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El Paso & Southern New Mexico


bold & beautiful farmhouse sinks

inspiration ideas resources

a house

of the desert

architect Ed McCormick’s personal home

technology meets style in an El Paso

concept home

the art of Mexico

cantera stone VOL. 1 NO. 1 WINTER 2013


Creating The Finest Landscapes and Outdoor Living Areas for Your Home

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

inspiration ideas resources

10 ®




10 design with purpose

El Paso architect Ed McCormick pulled out all the stops when designing his own home, a house “of the mountain.”

24 modern marvel

A home in El Paso is a comfortable retreat for extended family as well as a technological wonder.

38 all they ever wanted

When a young family in El Paso began designing their dream home, they started with input from the most junior members.

64 from the ground up

Color, creativity, and craftsmanship. A Las Cruces couple took the hands-on approach when designing their home.


Bill Faulkner


6 Inside Su Casa

20 Farmhouse


34 Tiled in Style

50 Underwater Utopias 56 Going Deep Well-traveled El Paso artist Krystyna Renata Robbins paints places she knows and loves.

60 Cantera Stone 72 Bring Hollywood Home

76 Vida Buena 80 Live Performance Calendar Theater, concerts, comedy, and more to kick off the new year.

84 Travel Remember San Antonio for a great getaway for the whole family, sample wine liberally on a river cruise through the European countryside, and join Joe Burgess for a culinary adventure on Louisiana’s boudin trail.

96 Su Cocina

Hearty, soul-warming winter soups, must-haves for the chef’s pantry, and a visit to St Clair Winery & Bistro in Las Cruces.

104 Dream On

A custom walk-in closet is every fashionista’s fantasy.

Cover: Based on a color palette found in the desert, a contemporary El Paso home blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape and is a testament to purposeful design. Photograph by Bill Faulkner.


Courtesy of AmaWaterways


Inside Su Casa

a cherished place


Bruce Adams



hank you so much for opening up the premier issue of Su Casa magazine for El Paso and Southern New Mexico. We’re delighted to present you with a magazine that we hope will be inspirational—not just for your home, but for your life. We believe that your home is your life and that you will choose to make it beautiful. The El Paso/Las Cruces area is a distinctive place with home resources unique to this community. The vibrant colors we enjoy here are unlike those seen in other parts of Texas or New Mexico, much less the country. The community embraces the rich cultural heritage of Mexico that has influenced lifestyle in El Paso and Southern New Mexico. The structure of our homes is different, too, with design elements and practical features that stand up to the intensity of this climate. In Su Casa, we aim to show you how innovative builders, architects, and homeowners bring together these practical needs to complement satisfying lifestyles. We live differently here as well. We love to throw parties and be around the people we most appreciate. It’s important that our homes support our daily lives but also allow family and friends to feel welcome. The people of this area often live in and explore other parts of the country and the world, but they always want to come home to this cherished place. Both of my parents are from this area; my grandmother and aunt graduated (in the same class) from New Mexico State University, and my grandfather was a merchant in El Paso for many years. It’s a homecoming for me as well. Su Casa speaks to our lives here in the sun. We’ll show you amazing homes that you may have only dreamed about or seen from the outside. But Su Casa is more than about just showing off beautiful homes; we hope to show off beautiful lifestyles as well. Possibly as you look at the lifestyles of others you will see qualities that you would like to incorporate into your own. On the cover it says inspiration. We mean that. We want you to be inspired to make your life and your home a source of happiness and peace. It’s not about the size of your home; it’s about the joy your home brings you. As we begin this journey, I want to personally thank you for participating in the Su Casa experience and your willingness to make your life and your home wonderful. Because that wonderful feeling of safety and comfort comes from only one place: su casa. Your home.

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

You Can Teach an Old House New 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 Joe Burgess, Tiffany Etterling Heather Parra Graphic Designer Sybil Watson Contributing Designer Michelle Odom Photography Joe Burgess, Bill Faulkner Jesse Ramirez

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 © 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

Imagine the Possibilities

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 for $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. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



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design with purpose An architect’s personal home incorporates modernism into the desert landscape 10

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

by Jessica Muncrief


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

dward McCormick knew early on in life what his future held. “In school, I had a strong interest in drawing, painting, and all the arts, and I knew at age nine that I wanted to be an architect,” he recounts. Never wavering from his course, McCormick opened his own architectural firm in El Paso in 1982. Today, McCormick is putting the final touches on his personal residence, a project he says is a union of the more than 300 homes and 2,000 commercial buildings he has designed over the past 37 years. “I feel my designs relate to the climate and culture of the area and the personalities of the clients themselves,” McCormick says. “In my case, we have a desert climate, and the culture has a strong Hispanic influence. I enjoy color, and the clean, modern lines reflect my personality.” McCormick Architecture embraces the design philosophy embodied in the 1976 book Architect as Builder: “We must learn to understand humanity better so that we can create an environment that is more beneficial to people, more rewarding, more pleasant to experience.” With this mindset, the firm has successfully brought a touch of modernism

El Paso architect Ed McCormick (above) designed his personal home to be, as he says, “of the mountain, not on the mountain.” Colors throughout the interior and exterior embrace a specific palette, one that reflects the purples and deep reds of the surrounding desert.



Channeling a Japanesestyle spa and with sweeping views of the El Paso Valley, the master bathroom features a shower tiled in white Carrera marble and a deep soak tub that uses aerated jets instead of water jets, creating a more relaxed environment and allowing the use of bubbles, oils, and bath salts.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

to the Southwest, an area that often favors historical styles. It is a testament to McCormick’s ability to harmoniously incorporate defining elements of the region into contemporary designs, a craft he has perfected in the creation of his own home. “My house has horizontal lines to parallel the lines of the desert,” says McCormick. “Massing elements purposely contrast these lines, mirroring the contrast between the mountains and desert of El Paso. It’s an architectural statement, aided by color, that picks up the essence of the Southwest and the culture of the area through texture, form, and light.” During the design process, McCormick visited the build site frequently—often with a sketchpad and occasionally with a bottle of wine. Deter-

mined to build a home “of the mountain, not on the mountain,” the immediate challenge was adapting to the steep slopes of the plot without hindering the stunning views. Three sets of retaining walls created a multi-tiered plot with plenty of square footage and also allowed for the addition of an infinity-edge pool that appears to drop off into the desert arroyos. A sprawling basement and a four-car garage were built right into the base of the mountain, elevating the main living areas to take advantage of the panoramas. “I took advantage of natural light through orientation and skylighting and incorporated trellises for solar control. The expansive windows allow for a seamless relationship with the outside environment,” McCormick notes. Bestowing design elements with purpose is

“The expansive windows allow for a seamless relationship with the outside environment.”—Ed McCormick

Above: Each of the four guest bedrooms has a signature color, en suite bathroom, and at least one piece of artwork from McCormick’s exceptional collection. Left: McCormick’s desire for interior comforts and an appreciation of the exterior environment is perhaps best achieved in the lounge area which overlooks the pool.



Natural materials, coupled with a vibrant use of color, soften the industrial influences and give the home accents of regional authenticity.


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Opposite: The expansive master bedroom employs the same strong lines and bold colors utilized throughout the home. Right: McCormick’s diverse art collection includes a number of works by local artists and a rare compilation of sketches by Russian painter Nicolai Fechin. Below: The kitchen is sleek and contemporary with stainless steel Miele appliances from Mebel Rust. Added conveniences include an over-the-stove pot filler, pull-out pantries, and a built-in coffee maker.



McCormick loves his living room accents, including the hanging light panels (“clouds�) that help improve acoustics and the Big Ass Fan that helps circulate air.

resources Architect/Builder McCormick Architecture Edward McCormick, AIA, LEEDAP, CNU-A 915-533-2288 Furniture and Accessories Dekora Sandra Diaz, 915-581-2908 Designs by L.L. Power and Associates Elizabeth Teige, 915-590-7373 Appliances and Cabinetry Mebel Rust (Miele), 915-581-1442


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Metal Work Dominguez Sheet Metal Works 915-542-1875

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In line with the homeowner’s vision of building with, not against, the environment, the landscaping uses natural foliage conducive to the desert.

important to McCormick’s architectural philosophy of creating harmonious and beneficial environments. He chose his building materials carefully with an eye to both function and aesthetics. Copper enriches the exterior in the form of a barrel vault spanning the length of the home and banding around the portecochère. “The color and texture blend well with the desert, and it reflects the sun, so there’s a definite green factor as well,” McCormick notes. Concrete and steel provide the clean lines of modern design but also offer superior rigidity and opportunities for energy efficiency. Natural materials, coupled with a vibrant use of

color, soften the industrial influences and give the home accents of regional authenticity. “The juxtaposition of the cold surfaces to the warmth of the wood beams is very smart,” says design consultant Elizabeth Teige, who helped with furnishings and decor. “It brings humanity to the space, but still keeps it masculine.” McCormick’s boyhood love of the arts has never waned, and in fact has blossomed in his adult years. As an active member of El Paso Pro-Musica, McCormick is dedicated to promoting chamber music and other creative endeavors. To that end, his home is part art gallery and part concert hall, with plenty of


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Bestowing design elements with purpose is important to McCormick’s architectural philosophy of creating harmonious and beneficial environments.

room for mingling and cultured conversation. The front door opens onto an immense hallway housing one of the most extensive private art collections in the area. A Shigeru Kawai piano sits on a raised alcove in the main living area surrounded by intimate seating areas and tables. This past spring, McCormick hosted a gala featuring the artwork of renowned artists Aleksander and Lyuba Titovets. Zuill Bailey, one of the premiere cellists in the world and the artistic director of El Paso Pro-Musica, is slated to play at an upcoming gathering. In a setting that melds modern form with the natural environment and beauty with exquisite design, that is sure to be a magical evening of art and culture.

