no matter what size house they are building, ultimately wants a nice home, and ironwork gives it that little extra bit of elegance and style.”

Torres Welding (above and far left) and Elite Design (left) prove that security measures can also be elegant with ornamental window grilles and entrada doors constructed of solid iron.

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Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

forged in America

Torres Welding celebrates 30 years of iron craftsmanship Sam Torres has always enjoyed working with his hands, so a career in the automotive industry initially seemed right up his alley. He soon realized, however, that tinkering with cars left his creative desires somewhat unfulfilled. Armed with basic welding training from his time in the National Guard, he set out to hone his metalworking skills. After several years of working metal for other people, he felt confident in his craft. With his bookkeeper wife, Cindy, by his side and prepared to handle office duties, they opened Torres Welding in 1983. What started out as a simple two-person outfit in a 30 x 30' prefab building behind their home has since grown into one of the most respected businesses in the Mesilla Valley construction industry. They’ve gradually added on over the past three decades, and Sam and Cindy now operate an 8,500-square-foot workshop with more than 10 full-time employees on staff.

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Cindy and Sam Torres, Torres Welding

Part of the company’s workload includes erecting metal buildings and providing metal framework for other construction projects, but they are perhaps best known for their custom ornamental ironwork. With a huge binder of photographs, Cindy helps clients design fences, gates, doors, staircases, and other decorative iron elements. “Nothing we do is mass-produced,” she says. “Everything is custom-madeto-order. I generally have clients look through the album first and pick elements they like. Then we help them design pieces completely unique to their tastes and personalities.” The clients’ visions are then crafted by hand in Torres Welding’s impressively clean and well-organized workshop. (Sam insists on a tidy shop, and the workers break an hour early on Fridays to put it in immaculate order before the weekend.) “We are all about teamwork here,” notes Cindy. “No job is done by just one person. Everybody has their hand in every project.” With astute skill and attention to detail, the metalworkers bend, press, cut, grind, weld, and paint to bring to life one-of-a-kind works of artisan craftsmanship that are now gracing homes and buildings all over the Southern New Mexico and El Paso region. After seeing firsthand just what the Torres Welding team can accomplish, it’s no surprise that their 30-year reputation is stronger than ever. Some might even say it’s solid as iron.


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in with the old A Las Cruces home pays homage to an earlier time

by Tiffany Etterling Photographs by Bill Faulkner and Wayne Suggs


n a society obsessed with youthful appearance, it’s refreshing to come across individuals who recognize a certain beauty and refinement that can only come with age. When Wayne and Elizabeth Grinnell began planning their dream home, they envisioned a re-creation of the welcoming warmth of times gone by. Sitting at a rustic table in their kitchen, the Grinnells pull out a well-worn copy of Western Ranch Houses by Cliff May, the book that inspired the layout design of their home. “This house started out as a concept of Western ranch houses that were created back in the 17th and 18th centuries by the Spaniards and Mexicans,” explains Wayne as he thumbs through the dog-eared pages. “We did the design for this home working with circles on butcher paper. There were no plans.


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That’s why it kind of rambles a little bit. That was really the intent, for it to be like a ranch house 150 years ago.” To help transform their butcher paper circles into reality, the Grinnells turned to Wayne and Kiki Suggs, owners of Classic New Mexico Homes. The company has a reputation for building homes with unparalleled historical authenticity while incorporating a lot of modern and eco-friendly conveniences along the way. Putting their four heads together, the Grinnells and Suggses emulated the building style of the original Southwest ranch homes

Expansive portales on all sides of the home allow for optimum enjoyment of the canyon views. After taking a course at NMSU, Wayne Grinnell built a working windmill on the property (opposite).

“There were no plans. That’s why it kind of rambles a little bit.”—Wayne Grinnell

A farmhouse sink, wood countertops, and an island built from a repurposed carpenter’s bench give the kitchen historical authenticity and charm.

that started small and gradually expanded room by room as the family grew. Each space in the home has a unique feel, as if it were put together like a patchwork quilt instead of all at once. “It needs to look a hundred years old, so it can’t be perfect,” notes Elizabeth. “That means the ceiling lines aren’t exactly straight, and our adobe fireplace is not perfectly even on both sides. That’s hard for workmen these days; to not make things perfect.” Complementing the historical architecture, the interior design elements also speak to the past. “When Wayne and I first met seven years ago, we quickly discovered that we both like Arts and Crafts–era construction,” remembers Elizabeth. “We had a lot in common coming into this, and as we built it we realized we had even more in common. So it was really a lot of fun.” The couple had already picked up some antique elements in their travels, including all the century-old wood planking from a gymnasium, rescued from a junkSUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


yard in Hondo, New Mexico. Beautifully restored, the gleaming wood now graces the kitchen, living room, and guest bedroom. The flooring in the remainder of the home is reclaimed brick and wood from an abandoned factory in El Paso. Many of the other fixtures, including a massive carpenter’s bench fashioned into a kitchen island, are finds Wayne and Elizabeth picked up antiquing in Ruidoso, Tularosa, and even as far away as Michigan and Seattle. Building upon the antiques the Grinnells already owned, Kiki Suggs began to work her magic. She is especially adept at both restoring antiques to their former glory and putting old-fashioned touches on newer pieces. “The Grinnells are antique collectors, and they wanted the house to have a very period style and feel like it was from the early 1900s,” says Kiki. “It was fun replicating the details you would find in a house of that age.” Those details include pale green wainsscoting in some rooms, replica pushbutton light switches, transom windows,

The comfortable master suite is a place for relaxation (for pets, too), with a luxurious walk-in shower (below, right) just steps away.

The Grinnells’ “kids” (two dogs and two cats) also enjoy the home. The private patio (opposite page) with outdoor shower is enclosed to keep the pets safe from desert wildlife. 40

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In lieu of a traditional office, the Grinnells opted for a handsome library to house their treasured collection of books. Ample natural lighting plus comfortable his-and-hers reading chairs encourage lounging with a cup of coffee and a good book.



Large skylights in the master bath create ambience and highlight the architectural details. A clawfoot tub echoes the vintage style of the home.

and decorative tiles hand-stenciled by Kiki with a Craftsman-era design. “I liken it to the architect Mary Colter who designed the Harvey Hotels and most of the buildings for the Grand Canyon,” Kiki notes. Despite a historical veneer, beneath the walls this home is integrated with the latest green-building technologies: photovoltaic panels, Energy Star appliances, CFL light bulbs in most of the house, and a state-of-the-art, high-efficiency HVAC system. “We did a whole house envelope, so everything is in a conditioned space,” explains builder Wayne Suggs. “The Grinnells don’t have an electric bill, and a lot of times they get a check back from the electric company.” With modern worries like utility bills barely a concern, the Grinnells are content to enjoy the antiquated ambience of their dream home. Most evenings are spent lounging with their beloved pets in front of the fireplace, soaking in the amazing views of the surrounding desert canyon. “It’s a nice place for two people to enjoy each other’s company,” says Elizabeth. “Wayne and I used to go other places and look at old homes and dream about them being ours, and now we live here. It is so exciting and such a privilege.”


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Nestling the home in a secluded desert canyon (left) affords the homeowners extra privacy and jaw-dropping sunset views of the valley (below left).

Each space in the home has a unique feel, as if it were put together like a patchwork quilt instead of all at once.

An inviting inglenook is Elizabeth’s favorite room in the house. “It’s an away place,” she says.



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a home in

by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner


A homeowner writes his personal masterpiece


ome things just seem meant to be. A world traveler looking to put down roots is at a party when he find that special someone who is missing from his life. No, not his spouse (he is happily married to an accomplished physical therapist), but the partner that some have found even more difficult to come by: a builder with the vision to fully realize his ideal home. As he admired the panoramas of the statuesque Organ Mountains at the party, the homeowner-to-be became enamored with the layout of the hosts’ home, which placed the views to the front instead of the back. “I’ve always wondered why so many people have their views in the back when they spend most of their


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time in the front,” he says. “Rear views are common, but not many take advantage of front and side views.” Feeling he may have found a builder with sensibilities equal to his own, he inquired further. The couple hosting the fortuitous party provided an easy introduction to William and Maxine Webber, owners of Copper Canyon Homes, with whom they had developed a close relationship during the

By Name Word Photography by Name Word

Stone and water features add to the peaceful mood of the home. Lorana Leonard of Hacienda Carpet & Tile added an inlay design to the foyer (right, top) that matches the kitchen countertops.



Picture windows in the breakfast nook (above) capture the views to the back of the home. The living room (left) doubles as a music room.


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building of their home. “We love people,” says Maxine. “We don’t have a foreman, and we only take on two to four projects per year because we enjoy being on the job site daily, interacting with our clients. It allows us to remain in close contact with them and has also allowed us to maintain close friendships with the great majority of our buyers.” It soon became apparent that this was a match made in heaven. The hopeful homeowner had strong ideas about what he wanted as well as an astute design eye, but he needed a guiding hand in putting it all together. And as it turns out, this is where Copper Canyon Homes excels. “Sure, we have our own personal tastes, but we are very comfortable working in a number of different design styles,” says Maxine. “We prefer not to be Bright forest green marble tiles for the kitchen countertops (below) coordinate with accents throughout the home.



