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El Paso & Southern New Mexico


New Mexico ®

inspiration ideas resources

inspired Pueblo style in Las Cruces

artistic wall finishes

back at the ranch  easy living in

cool + edgy industrial décor

the Mesilla Valley Vol. 5 no. 1 WINTER 2017

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El Paso & Southern New Mexico


inspiration ideas resources


Brian Wancho

6 On the cover: A newly built Las Cruces home is the essence of all things New Mexico, including an all-season outdoor living area that captures the beauty of the Organ Mountains. Read more on page 36. Photograph by Bill Faulkner.

24 back at the ranch

A creative couple trades cattle in Colorado for winemaking, art, and pecan trees in New Mexico.

36 new venture, new home

Homebuilders turned restaurateurs go all in with Southern New Mexico design in Las Cruces.

in every issue






Inside Su Casa Life+Style Southwest

A local pro golfer’s entertainment-ready backyard; inspiration for personalized backsplashes; and Steve Thomas explains the symptoms of “Renovator’s Disease.”

Design Studio

Kitchen design trends for the year ahead; Moll Anderson is all about color; wall treatments that deliver the wow factor; Tuscan architecture; and a roundup of edgy industrial décor.

Su Cocina

Traditional Mexican cooking, family-style; sparkling wines and sippers.

Su Libro

Two new books for those who have a real flair for style.



Ancient and eclectic Taos, New Mexico; the 2017 Great Backyard Bird Count; El Paso’s push toward overall wellness; and winter skincare tips.

Live Performance Calendar

Concerts, shows, and comedy around El Paso and Las Cruces through April. S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017


Jesse Ramirez

54 Vida Buena

Inside Su Casa

dream big


Bruce Adams



S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017


t is the season of new beginnings. Statistics tell us that this is the time individuals begin considering a new home. Maybe it’s the realization of needs that became apparent during the holidays just passed, or possibly the desire to invigorate spaces during the darker winter months. Although many get satisfaction by purchasing a new home in the late winter/ early spring season, you might consider making changes to your existing home. Throughout this issue, there are many ideas that can easily and affordably allow you to give your home a new look or a new functionality. Right now, the idea of renovating may be fresh in your mind. Have you perhaps taken on a new project or hobby that requires some reconfiguration of your spaces? It might be as simple as wanting to look at something different after years of the same motifs and colors. Whether the scope is large or small, right now is the perfect time to begin thinking about how your home fits your current lifestyle and investigating how the excellent builders and designers in El Paso and Las Cruces might create the vision you hold most dear. The pages of Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico are meant to inspire you and give you an idea of what others have done to realize their dream homes. You’ll be happy to know that sometimes, all a home needs is a splash of new paint color. As Moll Anderson discusses, the addition of color can have a dramatic affect on how we enjoy a room. Other ideas in this issue suggest that existing cabinets can often be refinished to easily freshen up the look of a bathroom or kitchen. It all starts with identifying a need or desire for your home. To me, this is the fun part as we allow “creative ideas” to soar into “dreaming big.” That’s my message. Dream big, but be forewarned: Those big dreams might become wonderful realities before you know it. Do make 2017 a year when your dreams come true.

El Paso & Southern New Mexico

inspiration ideas resources

Published by Bella Media, LLC Publisher Bruce Adams Business Development Bob Skolnick Managing Editor Amy Gross Editor Danielle Urbina Contributing Editor Amanda Jackson Contributors Moll Anderson, Ben Ikenson Frances Madeson, Otto Nicli Jessica Salopek, Donna Schillinger James Selby, Steve Thomas Art/Production Director B. Y. Cooper Graphic Designers ValĂŠrie Herndon, Allie Salazar Photography Bill Faulkner, Nohemy Gonzalez Jesse Ramirez, Brian Wancho

For advertising information contact: office 915-581-2300 mobile 575-649-8340 mobile 915-603-8434