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Life+Style Southwest

by Jessica Muncrief

farmhouse sinks go urban Big and bold, these sinks are all about being seen


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013


elding form and function, a farmhouse sink pulls doubleduty in the kitchen as an eyecatching centerpiece for the room and as a facilitator of kitchen tasks. Farmhouse sinks are also known as apron-front sinks due to the exposed front panel not concealed by cabinetry, and tub sinks because of the wide, deep basin reminiscent of a bathtub. Originally found on rural farms where dirty chores and feeding lots of hungry people are daily occurrences, farmhouse sinks offer lots of room to take care of business: Pots slip easily under faucets for filling, there’s no splashy mess

Courtesy of BLANCO America; Left: Courtesy of Kohler; Below: Courtesy of Stone Forest

Prefer contemporary to cottage? The farmhouse sink has been reimagined in recent years and is suddenly popping up as a dramatic focal point in unexpected decor styles. after scrubbing pans, and soaking casserole dishes and cookie sheets is a breeze. Plus the deep basins aid in a number of household chores like soaking laundry, mopping floors, and bathing small pets. Most urban families would agree that you don’t have to be a farmer to appreciate advantages like those. If you think you’re stuck with a regular sink because you don’t have country or cottage tastes, think again. This farmhouse classic has been reimagined in recent years and is suddenly popping up as a dramatic focal point in unexpected decor styles. Interior designer Lynda Power of Designs by L.L. Power and Associates in El Paso says, “When clients hear the term ‘farmhouse,’ they almost always think of a country setting. But once we start doing some research, they find these sinks can have a minimalist look and blend in with Tuscan, traditional, transitional, or contemporary settings.” An elegant white porcelain sink from BLANCO America (above) is installed in an island for added convenience, while a natural front farmhouse sink by Stone Forest (left) adds a touch of rugged sophistication—its unfinished façade highlights the natural beauty of the stone, and the polished interior and rim make it practical for everyday use. For a colorful pop, try a porcelain farmhouse sink by Kohler (opposite). SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM






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Double-bowl farmhouse sinks are also popular, like these from Elkay (above, top) and Kohler (above, bottom). The Kohler Vault™ apronfront sink slides right into existing cabinetry.

Fresh takes on color, shape, and material have given farmhouse sinks a new persona, and you can find them in materials from sleek stainless steel to rich granite. “My clients have used porcelain, travertine, plain or hammered copper, cast concrete, and soapstone,” notes Power. Porcelain glazes come in every color imaginable for sinks, and embellished fronts can pull a design theme together seamlessly. Think outside the country kitchen box. With a bold new aesthetic, the farmhouse sink is growing up and facing forward. 22

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Above, top: Courtesy of Elkay; Above, bottom: Courtesy of Kohler




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marvel Family and technology unite in a concept home by Heather Parra


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

acee and Billie Lamphere’s journey to creating their family home was a bit out of the ordinary. Accommodating frequent visits from five grandchildren was certainly a big priority for the couple, but the Lampheres also wanted a concept house to showcase the work of their development engineering company, Innovative Applications Corporation (IAC). Originally, IAC developed complex manufacturing automation systems and software for some of the largest corporations in the United States and northern Mexico, but in 2005 the Lampheres sold that portion of their company and shifted to improving on building methods for commercial and residential properties. IAC brainpower focuses on constructing stylish buildings with increased strength, lower energy consumption, and fewer maintenance requirements. Not surprisingly, the Lampheres decided they wanted one of their own, so the El Paso residents started designing. The technical aspects of constructing such a home were of course supremely important, but the Lampheres were just as adamant that the home be fashionable, livable, and ideal for their active lives and large family. They succeeded admirably. Unless given a behind-the-scenes tour, one might never know that an engineering marvel lies just beneath the walls. The home is a warmly decorated mix of natural stone, rich leather, dark woods, and elegant copper accents. On any given day, the grandkids can be found playing with the dog, watching movies on the big screen, and running between the air hockey table in the game room and the pool. Both of the Lampheres have found their own special alcoves for relaxing. Lacee loves the redwood SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


The grandkids enjoy ample use of the indoor pool and patio area which features a 16-jet dancing water display and splash pad. A natural gas grill equipped with automatic exhaust hood and service sink allows for cookouts all year round.


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balcony overlooking the pool where he enjoys his morning coffee, while Billie’s retreat is the twoperson steam room, complete with four-head shower, mood lighting, radio, and aromatherapy. The view from the entry door reaches all the way through the living space, past the indoor pool, to the backyard landscaped with palm trees and Hawaiian plumeria plants. Ideal for entertaining, the open floorplan allows for the seamless mingling of cooking, lounging, and dining. The great room’s full French doors can be opened to unite the main living space with the enclosed patio and saltwater pool.

From idea to move-in, the entire project took almost a decade, although the majority of the construction was completed in under a year. “The most important thing to us was that it be done right. We wanted top-quality work in every aspect of our home,” says Lacee. To that end, he handpicked his own team of talented and trustworthy workers and contractors and says that they went above and beyond his expectations: “They accepted a challenge to learn and adapt and build at a higher standard.” Warm and inviting though it may be, this house is about more than just aesthetics. The perk to

In the kitchen (above), custom cabinetry from A-1 Kitchens is highlighted by granite countertops from COMAF and a copper-tiled backsplash. Rough-cut natural stone and brick enclose the round soak tub in the master bathroom (right).

Ideal for entertaining, the open floorplan allows for the seamless mingling of cooking, lounging, and dining.

The Lampheres decorated the home themselves, giving much consideration to colors and textures. In lieu of the traditional minibar, a full-sized refrigerator, sink, and microwave in the upstairs poker room (below) eliminate trips to the main kitchen.

having a home designed by highly advanced engineering and software gurus is that everything is fully automated. From literally anywhere in the world, the Lampheres can control the security system, electricity, HVAC, and even the entertainment system from their smartphones and laptops. Energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and a geothermal heating and cooling system were all integral inclusions in the original plan, and all work flawlessly—so well, in fact, that this 7,436-square-foot home costs 80 percent less to operate than the Lampheres’ previous home. Beyond the incredible technological efficiencies, Lacee and Billie Lamphere’s home is special because it is evident that a real family lives, loves, and thrives here. Personal touches reflecting the homeowners’ personalities and lifestyle grace every room. More than a concept house, this is truly a concept home. 28

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Left: The theater room features plush leather seating, including two fullbody massage chairs. Below: The master bedroom opens right onto the enclosed patio—perfect for keeping an eye on the grandkids.



behind the walls of a concept home by Jessica Muncrief Photographs courtesy of Innovative Applications Corporation (IAC)

With a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score of negative one, this home produces more energy than it requires to operate.

Bill Faulkner

The designers at IAC came together to create a home that is not only beautiful but also extremely efficient. The home has achieved a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score of negative one (-1), meaning it produces more energy than it requires to operate. A solar power grid is certainly a contributing factor, but much more engineering expertise went into fulfilling IAC’s vision of improved building practices, minimal energy consumption, and reduced costs before, during, and after construction. Here’s an exclusive backstage pass to a home that represents what the future of construction may hold. One of the primary focuses of IAC has been the development of a unique composite, insulated, cement panel building system (patent pending). These panels are designed to be factory manufactured for improvements over on-site construction,

Lacee and Billie Lamphere, assembled with the team that helped build their home, along with grandsons Dawsen and Austin (front row). Although the building of the home was planned for almost a decade, it only took about a year to complete construction.


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Bill Faulkner

Tucked away in an upstairs storage area is one of three main environmental control systems in the home providing humidity control, intake and exhaust, geothermal heat exchange, and bidirectional air control.

Cement panels streamline the construction process and offer superior insulation.

such as exceptional dimensional accuracy, high structural strength, and uniform fit and finish. The high thermal energy storage capability of the cement panels reduces heating and cooling costs. In fact, thermal insulation ratings significantly exceed those required by building codes. The thickness of the panels also provides high sound absorption for optimum noise abatement. The home is heated and cooled in three main zones (bedrooms and upper floor, downstairs living area, and indoor patio

and pool) via three separate geothermal heat pumps. The pumps exchange heat with the earth by circulating fluid through 3,600 feet of tubing. Equipped with a water-to-air heat exchanger, the pool is a source of heat and humidity for the rest of the house. The pool water is heated by a natural gas heater that is energy efficient and economical.The domestic hot water is supplied through the capture of what would otherwise be lost energy from the geothermal pump compressor.

The home is extremely well-sealed, so forced ventilation was necessary for optimum air quality. The outside air is delivered via an air-to-air heat exchanger that recovers over 80 percent of the energy normally lost in ventilation, saving money and energy in both the heating and cooling seasons. A unique feature is the strategic placement of numerous removable wall panels that permit easy access for the inspection and maintenance of HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


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Grandsons Austin and Dawsen have their own game and toy room complete with an air hockey table.



tiled in style New innovations bring tile to the forefront of modern design by Jessica Muncrief

From floors and walls to countertops and fireplaces, distinctive style starts in the foundation of the home. Forget boring and bare: Spruced-up surfaces are taking interiors to a whole new level. Emser’s Genoa glazed porcelain tiles interpret the look of natural stone. The Paladino line from Emser (top) looks like marble but is actually salt porcelain. 34

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Courtesy of Emser; Opposite: Courtesy of Interceramic

Design Studio

go faux

Imagine the beauty and elegance of hardwood floors with virtually none of the maintenance, or the sophistication of marble without the extreme price tag. Ceramic and porcelain tiles now mirror wood and natural stone flooring options. The concept has been available for a while, but it is only in the last few years that advances in technology have given ceramic and porcelain imitations unparalleled realism. Wood grains are replicated so perfectly you can even feel the grooves on the more rustic versions. Digital imaging re-creates the veining and shading in slate and marble to a tee. Adding chiseled edging creates the rough-cut authenticity of travertine. “Even I often have to look twice, and I’m in the business,” says David Holguin, general manager of Interceramic in El Paso. Interceramic’s Montreaux ceramic tiling joins the floor to the tub and walls.

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Highlands porcelain floor and wall tiles from Interceramic. Above, right: The look of maple wood is re-created in Forestland glazed porcelain.