Cabinetry, tile, and décor match seamlessly in the kitchen (left). Aquarium designer Bill Hughes created a two-sided aquarium that can be enjoyed from the formal dining room (above) as well as the entryway. Handsome cherry cabinets conceal the mechanical equipment and supplies.

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pigeonholed. We don’t want someone to see a house and immediately know we designed it, but we do want them to immediately see the personality of the homeowner.” In this case, the homeowner had a strong personality, and he came prepared with a solid and specific wish list. Fortunately, the Webbers enjoy a challenge—(“All those details that stress people out and drive them crazy? Maxine actually thinks they’re fun,” quips William)—because meeting the homeowner’s first request took a bit of inventive thinking. Certain he wanted the main living areas on a large open floor plan, the homeowner was just as adamant that each space be defined and individual. Extrawide archways with cherry wood columns framing the den, living room, and formal dining room go a long way in achieving this wish. The flooring tailored to each space—glazed tiles in the foyer and kitchen, carpet in the den, and gleaming cherry wood in the formal areas—finalizes it. “A lot of people are afraid of juxtaposing wood against tile, but it can make for a good transition with a little creative thinking,” notes Maxine. The spacious kitchen, centered to take advantage of both the front views through the den and the rear views of a tropical oasis backyard through the breakfast nook, serves effortlessly as the heart of the home. As the homeowner says, “Everything just flows around it.” Harmonious flow, inside and out, was actually on the homeowner’s priority list, and once again, the philosophy at Copper Canyon Homes was a perfect fit. “We like using wood and stone, a lot of natural materials,” says Maxine, “and we connect the inside with the outside by doing whatever we do in one, in the other.” The checkerboard patterned wood columns defining the living spaces also soften the vast concrete of the outdoor basketball court. The cultured stone fireplace surround mirrors the home’s exteriors. And the massive picture windows (facing forward, of course) frame the million-dollar view of the mountains, giving the enchanting desert surroundings a starring role in the interior.

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The result is a personal opus written by the homeowner himself. “I’m not afraid to take chances,” he says. “I didn’t want the home to be predictable.” The Webbers had done their part by incorporating unexpected architectural details in each and every space: carved beams and coffers, concentric arches, big ceiling treatments, straight lines played against undulating curves. The homeowner took his cues from these elements and his love of color to bring together a design scheme worthy of a professional interior decorator. Like the home itself, the interior design came together with ease, with the perfect pieces seeming to find him. “I took my time, picking things up as I came across them,” he explains. “And I just knew when I saw each piece where it would fit. Nothing is exactly the same, but there are repeating patterns and tones, cohesion, and harmony.” There is only one word to describe a partnership coming together so flawlessly that it created a home that flows effortlessly from all angles. It could only be destiny.

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The cherry wood and green accent themes flow through the home all the way to the master bathroom which features a soaking tub and a glass-enclosed shower.



humming with life An El Paso adobe brings the outdoors inside


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by Heather Parra


Photographs by Bill Faulkner and Janiece Ward

or Janiece Ward, an elementary school teacher in El Paso’s Upper Valley, her house has always been much more than a place to live. Every wall, every corner, every piece of art in her adobe home is a reflection of her personality, especially her love of the outdoors. “Decorating this adobe home was a return to childhood,” says Ward. “When Lisa Ramirez moved into the neighborhood in fourth grade, she quickly became my best friend and architectural partner. We built numerous forts in the Chihuahuan desert behind our homes, handpicked and carried fossils locked in limestone to SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


“Decorating this adobe home was a return to childhood.”—Janiece Ward outline the perimeters of our dwellings, and decorated the inner landscape with latticed cholla wood, desert wildflowers, and feathers. Over 40 years ago we must have innately known a dwelling is not just about visual aesthetics, but one that appeals to all of the senses.” Ward likes to think of her home as an extension of the outdoors and strives to bring as much of it inside as possible through the use of plants, natural objects, and artwork, much of which she and her life partner, Eddie Abraham, have created. Abraham is a painter and sculptor whose works portray animals and the outdoors through the brilliant use of vibrant color. Ward’s own paintings depict Native American women and usually incorporate her favorite outdoor creature, the hummingbird. In 2004, when a female black-chinned hummingbird built her nest outside of Ward’s front door, a love for the species blossomed. Since then, Ward has been passionate about hummingbirds and has created 60

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A stately wrought-iron curved staircase leading from the master bedroom (opposite, top) opens to a private balcony. In the colorful Mexican-style kitchen (above, top), retablos are painted into the cabinets, while the hand-painted Moroccan ceiling feature in the living room (above) complements the room’s red accents.

a beautiful garden that attracts the tiny creatures with feeders and a variety of native plants. Watching and photographing the birds now occupies a lot of her free time, as there is no place she would rather be than out in her garden. But with a generous spirit, Ward is always eager and willing to share the birds’ beauty as she opens her home to guests. When she is not in her garden, Ward’s other favorite outdoor spot is the Gila Wilderness. Her love for the Gila began at age 19, when she spent two-and-a-half months living there in a tent by herself. Ward’s view of the natural world can be summed up in the words of well-known environmentalist Baba Dioum: “In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught.” Ward’s love for the outdoors also shaped her personal style, which is reflected throughout her home. In the very center of the home is a courtyard aviary, so full of light and plants that it feels like you’re outdoors. A spiral staircase in the courtyard leads to a balcony overlooking the master bedroom, which features a beautiful rustic log bed that, once again, brings the outdoors inside. Above the bed hangs an antique Navajo blanket that was her grandmother’s, and in the corner of her room stands a kiva fireplace which adds warmth to the room, even when there is no fire in it. Ward’s affinity for Mexican décor is showcased in her kitchen which is ornately decorated with colorful tile, picturesque retablos, and tiny milagros—religious folk charms—that adorn the cabinet drawers. “I just love the style of Mexican religious art,” says Ward. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


El Paso artist Rudy Montoya is best known for his poignant Native American portraits, as seen in Ward’s dining room. The sunroom (right) is an old Mexico mélange of fountains, greenery, and ornamental ironwork.

Throughout the season, several different hummingbird species visit Ward’s feeders. In 2010, she was delighted to spot the extremely rare Anna’s X Allen hybrid.

Moroccan art also graces Ward’s home; an intricately painted ceiling panel features prominently in her living room. Other uniquely Moroccan pieces that find a harmonious place in Ward’s home are chandeliers, hand-painted wood panels, henna lamps, kilim rugs, tagines, vases, and carved mirrors. Every corner of her home has something interesting: a rustic piece of furniture or unique door, beautiful wrought iron accents, and a colorful mix of pots, statues, and artwork. Brick floors, red walls, candles galore, and continued on page 76 62

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“We must have innately known a dwelling is not just about visual aesthetics, but one that appeals to all of the senses.” —Janiece Ward



Spanish Colonial


An uninspired home is transformed into a Santa Barbara–style marvel


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Sunday afternoons are often spent with family and friends watching football games or videos on the sumptuous leather recliners in the media room. A revitalized wine room (opposite) houses the owners’ impressive collection of vintages.

by Tom Ruggiero


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

hen home designer Anne Steele gained the commission to redesign a nearly 5,000-square-foot brick home near the Franklin Mountains, she took care in getting the details just right. The homeowners had fallen in love with Spanish Colonial Revival design while living in Santa Barbara, California, and hoped to re-create the look in West El Paso. With 30-plus years of design experience, Steele is well aware that re-creating the details starts with a bit of research. “Before retaining the services of an expensive architect or professional designer, I always recommend just looking through books,” she says. “There are hundreds of photo books available on the market that allow you to visually explore those design elements that attract you.” 65

Steele and the homeowners embarked on a pilgrimage to the California coastal city of Santa Barbara, immersing themselves in the architectural character firsthand.

In the kitchen, a large island, bar seating, and an adjacent living room create the perfect gathering spot for family and friends. High-end appliances and plenty of counter space make serving everyone a breeze.


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For this project, however, Steele took it even one step further. She and the homeowners embarked on a pilgrimage to the California coastal city, immersing themselves in the architectural character firsthand. “We toured homes and took a lot of pictures, especially of fireplaces,” she remembers. “We really wanted to get a true sense of the elements.” Back in El Paso, they spent hours scrutinizing books, magazines, and photos from their factfinding expedition before finally arriving at a collective verdict of just what an authentic Santa Barbara–style home entails. And for Steele, no detail was too minute. Case in point, she found herself unimpressed by the typical white paint colors on the retail market, but stoutly refused to settle: “We actually custom-mixed one white hue warm enough for the interiors and a separate, brighter shade of white for the exterior.” Despite Steele’s fastidious attention to the smallest of details, the project moved forward quickly. Within just six months, the generic brick exteriors of the original home were transformed into blazing white stucco walls highlighted with magnificently arched windows and doors. The patios were covered in rich, antique red bricks, and extensive wrought iron accents were added in the form of balconies, window grilles, and furniture. Steele even worked closely with the landscape designer to replicate California foliage and plant life. Naturally, as anyone who has visited Santa Barbara can attest, a roof tiled in red terra-cotta was mandatory. Inside, the entire structure was gutted in favor of a layout more congruent with the Spanish lifestyle, which centers heavily on family life and entertaining. The main entry door opens directly

The patio in the back of the house has two fireplaces and a full outdoor kitchen. Wrought iron patio furniture with bright red cushions continues the home’s Spanishinspired color scheme.