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El Paso Office 550 South Mesa Hills Drive, Suite D-1 El Paso, TX 79912 915-581-2300 Santa Fe Office Pacheco Park, 1512 Pacheco St, Ste D-105 Santa Fe, NM 87505 505-983-1444 Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Volume 05, Number 1, Winter 2017. Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico is published quarterly in December, March, June, and September by Bella Media, LLC, at Pacheco Park, 1512 Pacheco St, Ste D-105, Santa Fe, NM 87505, USA, Phone (505) 983-1444. ŠCopyright 2016 by Bella Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is strictly prohibited. Basic annual subscription rate is $9.95, Canada & Mexico is $23.95, other international countries is $27.95. U.S. single-copy price is $5.95; back issues are $6.95 each. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico, P.O. Box 15305, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5305. Subscription Customer Service: Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico, P.O. Box 15305, North Hollywood, CA 91615-5305, Phone (818) 286-3164, Fax (800) 869-0040, SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Life + Style Southwest

by Ben Ikenson

photographs by Brian Wancho

above par entertainment-ready outdoor living for a local pro golfer and his family


riginally from Appleton, Wisconsin, J.P. Hayes came to sunny El Paso in 1983, thanks to a golf scholarship with the University of Texas at El Paso. After playing college golf with the Miners and graduating with a marketing degree, Hayes went on to become a pro golfer, traveling the world and playing on the PGA Tour, competing with the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

“We use the space like a family room. It’s awesome for parties, family dinners, or experimenting with a new recipe.”—J.P. Hayes But it was El Paso that kept a hold on Hayes’s heart. “I fell in love with the people and the weather and have made El Paso my home ever since I started school here,” he says. Today, with his family, the semiretired golfer makes his home in a sprawling, traditional-style West El Paso abode. But the Hayes family recently decided they needed a customized backyard space to complete the postcard-perfect picture. That’s when they turned to George Ocampo of GO Designs, a landscape architecture and design firm in El Paso. “It started with our initial consultation where we offer designto-build service,” says Ocampo. “J.P. chose our 3-D design option, which includes a virtual video and conceptual renderings.” Says Hayes, “We weren’t entirely sure exactly what we wanted except I knew I wanted an outdoor kitchen with a comfortable, all-season seating area, along with a fridge, icemaker, and sink.” After laying out plans and reviewing several design concepts, Ocampo and his team went to work, bringing those plans to life in the family’s backyard. “Demolition and removal of the existing patio was a bit of a challenge the first few days, and others arose from having to acquire materials that weren’t locally available,” says Ocampo. “Some materials came from Mexico, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and East and North Texas.” Despite its minor challenges, the end result is everything the Hayeses wanted—and more. The 3,000-square-foot space features a multilayered, Yorkstone deck that wraps around a 6

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

brick-capped, limestone fire pit and includes an outdoor kitchen and formal dining area with an abundance of artistic detail. Set into a corner of the kitchen is a limestone gas/ wood fireplace with an elegant mantel and Silvermist stone hearth. Stretching in two directions off the corner are granite countertops with brick backsplashes as well as a gas grill island, a bar, and a serving station. Covering the area is a large cedar pergola, beautifully sealed and stained with Brazilian root oil. “We use the space like a family room,” says Hayes of the entertainment-ready dwelling. “It’s awesome for parties, family dinners, or experimenting with a new recipe.” Other noteworthy components of the outdoor space include a fountain vase water feature, raised planters with moss rock boulders, and, thanks to Ocampo’s

Left: Wrapped in a combination of Pennsylvania bluestone and Lueders (Texas) limestone, the rear deck extends out toward lush landscaping and shady trees.

Right: From summer to winter, homeowner J.P. Hayes and his family enjoy time together in their outdoor living space, where they cook, entertain, and cozy up to a blazing fire in the stone-dressed fireplace.



Clever design ensured an effortless transition from the indoors to the outdoor dining area, creating a space that ties in with the home’s interior design.

Left: The outdoor living room features a large, stainless steel grill and prep space, as well as plush, neutral-toned patio furniture, all housed under a custom-built cedar pergola.

Right: A variety of foliage—from native New Mexican shrubs, to traditional plants and flowers from Pennsylvania and Oklahoma— make up the backyard’s colorful landscape.

landscape expert Miguel Lopez, an array of native and traditional shrubs and perennials that provide natural color throughout the year.