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It’s not just for floors anymore. From walls and bathtubs to bar fronts and fireplaces, there are plenty of other surfaces that benefit from a facelift. Ruben Basurto of Emser Tile in El Paso points out that each tile line has corresponding borders, listellos, backsplashes, glass mosaics, and other accent pieces for a complementary look throughout. “By adding the same tile to different dimensions, it adds to the contemporary look of the material,” he says. David Holguin of Interceramic agrees this is a trend he has been noticing more and more often. “With the exception of glass, we can put anything anywhere. The tile can go right from the floors onto the walls. It’s a seamless look, and it’s very modern.”


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Below and right: Bill Faulkner; Opposite, left and right: Courtesy of Interceramic

see it in 3-D

It’s all the rage at the movies, and it could be just the statement piece your home is missing. Incorporating jutting surfaces into interior spaces adds textural and visual interest. Ceramic wall tiles with raised etchings, like the Damasco line from Interceramic, are on the cutting edge of chic. For a more classic look try cultured stone and brick. It can add dimension in the form of columns and fireplace surrounds, but can also make a bold impact as a wall veneer for an entire room. Right in line with the faux trend, Efren Fraire, owner of E.F. Building Materials, recommends Centurion stone veneer which offers the appearance and durability of natural stone at a fraction of the price. Below: E.F. Building Materials goes for the unexpected with vertical cultured stone. Right: Vertical tiles and mosaic stones create a distinctive shower by Interceramic.



all they ever wanted A young family collaborates on their dream home by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner


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Above: A fireplace and hot tub allow for four-season enjoyment of the pool. Left: Chaises in the master bedroom are strategically placed for viewing of the television, fireplace, and pool.

The Martinez family: Cassandra, Christina, Maria, and Eddie SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



fter purchasing land in west El Paso for their dream home, Eddie and Maria Martinez began planning the perfect layout for their family. First order of business: input from two experts, both under the age of twelve. Christina, 11, and Cassandra, 9, were essential to the process right from the beginning. “The basis of this whole project was our two daughters, so the first thing we did was ask them what they wanted,” says Eddie. The girls’ wish list was short but specific. Two stories was a must. Although Eddie and Maria had a single-level plan in mind, they were unable to get the square footage they wanted on the lot, so it turned out to be an easy compromise. The upper level was the natural space for the girls’ bedrooms, along with an enormous playroom just across the hall to house toys and games. The extra space provided by the second story allowed for the next item on the girls’ list, a home theater. With Left: Eddie and Maria Martinez insisted on a remarkable entryway. Designer Debbie Salome delivered with a grand tower topped with a decorative dome.


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Hand-carved cantera stone from Stone Wholesalers Direct provides an old world look to columns, fireplaces, pool decking, and decorative window frames (above), and even the entryway fountain the homeowner helped design (right).


premium 7.5 surround sound, it’s no surprise that this was an easy concession for Eddie as well. A Grecian-style swimming pool in the sprawling backyard fulfilled the girls’ third request. The kids taken care of, Eddie and Maria began developing their own wish list. They enlisted the expertise of designer Debbie Salome, who proved more than adept at bringing all their desires to fruition. Keeping with the family-friendly theme, together they created a main living area ideal for both large gatherings and everyday life with two young children. The flow of the space was a primary concern, so the kitchen was placed for ease of access to both the formal and informal dining areas. A cozy lounge area provides space for the girls to watch television or do homework after school while Maria prepares dinner. Despite Eddie’s wish for an elevated counter 42

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seating area, Salome insisted on keeping the entire space open, so the kitchen countertops were lowered instead. “She was right,” Eddie admits. “It would have divided the room too much. It’s much more inviting this way.” Secluded from the main home down a barreled vault hallway, the master suite is a private sanctuary for two busy parents. “I spend a lot of my free time in here,” explains Maria. “I said from the beginning I wanted places to just sit and look out at the pool.” The proximity of the pool serves another purpose, however: Gadget-lover Eddie has the room wired beneath its chic decor, and one technological convenience he often takes advantage of is the ability to rev up the hot tub while lying in bed. “We set the temperature, watch TV for a few minutes, and then just step out our door—it’s ready to go,” he says.

Rich fabrics and textures highlight the formal dining area topped by another of Salome’s ceiling dome designs.



Designer Salome pushed for Austrian drapes instead of window shutters, a look that the Martinez family eventually decided rounded out the classical style they wanted. Opposite: Kid-friendly decor can be found throughout the home. Glass jars filled with bubblegum, candy, and nuts provide pops of color in the kitchen.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

With an optimal layout in the bag, the next issues were design and decor. The Martinezes knew their tastes leaned towards traditional and classic styles, but were a bit lost on pulling it all together. “Structure and floor plan came easy; we knew what we wanted,” says Eddie, “but when it came to colors, design, and textures, we needed help.” Debbie Salome’s expertise once again proved invaluable. “One of the first things I realized was their love of nature,” Salome remembers. “We reflected that through the use of natural and stone products but ensured it was very elegantly

done.” Cantera stone is a defining element and is used to stunning effect throughout the home, both indoors and out. The grand, tower entryway is home to a cantera fountain codesigned by Eddie and Salome. Straying from the traditional fountain, they incorporated columns, stone bricks, glass tiles, and foliage to create a unique focal point that conveys the classic elegance of the home. It’s these unexpected touches that Salome does so well, and they can be found in every space, right down to each of the seven bathrooms. She is also the creative force behind several striking architectural ele-

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“The basis of this whole project was our two daughters, so the first thing we did was ask them what they wanted.” —Eddie Martinez ments in the home including three decorative, domed ceilings and a corbelled range hood in the kitchen. From design to build, this family affair took just over a year to complete, but everyone contends it was worth the wait. “It has everything we wanted, everything we needed, and it reflects our style,” says Eddie. “It’s exciting to come home, because it was tailor-made just for us.” Right: Cantera columns flanking the master bathtub emulate the Grecian style of the pool and complement the classical aesthetic throughout the home. Below: Eddie draped red taffeta throughout the room to create an authentic “at the movies” experience.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

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underwater utopias Saltwater aquariums are captivating and calming by Jessica Muncrief


ascinating windows into another world, aquariums create eye-catching focal points in homes and offices. Although any aquarium will do, for the most colorful and exotic underwater scene, saltwater is the only way to go. Many novice saltwater tank owners, immediately enthralled with the evolution and growth of their underwater panoramas, are transformed into lifelong enthusiasts always on the hunt for new tank residents. Fish and corals become beloved pets, and the planning and caring for an underwater community becomes a hobby, perhaps even a passion. Managing a full-blown aquarium is a bit more complicated than caring for a goldfish, but that shouldn’t necessarily be a deterrent for rookies. Saltwater setups require as little or as much effort as you want to give. Aquarium specialist Charlie Alaniz of Aqua Life in El Paso recommends the Aqua Life Baby Steps program. “It’s for any level from beginner to expert,” he says. “We can show you step-by-step how to do everything—from installation and feeding to cleaning and filtration—or we can do all that for you. We offer complete maintenance and cleaning services to all our clients.”

Bill Faulkner

Gazing into an aquarium has been found to reduce stress, blood pressure, and anxiety levels. Appropriate for design styles from formal to neo-contemporary, aquariums provide more than just a fun pop of color: they also add a captivating tranquility to any space. Ever notice how many waiting rooms have an aquarium? Numerous studies have noted the calming effect of these serene scenes. Gazing into an aquarium has been found to reduce stress, blood pressure, and anxiety levels. Aquariums are also great avenues for showcasing a little bit of your personality. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination, and don’t feel the need to limit your vision to a traditional rectangular tank. They come in all shapes and sizes and can Landscape designer Mark Nash included his love of the outdoors in his kitchen with a saltwater tank built for him by Aquarium Concept. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


“We go beyond the regular square tank and make aquariums that are not only colorful and unique, but that also fit with the style and design of the home.”—Luis Blasco, Aquarium Concept

arah A stunning infinity edge aquarium by Aquarium Concept. Owner Luis Blasco says he tries to go beyond the traditional fish tank to create works of art he calls “aquascapes.”



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Appropriate for design styles from formal to neo-contemporary, aquariums provide more than just a fun pop of color: They also add a captivating tranquility to any space. 54

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

Here are some basics to get your tank started SPEC IA LIS TS IN

Salt Water Reef Aquariums Opposite: A saltwater tank designed by Fish N Phipps is a fun focal point in the entry as well as in the formal dining room on the other side.

be built into almost anything. How about an aquarium coffee table, or a room divider aquarium which spices up not one, but two, rooms? For a delightful twist, try placing a tank in an unexpected space like a kitchen or bathroom. Aquariums captivate children and adults of all ages. Even babies are enthralled. They’re classy enough for traditionalists yet exotic enough for the ultra-hip, tranquil and soothing while still exciting. Vibrantly colorful and endlessly watchable, saltwater aquariums bring a little touch of paradise right to your home.

saltwater 101: stocking your tank It’s a good idea for your tank occupants (and your wallet) to start small. Gradually grow your little community as you become more adept at the intricacies of caring for fish and other marine life. Always consult a professional before adding new residents to your tank. Charlie Alaniz again points to the Aqua Life Baby Steps program: “It tells you fishby-fish how to safely grow your tank.” Not all fish get along, for example, and some will even eat your corals.


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Robbins works on Convent in Sorrento in the studio attached to her El Paso home. Other favorite painting spots include a garden gazebo and a back porch flanked with arches and columns.

going deep The art of Krystyna Renata Robbins by Heather Parra


Photographs by Bill Faulkner

herever I go, I paint,” says El Paso artist Krystyna Renata Robbins. “I see everything as a possible composition.” With that mantra as a guiding force, it’s easy to appreciate how this well-traveled artist’s work covers a variety of artistic styles. The daughter of Polish refugees who fled to Western Europe during World War II, Robbins spent most of her childhood in Scotland and England. When she was just 16, her family immigrated to New York City. It was in New York that Robbins got her first taste of art and design as a student at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology. In fact, she credits her time as a


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

Arches, like those in Haciendas las Trancas (above), are Robbins’s signature. Although her primary medium is oil, Robbins also dabbles in pastels as in The Postcard Seller (opposite).