Inside, the entire structure was gutted in favor of a layout more congruent with the Spanish lifestyle, which centers heavily on family life and entertaining.

into the formal living and dining spaces. “Really the only sense of style in the original home was the three bricked arches in the main living area,” says Steele. “They were unsightly and not in line with the Santa Barbara style we wanted, so they were the first to go.” The large, and now open, space is graced with high ceilings and three sets of arched windows and doors. A floorto-ceiling fireplace serving as an informal room divider was left intact, but the unimpressive brick surround was replaced with an elegant white stucco treatment that better complemented the Spanish Colonial styling. “Originally, we planned on a big wood treatment in this area, like heavy ceiling beams. But after we finished up the other details, we decided it didn’t need it. The space is so pretty as it is. It stands on its own,” says Steele. In most Spanish-style homes, the kitchen is the epicenter, the heart and soul of the home where everyone gathers to eat, cook, and converse. “Everybody’s always in the kitchen,” Steele notes. “No matter what’s going on in the home, people always seem to be stopping by the kitchen.” She took this concept—along with her personal experience as an avid cook—to heart in creating a kitchen that is both a utilitarian space to prepare meals, as well as a communal area to bond and interact with family and friends. An outsized, marble-topped island is surrounded with professional-grade Viking appliances. Solidifying the design style the homeowners desired, a bespoke mosaic mural over the stove depicts the home in the rolling hills of Spain. While redesigning the floor plan, Steele also incorporated all the space and amenities the homeowners desired. “We added several new rooms, including a home gym, a media room, and an extra guest bathroom,” she says. “A number of other rooms in the home were expanded.” In addition to two full bars (one in A grand fireplace in the Santa Barbara style (one of five in the home) is an elegant focal point in the cozy living room.


S U C A S A S p r ing 2013

the media room and another just off the kitchen), the homeowners also requested space to store their impressive wine collection. “The original home included a wine room, but it was uninspiring,” says Steele, who renovated the space to incorporate a barreled brick bóveda ceiling, gleaming dark wood racks, and corbels for displaying special bottles. With added touches like a crystal chandelier and artwork, the homeowners readily admit that the wine cellar is one of their favorite elements in the home. Just stepping onto the back porch transports these happy homeowners to their beloved Santa Barbara. With El Paso’s moderate weather, they often find themselves taking a bottle from the wine room and enjoying it alfresco. When a few other red-tiled roofs dot the hillsides below and at the right time of the day, it almost seems like the Pacific Ocean is glittering at the edge of the expansive valley. In the master bedroom, sleek wood and rich textiles bring added warmth to the space.




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Despite the dark accents, the master bathroom is completely feminine and elegant with its marble-topped vanity and dressing area and chandelier over the clawfoot bathtub.


S U C A S A S p r ing 2013

resources Design, Build, and Interior Design Anne Steele Custom Interiors 915-581-2942 Appliances Ferguson Enterprises 915-231-5836 Cabinetry Q Cabinets 915-859-5252 Countertops Classic Granite and Marble Inc. 915-351-4401 Doors El Paso Wood Products Inc. 915-545-2974 Flooring Cuitlahuac Hernandez 915-751-7342 Mario Lopez 915-565-6163 Ironwork McDonald Iron Works 915-533-1019 Landscaping Master Cuts Landscaping and Maintenance 915-533-6975 Stonework Artisans Cantera 915-256-3443 Windows Pella Windows and Doors 915-833-3066

Su Libro

a passion

by Julieta Rios

for plants

Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen, by Mérida Anderson, Arsenal Pulp Press, paperback, $26.95

Self-taught chef Mérida Anderson found her calling at the ripe age of 16 when she decided to eat vegan. “My Author and Chef Mérida Anderson mom didn’t want to cook for me,” she remembers. “One night soon after declaring my decision to be vegan, I sat down at the kitchen table and she piled some old vegetarian cookbooks in front of me and said, ‘We’re having chicken. What are you having?’” Anderson’s own vegan experience sparked the innovative cooking style she is known for at VSS (Vegan Secret Supper), the hip dining club she operates in Brooklyn. Dinner or supper clubs stray from the typical restaurant setup in favor of a more social experience, often in private homes. Anderson’s interests were aroused on a bike tour through Halifax, Nova Scotia where she attended a vegan supper club event hosted by a friend. After bringing the concept back to Vancouver and eventually to Montreal (she still does pop-up events in both), Anderson moved to Brooklyn where she now hosts her popular multicourse, animal-free suppers in her own home. Communal seating creates a relaxed atmosphere that often transforms strangers into friends during the two-hour dinner service. Anderson’s first cookbook, Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen, features over 100 recipes for plant-based meals. The dishes are jam-packed with flavorful, fresh, and unexpected ingredients, showcased in beautiful color photographs that make them even more tantalizing. Recipes include appetizers like Apple-Smoked Tofu and Caramelized Onion Spring Rolls and main courses like Pipián Pesto Tortellini with Seared Asparagus and Roasted Tomatillo Sauce, or Blue Corn Empanadas with Pecans, Black Beans, and Mole. Anderson’s delectable (and dairy-free) desserts include Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache Glaze and Avocado Mint Ice Cream. Vegan-friendly recipes aside, this cookbook takes food prep a step further, offering sound advice on plating, pantry stocking, flavor pairing, and menu planning. Anderson inspires readers to get in the kitchen, start cooking, and maybe even host an entire vegan supper. Blue Corn Empanadas with Pecans, Black Beans, and Mole. Eating vegan doesn’t have to include giving up your favorite Mexican dishes.


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Danny Rico

A vegan chef and a master gardener share their secrets in two brand new books

The Gardener’s Guide to Cactus: The 100 Best Paddles, Barrels, Columns, and Globes, by Scott Calhoun, Timber Press, paperback, $24.95

When it comes to garden plants, cacti are anything but standard issue,” says Scott Calhoun, an award-winning author and garden designer based in Tucson, Arizona. “They are the plant family of the future—especially in arid parts of the world.” In the early stages of his career, Calhoun remembers using cacti solely as accent plants, but says they have since become the centerpieces of his designs. “[Cacti] form the prickly heart of some of the most interesting gardens in the world,” he says. “Designs peppered with cactus have become my new design paradigm. To boot, these designs are of the very most water-thrifty and undemanding sort.” As Calhoun’s interest grew in what he calls “the sharp side of gardening,” he was inspired by a lack of published information on the subject to write his own book. The Gardener’s Guide to Cactus: The 100 Best Paddles, Barrels, Columns, and Globes, highlights 100 North American species of cacti, each illustrated with lavish color photographs. Calhoun covers the gamut of the prickly trade, from planting techniques and care to advice on how to best display and arrange cacti. As an added bonus, he includes suggested companion plants and even discusses culinary uses where appropriate. This book is designed to get the average cactus gardener past any and all preconceived notions they may have about the cactus family. “It is possible that my enthusiasm for these endlessly fascinating plants will be contagious as you browse this book,” says Calhoun. “I aim to get you hooked—hopefully not literally.” Indeed, readers may be pleasantly surprised to discover that cacti are much more than boring and uninteresting desert plants. They effortlessly imbue texture, color, shape, and even scent on any plot. Who says beautiful gardens don’t grow in the desert?

s e m o H m o Cu st E T O F IT YO U R L IF




915892ES8.5C O8M7

W W W. P O I N T E 




by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner

Vida Buena

laser acupuncture An ancient medical practice goes modern and needle-free

Dr. Cynthia Carey is a true believer in the powers of alternative medicine. She first became interested in chiropractic and holistic health when conventional medical practices, including some very strong painkillers, failed to alleviate her chronic migraines. Carey became so enamored with the successes she found in alternative medical options, she switched careers and entered chiropractic medical school at the age of 55.

Carey has never once regretted the decision, and she now operates Truecare Chiropractic and Acupuncture in El Paso with her business partner and med school classmate, Dr. Kris Hristov. She is trained in many alternative medical treatments, but admits a passion for acupuncture. “I love discussing acupuncture and educating people about this marvelous, energetic technique for improving a vast variety of conditions and symptoms,” she says. This ancient Chinese medical practice was almost unheard of in America until the early 1970s when a New York Times journalist, James Reston, wrote an article about the remarkable pain treatment he received in Beijing following an emergency appendectomy. Despite Reston’s raves, Americans were naturally a bit apprehensive about being stuck with bunches of needles, a practice seemingly counterproductive to pain relief.

Laser colors and strengths vary depending on condition, but the procedure is completely painless and free of side effects—except of course for the positive ones.

Dr. Cynthia Carey performs a painless laser acupuncture treatment on a patient at Truecare in El Paso.