“I’m confident our new outdoor living space will only get better with age.” —J.P. Hayes All told, the project took 13 weeks and, “… if construction can ever be considered pleasant, this was it,” says Hayes. “It was a big project, but the result has been great for me and my family. And I’m confident our new outdoor living space will only get better with age.”

resources GO Designs


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

Life+Style Southwest

by Steve Thomas

call me afflicted


his winter is the first in many that I haven’t had a major renovation project underway. Our current home, Sea Cove Cottage, which I’ve written about in this column, is at last complete. My wife, Evy, and I are almost done downsizing. We wanted to live in one small, well-designed, and perfectly renovated house. We just have to downsize our stuff, a lot of which is in storage up the road. So my spare time is suddenly truly “spare,” and my free time is actually “free.” What a concept! My beloved tools lie quietly on their shelves in my storeroom and work trailer, their power cords coiled up like the tails of sleeping cats. All of this inactivity had me thinking for several weeks that I might actually be cured of “Renovator’s Disease”—the inability to stop fixing up your house long after it makes economic sense to do so—and I was pretty pleased with myself. Then some older friends invited us over to their 1800s-built home for a drink. Their house is lovely and quirky, but suffers from some benign neglect. The plumbing and electrical need upgrading or replacement; the furnace failed last year and hasn’t been replaced; and the kitchen


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

and bathrooms are all nearing the end of their service life. The yard and garden, too, could use a vigorous application of chainsaw and spade. But the house has that funky, old-pair-of-jeans comfort, and the haphazard arrangement of rooms added on over time has an organically pleasing flow. As Evy and I strolled through the home, the fire in the fireplace crackled, and the ancient chimney (another warning light!) let just enough smoke into the room to give it atmosphere. The early evening sunlight slanted through the windows and made the whitecaps sparkle out in the distant harbor. The tall grass in the fields had turned a mellow gold, before the first snow. And then our host said, “I suppose you’d want to tear it down.” “No, no, never!” I blurted out. “I’d renovate it! Oh, I might redo the kitchen and baths, and do some clearing out in the yard, but it’s a wonderful house!” And then it struck me what was going on. Our friends have owned this home for decades and they love it dearly. But they’re getting on in years and are preparing to turn the house over to its next set of stewards. Their daughter lives out West, and there’s no one else in the family to take it over. I don’t think it was premeditated, but were they testing me? Would I tear it down? Never. That’s what they wanted to find out. It is said that houses find people rather than the other way around. That sounds a bit “woo-woo,” but after all these years of working on old houses I’m thinking it might be true. What happened that evening was totally unexpected, and the magic of it is still with me. It was as if the house itself was looking for its next caretaker—someone blissfully, unapologetically, afflicted with Renovator’s Disease. Steve Thomas is a home renovation expert and the former host of This Old House and Renovation Nation.

What happened that evening was totally unexpected, and the magic of it is still with me. It was as if the house itself was looking for its next caretaker.

Even as he brings one home remodeling project to a close, serial renovator Steve Thomas usually has his eye—at least subconsciously—on another. Can’t let that tool collection get rusty.

Douglas Merriam

Steve Thomas

Douglas Merriam

Renovator’s Disease affects the seriously home-inspired

Life + Style Southwest

by Jessica Salopek and Danielle Urbina

a splash of style

The backsplash has come a long way since the days of Formica. No longer solely practical features, today’s backsplash designs use a variety of materials and colors.

In this New Mexico home, several different tiles are pieced together to create a colorful, one-of-a-kind backsplash that complements the cabinetry and countertops.

Bill Faulkner



S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

any consider it the icing on the cake—a purely decorative design element with no discernible effect on the overall functionality of the kitchen. So why is the backsplash just about as common as the refrigerator or the stove in the modern kitchen? As it turns out, backsplashes are often as practical as they are eye-catching. A backsplash can serve as the balancing point between too much and not enough. “Because a backsplash is a smaller area, it’s a place where you can have fun and spread a little bit of your own personality into the design, and an area where you can use an element to really add some pizazz to the kitchen,” says Tom Ruth, owner of ProBilt Construction in El Paso. Since 2005, Ruth has remodeled several local, upscale kitchens, often adding updated touches to older, historic homes in the area. Ruth says including a backsplash gives the opportunity to spice things up