Krystyna Renata Robbins, The Postcard Seller, pastel on sandpaper board, 16 x 20" SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


“I love oil painting because I can create so much depth and texture with the use of a knife.” —Krystyna Robbins fashion designer and illustrator as being her foundation in art. When life stepped in, Robbins gave up her fashion career to live the nomadic life of an Army wife and raise three children. It was during this time, however, that she began taking painting lessons. “When we lived in California, I met a well-known artist, Harriet Maitland, who gave me painting lessons for free,” says Robbins. “The only thing she asked from me was to pass on the things I learned to someone else. I really took that to heart, and now I just love teaching.” Under Maitland’s tutelage, Robbins began to explore depth, one of the signature aspects of her artwork, drawing inspiration from John Singer Sargent’s grand portraits, Joaquín Sorolla’s use of light, and Van Gogh’s textural movement. “I love oil painting because I can create so much depth and texture with the use of a knife,” she notes. Robbins’s artistic style is most recognizable in paintings like Haciendas Las Trancas and Tuscan Gardens, which feature a series of architectural arches fading into the distance. Although best known for her scenic arches, Robbins’s subject matter is eclectic, ranging from captivating portraits and scenes inspired by her world travels to images of Catholic saints painted

Krystyna Renata Robbins, The Candle Seller at Atotonilco, oil on stretched canvas, 24 x 36"

on reclaimed slate tiles. The Postcard Seller and The Candle Seller at Atotonilco showcase Robbins’s ability to capture the deeper essences of people and their cultures. From a studio and gallery in her home, Robbins markets much of her art herself. Her work is represented in both private and public collections throughout the world (including the Sunland Art Gallery), and she has garnered numerous awards. Robbins remains true to the spirit that originally


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saints and symbols Krystyna Robbins is the artist behind author Kate Rushford Murray’s Field Guide to the Saints: The Traveler’s Illustrated Handbook to Church Art. This handy guide aids travelers in recognizing more than 80 Catholic saints based on attributes and objects often found in their depictions. St. Luke, for example, is frequently shown with an ox nearby, and St. Peter almost always holds a set of keys. Both informative and fun, this book is a must-have for anyone interested in religious art. Field Guide to the Saints: The Traveler’s Illustrated Handbook to Church Art, by Kate Rushford Murray, KRM Guides, 122 pages, paperback, $19.99

drew her to art, frequenting art shows so that she can get to know the people who appreciate her work. But it’s by conducting workshops in El Paso, Cloudcroft, Ruidoso, and even Europe that Robbins is able to truly share her love of art with others, while fulfilling a promise made early in her career to a cherished teacher.

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cantera stone

A handcrafted heritage that’s uniquely Mexican by Jessica Muncrief


ake a drive through Oaxaca, Mexico, and you’re immediately struck by the many buildings constructed of a pale pistachiohued stone. Closer inspection of the stone reveals delicate colored flecks, subtle textures, and naturally formed markings that speak to the long history of the rock. Cantera stone, formed over centuries from the compression of volcanic ash and lava, is native only to southern Mexico, where each cantera-producing region is known for a specific color. In Oaxaca it’s that pale green and in Zacatecas a rosy pink. Jalisco boasts piñon colors and Hidalgo earthy tans. And the rare cantera madera is sought after in Aguascalientes. Only a few vendors carry this creamy yellow stone highlighted with swirls and patches of rich browns and reds. In all, there are more than 100 varieties of colors and textures.

Fourteen hundred miles north in the border city of El Paso, Texas, is an industry that pays loving homage to the heritage of Mexico. Incorporating cantera into architectural elements reflects El Paso’s cultural intermingling with its neighbors to the south, something many people in the natural stone business are passionate about. These professionals can tell you about the history and culture behind the stone. They recognize cantera—beyond its value as a durable and naturally beautiful product—as a piece of craftsmanship authentic only to Mexico. They know personally the people in the remote villages where the stone has been quarried, cut, and carved for hundreds of years. And they respect the cantereros not just as skilled artisans, but also as true artists. “It’s a piece of another world, a little piece of Mexico,” says Nancy Chavezh, owner of Stone Wholesalers Direct. 60

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Bill Faulkner; Opposite, top left: Courtesy of Stone Wholesalers Direct

Cantera stone professionals know personally the people in the remote villages in Mexico where the cantera has been quarried, cut, and carved for hundreds of years.

Landscape designer Gino Farina often incorporates custom cantera pieces such as columns adorning a pool area (opposite) and outdoor fireplaces (right). Cantera stone is also a popular trim option for doors and windows.



Left and opposite: Nancy Chavezh of Stone Wholesalers Direct is known for her stunning fireplace surrounds.

Chavezh is lively and personable, and passionate about designing cantera stone elements for custom homes. She says a crucial step in creating cantera elements is having a true sense of who the homeowners are as people. “Cantera is a reflection of people’s ways of life. It reflects their personalities,” Chavezh explains. “It’s very important for me to understand the owner. I take time to get to know the people, as well as the home or job site, and we meet and talk as much as we have to until I have that feeling: the feeling that I have a true sense of what they will enjoy and what they will love.” Although many of her referrals come from people who have seen her work in a friend’s home, Nancy never copies the same design twice, instead guiding the new homeowners to create pieces that are unique to them. Fortunately, cantera is versatile enough to accommodate a host of personalities and tastes. The broad spectrum of colors and textures is just the beginning. This durable stone is not only exceptionally strong, but also incredibly malleable, meaning it can be formed into just about any architectural element. Outside, it is often used to construct columns and fountains or is used as decorative trim on exterior doors and windows. The porous nature of the stone means it is impervious to moisture and heat, making it perfect for pool decking. Inside, it is used for fireplace surrounds, wall niches, moldings, balustrades, and even furniture.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

Bill Faulkner; Above, left and opposite: Courtesy of Stone Wholesalers Direct

Above, left and right: The malleability of cantera stone makes it ideal for detailed garden sculptures and decorative designs like those in this entryway.

Oscar Narvaez, second generation owner of the natural stone business Piedras Mundiales in El Paso, says, “People in this area often associate cantera with Tuscan style, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be any architectural style, even contemporary. And it can serve any type of architectural purpose. We can build anything out of cantera.” Narvaez brings in a touch of modern innovation in order to give his customers a better idea of how their homes can be enhanced with the stone. He creates computer-generated renderings of the end product that are only discernible from photographs upon close inspection. From there, however, technology takes a back seat to old-world artisanship, and the plans are sent down to the shop his family owns in Jalisco where craftsmen intricately bring them to life by hand, without the use of machines. “The natural stone will enhance the value of your home, but [the pieces] are also works of art,” Narvaez notes. “An artisan took the time to carve it out with his own hands, and that just makes it so much more meaningful.”

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from the ground up A Las Cruces home is the work of two hearts and four hands


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

by Jessica Muncrief Photographs by Bill Faulkner


here are many ways in which people make a home their own: decor, finishes, even floorplan design. But not many people can say they actually built their home from the ground up with their own hands. That’s exactly what Greg Duff did when he began constructing the Las Cruces Pueblo-style home he shares with his wife, Cindy. With a set of plans already drawn up, the Duffs left their home in Grand Junction, Colorado, for a plot of desert at the base of the Organ Mountains. As owners of a custom home building company for nearly 35 years, the Duffs knew what they were doing, but it wasn’t their original intention to do so much of it themselves. “I called around, but everyone was working,” Greg remembers. “Nobody could start a new project right away. I wasn’t trying to be a hero; I just wanted to get started.” He began with the framing and kept going from there.



The soaring entry features a brick, barrel-vaulted ceiling and hand-painted murals by local artist Ray Acosta.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

“The colors in the kitchen come alive, especially with the skylight,” notes Greg, who also hand-built all the custom cabinetry (above). A hammered copper farmhouse sink from Mexico is a focal point against the colorful tile (right).

“It was all things I had been doing for the past 20 plus years; I just usually had someone else doing it with me,” he says. A skilled craftsman, Greg not only hand-carved most of the home’s 24 wooden vigas (some of which weigh upwards of 1,200 pounds), he also set them in the ceiling single-handedly. Having the foresight to avoid installing the expansive glass windows and doors too early, he was able to bring in cranks, hoists, and a Bobcat loader to mount the massive Douglas fir beams all by himself. “A group of builders was working on a house nearby, and I was their lunch break entertainment,” Greg recalls wryly. “They probably thought I was crazy when I started trying to raise those beams alone.” With the bones of the home solidly in place, the Duffs worked to give it a heart too—a very vibrant and colorful heart. And these are two individuals who like to work with their hands. Cindy’s interests include, among other crafts, painting furniture, sewing and beading Native American dolls, and adding SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


The Duffs are creators and collectors. An adobe-style fireplace in the master bedroom creates niches and ledges to display Cindy’s finds, while the breakfast nook (opposite) is home to her collection of Tlaquepaque dishes, and the living room (above) displays more of the couple’s treasures.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

her own special touches to standard garden statues, pots, and fountains. As artisans themselves, the Duffs have a strong appreciation for artisan craftsmanship, and this is reflected throughout their extensive collections. Rugs woven by Colorado and Northern New Mexico tribes, decorative religious relics, Tlaquepaque pottery, katsina dolls, hand-painted Mexican chests, and other eclectic groupings adorn the home. “Even back when we were doing the plans I knew what I had and what the house needed—niches and shelves for the pots and dolls, places to hang the crosses—it was all part of building the home,” says Cindy. Latin and Native American cultural influences are evident not only in the couple’s varied collections, but also in the curving adobe-style exteriors, the saltillo tile floors, and the bright color palette. A kiva fireplace adorns a patio overlooking a landscape that reflects an appreciation of the natural desert terrain. “The topography that sort of crawls up into the desert was a big part of the reason we purchased the lot,” Cindy notes. “That and the view of the Organs.” It’s a careful design eye that man-
















915-694-6385 • • SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


The Duffs embrace what they love and make no apologies for it in their design style.