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Several decades later, acupuncture has worked its way into mainstream medicine as a viable and effective treatment for a number of ailments including chronic pain conditions, infertility, depression, and addiction. Patients now realize that these treatments are not done in seedy back alleys, but in the offices of real medical doctors, dentists, and chiropractors. The law mandates licensing and certification of acupuncture, in fact. It’s even covered by many insurance plans. But despite widespread acceptance, the fear of needles is still a concern for many. “The fear most patients have about needles is due to Western medicine where large needles are used for injections or blood donations. Acupuncture needles are virtually painless, and there are virtually no risks involved,” says Dr. Carey. Truecare offers several traditional needle therapies including scalp, facial, and ear acupuncture, but Carey points to laser acupuncture as an effective alternative for children and elderly patients, or those who just can’t get past their needle phobia. The needles employed

“The premise of Truecare is quite simple: focus on and delight our patients with personalized care in a beautiful and energetically healing setting,” says Dr. Carey.

in traditional acupuncture are used to stimulate certain points on the body, known as acupoints. When accurately targeted by a trained acupuncturist, these acupoints stimulate one of 14 energy channels, or meridians, in the body, which, according to Carey, “sets the stage for the body to repair itself and maintain its own health.” Instead of stimulating the meridians with a needle, laser acupuncture utilizes intense light beams to penetrate energy beneath the skin and into cells. Laser colors and strengths vary depending on condition, but the procedure is completely painless and free of side effects—except of course for the positive ones. For the best of both worlds, Carey sometimes combines laser acupuncture with a traditional needle treatment. This technique can intensify the effect and is ideal for patients with wounds or scarring. Laser acupuncture may be on the cutting edge of medical technologies, but as Carey points out, it isn’t untested or understudied: “Laser acupuncture has been widely studied, particularly throughout Europe, and has been proven to be as effective as needle acupuncture. A Russian study in 1991 demonstrated how laser light would enter an acupuncture point and travel to other acupuncture points—almost equivalent to a fiber optic network. This energy can be detected with photon detectors, and there is a demonstrable effect on the brain.” Studies aside, it’s difficult to argue against any practice that has withstood thousands of years of medical innovations. Acupuncture therapy has certainly earned its place in the health and homeopathic

fields. Fortunately, industry knowledge continues to grow and take advantage of modern innovations. For curious but needle-shy patients, laser acupuncture may be just the relief they’ve been seeking.

Truecare Chiropractic and Acupuncture 915-587-4600 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Making You

continued from page 62

Feel & Look Better • Chronic Back & Neck Pain Relief • Facial & Body Rejuvenation • Weight Control • Clinical Bodywork

an abundance of wood throughout the home give it a rich, warm, inviting feeling of welcome. Ward says that the children’s book The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer is the perfect illustration of how she likes to envision her home. In the book, a little boy invites all sorts of plants, animals, and outdoor elements into his room in order to make his pet salamander feel at home, until it is really no longer his room, but an outdoor space with his bed in its midst. For Janiece Ward, that would truly be paradise.

resources Artwork and Accessories El Paso Import Co. 915-542-4241

Dr. Cynthia Carey performs Electro Acupuncture

Just Morocco Tazi Designs Doors Forja Artesanal 915-996-5321

• Lifestyle Coaching • Acupuncture (Traditional & Laser)

West Studio 915-877-2299

• Headaches (Migraine & Tension)

Rugs El Paso Saddleblanket 915-544-1000

• Fatigue & Depression • Angel Therapy & Readings

Tile Casa Mexicana Tile 575-523-2777

Janiece’s Hummingbird Feeder Recipe Dr. Krasimir Hristov performs Active Release Technique

A serene atmosphere and our caring staff will help you with Body, Mind and Spirit Remcon Circle Ste C-3 915-587-4600 7420 El Paso, Texas 79912

One part sugar (white cane sugar only) Four parts water Change the water every 2–3 days during hot weather. Do not use honey, brown sugar, molasses, artificial substitutes, or red food coloring.



Vida Buena

Rolex watches Timeless timepieces

by R. Monroe


n 1960, the deep-sea submersible Trieste made its legendary dive to the deepest place in the ocean: the bottom of the Mariana Trench. But the Trieste wasn’t the only object to make history that day. Strapped to the bathyscaphe’s hull was a specially crafted timepiece made by renowned watchmaker Rolex. When the Trieste ascended to the surface, the Rolex Deepsea Special was still ticking away, having withstood immense pressures at 35,814 feet below sea level without losing a second. Since the company’s founding over a century ago, Rolex’s watches have accompanied adventurers on expeditions to all parts of the globe. Chuck Yeager was wearing a Rolex Oyster when he broke the sound barrier in 1947. Rolexes have been worn on the International Space Station, on a flight to the moon, and to the top of Mount Everest. While today’s Rolex buyer may not plan on scaling mountains anytime soon, many people are still drawn to the brand for its storied past—and its continuing commitment to precision and quality. “Brand names in watches mean a lot,” says Susan Eisen, a watch appraiser and repair specialist in El Paso and owner of Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches. “It’s like how what you drive tells a lot about you; a watch tells a lot about you, too.” According to Armando Medrano, owner of El Paso’s Jewel Gallery, the Rolex brand evokes “heritage, expertise, and luxury.” Those key terms have been associated with the company since its inception. Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf was a champion of innovation from the start. At the turn of the 20th century, wristwatches had not yet gained widespread popularity. Many dismissed them as too unreliable, too difficult to maintain, or too easily damaged. Wilsdorf set out to change that. In 1910, his brand new company obtained the first-ever Official Swiss Chronometer certificate granted to a watchmaker; previously, the award had only been granted to official marine instruments.


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Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea wristwatch, $12,050 retail

After proving that a wristwatch could keep precise time, Wilsdorf turned his attention to durability. In the 1920s, Rolex released the Oyster, the world’s first waterproof watch (which allegedly got its name when Wilsdorf admired the precision and specialized tools required to open an oyster shell at a fancy restaurant). The first self-winding Rolex was released in the 1930s. These technological innovations carry through today and are one reason why vintage Rolexes remain popular with consumers. The brand is known for keeping its value. But people don’t just admire watches—and Rolexes—for their engineering and materials; a good watch should also be fun to wear. Fans of Rolex champion the brand’s versatility. In some ways, James Bond is the archetypal Rolex man, sporting his watch while defusing bombs, lounging on the beach, and attending black-tie events. The timepieces have graced the wrists of fans Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Martin Luther King, Jr., Che Guevara, and Sharon Stone. It’s no surprise, then, that when film director James Cameron revisited the Mariana Trench in 2012, he brought a Rolex along with him. Strapped to the submersible’s hull, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge watch survived a 2.5-hour descent, an hour on the trench floor, and a 70-minute ascent to the surface, just as its predecessor had more than 50 years earlier. Put simply, the brand inspires confidence. As Medrano says, “People who purchase [a Rolex] have the opportunity to wear one of the most prestigious watches ever, so they wear it with pride. They know what they have on their wrist.”

resources Jewel Gallery 915-845-7740 Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry and Watches 915-584-0022

Coming up

in the next issue of


El Paso & Southern New Mexico


inspiration ideas resources

Fabulous Homes and Seasonal Flair In our Summer issue, we highlight an El Paso townhome’s luxurious makeover, a hillside bachelor pad’s spectacular views, and the area’s New Urbanism movement. We also explore Texas Hill Country’s many wineries, and share tips about seasonal planting, local food markets, and more.



Vida Buena

sitting pretty

by Jessica Muncrief

Beauty recommendations straight from the expert


lthough owned and operated by a certified nurse practitioner, CA Skin and Body in Las Cruces offers an experience more akin to a spa day at a friend’s home than a visit to a medical clinic. Anna Marie Hooley and her team take a refreshing, modern, and effective approach to beauty. In addition to providing skincare treatments and products, they offer advice on other factors that affect aging and beauty such as diet, medications, and exercise. “What we try to do here is make living healthy a habit,” says Anna. “We believe that beauty comes from the inside, and we’ve had better results that way.” Here Anna shares her picks for some of the best beauty products and treatments on the market.

Developed by medi-spa guru Dr. Ben Johnson, Osmosis + Pur Medical Skincare offers a full line of products on the cutting edge of the beauty industry. “The Osmosis line is as organic as you can get,” says Anna. “It’s truly natural.” With ingredients including growth factor, DNA repair serum, and immune restoration, this line corrects inflammation and damage to the cells and organs inside the body, resulting in a gorgeous glow on the outside. Courtesy of Osmosis Skincare

CA Skin and Body 575-532-9132


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One of the most popular treatments at CA Skin and Body is the Dermakinetics facial. First, specially formulated topical ingredients, including peptides and vitamin C, are applied to the skin. Then the skin is exposed to blue LED light pulses. This patented technology serves as an energy source, allowing up to 50 times more of the ingredients to penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin. Based on individual skincare needs, the esthetician may also couple the treatment with a red light therapy to stimulate the body’s natural regenerative system.