design-wise, but cautions that in looking at the bigger picture homeowners should think about how the backsplash will match surrounding elements to avoid clashing. “What needs to be considered is obviously the design and color of the cabinetry and then the color of the countertops as well— you want that all to be pretty cohesive,” he advises. When it comes to choosing a material for the backsplash, the opportunities are endless, though Ruth notes, “Ninety percent of people will probably go with tile. You can use several different things—we actually once used tin paired with quartz countertops—but that’s the fun of backsplashes; there are a lot of options.” Other trending materials include tempered glass (which offers a shiny, contemporary look), engineered stone, plaster, stainless steel, granite, and marble. If tile is indeed the way you want to go, tile manu-

Courtesy Interceramic

backsplash inspiration for every taste

Courtesy Interceramic

Above: Tumbled marble tile by Interceramic (shown here in Astoria Gray) resembles natural stone and adds an earthy element to this sleek kitchen.

Love of beauty is taste... The creation of beauty is art.

-- Emerson

facturers today carry a huge variety of styles and colors to match any homeowner’s vision, including tile produced to look like natural wood and stone. One thing to remember, advises Ruth, is that the backsplash is meant to be different, so don’t be afraid to step outside the box when it comes to the design. “The backsplash is an accent, and it helps to highlight everything else in the kitchen; it’s a place for the homeowner to express their own style and personality.”

“The backsplash is . . . a place for the homeowner to express their own style and personality.”—Tom Ruth The role of the kitchen backsplash does in fact go beyond aesthetics. Many homes, particularly in New Mexico, have plaster wall finishes that are susceptible to damage from moisture, fumes, and the splatters involved with cooking. Ultimately, backsplashes provide functionality and also showcase personal style, and the designs can be as simple or as eye-catching as the homeowner desires. The backsplash is usually the last element incorporated into the kitchen, but that doesn’t mean it should be an afterthought.

Resources Milliken Construction Inc. ProBilt Construction LLC

distinctively remodeling and refreshing homes in the mesilla valley since 1973

Quiñones Design/Build


Design Studio

by Donna Schillinger

a kitchen for your future

design trends for the year ahead


Courtesy Cosentino Group

A quartz-topped kitchen island is multipurpose with plenty of space for food prep, a large farmhouse sink, and bar seating. Bright white cabinetry makes the compact space appear much bigger.

Courtesy Cosentio Group

any design elements coalesce to form a fabulous kitchen, but perhaps two of the most important for helping a new kitchen or a remodel maintain a fresh look for years to come are cabinets and countertops. Three area experts chime in on what is trending in kitchen design now—and likely to stay in fashion well into the future.

Transitional-style kitchens offer function without sacrificing style. This kitchen incorporates rustic elements with a sleek, contemporary aesthetic.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

“Go with your instinct. If you absolutely love a certain color or countertop, you’re going to love your kitchen for years to come.” —Carlos Garcia Sergio Villarreal Jr., of A-1 Kitchens by Sierra in El Paso, recommends starting with oak. Surprised? “Oak is making a comeback—no one expected that!” says Villarreal. Denser than most woods, and therefore highly durable, oak has been a longtime—as in thousands of years—favorite for homebuilders. “Oak, because of its thick vein and rough feel, used to be thought of as a traditional, even rustic look, but now it’s back in modern and earthy, yet sleek, looks,” says Villarreal. As for picking a finish to give those oak cabinets a contemporary feel, Juanita Garcia, vice president of ICON Custom Home Builder in El Paso, says using lighter shades of cabinetry in two colors, if not three, is becoming more popular—specifically white paired with gray. “Most of the homes we are building now are transitional—clean lines with some rustic accents,” says Garcia. “The lighter cabinets make the room look bigger.” Stainless steel appliances, which seem to be here to stay for the foreseeable future, also pair well with light-colored cabinets. For those who prefer a deeper palette, hues of gray and dark brown also create a visually interesting combination. For example, a kitchen island in chocolatey brown offsets wall cabinets in a lighter tone, creating a focal point while also breaking up the space with some contrast. According to designer Ross Landers of Ross Landers