Vibrant blues and greens are favorite hues of the Duffs, as evidenced in a guest bedroom (above, left) and in the master bathroom cabinetry and spectacularly tiled walk-in shower.


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ages to incorporate so much without looking overdone or cluttered. It all comes together with ease in this home because the Duffs embrace what they love and make no apologies for it in their design style. They buy and display what they like, enhancing what they can with their own creative skills, and letting pieces that stand on their own do just that. “We made some of the furniture, some of it came from Mexico, and we left it as is. Some Cindy worked her magic on,� says Greg. The creative sensibilities of each homeowner are evident in every space of the house, but the adventurous Duffs are always ready for the next challenge. They recently placed the home on the market, and they are eager to eventually see how new owners will make it their own. They will take their collections and furniture with them, but the spirit of this qualitycrafted home will always remain.

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Muted, ambient lighting is important for the authentic cinema experience. Wall sconces create a soft glow without throwing glare onto the screen. For rooms with windows, blackout shades are a must.

bring Hollywood home I by Jessica Muncrief

Photographs by Bill Faulkner

Creating a custom home theater­

t is the ultimate amenity—the space that delights kids and adults alike, and the one room that can truly take your home from average to astounding. A custom home theater is more than just a big screen television coupled with a good stereo. It is an entire room dedicated to achieving the same experience you would enjoy at a cinema, but in the comfort of your own home. Here are the four must-have elements to creating your own jaw-dropping home theater.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

cinema sound

One of the perks of going to the movie theater is the fantastic sound quality, so naturally the re-creation of cinema acoustics is a primary concern for a home theater. You’ll need a high-tech surround sound system (stereo isn’t even on the table) with quality speakers and subwoofers. Audio/visual specialists like the crew at HPS Audio & Video in El Paso can help you best determine which brands and models will satisfy your home theater wish list as well as determine appropriate component placement and installation. Rafael Gonzalez, owner of HPS, notes that sound equipment can take up a lot of space; he recommends in-wall installation to leave more open space for seating and decor. A quality sound system is an absolute must, but it is only half the battle in achieving theater-worthy acoustics. Ever notice how the walls at your favorite movie theater are upholstered? That’s not just for aesthetics; upholstery is necessary to create the best sound possible. Put simply, acoustic wall treatments absorb the reflected sounds that bounce off surfaces like walls, floors, and furniture so you hear only the direct sound coming from the speaker. According to Gonzalez, the best acoustics are created when the walls and ceiling are completely upholstered. However, he also notes that less expensive options, such as drapes or acoustic panels, can also dramatically improve sound quality.

perfect picture


A big screen television is great, but probably best for a multipurpose or game room. A good rule of thumb: If you want to watch television shows, get a television, but if you want to watch movies, you should watch them the way they were meant to be watched: on a projection screen. For superior viewing, install a permanently fixed and tensioned screen (as opposed to one that rolls up) to ensure an undistorted picture. Another good option is a rear projection screen, in which the projector is behind the screen instead of across the room. For the ultimate and best picture possible, opt for the 4K feature. “You may have heard of 1080p resolution, which is the quality you get with a Blu-ray player,” says Gonzalez. “A 4K projector has a resolution that is almost four times greater than that. The picture is simply amazing.”

luxurious seating

While sound and picture are important for the true cinema experience, don’t scrimp on the seating. After all, this is the one feature that can actually make your home theater experience better than the commercial version. Who hasn’t wanted to stretch their legs, recline all the way back, or cuddle with a date while watching a movie? Beyond comfort, be sure to take into account seating placement for optimal enjoyment. The distance from the first row of seats to the screen should be approximately two times the width of the screen. Seats behind the first row should be on raised platforms, just like the tiered seatSUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


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Forget about dated DVD players; you’ll need a much more extensive setup for a custom theater. Your system should be on a computer network, and you’ll need access to at least one big movie database like Netflix, Apple TV, or Kaleidescape. HPS’s Gonzalez says that ideally, everything from the lights to the sound to the movie selection should be on one central, touchscreen control with synchronized components that allow for convenient features (such as the lights automatically dimming when the movie begins). Ultimately, the best home theater is the one in which you and your family feel comfortable gathering together to watch your favorite flicks. “When you are at home watching a movie with great sound and a fantastic picture, you almost feel like part of the movie,” says Gonzalez. “It’s a beautiful experience.”

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vibrant hair Treatments for taming your tresses by Heather Parra

What can you do to ensure your hair is healthy and great-looking, no matter the cut or the style?


ome might argue that our hair is our greatest accessory. After all, unlike purses or jewelry, our hair is always there, with the unique ability to make us feel either fabulous or frumpy, depending on the day. What can you do to ensure your hair is healthy and great-looking, no matter the cut or the style?

Although the hair care industry is huge, the truth is, hair treatments range from free (using items you have around the house as a home remedy) to, well, let’s just say, major splurges. The whole gamut of treatments—from DIY to the full works at a salon—is covered here. It’s up to you to decide how much it is worth to you to have great hair.

Home Hair Treatments


For dry hair, a mixture of olive oil and honey left on the hair for about 30 minutes will help cure damage to the hair caused by sun, perms, dyes, and heat. You can also add egg yolks to the mixture or use them by themselves to add moisture. When using egg yolks, be sure to rinse with cool water to avoid “cooking” the eggs on your hair. Rinsing with cool water will also help add shine to your hair. Mayonnaise and avocado are also great for treating dry hair and repairing brittle hair. Try them separately or mix them together for added sheen. After applying to hair, cover with a shower cap and leave on for about 20 minutes before rinsing. 76

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Oily For oily hair, sprinkle corn meal into the hair and brush through. Diluted lemon juice, vinegar, and beer also all have a drying effect on hair. A beer rinse will also leave hair shiny.


Baking soda makes a great hair treatment to remove product buildup and residue. Simply add water to make a paste, apply to hair, leave on for 20 minutes, and then rise. Your hair will be squeaky clean.

Store-bought Treatments


There are a variety of keratin products available in stores that are meant to help smooth frizzy hair and straighten curly hair, though they are not without controversy. Many consumers love that these treatments leave your hair smooth and straight for months at a time, but be aware that these store-bought and salon treatments may contain formaldehyde. There is some debate as to whether the levels of formaldehyde in these products is dangerous, so do your own diligent research and make an informed decision.


A wide variety of oil treatments are available that claim to nourish hair, repair damage, and detangle. Some of these treatments are hot oil treatments that are recommended for occasional use, while others call for daily use. Some of the many oils used in these treatments are

macadamia oil, passion fruit oil, Argan oil, and even carrot oil. Placenta treatments tout nourishment for damaged hair because of their rich nutrients, proteins, and hyaluronic acid, which is a natural moisturizer. Most use sheep or cow placenta collected after the natural birthing process. Placenta treatments have been around for years, and many people vouch for their effectiveness. Other, even more unusual treatments have started popping up in trendy salons and beauty stores.

Whether you go the home remedy route or with top-dollar treatments, the important thing is to feel good about your hair, be it curly, straight, bobbed, or long. Hold your head up high and be proud of those gorgeous locks!

Salon Treatments

Deep Conditioning Salons offer a wide range of treatments— and not surprisingly, at a wide range of prices—depending upon the salon and the services needed. Deep conditioning treatments are offered at most salons and for a reasonable price. Damage remedy treatments usually run a little bit higher in price but have a greater effect on dry, brittle hair that has been damaged from dyes, perms, and heat styling.

Detoxifying Many specialty salons offer more intense treat-

ments, such as detoxifying treatments that remove residue and pollutants from the hair. Scalp treatments are also popular and can be formulated to treat dandruff and other scalp problems.


The aforementioned keratin treatments (also known as Brazilian treatments) are among the more pricey treatments, but are extremely popular with women who have curly or frizzy hair and are tired of the daily flat iron hassle.

Why Envy?

Extras Aromatherapy and scalp massages are also featured perks of the top salons, for those willing to splurge on some extra pampering while at the salon.

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live performance calendar January through February January 12 Ron White, 8 PM Inn of the Mountain Gods, Ruidoso

Comedian Ron “Tater Salad” White takes the stage at Ruidoso’s Inn of the Mountain Gods. Get ready for a night of raucous laughs as one of the original members of the highly acclaimed Blue Collar Comedy Tour performs his uncensored and outrageous stand-up routine.

January 10–February 2 El Paso Pro-Musica Chamber Music Festival

El Paso Pro-Musica’s 2013 Chamber Music Festival kicks off the new year with more than 20 musical performances and events. EPPM Artistic Director and world-renowned cellist Zuill Bailey has put together an impressive program of chamber musicians including violinist Chee Yun, violinist Natasha Paremski, and sisters Madalyn and Cicely Parnas of the string ensemble Duo Parnas.


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JanUARY 15 HAIR, 7:30 PM, Plaza Theatre, El Paso

An extraordinary cast takes on the rock musical that has been shaking up audiences since 1967. The show features an unforgettable lineup of songs straight from the Swinging Sixties including “Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine In,” and “Good Morning Starshine.” Leave the kids with a sitter; HAIR is for mature audiences only.

January 18–20 Carousel 3 PM and 7:30 PM, Atkinson Recital Hall, Las Cruces

The Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra opens the new year with a fully-staged theatrical production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. Maestro Lonnie Klein partners with Tony Award-winning playwright Mark Medoff and an all-star cast for a musical performance you won’t want to miss.

January 27 Lee Trio, 3 PM, Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces

February 1–17 The Mousetrap 2 PM and 8 PM, Las Cruces Community Theatre, Las Cruces

With Angela Lee on the cello, Melinda Lee Masur on the piano, and Lisa Lee on the violin, the Lee Trio has been inspiring audiences since their 2002 debut at Wigmore Hall in London. These three sisters from San Francisco form one of the premier chamber ensembles on the international stage.,

Under the direction of Ceil Herman, the Las Cruces Community Theatre troupe brings to life the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery about a group of strangers stranded in a boarding house during a snowstorm. Come prepared for a night of intrigue and thrills.