Courtesy of Lightwave Technologies

Courtesy of Harmonized Water

Imagine painlessly treating a number of ailments simply by drinking a glass of water. It seems too good to be true, but the team at CA Skin and Body unanimously proclaim: Don’t knock it till you try it. Simply put, this homeopathic water is infused with vibrational frequencies that balance out any cells in the body that may be in disharmony. The hormone balance blend helps with everything from fertility issues to symptoms of menopause, and the UV protection water provides extra defense from the damaging effects of the sun. “You still have to wear sunscreen, of course!” Anna notes.


a beauty blog worth reading Truth In Aging Having grown tired of wasting money on beauty and anti-aging products she never used, Marta Wohrle founded Truth In Aging, a website and blog dedicated to providing honest and unbiased reviews of beauty and personal care treatments. “Like many other people I had a bathroom full of half-filled jars of things that had promised a lot and delivered little,” Wohrle says. “I decided to get informed and try to be a savvier consumer. Most of the information was so bad that I ended up doing my own research to teach myself about which antiaging ingredients worked, which did not, and why. Truth In Aging is a forum to share as I learn.” Recognizing that the signs of aging go well beyond fine lines and wrinkles, this site also covers everything from thinning hair and superfoods to exercises to keep the body in tip-top shape. “Feeling and looking fantastic as we get older is about taking care of the whole package,” the site proclaims. As a former journalist and media consultant, Wohrle knows how to make a website that people continually return to. Truth In Aging is easy to navigate and isn’t overly cluttered with advertisements. Visitors can select their age on the homepage in order to receive content appropriate to the aging issues they are most likely facing. The site is updated daily with fresh articles and reviews from a team of more than 20 guest contributors providing their unique viewpoints and opinions. Since Truth In Aging does not accept any form of payment for their reviews, readers can expect candid write-ups from consumers that are quick to point out products that don’t live up to their hype.

Sterling silver charms from $25

7933 N. Mesa, Suite N • El Paso, TX 79932 Across from Sam’s Club • 915.584.1183 Monday–Saturday 10:00–6:00 SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


live performance calendar April through May

April 6 The Fab Four 7 PM, Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

Experience the magic of the Beatles with one of the best tribute bands. The Fab Four are known around the globe for their note-for-note live renditions that have audiences thinking they are watching the real thing. The show includes three costume changes representing the distinct eras of the Beatles’ music.

April 13 Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo 7:30 PM, UTEP Magoffin Auditorium, El Paso

This all-male ballet troupe has been performing since 1974, earning a reputation for their playful and unconventional parodies of traditional, classical ballet. The dancers, affectionately known as The Trocks, have garnered major critical acclaim for a ballet show unlike any other.

April 19–May 1 Evita 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, and 7 PM, UTEP Union Ballroom, El Paso

Enjoy dinner and a show! UTEP Dinner Theater presents the famed Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical depicting the controversial life of Eva Peron, a woman who rose from poverty to become the first lady of Argentina. The musical lineup includes the memorable classic “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.” April 20 The Texas Tenors 7 PM, Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

Back by popular demand, the soaring vocals of The Texas Tenors once again grace the Spencer Theater stage. The handsome trio— John Hagen, Marcus Collins, and J.C. Fisher—was voted 2009 Vocal Group of the Year on the hit television show America’s Got Talent. Come hear songs from their latest album Country Roots– Classical Sound. 82

S U C A S A S p r ing 2013

May 5 & 6 LCSO presents Mark Kosower 7:30 PM Atkinson Recital Hall, Las Cruces

Internationally-acclaimed cellist Mark Kosower joins the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra as the sixth installment of the LCSO Classics series. The evening’s lineup includes Robert Schumann’s Concerto for Cello and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5.

May 10–May 26 Meshuggah-Nuns!, 2 PM and 7 PM, Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces

Elvis Lives! April 27, 8 PM, Plaza Theatre, El Paso; April 28, 7 PM, Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

The ultimate Elvis tribute artist event comes to El Paso and Ruidoso. Performers include finalists from Elvis Presley Enterprises’ worldwide Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, each representing a different era of the performer’s distinguished career. A live band, backup singers and dancers, and an Ann-Margaret impersonator round out this dazzling celebration of the King of Rock and Roll. and

Driftwood Productions presents a hilarious spin-off of Dan Goggin’s beloved musical comedy Nunsense. This time the Little Sisters of Hoboken find themselves on a “Faiths of the Nations” cruise where they are asked to fill in when Fiddler on the Roof cast members are too seasick to perform.

May 6 The Killers 7 PM, Abraham Chavez Theatre, El Paso

Acclaimed American rockers The Killers visit Abraham Chavez Theatre for one night only to perform hits like the 2003 smash “Mr. Brightside” along with numbers from their latest album Battle Born including “Runaways” (voted Best Song of the Summer 2012 by Rolling Stone magazine readers) and “Miss Atomic Bomb.”

April 28 42FIVE, 2 PM, Abraham Chavez Theatre, El Paso

Showtime! El Paso presents the amazing five-part a capella harmonies of 42Five. Without the aid of instruments, this talented quintet sings a lineup of favorite hits spanning from the 1960s to today including Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now,” and Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.”

May 24–25 The Addams Family 8 PM, Plaza Theatre, El Paso

The entire gothic family comes to life on the Plaza Theatre stage in this smash-hit musical comedy created by a talented production team of awardwinning writers, composers, directors, and choreographers. Bring the entire family for a dark and fun-filled evening with Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley, and Lurch. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



healing the mind, body, and soul Santa Fe is the perfect spa getaway

by Amy Gross and Samantha Schwirck


S U C A S A S p r ing 2013

The warming room at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is encased by glass walls overlooking a meditation garden. At the Inn and Spa at Loretto (above), regional treatments are the specialty.

Top left: Courtesy of Inn and Spa at Loretto; Left: Courtesy of Four Seasons


anta Fe is the little city that has it all. Blessed with over 300 days of sunshine a year, the City Different teems with worldclass art (Canyon Road is a must-see), exceptional dining, and plenty of historical highlights and cultural activities. Embracing Native American traditions of spirituality and healing, Santa Fe is also home to some of the best spas in the country, many of which are paired with delightful accommodations. Regardless of the time of year you plan your visit, Santa Fe’s spas are always open and ready to rejuvenate you—mind, body, and spirit. Boasting one of the premier locations in Santa Fe— just one block from the Plaza—the Inn and Spa at Loretto offers some of the most elegant and comfortable accommodations in the city. The amenities at Loretto are impressive, including a world-class restaurant, Luminaria, and a spa ranked No. 19 in the United States in Condé Nast’s 2012 Readers Poll. The Spa at Loretto embraces Native American healing traditions, as well as intuitive lifestyle rituals such as reiki and chakra balancing. For an exotic spa indulgence that’s truly unique, try the Javanese Lulur Royal Spa Treatment: a scented Balinese massage, spice-and-sandalwood skin scrub, a soak in a bath infused with rose petals, and finally, a moisturizing lotion with jasmine and frangipani. Take advantage of a spa and accommodation package (there are several), and enjoy everything the Inn and Spa at Loretto has to offer.

Deborah Fleig Deborah Fleig

Ten Thousand Waves combines Japanese-style soaking tubs with Eastern-inspired bodywork.

At The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, located just north of Santa Fe near the quiet village of Tesuque, the world-class spa has been designed to reflect the ancient kiva rooms of Pueblo Indians indigenous to the area. Transitions between the spa and steam room, warming room, and treatment rooms are seamless and relaxing, with luxurious and serene accommodations throughout. The spa menu combines classic massage treatments with regionally-inspired bodywork and facial arts. Try the Mountain Spirit Purification treatment, which begins with a sage smudge and an adobe clay body mask and finishes with a scalp and foot massage and a juniper-sage hot stone massage. The resort’s highly acclaimed restaurant, Terra, as well as its private casita accommodations, complete the retreat experience. For an Eastern approach to rejuvenation, head up Hyde Park Road to Ten Thousand Waves. At this Japanese-style spa, public and private soaking tubs are the specialty. They run the gamut in terms of privacy and modifications, so you are sure to find a tub that works for you, whether you’re interested in a cold plunge or a private sauna. A variety of spa treatments are available to extend the relaxation factor of your soak—from therapeutic massages and herbal wraps to organic Japanese facials. The Nose to Toes treatment, for example, combines a full body exfoliation and massage with Thai stretches, a Yasuragi head, neck, and shoulder treat-

Courtesy of Eldorado Hotel

Nidah is a Native American word for your life; you will certainly find yours enhanced during your visit.

Nidah Spa at the Eldorado Hotel uses regional ingredients in their spa menu, with treatments such as the Turquoise Gemstone massage—a fusion of warm sage oil, warm black stones, and turquoise. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


At Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa, accommodations range from camp sites to private homes and cliffside suites.


S U C A S A S p r ing 2013

Ojo Caliente’s sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters have been revitalizing visitors for thousands of years.