Interiors, “The island is the hub of the wheel in the kitchen,” which is one reason why he recommends investing in a stunning quartz countertop for this particular kitchen feature. But that is by no means the only reason to opt for quartz. Although not new to kitchen designs, quartz is still growing in popularity—Landers predicts it’s on the scene to stay because of its functional advantages. “It’s very durable as far as wear is concerned,” he says. Additionally, it’s impervious to bacteria and, unlike granite, requires no sealing. Ultimately, the best investment in a new or remodeled kitchen is choosing materials and finishes you love. Carlos Garcia, president of ICON Custom Home Builder, recommends a lot of browsing and research while planning your dream kitchen. From there, he says, “Go with your instinct. If you absolutely love a certain color or countertop, you’re going to love your kitchen for years to come.”

contributors A-1 Kitchens by Sierra Granite & Marble by COMAF ICON Custom Home Builder

Rudy Torres

Ross Landers Interiors

This ultramodern kitchen features large, high-gloss cabinets in black and brick red, providing warmth and contrast.



Enchanted Spaces

by Moll Anderson

there is something about color! discover the hues that will inspire your own color journey


ere we are in the dreary days of winter—the sunlight has dissipated, the skies are often gray and gloomy, and the luxurious landscape is now replaced with neutral tones of a world gone to sleep. There is no better time than right now to be bold and to transform your life from beige monotony to a world filled with beautiful, vibrant colors. transform your life with color I’ve just finished my new book Change Your Home, Change Your Life™ with Color: What’s Your Color Story? My excitement over the message is just welling up in me. I cannot wait for the book to be released in March! I believe I was meant to share my journey about color, and this book is all about the transforming power that color has on your home and your life. Whether you realize it or not, color rules—rules your home, your emotions, your life. Your emotional


Far left: Colorful pillows, blankets, and throws can bring color to a neutral sofa or bedroom—plus the touch of warmth they add is always especially welcome in the winter months!

Left, inset: “This beautiful instagram pic of a bird in the middle of a blanket of snow proves that a pop of color can transform your energy,” says Moll. ”By pulling the colors directly from the picture you can create an amazing palette.” 169


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

response to color is based on your experiences and memories, and like any memory, color can evoke happy feelings—or not so happy ones. I was personally transformed emotionally and physically by finding out and understanding what my “color story” was all about. We all have one, and I hope that I will encourage you to begin your own colorful journey. what hue is truly for you? Color inspiration can come from almost anywhere. Consider the images and photos you have captured in your life, and use these to call attention to the colors that have surrounded you. What do your photo memories reveal? What colors and color combinations are you drawn to? Is there a common thread? Start capturing what speaks to you and use it later as inspiration to create something special. No longer are these photos just memories—now they are documented inspiration. I call it insta-inspiration! It’s not always about a full remodel of your space. Sometimes a little color comes to the rescue just when you need it.

Jeff Katz Photography

Editor’s Note: Don’t miss our exciting Q&A with Moll in the Spring 2017 issue of Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico, plus a peek into her beautiful new book, Change Your Home, Change Your Life™ with Color: What’s Your Color Story?

Moll Anderson Life stylist, inspirational interior designer, and philanthropist Moll Anderson is an Emmy Award–winning television personality and the best-selling author of five books, including Change Your Home, Change Your Life”™ with Color, arriving March 2017.

Design Studio

by Frances Madeson

all dressed up

Rudy Torres

giving walls the wow factor

Dark gray wall panels are pieced together to jazz up an accent wall in this chic, ultramodern master bedroom designed by Crown Heritage Custom Homes.


hen it comes to interior walls, the lines between architecture and art are dissolved by local artisans who regard walls not only as dividers of space and function, but as blank canvases for their clients’ style and expression via color, image, and texture. Eschewing crown moldings, ornamental cornices, and other traditional flourishes, the current trend in wall finishes is “modern and urban,” according to Armando Uribe of El Paso–based Plasterqueen. “Textural wall coverings cast from gypsum add dimension where there was flatness, and are the new approach in contemporary wall design,” says Uribe, who’s been offering the panels for the last two years. Waves and ridges that provide depth and an illusion of movement are exploding in commercial interiors, but are also being judiciously incorporated into home interiors “as a focal point for a living room, for instance,” notes Uribe, “or in small spaces like powder rooms.” Plasterqueen, an El Paso fixture for the past 16 years, offers 20 different possibilities in its showroom, 18