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January 23–27 Cirque du Soleil: Quidam Don Haskins Center, El Paso

The enchanting Cirque du Soleil visits El Paso for five nights of performances at the Don Haskins Center. Quidam is touted as “a young girl’s escape into imagination.” Come see the daring acrobatics, spectacular sets, and larger-than-life characters that are all staples of this world-renowned group of dancers and performers. or


February 2 Stomp, 7 PM, Spencer Theater, Ruidoso


Columbia Artist Theatricals presents the explosive international sensation Stomp. The eight-member troupe creates magnificent beats using everything but traditional percussion instruments. Brooms, trash cans, hubcaps, and lighters are just some of the everyday objects used in this in this award-winning show that appeals to audiences of all ages.

February 2 & 3 Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra 7:30 PM, Atkinson Recital Hall, Las Cruces

As part of their 2012–2013 season, the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra hosts an exceptional lineup of guest artists. Russian pianist Ilya Yakushev headlines the fourth installment of the symphony’s Classics series with a repertoire featuring the music of Mendelssohn, Holst, Prokofiev, and Williams.

February 12 Tommy Dorsey Orchestra 7 PM, Rio Grande Theatre, Las Cruces

The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra is one of the most recognized names in Big Band music. Now under the direction of Terry Helm, this swinging music group is still touring the country performing hits like “Marie,” “Little White Lies,” and “You Taught Me to Love Again” in a lively, upbeat show.

February 25 Monty Python’s SPAMALOT! 7:00 PM, Spencer Theater, Ruidoso

The Tony Award-winning musical comes to the Spencer Theater for one night only. This national touring production presented by Troika Entertainment boasts a superb cast of actors, dancers, and musicians performing Monty Python’s hilarious retelling of the legendary tale of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table in search of the Holy Grail. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


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Hidden beneath the hustle and bustle of San Antonio’s busiest downtown city streets is the River Walk. Restaurants, hotels, shops, museums, and galleries line the banks; visitors can take it all in on foot or by boat.



by Joe Burgess

n 1836, during a violent battle for independence from Mexico, a small band of Texians (Texas wasn’t a state yet) took shelter in a mission in Presidio San Antonio de Béxar. Numbering fewer than 200, they held out against thousands of Mexican soldiers for 13 days before finally succumbing, to a man, to forces led by Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna. Today the site of the infamous Battle of the Alamo is the most popular tourist site in the state of Texas, and even though it occupies only a tiny spot on a bustling city street, it’s clear that San Antonio is fiercely proud of the independent spirit of the settlers who fought and built here. But modern-day San Antonio is much more than its history. Families, art lovers, foodies, sports fans, and nature lovers all revel in the joys of the city. After taking in the Alamo, venture a few blocks south to the jewel of downtown San Antonio: the River Walk, a five-mile maze of water pathways winding through scores of of hotels, galleries, museums, shops, and restaurants. Incredibly picturesque and colorful, the River Walk is best appreciated by tour boat; take a trip to learn about its

Photographs by Joe Burgess & San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau 84

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The holidays are magical on the River Walk, when thousands of Christmas lights and luminarias adorn the banks and trees.

For the history buff, Mission San José, the “Queen of the Missions,” (above, left) dates to 1720, while Alamo Mission (above, right) was built in 1744; at the time of the famous battle, it was serving as a presidio, or fort. For the adventurous, the Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas (below, left) makes its heart-stopping debut in spring of 2013.

fascinating history and the historic architecture of downtown San Antonio while you’re transported lazily beneath a canopy of mature cypress trees. The holidays are magical along the River Walk, when thousands of Christmas lights and luminarias adorn the banks and trees. On foot, try one of the many eateries along the River Walk and indulge in some serious people watching. Rio Rio Cantina serves up authentic Mexican cuisine of the region, while at Boudro’s Texas Bistro the guacamole, prepared tableside, is the perfect accompaniment to a prickly pear margarita on a hot Texas summer afternoon. A host of parks, zoos, gardens, and wilderness areas makes San Antonio a favorite tourist destination for families. Sea World San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas are complemented by imagination-tickling downtown venues like the Plaza Theater of Wax and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. In nearby New Braunfels, Schlitterbahn Waterpark is ranked amongst the top water attractions in the country. The Japanese Tea Gardens and the Botanical Gardens are excellent visits, and the entire family can hop aboard a miniature train for a ride through lush Brackenridge Park all the way to the San Antonio Zoo and the Witte Museum. North of town, the 600acre Friedrich Wilderness Park offers miles of hiking trails that meander SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Travel through the hill country. Rent bicycles to explore the historic King William district and bohemian Southtown by day, then round out your carefully planned visit at a Spurs game or concert at the AT&T Center in the evening. Four other active Franciscan missions constructed in the early 1700s (the Alamo is the fifth) can be explored on San Antonio’s Mission Trail. Mission San José, known as the “Queen of Missions,” features Native American dwellings and Texas’s first flour mill, all fully restored. The city of San Antonio also supports a wellestablished arts and culture scene. Located in the Lone Star Brewery complex, the San Antonio Museum of Art houses the largest and most comprehensive collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Asian art in the southern United States, and its collection of Latin American art is a major attraction. For contemporary work, the Blue Star Contemporary Art Center is the hub of the city’s art community. A little history, a little fun—a getaway to San Antonio is all about playing, exploring, and soaking in a taste of authentic Texas culture. From turbulent beginnings over three centuries ago, this city has grown into a lively tourist destination for travelers of all ages and walks of life. San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau

Downtown San Antonio is lively both day and night. The Guinness World Records Museum (center) and the Witte Museum (bottom left and right) are family-friendly attractions. 86

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Clockwise from top left: The south bank of the River Walk; The Arneson River Theatre, an outdoor perfomance venue; Folklorico dancers at Market Square.




cruise through the heart of Europe . . . and taste a little wine while you’re at it

This page and opposite: The smaller boats used for river cruising offer the same luxury found on ocean liners—lavish staterooms, exceptional staff, and fine dining—but with a far more personalized experience.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

by Bob Skolnick Photographs courtesy of AmaWaterways


eeing Europe is on every travel lover’s bucket list, but adventurous spirits often prefer delving beyond mere tourist-level exposure. In the past decade, a new option has emerged that goes well beyond the usual: river cruising. Unlike large cruise ships that often have up to 4,000 other passengers all eagerly wanting to share the experience, river cruising offers a much more intimate experience—with typically fewer than 200 travelers on board. Although the ships used for river cruising are much smaller in order to navigate under bridges and through locks, the comforts and amenities are no less well-appointed than cruise liners and premium hotels. Luxurious staterooms offer comfortable sleeping and sitting areas, marble bathrooms, Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, and step-out balconies so you can enjoy the scenery that’s literally flowing by at any given time. Each ship also offers public lounges, bars, and, of course, gourmet dining. Heated pools, a book and video library, a fitness center, and massage and beauty salons round out the on-board experience. The true key to your first-class vacation, however, lies in the professional staff members who not only have years of service experience, but also possess deep knowledge of local history and invaluable advice on taking full advantage of shore excursions. For centuries the rivers of Europe have served as the area’s life stream for commerce and culture. While London, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona may be the cores of the metropolitan experience, Europe’s rivers connect the picturesque towns, villages, and castles that exemplify the old-world charm and




Above and top right: On-board massage and beauty salons and first-class luxurious staterooms are just a few of the amenities to enjoy while cruising.

customs its people have worked so hard to preserve. Since Europe is, after all, the foundation of western civilization, and wine is widely considered to be the currency of culture, wine is a natural theme aboard European river cruises. Each country takes immense pride in the varietals it produces. AmaWaterways, one of the most prestigious river cruise lines serving Europe, offers wine cruises on the Rhone, the Saône, the Seine, the Rhine, the Mosel, the Danube, and the Douro. Vic Poulis, owner of the well-known Zin Valle vineyards just west of El Paso, recently boarded the cruise ship AmaLyra as she embarked on a seven-day journey from Budapest to Prague on the Danube River. For one of their “In Celebration of Wine” theme cruises, AmaWaterways paired with Esterlina Vineyards of Anderson Valley, California, and invited Vic along as a guest vintner to provide onboard appreciation and tasting classes. “The Romantic Danube” itinerary began in Budapest, Hungary, with a welcome dinner aboard ship. But the ship remained docked for the night so guests could tour the fascinating city of Budapest the next day. In the evening, Vic Poulis offered a lecture on local wine grapes followed by a guided tasting. The ship sailed up the Danube the following morning, headed for beautiful Vienna, Austria. The lecture moved ashore with a guided tour of a heuriger (wine tavern) in a nearby village, followed by dinner and a classical concert in downtown Vienna, famous worldwide as the “City of Music.” The AmaLyra continued its voyage through Austria to Krems and the Wachau Valley, a designated World Heritage site known for its many castles and abbeys. Walking tours and an optional bicycle tour of the area during the day revealed breathtaking landscapes. That evening, vintner Poulis wined and dined guests in a dinner excursion. The following day, happy, relaxed travelers glided along the Danube to the historic city of Melk to be awed by the history, unparalleled scenery, and magnificence of the city’s famous Benedictine Abbey. Back aboard ship, the wine masters and chefs collaborated to prepare a delicious and authentic Austrian meal for the day’s end. The ship next cruised to Linz, Austria, where guests were offered a choice of day trips to either Salzburg (think The Sound of 90

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When it’s time to go ashore, friendly and knowledgeable staff members will guide you through the wineries, castles, and many charming towns of Europe’s countryside.

resources AmaWaterways 800-626-0126

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Music) or Czesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic. At day’s end, the ship’s captain hosted a special wine dinner. Travelers enjoyed their final days on the Danube winery-hopping, with the vintners along to offer commentary and expert advice, but there was still ample time for shopping in the quaint German villages of southern Bavaria. The AmaLyra’s river journey ended in Regensburg, but the holiday wasn’t over yet. Ground transportation moved the party to luxury accommodations in Prague where another three days were spent savoring the sights, cuisine, and, of

Cruise the Rivers of Europe

course, the wines, of magnificent Eastern Europe. Much more than just visits to overcrowded tourist spots, river cruising through Europe is an adventure that allows passengers to truly experience the history, culture, and different heritages of Europe’s many regions. River cruising offers a truly one-ofa-kind vacation for travelers who appreciate a little authentic culture with their glass of Riesling.