Courtesy of Ojo Caliente

ment, and a Japanese foot massage. If you’d like to make it a weekend, the Japanese-adobe aesthetic continues into the overnight rooms, which combine Zen-like accommodations with Southwestern flair. Located on one of Santa Fe’s most historic streets, the Eldorado Hotel offers a premium location for walking to almost anywhere in the city. The acclaimed Nidah Spa is an experience in decadence, offering a full spa menu from wraps, scrubs, and facials, to massages, nails, and waxing. Nidah is a Native American word for your life; you will certainly find yours enhanced during your visit. Take advantage of a room and spa package; there’s one especially for New Mexico residents. The Turquoise Gemstone massage (also available as part of a package) begins with warm sage oil drizzled from head to toe, followed by a luxurious 50-minute massage using warm black stones and the cooling, protecting, and empowering effects of turquoise—New Mexico’s most sacred gemstone. About an hour north of Santa Fe lies the sprawling Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa,

Soak away your cares in Ojo Caliente’s healing waters. whose waters have been deemed sacred by Native Americans in Northern New Mexico. At Ojo Caliente, you can take advantage of elegant, relaxing accommodations over several days, or make it a day trip from your home base in Santa Fe. The resort features a variety of accommodations (including cliffside suites with private outdoor tubs and kivas), public mineral pools, steam rooms, saunas, and a mud pool, or you can rent a private outdoor tub with kiva fireplace and soak away your cares in the healing mineral waters. Really want to get away? Try “The Ojo Escape,” a four-day rejuvenation package that includes three nights in the historic hotel, plus four daily spa therapies—massages, scrubs, and more. Perfect for a girls’ getaway or romantic long weekend with that special someone.

Rebecca’s Easter Brunch Buffet & Egg Hunt* March 31st, 2013

The Lodge Golf Course Opens April 1st, 2013 (weather permitting)


The Gazebo Garden Summer Concert Series May 26th, 2013

Fine Dining reservations requested

(575) 682-2566 • (866) 595-6343




Alaska to

Cruising is the ideal way to maximize your visit to the Last Frontier


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by Jessica Muncrief Photographs courtesy of Holland America Line


aptivating landscapes, towering glaciers, and abundant wildlife make visiting Alaska a one-of-a-kind adventure. But in a state more than twice the size of Texas, narrowing down exactly what to see can be difficult. Add to that the fact that the vast majority of towns and settlements are remote and rural with very few roads, if any, connecting them, makes a “see-it-all” trip almost impossible. It’s no surprise that cruising along the mountainous coastline is one of the most popular means of seeing the state. “A cruise is the perfect, all-inclusive, and convenient way to experience the magic and wonders of Alaska without spending the weeks, if not months, it would take to thoroughly explore the state,” says Kathleen Coleman of Sun Travel in El Paso. Alaskan cruising is seasonal, however, with boats only able to navigate the icy fjords from May to September. Planning well ahead is always a good idea, and following a few insider tips can go a long way toward ensuring your Alaskan cruise experience is truly the dream vacation you’ve been imagining. Most would-be cruisers already have a destination in mind, but realize they’ll need to narrow it down further when it becomes clear how immense Alaska really is. When deciphering between the many Alaskan itineraries, the embarkation point can be revealing, says Erik Elvejord, director of public relations for Holland America Line. All cruises that start in Seattle are round-trip, so your tour will be limited to the southern coastline. The tradeoff, however, is easier and less expensive travel reservations and double the scenic cruising through the captivating Inside Passage. Cruises embarking from Vancouver can be round-trip or one-way with opportunities for exploring the highlights in the northern part of the state like Alaska’s snowcapped mountain peaks provide a splendid backdrop throughout the entire cruise journey. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


“While riding the train, you get a sense of what it might have been like to be one of the first settlers to arrive in the territory.” —Kathleen Coleman, Sun Travel

Luxurious lounges (above), elegant staterooms (left), and fine dining (below, right) await aboard Holland America Line cruise ships. On your trip to Alaska, expect to see an abundance of wildlife. A Dahl sheep (below, left) peeks from behind a mountain crag.


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Seward, Anchorage, and the Kenai Peninsula. Both options provide plenty to see and do, so the choice is often logistic in nature, notes Elvejord: “If you’re traveling as a family, round-trip might be the better option to ease air costs.” In addition to the traditional cruise option, most Alaskan cruise lines also offer what is called a cruisetour, where travelers spend a portion of the vacation at sea while the other half is dedicated to land travel. For those looking forward to all the comforts and conveniences cruising offers, there’s no shame in forgoing the land portion in favor of extra time for relaxing and enjoying the shipboard amenities and views. But if you want to experience the vast and stunning interiors the state offers, opting for a cruisetour won’t disappoint. “The beauty of a cruisetour lies not just in the scenery of the state’s interior, but in the increase in wildlife viewed, and the enhanced exposure to Alaskan culture,” says Coleman. Alaskan cruisetours are certainly for adventurous spirits. Optional excursions include helicopter flightseeing, glacier hiking, dog sledding, and fly fishing. You can even venture far north into the immense wilderness of the Yukon. Many cruisetours also incorporate rail travel, offering a unique perspective on the country. “While riding the train, you get a sense of what it might have been like to be one of the first settlers to arrive in the territory,” says Coleman, “although these trains are domed in glass with all the creature comforts.” The real gem of land travel in Alaska, however, is the captivating Denali National Park: six million acres of wild land and home of Mount McKinley. “The mountain and the wildlife are spectacular,” says Elvejord. “Two years ago, I took a wildlife tour in the park, and my group saw grizzlies, Dahl sheep, caribou, fox, porcupine, and hawks. And seeing the mountaintop was an added bonus.” Admittedly, it’s hard to go wrong in Alaska, especially with luxury cruise lines that know a thing or two about vacationing in comfort and style. Rest assured, no matter which itinerary or embarkation point you choose, unbelievable views and opportunities to get up close and personal with nature are abundant on both land and sea.

Alaskan cruisetours are certainly for adventurous spirits. Optional excursions include helicopter flightseeing, glacier hiking, dog sledding, and fly fishing.

Alaska - Land of Scenic Beauty & History Cruise the Scenic Inside Passage

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Su Cocina

the doctor

by John Vollertsen

Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

is in (the kitchen)

For an El Paso physician and his family, cooking is therapy


e is a physician who oversees two emergency rooms; she is a dermatologist who also works full-time. Toss three children into the mix, and these two doctors—Randy Goldstein and his wife, Karen Herman—will tell you that down time is an important part of achieving a balance, while having energy left for some fun is crucial. For this El Paso couple, finding a house with an ideal kitchen for entertaining was tantamount to their other required features—kid, pet, and office space. Their charming home in the Upper Valley Country Club district of the Sun City exemplifies the type of living space that covers all the bases—and for Dr. Goldstein, a well-furnished kitchen is as important as a well-equipped ER.

“Food is my therapy. I love my job, but cooking is never work; it’s always fun.” —Randy Goldstein

With a brined salmon fillet and fresh vegetables doing their thing in the outdoor smoker, El Paso physician Dr. Randy Goldstein (left) and Chef Johnny Vee relax by the pool while waiting for guests to arrive to their summer solstice party. 92

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Despite Goldstein’s dual role as ER medical director at both Las Palmas Medical Center and the El Paso Children’s Hospital, he and Herman, who is in private practice, lead a full social life. The family moved to El Paso from Virginia in 1999, where their first house in the mountains had a little kitchen with a glass top stove. In choosing their new home, Goldstein wanted a kitchen they—and especially he—could love. They looked at about 20 homes before settling on one and were initially not thrilled that it included a pool. “With the kids being small and us both being so busy it just seemed like a lot of extra work—but we both loved the kitchen immediately,” Goldstein says. Actually, there was a lot to love about the home. “We really wanted wood burning fireplaces and were lured by the fact that there are four in the house—including one in the kitchen,” says Goldstein. “There are patios everywhere; I have an herb garden off my office and lots of windows and light. There are great views of the pool from the bedrooms and a big hot tub off the master suite. The layout of the house works well because the kids (Elan, 12; Dora, 10; and Leor, 7) have their own wing.” But it is with the kitchen that Goldstein waxes lyrical. “An eat-in kitchen was essential—our table can seat ten,” he says. “There was a lot to work with. We extended the pantry by transforming a hallway into storage and adding a pot rack and bookshelves. [Karen loves to collect cookbooks.] A closet was replaced with a tall Viking wine fridge, and then we added shelving for wine glasses. A small side sink with instant-hot water and a Sub-Zero ice machine underneath acts as a mini-bar/butler station.

Randy and Chef Johnny prep for dinner indoors and ready the outdoor kitchen, which includes a Cal Flame gas grill and one of Randy’s favorite gadgets: a Masterbuilt digital electric smoker.

Karen Herman grabs a bottle of wine from the Viking wine chiller in the butler’s pantry. There is also ample space for pots, pans, and Karen’s beloved collection of cookbooks.