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

but also has silicone mold–making capabilities to accommodate distinct, custom patterns. “The installer can easily drill through walls,” Uribe explains, “and the panels can be painted in hues specifically chosen to enhance art.” For the past 11 years, Kiki Suggs of Classic New Mexico Homes in Las Cruces has successfully built homes that buck the current trend toward ultra modernity. “In our classic homes, we strive for the feeling that they’ve been there for a hundred years,” she says. Part of what gives their interiors a cozy, lived-in look is a hand-applied, aged patina that complements the woodwork and tile. The tea-stain faux finish Suggs describes as a “gray, off-white, and brown glaze” is “a beautiful, but lower-cost option than Venetian plaster.” It’s a time-consuming process, applied after the walls have been primed, but before the floors are installed, and is largely used in social areas like entryways and kitchens. When trying to make a room or a nook more romantic, Suggs also offers hand-stenciling to accent distinctive spaces, like wainscoting around a clawfoot tub. “It’s an element that automatically reminds you of an older house,” she says.

Suggs paints freehand—often replicating an aspect of the border tile or backsplash—but also sometimes uses an established stencil design that resonates harmoniously with the homeowner’s décor or artwork. “Every design is different, personalized. Often I’ll make up my own designs, and make the stencil out of a sheet of Mylar. But nothing kitschy,” she insists.

“Textural wall coverings cast from gypsum add dimension where there was flatness, and are the new approach in contemporary wall design.”—Armando Uribe

Courtesy Plasterqueen

Artist Myriam Montes uses a variety of techniques to create one-of-a-kind interior walls with rich texture and hand-painted designs.

Faux-finished walls pair with detailed, ornamental designs around a ceiling soffit to add elegance to a Tuscan-style bedroom.

Rudy Torres

Myriam Montes of Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio in El Paso has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of decorative patterns, many that draw on the motifs of other cultures—European, North and South American, and Middle Eastern. In selecting which ones will embellish her clients’ environments, she studies the textures they’re drawn to, and is sensitive to the decoration and ambience already present. “I consider the exterior architectural vocabulary of the house as well as the personality and individual style of my clients,” explains Montes, who established her studio 18 years ago. Part of her genius in creating stimulating, yet serene, living spaces when working with couples is merging their contrasting visions into something that will be attractive to both parties. “Right now I’m working on a house where the wife’s style is Moroccan and the husband’s is Santa Fe. I’ve managed to combine both into something beautiful,” she says. Though more difficult, and often requiring more materials, Montes’s favorite technique is to combine texture with some stencils. Geometric figures harkening back to the sixties are particularly hot right now. But whether working in clean lines, or wild, natural motifs, Montes’s exquisite work draws the eye in, and often surprises. “I love to see the faces of those who look at my work and think, ‘What beautiful wallpaper!’” she grins. “When they look closer and see that it’s hand-painted, it’s priceless.”

Above: A single gypsum wall lends depth, texture, and a contemporary aesthetic to a bathroom.

Bill Faulkner

resources Classic New Mexico Homes

Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio

Crown Heritage Custom Homes




Editor’s Pick

the future is bright Pantone’s 2017 Fashion Color Report Back in autumn, Pantone released its Spring 2017 Fashion Color Report for the season ahead, and I was immediately drawn to the eclectic palette of earthy colors—kale, hazelnut, and pale dogwood—combined with a splash of bright, eye-catching hues—lapis blue, flame, and primrose yellow—perfect to get the mind energized for spring. Though this Pantone color report is ideally meant for the fashion industry, national and local interior designers also use the report to translate fresh style and color into their designs—from use on accent walls, paint, and wallpaper to furniture and décor. What really caught my eye for the upcoming season? Two words: pink yarrow. Perhaps one of the louder colors on Pantone’s color wheel, pink yarrow is bold, tropical, and festive— just a touch of this hue of pink added to an interior design concept invigorates a space and adds an undeniable dose of brightness. I can totally see myself holding court in this fabulous chair.—Danielle Urbina $1,011, OSGO Furniture,