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don’t call it sausage On the Cajun boudin trail

Clockwise from top left: Father and son team JW Guidry and Richard Guidry of JW’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana; Johnson’s Boucanière in Lafayette; Poche’s Market, Restaurant & Smokehouse in Breaux Bridge.

Story and Photographs by Joe Burgess


outh Louisiana is Cajun country, where gumbo, jambalaya, and cracklins reign supreme. Right alongside these staples of the regional cuisine, however, is a linked delicacy called boudin. Despite its appearance, Cajuns don’t consider boudin (pronounced BOO-dan) a sausage, although like sausage, boudin is all about maximum utilization of the animal. It’s not for the faint of heart, encompassing a host of ingredients: ground pork parts (usually including liver), cooked rice, green onion tops, cayenne, and even jalapeño—to give the link a bite—all stuffed into natural pork casings. Boudin is usually simmered or braised, although coating with oil and slow grilling is becoming a popular option, especially for tailgating. Sometimes the casing is removed altogether, the mix simply rolled into a ball and tossed into the deep fryer. Depending on the thickness and brittleness of the casing, the link may be eaten in its entirety or, if the consistency is soft, the contents squeezed onto crackers. Cracklins (we know them as chicharrones or pork rinds in the Southwest)


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Crescent Pie & Sausage Company in New Orleans makes a mouth-watering trio of meats (opposite, top right), while, at Johnson’s Boucanière, green peppers and celery (opposite, center) are the secrets to boudin success.wner Larry Babineaux of Babineaux’s Slaughter House with traditional boudin blanc and boudin rouge.

It’s not for the faint of heart, encompassing ground pork parts (including liver), cooked rice, green onion tops, cayenne, and even jalapeño. often accompany boudin, as does beer. I drew inspiration from several “boudin trails” on the Internet, but in the end I forged my own route, beginning in west Louisiana at Sonnier’s Sausage & Boudin in Lake Charles. Owner Lane Sonnier makes a moist and meaty filling with whole grains of rice. The large links have a snappy casing—great for eating. And the ladies working at the market are a real hoot—the ideal introduction to this southern treat. To my untrained Cajun palate, Don’s Specialty Meats in Scott sold the tastiest boudin on my journey. It has a well-balanced, meat-to-rice ratio—leaning toward the meat—and the mix is not overly ground, thus providing more body and form. It’s moist but not wet, and the casing is brittle, meaning the entire link is edible. Manager Roxann taught me how to work the boudin out of the casing with a saltine cracker. Don’s is the largest producer of boudin links, selling more than a ton a day and helping the town of

Left: Larry Babineaux of Babineaux’s Slaughter House with traditional boudin blanc and his store’s signature boudin rouge. 93


“Boudin is traditionally a seven-course meal: one yard of boudin with a six-pack of beer.“ —Wallace Johnson more common boudin blanc, and I liked it better. Owner Larry Babineaux and his brother, Rodney, learned the craft from their mother, and they’re adamant about the use of fresh products, especially the meat. The pork is butchered as needed, and only fresh, unfrozen products are sold. Just around the corner from Babineaux’s is Poche’s Market, Restaurant & Smokehouse. With modern production facilities, Poche’s has the capacity to stuff 2,000 pounds of boudin an hour. Lug Poche started the business in 1962 by simmering the links in black iron pots out on the bayou. Current owner Floyd Poche continues the tradition with wife Karen and daughter Rebekah. Fourth generation Acadian butcher JW Guidry and his father, Richard, oversee operations at JW’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse, also in Breaux Bridge. Best known locally for their processing of deer meat, JW’s also puts out a mean boudin—very meaty with lots of fresh green onion, a wet texture, and a thicker casing preferable for squeezing. It seemed only appropriate to finish out my boudin

In southern Louisiana, it’s all about the food. Specialty seasonings, boudin, beer, and jambalaya are the secrets to a Cajun’s heart.

Scott to snag the title of Boudin Capital of the World. Boudin is one of Louisiana’s most revered dishes, and boudin recipes and businesses are frequently passed from one generation to the next. Johnson’s Boucanière in Lafayette was originally a family grocery store that began selling boudin in the 1940s. Lori Johnson Walls now manages the shop with her father Wallace; celery and bell pepper make their boudin flavorful and full-bodied. According to Wallace, boudin is traditionally a seven-course meal: one yard of boudin with a six-pack of beer. While in Lafayette, I swung by Lafayette’s 5th Annual Boudin Cookoff. Held the third weekend in October, boudin masters from 19 area restaurants and markets competed to win awards in the categories of traditional, specialty, unlinked, and people’s choice. This year, T-Boy’s Slaughterhouse in Mamou was the 2012 overall winner, but I set a course instead to another slaughterhouse: Babineaux’s in the nearby town of Breaux Bridge. Here I was finally offered boudin rouge, also known as blood sausage. A French tradition for more than two millennia, it is made from thoroughly cooked pig’s blood. To my surprise, it has a richer, denser taste than the 94

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The 5th Annual Boudin Cookoff drew 19 of Louisiana’s heaviest hitters, including Sonnier’s Sausage & Boudin from Lake Charles.

expedition in the heart of Cajun country: New Orleans. There are exceptional eateries of all kinds in the French Quarter, but away from the hustle and bustle is a great little neighborhood restaurant, Crescent Pie & Sausage Company. Chef Bart Bell has a flare for originality. The taste of yellow onion in Bad Bart’s excellent boudin gives it an unexpected boost, especially when paired with the two pickle spears and dollop of ground Creole mustard on your plate. My boudin journey came to an end all too soon, but I’ll be exploring this tasty ethnic dish further. Perhaps I’ll head down to Lacambre where I’ve heard rumblings of a chicken version, or up to T-Boy’s in Mamou to sample 2012’s best of the best.

resources The Boudin Link Don’s Specialty Meats Lafayette’s Original Boudin Cookoff

1222 Sunland Park Dr. • (915) 581-3371

Poche’s Market, Restaurant & Smokehouse JW’s Quality Meats & Smokehouse Crescent Pie & Sausage Company

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10/23/2012 1:09:07 PM

Su Cocina

soup’s on! Hearty soups are a warm winter comfort by Bob Skolnick

Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

There’s just something so comforting about a hot bowl of soup on a chilly winter evening. It soothes the body from the inside out. What could be more perfect after a long day in the icy cold than nourishment, warmth, and the fusion of flavors all wrapped up in one simple bowl? Even the most primitive societies appreciated the beauty of soup, but it became a true element of haute cuisine as a wider variety of ingredients were cultivated and incorporated into broths and stocks. Hearty, nourishing soups with robust broths and wholesome chunks of meat, fish, beans, and vegetables are perhaps the most comforting of all. As a bonus, they are also easy to prepare, especially if you prepurchase your stock. The stock, also referred to as fond, broth, bouillon or consommé, is the base of all soups, and the better the flavor and clarity of the stock, the better the soup. Unlike the kitchens of earlier centuries where roasted bones, fish, or whole fowl were steeped for hours with whatever vegetables happened to be available, we can now purchase a quart container of beef, chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock at the average grocery store. The quality and flavor is typically excellent, and low sodium versions are also an option. Historically, the French word la soupe referred to the breads served with the liquids, and la potage referred to the soup. Today, they are inseparable companions. Experiment with flavors and textures, and don’t forget a good crusty bread to serve warm on the side. 96

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

Historically, the French word la soupe referred to the breads served with the liquids, and la potage referred to the soup. Today they are inseparable companions.

Clam, Bean & Saffron Soup Serves 4 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 Spanish onion, diced small 1 cup Serrano ham or Prosciutto, diced small 3 garlic cloves, diced fine 1 tablespoon bread crumbs 2 (15 oz) cans butter beans with liquid 1 tablespoon saffron 1/4 teaspoon thyme 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 1 bay leaf 2 (12 oz) cans whole baby clams with liquid 3/4 cup chicken stock 1 dozen littleneck clams 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine In a large, thick-bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the diced onions and sauté for three minutes. Add the ham and garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Stir in the bread crumbs, butter beans with their liquid, and the seasonings. Bring to a low simmer. Drain the cans of whole baby clams in juice and set the clams aside. Add the clam juice and the chicken stock to the soup pot. Bring soup mixture to a medium simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Add the whole baby clams, littleneck clams and chopped parsley. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the thickness if needed by adding a little more hot chicken stock.

Clam, Bean & Saffron Soup (above) and Italian Meatball Soup (below, left) warm and nourish body and soul.

Italian Meatball Soup Serves 4 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup onions, diced medium 2 celery ribs, split lengthwise and sliced medium 3 carrots, peeled, split, and cut into small sticks (not julienned) 2 cans navy or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed 7 cups chicken stock 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano 1/2 teaspoon dried basil 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 16 small Italian meatballs (your own or frozen) 5 oz baby spinach leaves, trimmed and halved 1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese In a large, thick-bottomed soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the vegetables start to lightly brown. Stir in the drained navy beans and bring back to temperature. Add in the chicken stock, oregano, basil, and black pepper and bring to a boil. Turn down to a medium simmer for 30 minutes. While the soup is simmering, brown the meatballs and set aside on paper towel to remove any excess oil. Add the spinach and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Add the meatballs and let the soup steep for an hour. Top with parmigiano reggiano cheese and serve immediately.



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Buen provencho!