We added a second Bosch dishwasher on either side of the two sinks with center garbage disposal along one side of the big center island which is topped with granite countertops.” The six-burner Professional Series Pro Grand Thermador stove comes with griddle and split oven for dual baking. There is a separate Thermador warming drawer and large side-by-side Wolf Sub-Zero refrigerator/ freezer. A Breville Hemisphere Control Blender sits poised for cocktail ingredients alongside numerous utensil crocks packed with spatulas, whisks, and spoons of every size; a knife block holds Goldstein’s Henckels. “Unlike our previous house, this is a cook’s kitchen,” Goldstein says proudly. “Food is my therapy. I love my job, but cooking is never work; it’s always fun.” One of Randy’s favorite gadgets is his Masterbuilt Digital Electric Smoker from Academy Sports + Outdoors. It sits under the portal next to the outdoor kitchen which sports a Cal Flame gas grill. “[The smoker] has four racks,” he says, “and I love to do salmon, brisket, ribs, turkey legs, sausage, and vegetables. It’s amazing.” Though the pool was not initially a big draw for Randy and Karen, it is now an important facet of the entertaining. “We moved into the house the first week of July and were surprised and delighted to realize that the fireworks display set off by the El Paso Country Club shoots right over our house,” says Goldstein. “That’s where you will find us every Independence Day: floating in the pool, eyes upward.” I bet there’ll be a gourmet barbecue meal close by. 93

Party on! Randy and Karen’s Bicoastal El Paso Summer Celebration made delicious use of the smoked salmon (recipe opposite), capers, and watercress.

a summer seafood

No summer party would be complete without a little vino.



andy Goldstein and Karen Herman hosted a summer solstice outdoor party for 21 guests from many walks of life. As we planned the menu it was clear Goldstein knew what he liked and enjoyed being involved in the creative process. He got his start in food-play while working in a deli and as a bagel maker during his summer job as a teen. We decided on a seafood menu and titled the theme for the night “A Bicoastal El Paso Summer Celebration.”

While Randy played chef, Karen focused on the party planning and tablescaping. She decorated the tables set poolside with festive nautical effects: starfish, fish netting, sand, and life preservers. Candles and twinkle lights transported us to the coast—as did the menu. The night went off without a hitch—I was impressed how relaxed and calm the host and hostess were despite the large number of guests. The smoker and grill were both incorporated into the cooking process. Bruschetta for a tomato-basil salsa spent some time on the Cal Flame, while sides of salmon were brined and sent to the smoker. Inside, southern crab cakes sizzled on the stove’s griddle, and green chile mussel stew bubbled in one of Goldstein’s big Le Creuset pots. Thanks to guava cake with tres leches ice cream, a dreamy night spent poolside finished perfectly—and deliciously.


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John Vollertsen, aka Chef Johnny Vee, is the director of the Las Cosas Cooking School in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is also Food+Dining Editor for Santa Fean magazine and a regular contributor to Su Casa.

Brined Smoked Salmon For the brine: Âź cup kosher or other coarse salt (Randy Goldstein recommends the Salish Smoked Salt from the Artisan Salt Co.) Âź cup Sugar in the Raw 1 side of salmon, skin on, approximately 2 lbs. 8 cups cold water Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water and place the brine in an oblong, nonreactive deep pan that can accommodate the fish. Submerge the salmon, flesh side down, and allow to marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature. Remove the salmon from the brine and blot dry with paper towels. Prepare the smoker and smoke fish for 30 minutes at 185 degrees. Remove from smoker and allow to cool. Serve with a simple sauce made from mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lime juice, capers, chopped scallions, and chopped herbs.

The perfect starter: smoked salmon served with chopped herbs, savory crackers, and a creamy caper sauce.



Su Cocina



The captivating cuisine of Catalonia by Bob Skolnick Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

It may technically belong to Spain, but Catalonia embraces a culture all its own. Tucked into the northeast corner of the country’s Mediterranean coastline, Catalonia and its locals embrace a rich heritage. The Middle East, Italy, and neighboring France all played a role in shaping the region’s customs, language, and, of course, food. Chefs take great pride in keeping dishes simple and developing the deep flavors of the ingredients. Rice, citrus fruits, eggplant, olive oil, garlic, and plenty of fresh seafood and shellfish form the basis of this flavorful cuisine. Spaniards enjoy a good party, so it’s no surprise that their favorite dishes are meant to serve a crowd. With a few simple adjustments, these recipes form the ideal menu for a stateside fiesta.

Catalan Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts

Catalan Spinach with Raisins and Pine Nuts melds sweet, savory, and salty flavors with fresh spinach and the crunch of pine nuts.

Spaniards prefer to indulge in tapas, small appetizer-sized portions meant for sharing. This popular Catalan tapa translates perfectly into the American pre-dinner salad. Toss plump raisins, pine nuts, green stuffed olives, and spinach in a quality Spanish olive oil infused with toasted garlic and onion for a dish that is bursting with the flavors of Spain.

Serves 6 4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil 1 Spanish onion, chopped fine 2 garlic cloves, minced 3 tablespoons pine nuts 3/4 cup dark raisins 38 oz fresh spinach leaves Salt and pepper to taste ½ cup green pimiento-stuffed olives Toasted flat bread In a sauté pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the chopped


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onion and minced garlic until golden brown. Add the pine nuts and raisins and sauté until warm. Remove from the burner and set aside. Trim the spinach stems and rinse the leaves thoroughly. Place the wet spinach in a second large sauté pan and heat just enough to allow the moisture on the spinach to steam. Be careful not to overcook the spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Toss gently the steamed spinach with the onion, garlic, olive oil, and pine nut/raisin mixture. Garnish with slices of the pimiento-stuffed green olives. Serve with toasted flat bread.

Spaniards enjoy a good party; dishes are meant to serve a crowd. Paella Mixta Paella is the dish most clearly identified with Spain. By most accounts, it originated in Valencia, the region bordering Catalonia to the south, but this flavorful concoction of rice, vegetables, and aromatic spices has blossomed into the poster child for the entire country’s cuisine. Each region incorporates their special twists, and the Catalan version naturally includes a generous amount of fresh seafood. Americanize it by mixing in pork and chicken, or give it Southwestern flair with chorizo sausage. This scrumptious adaptation includes a little something for all tastes.

Serves 6 12 mussels 12 clams 6 whole crab or lobster claws 12 jumbo shrimp, shell on 6 escargot in shell 3/4 cup Spanish olive oil 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks 2 chorizo sausages 1 Spanish onion, chopped fine 2 tablespoons minced garlic 2 tomatoes, skinned, seeded, and chopped 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips 1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips 1 cup green peas 1/4 cup capers 3 cups Bomba rice 6 cups chicken broth 2 teaspoons saffron 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika 1 teaspoon dried thyme 1 teaspoon turmeric 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary Salt and pepper to taste Lemon wedges for garnish

Visit your favorite gourmet kitchen shop to find an oven-safe paella dish, then try out Paella Mixta, a glorious concoction of seafood, vegetables, and saffron-scented rice.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees with a lower shelf inserted for your paella. Rinse and scrub mussels and clams, discarding any open and dead ones. Rinse the cooked crab or lobster claws. Rinse, peel, and devein the jumbo shrimp and set all aside under refrigeration. Heat half of the olive oil in a sauté pan and brown the chicken chunks on all sides. Remove to a plate and hold warm. Using the same oil and pan, sauté the chorizo sausage. When cooked, cut into chunks and set aside with chicken. In the same oil and pan, cook the onion and garlic until lightly browned. Add the tomato and bell peppers and sauté until partially cooked. Add the chicken and chorizo back in. Cover with foil and set aside off of the heat at room temperature. In a paella pan, warm the remainder of the olive oil. Add the Bomba rice and slowly stir and sauté until rice is translucent. Turn up the burner heat and gradually add the chicken stock, saffron, and spices. Bring mixture to a rapid simmer, stirring constantly. Add the clams, mussels, lobster, escargot, and shrimp, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in the chicken, chorizo, browned vegetables, capers, and peas. Gently stir all items until fully mixed. Cover the paella pan with aluminum foil and place into the preheated oven for 20 minutes. When the rice is tender and has absorbed the stock, uncover and cook the paella for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir loosely with a kitchen fork to fluff and separate. Garnish with lemon wedges.



Paella Verduras Eating vegetarian is quickly growing in popularity in the United States and around the world. Traditionally, not all Spanish paella included seafood and meat. Peasant towns and those far from the plentiful seafood of the ocean often mixed up a simple and tasty concoction with lots of fresh veggies. This version incorporates a walnut pesto for a gourmet twist.

Serves 6 Walnut Pesto (makes 1 1/2 cups) 2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped fine 4 cloves garlic, chopped fine 3 tablespoons Manchego cheese, grated 3 tablespoon walnuts, toasted and chopped 4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil 4 tablespoons walnut oil

Paella Verduras 3 cups vegetable stock 1 cup dry white wine 2 teaspoons saffron 4 tablespoons Spanish olive oil 1 onion, diced fine 1 red bell pepper, diced fine 2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced 2 zucchini, sliced 2 cups shitake mushrooms, destemmed and sliced 8 artichoke hearts, quartered 18 asparagus spears, trimmed to 3" in length 1/2 cup parsley, chopped 2 cups Bomba rice 1 1/2 cups prepared Walnut Pesto 1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped 3 tablespoons Manchego cheese, grated Prepare the Walnut Pesto by combining basil, garlic, cheese, and walnuts in a blender or food processor and blending into a paste. Slowly drizzle in the olive and walnut oils and, when fully incorporated, set your pesto aside at room temperature. Combine the stock, white wine, and saffron in a sauté pan and maintain warm until needed. In the paella pan, add half the olive oil and sauté the onion and pepper over medium heat for several minutes, then add the tomatoes, zucchini, shitake mushrooms, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and parsley and sauté for about 3 minutes. Set aside. In the same paella pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Stir in the Bomba rice and sauté until translucent. Add in the hot saffron and the wine and stock mixture and stir until the rice absorbs the stock. Return the vegetables to the pan and add the Walnut Pesto. Stir gently until fully mixed. To finish, cover the paella pan with foil, place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees, and cook until the liquid is fully absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the cover and heat another 5 minutes in the oven. Just before service, sprinkle on the reserved walnut pieces and grated Manchego cheese. 98

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Spain’s traditional dish goes meat- and seafood-free in Paella Verduras. Use your imagination when choosing veggies.