A glorious concoction of beef stock, carmelized onions, French bread, and melted Swiss cheese, French Onion Soup is a savory blend of flavors and textures.

French Onion Soup Serves 4 2 oz olive oil 2 oz unsalted butter 4 Spanish onions, sliced 1/4" thick 5 garlic cloves, diced small 3/4 cup cooking sherry wine 10 cups beef stock (may substitute part chicken stock) 2 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped medium 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 1 tablespoon onion powder 1 teaspoon crushed black pepper 8 oz Gruyere cheese, grated 4 large French bread croutons, toasted

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S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

In a large, thick-bottomed soup pot, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the sliced onions and sauté, covered, for 15 minutes to sweat the onions. Uncover the onions and continue to sauté over medium heat, stirring regularly until caramelized. Add the diced garlic and continue to caramelize the onions. Add the cooking sherry and simmer as the alcohol burns off. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom of the pot to free the entire caramelized residue on the bottom. Add the beef stock, thyme, garlic salt, onion powder, and crushed black pepper. Bring the soup mixture to a boil and then adjust to a low simmer for about 2 hours. Select soup mugs and cut French bread croutons to cover the top inside of each mug. Toast the croutons on both sides and set aside on a lined cookie sheet. Top each crouton with the grated Gruyere cheese and broil to just melt and brown the cheese. Fill the soup mugs and top with the Gruyere croutons.

the chef’s pantry

by Bob Skolnick Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

Good cooking starts with high-quality ingredients, a well-planned recipe, and basic cooking skills. But if you also happen to have an experimental nature, you’ll enjoy your culinary journey that much more. In this section of Su Casa, we hope to help you broaden your kitchen experience by introducing new ingredients and offering fresh approaches to familiar recipes.

avocado oil Appreciated for years for its cosmetic rejuvenation and moisturizing properties, avocado oil is now also popping up in specialty food markets. Pressed from the fleshy pulp of the Mexican Hass avocado, it is comparable to olive oil in many ways: Both are high in monounsaturated (good) fats, vitamin E, and even omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Avocado oil has a very high smoking point and can be used on high heat. However, it is excellent for basic pan sautéing of a delicate meat such as veal, or a white fish like halibut or orange roughy. The dish is most effective when served with fresh avocados or guacamole as an accompaniment. Try substituting avocado oil for olive oil in your favorite pesto or Caesar dressing recipe. Again, garnishing your Caesar salad with fresh avocado slices really enhances the flavor. For a healthy alternative to butter or margarine, infuse avocado oil with roasted garlic and drizzle it onto a good, crusty bread.

eggplant – aubergine – melanzane – brinjal Originally cultivated in India and the Arabic world centuries ago, eggplant made its way via trade routes to England, France, Italy, and Spain before arriving in the United States. Today it is most commonly associated with Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Asian cuisines. In the United States, we are accustomed to our eggplants being ovoid with a deep purple skin, but there is also a smaller, elongated Oriental version. In Asia, the shapes and sizes vary greatly, and you can find eggplant in a palette of colors from purple to white to orange. Although eggplant can be eaten raw, it is quite bitter. When cooked, eggplant takes on a complex and distinct flavor. While cooking, it can absorb a large amount of oil or liquids, so most chefs recommend salting the raw cuts before cooking to prevent unnecessary absorption. In most recipes, the skin is

removed since it is tough and only softens with intensive stewing. Eggplant is delicious served hot or cold. For a simple and tasty treat, dredge eggplant slices in breadcrumbs and then deep fry. Or experiment with roasting, stewing, or even pickling eggplant, the latter with an olive oil and vinegar marinade. Try coating it with vegetable oil, roasting it with the skin on, then scooping out the flesh and mixing it with seasoned meats and rice. Return the mixture back to the purple skin for a unique serving vessel. Eggplant is truly an international ingredient. Some of the most famous dishes that bring eggplant to center stage: French ratatouille, Italian parmigiana di melanzane, Middle Eastern baba ghanoush, and Greek moussaka. With a distinct flavor and a diversity of uses, eggplant is a mainstay of the cook’s kitchen. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM




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even better than the original St Clair Winery & Bistro by Tiffany Etterling Photographs by Jesse Ramirez

Chef Tim Nichols (left) and General Manager Zan Steinberg.

S “We’re trying to make wine and food fun for our customers. Our goal is to make you feel at ease.” —Zan Steinberg, general manager 100

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

ince first opening in 2007, St Clair Winery & Bistro has gained favor with Las Cruces diners searching for upscale ambiance and outstanding cuisine. Last year, seeking to improve on an already stellar reputation, owner Florent Lescombes jumped at the chance to return the restaurant to its original location on Avenida de Mesilla. In addition to the extra space to accommodate a growing fan base, Lescombes says, the new location offered opportunities to ramp up the overall experience. Open-air seating, a large, enclosed patio, and stellar views are just some of the new bonuses. Live entertainment and special events are now regular occurrences thanks to nearly an acre of grassy lawn on the premises. When you visit St Clair at their new (old) location, you’ll discover delicious new menu items and a fabulous new atmosphere, but happily, the same extensive collection of fine wine. It may seem intimidating to try your hand at wine tasting at the largest winery in New

Open air seating and a presentation vineyard helped convince Florent Lescombes to return to St Clair’s original location, where decadent Brie Bites with apple chutney (right) are now on the menu.



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St Clair Winery & Bistro 1720 Avenida de Mesilla, Las Cruces NM 88005, 575-524-2408

The Bistro Popper Burger is a fun twist on the traditional hamburger. Choose one of St Clair’s big reds to stand up to the kicky jalapeños.


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


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

When you visit St Clair at their new (old) location, you’ll discover delicious new menu items and a fabulous new atmosphere, but happily, the same extensive collection of fine wine. Mexico, but St Clair is the perfect place for a relaxed, enjoyable tasting, regardless of how much you know about the grape. “We’re going to give you a couple of tastes, and we’re going to help guide you to find the wine you’re looking for,” says general manager Zan Steinberg. “We’re trying to make wine and food fun. Our goal is to make you feel at ease.” A wine tasting flight is a good way to get your feet wet and the best way to figure out which bouquets please your palate. But don’t fret if you can’t find a wine that suits you; there are also five new varieties of Marblehead Brewery beer to sample. While St Clair’s foundation is wine, it’s their pairing of good food and fine wine that sets them apart. Don’t let the “bistro” fool you; the cuisine here is much more than sparse sandwiches and dainty salads. In celebration of the new location, the St Clair team significantly spruced up their menu. You’ll find many exciting new items plus improvements to some of their most popular dishes. St Clair’s kitchen loves taking classic favorites and adding unique twists. The basic burger gets a spicy makeover in the Bistro Popper Burger, topped with sautéed jalapeños, cream cheese, and crispy onion straws. Ingredients like locally-grown Hatch green chile, avocado, and cilantro-lime mayo give traditional pasta and sandwich dishes a Southwest flair. Try the new Brie Bites, crisp puff pastry shells filled with decadent melted brie and topped with apple chutney. In addition to great steaks, the hearty dinner menu is refreshing with an unexpected offering of comfort food favorites like country pot roast, lamb stew, and the intriguing Riesling Chicken Pot Pie. For wine, food, and atmosphere, this bistro doesn’t disappoint. St Clair Winery & Bistro is the total dining package.

Double Eagle

Savor fabulous entrees ranging from steaks to seafood and pastas along with an extensive selection of fine wines, scotch and beer.

Aged Steaks, Fresh Seafood New Mexican Cuisine

Banquets for all occasions Mecca Lounge open late for cocktails

Famous Margaritas Award Winning Wine List

1 Ardovinos Drive Sunland Park, NM 575-589-0653

2355 Calle De Guadalupe Mesilla, NM 575-523-6700


Greenery Restaurant & Market

Neapolitan Pizza Pastas and Grill Salads and Appetizers

Mon-Thu 11:00am - 9:00pm Fri-Sat 11:00am - 10:00pm Sun 10:30am - 7:00pm

Homemade Desserts

Sunday Brunch 10:30am - 4:00pm

Serving Enchantment Tuesday through Sunday

Extraordinary Italian Cuisine

Historic Restaurant filled with Antiques, Art and Ghosts!

Elegant Atmosphere

¡Buen Provecho!

Ardovino’s Desert Crossing

Extensive World Cuisine Menu

Market Open Daily 5860 N. Mesa Ste 133 El Paso, TX 915-833-6900

Sunland Park Mall El Paso, TX 915-584-6706

Opus World Bistro

Pho Tre Bien

Beer & Wine Selections, Full Catering Service, Private Meeting Room Friday Nights Dinner & Jazz 7:00pm - 10:00pm

Seat yourself in our lovely covered patio with over 100 koy fish and beautiful water fountain. Come for a quick lunch or stay for an exquisite relaxing dinner! Great for any special occasion!

Sunday Brunch 11:00am - 3:00pm with Endless Mimosas & Live Entertainment

11:00am - 10:00pm Daily Catering is also available

7128 N. Mesa St. El Paso, TX 915-585-2221

6946 Gateway East El Paso, TX 915-598-0166

The State Line


Continuous Service 7 Days a Week

Authentic Greek and Mediterranean Cuisine prepared by a Le Cordon Bleu Chef

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Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine

Greek & Mediterranean Restaurant

Full Catering Services All Types of Menus Open for Lunch and Dinner Monday-Saturday, closed Sundays 7040 N. Mesa Ste H El Paso, TX 915-584-8166

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Eclectic World Flavors

Dream On

Nothing rounds out a luxury master bedroom suite like a grand closet. This custom-designed walk-in was built for owners with busy schedules and fashionable tastes. Drop-down clothing racks literally triple the storage space, allowing the stylish wardrobe to take center stage. A handsome island keeps jewelry, scarves, and other accessories organized and easy to access, while polished granite and a crystal chandelier amp up the glamour factor. The result is an intensely personal space that is pure elegance. Closet Factory, 915-584-2551,


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2013

Photo Courtesy of Closet Factory

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

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

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

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