Catalonian chefs take great pride in keeping dishes simple and developing the deep flavors of the ingredients.

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Su Cocina

it’s not easy

eating green Meatless options are available on most menus, but El Paso is still waiting for its first true all-veggie restaurant by R. Monroe

Photographs by Bill Faulkner A recent vegan wine dinner at Opus World Bistro included this dish of grilled eggplant, pumpkin plantain puree, curry spiced cauliflower tempura, fried leeks, and tandoori-spiced tomato sauce. Vegan-friendly wines (above) were served with each course.

In a state known for the size of its steaks, being a vegetarian in Texas can feel downright transgressive. Consider this: While Portland, Oregon boasts a dozen vegan restaurants (not to mention a vegan tattoo parlor, vegan salon, and vegan belt company), El Paso does not have one restaurant that caters strictly to vegetarians, much less vegans. Vegetarians are those who avoid eating meat, but will sometimes consume eggs and dairy products, while vegans avoid eating and wearing animal products of any kind. Ask Sukie Sargent, founder of the Vegetarian Society of El Paso (VSEP), whether the Sun City is an easy place to avoid animal products. “It’s difficult,” she says, “but not impossible.” And Sargent should know— she’s been vegan since learning about animal abuse in the food industry 100

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from her son 23 years ago. “Mexican restaurants, forget about it,” she says ruefully, referring to the fact that most Mexican restaurants cook their beans in lard, a no-no for vegetarians. “You have to cook at home a lot of the time.” Still, as Sargent notes, there are many more options for vegetarians and vegans in El Paso than there were a decade ago. Local markets catering to fans of organic produce and natural foods carry items that make it easier to cook without animal products. Sargent recommends the veganprepared foods at Cielo Vista Natural Market near the Cielo Vista Mall. In addition, Sprouts on Mesa Street offers a significant selection of tofu, tempeh, and other staples of the vegetarian diet.

For those who prefer to eat out, there are actually a surprising number of veggie-friendly options at local restaurants—if you know where to look. Both Sargent and Lisa Martinez, author of the popular blog “El Paso Veg Snob” (, rely on ethnic restaurants. Asian cuisine has long featured tofu as a meat substitute, while Indian restaurants often have extensive meat-free options. Perhaps the best resource for the vegetarian-curious in El Paso is VSEP’s informative website (, which features the group’s upcoming events as well as an extensive vegetarian dining guide. Sargent founded the El Paso branch of the national Vegetarian Society in 1993, after she retired from civil service and decided to devote her life to helping animals. Sargent readily admits that not everyone becomes vegetarian because of animal activism; some are motivated by health concerns (vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer), others by environmentalism, and others for religious or spiritual reasons. Over the past two decades, the organization has grown to about 250 members of all ages, and now hosts regular events, including potlucks, dinner-and-a-movie nights, vegan bake sales, and lectures by nationally known figures. Last summer, VSEP hosted one of its quarterly “Restaurant Hopper” gatherings at chef Michael Ross’s Opus World Bistro. Sargent, Martinez, and fellow VSEPers had grown fond of Ross’s food when he cooked at the Camino Real, so they were especially eager to try out his new restaurant, which opened in February of 2011. So eager, in fact, that more than 50 diners showed up to enjoy a multi-course vegan meal specially prepared by Ross—nearly twice as many as expected. The food, which included Sweet Pea Tortel-

Tofu and bulgur wheat “crab cakes” with basil corn relish, horseradish cream, and avocado sauce.

Opus Chef Michael Ross makes a dairy-free dessert of apple confit with green apple sorbet and raspberry coulis.

lini, Tofu and Bulgur Wheat “Crab Cakes,” and Apple Confit with Apple Sorbet and Raspberry Coulis “creatively and deftly [made] use of seasonal ingredients and textures,” Martinez wrote on her blog shortly afterward. That dinner made it clear to Ross that there was a demand for thoughtfully prepared, innovative vegetarian and vegan food in El Paso. Though Ross himself isn’t a vegetarian (and there are plenty of non-

resources Opus World Bistro 7128 N. Mesa, El Paso, TX 915-585-2221 Vegetarian Society of El Paso SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Your Exclusive Resource for Premium Quality Wine • Wine & Beer • Fresh Seafood • Produce & Cheese • Bakery • Natural & Gourmet Meats

Open from - 9am to 10pm every day Pan Am Plaza • 1701 E University Ave • Las Cruces, NM



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At Opus World Bistro, chef Michael Ross willingly adapts his menu for individual dietary requirements ranging from gluten intolerance to raw foodism. vegetarian dishes on the menu at Opus), he has a history of cooking meat-free dishes, stemming from his brother’s conversion to vegetarianism in 1969. Back then, Ross says, “no one knew what [vegetarianism] was.” After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Ross went on to work in Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe and fine-dining establishments stateside. Perhaps his best training came from serving as the executive chef for the Scheherazade Restaurant at the Trump Taj Mahal Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. The restaurant had no set menu; instead, Ross would consult with each diner and prepare a unique dish depending on his or her particular preferences that evening. Such on-the-fly culinary invention prepared Ross for Opus, where he willingly adapts his menu for individual dietary requirements ranging from gluten intolerance to raw foodism. After the success of the VSEP dinner, Ross expanded the vegan and vegetarian options on his menu and began hosting a four-course vegan wine dinner on Thursdays. With Opus filling a much-needed niche where vegetarians can enjoy a fine-dining experience alongside their meat-eating friends, Ross has raised the bar for El Paso restaurants across the board. And for those who don’t plan on giving up their bacon anytime soon, it’s worth noting that simply increasing the proportion of vegetarian food in your diet—“meatless Mondays,” for example, or eating vegan before dinnertime, like food writer Mark Bittman—has a salutary effect on health and the environment. Thanks to foodies like Sargent and Martinez and chefs like Ross, taking that step is now easier than ever.

the Spanish chef’s pantry

Su Cocina by Bob Skolnick Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

Paella, Spain’s most famous dish, requires a few special ingredients


erfect Spanish paella doesn’t happen by accident. The right ingredients are critical for true authenticity, which is best achieved when you use the same products the locals choose—those produced right in the heart of Spain.

Spanish wine

It’s practically required to round out any authentic Spanish meal with a good glass of vino. The country’s warm, dry climate makes it ideal for producing some superb varietals. Several pair beautifully with paella, such as Campo Viejo’s Tempranillo, a full-bodied red wine with fruity undertones. Grenache wines offer a hint of spiciness that stands up to this flavorful dish; Castillo de Monseran produces a particularly enjoyable bottle.


Once so valuable it served as currency, the saffron bulb boasts a long and appreciative culinary history. It appeals to the senses in so many ways: The dense and enticing aroma is captivating, while the color, a vivid crimson, is visually appealing. Spanish paella, along with many other delicacies from around the globe, remains incomplete without the slightly bitter, yet subtly sweet flavor of this magnificent, ancient spice. Bypass the powdered versions in favor of the delicate saffron threads that can be steeped in a mild stock or lightly toasted and crumbled into the dish.

Bomba rice Any Italian chef worth his salt knows that rice with a creamy finish, like Arborio, is a must for impeccable risotto. Likewise in Spain, not just any rice will do when conjuring up the country’s most lauded dish. The essence of successful paella lies in the ability of the rice to absorb the flavors of the broth, and Bomba rice has a reputation for being the best. Expect to pay a bit more than for the more common varietals, but with three times as much liquid and seasonings steeping into each grain, no selfrespecting Spanish chef should settle for less.

If you’ve never purchased saffron before, expect some sticker shock at the checkout counter. It’s pricey but oh-so-worth the splurge; nothing compares to the complex flavor of these crimson threads.



Bill Faulkner

Dream On

on top of the world In the rolling hills at the base of the Franklin Mountains, homeowners often struggle with limited yard space. The trade-off—jaw-dropping views—admittedly isn’t a bad one. But Joe Beechler of Paradise Pools knows a thing or two about making the most of any lot size. “We naturally wanted to take full advantage of this home’s amazing views, and the owner also wanted more covered patio area,” says Beechler. “However, this yard has limited space, so in order to accomplish everything we wanted to, we had to invade the pool with the patio area. The patio actually continues right into the pool.” The final result: a backyard comprised of the entire El Paso valley. Paradise Pools, 915-591-8819,


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Profile for Bella Media Group

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2013 Digital Edition  

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2013 Digital Edition

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2013 Digital Edition  

Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Spring 2013 Digital Edition

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