Quality Builders of Traditional New Mexican Homes * Remodels * Casitas * Grand Haciendas * Design Services * No matter the size, no matter the price, we make all homes unique and classically New Mexico View hundreds of photos at

Wayne and Kiki Suggs 575-525-9530 office 575-644-5327 cell

Design Studio

This kitchen beautifully combines Tuscan elements: heavy wood with detailed carvings, an iron chandelier, and ornate barstools. Bright yellow girasole (sunflowers) on the range hood add to the Italian vibe. Tuscan style is all about texture, from handpainted wall finishes to rich textiles.

the spirit of Italy Tuscan architecture pairs rustic spirit with classic finishes

Brian Wancho

T 22

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

he distinct architectural and interior design style originating from Italy’s gorgeous Tuscany region has been an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in the United States who want to go above and beyond traditional. Specifically in the desert Southwest, it’s easy to understand the strong appeal of an aesthetic—and a way of life—that pays homage to the Mediterranean. “It’s a very compatible look for our region,” says Debbie Salome of Design & Construction by Debbie Salome in El Paso. “A lot of Southwestern design motifs are very similar to the Tuscan look, but with some variations in color palettes. The Tuscan look features

more muted, aged colors.” Salome has been helping design and build homes in the area for more than 25 years and says there are four basic elements in a Tuscan style home: the use of wood rich in tone, such as alder; the use of stone with lots of texture; mosaics; and water features placed around central gathering areas, whether inside the home or outdoors, such as a fountain in a courtyard. “A lot of Tuscan homes feature elaborate mosaic tile work, or mosaic backsplashes, and even floor patterns can be done very beautifully in mosaics,” says Salome. Architecturally, Tuscan style evokes an obvious rustic spirit, with authentic accents and an

Rudy Torres

by Ben Ikenson

Jesse Ramirez

Above: As in the Italian countryside, this courtyard gets the Tuscan treatment with exterior stone, soft lighting, and space for alfresco dining.

emphasis on comfort and warmth. Elements like scrolling, iron ornamentation, textured walls, and rough-hewn, weathered wood bring this style of home to life. Another strategy to achieve the Tuscan look is to harness the existing natural beauty—something that homeowners in the Southwest are very familiar with. “A home should capture the essence of the nature surrounding it,” says Dominique Pummill, floorplan and interior designer at Las Cruces–based Luxe Homes and Interiors. “When it comes to Tuscan homes, curbside appeal should invite the natural flora of your environment to cascade along the walkways, and welcome you to the front door. Indoors, the outside should be welcomed in with scenic views, outdoor dining patios, and a flow that invites you from one room to the next.”  Since Dominique’s husband Jeramey established Luxe Homes and Interiors in 2014, the company has seen steady demand for its services, and the Pummills have completed several custom homes, including their own Tuscan-style abode in the hills of Las Cruces, which was inspired by the couple’s excursions to the Italian countryside. “A true Tuscan home evokes the spirit of family, life, love, and longevity,” says Pummill, adding that there are a number of elements that can evoke a sense of warmth in a home of this style: cream-colored, handtroweled walls; travertine- or marble-tiled bathrooms; earthy brown stone façades; and varied rich textures in the furniture, pillows, and throws.   In wintertime, adds Pummill, “the kitchen’s warmth, and a roaring flame from a fireplace should set the tone. So should gathering loved ones in comfortably arranged living areas for good food and company, laughs, and of course, a little snuggling.”

contributors Design & Construction by Debbie Salome 915-525-1743 Luxe Homes and Interiors

back at the ranch

Debra and Dene Vance’s newly remodeled home boasts several classic hacienda-style touches, with modern upgrades that make it comfy and functional for their new, more laid-back lifestyle.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

Jesse Ramirez

trading cattle in Colorado for winemaking, art, and pecan trees in New Mexico

Jesse Ramirez

The living room artfully combines old and new, with a collection of vintage furniture and décor, new flooring, and textured walls painted by Myriam Montes.

by Jessica Salopek


The Vances gave the hacienda ranch-style flair, outfitting it with John Wayne and Stetson memorabilia and repurposing their old saddles and tack as décor. Dene first fell in love with the area back in the 1970s while visiting El Paso for his job selling supplies to dairy processors. Decades later and looking toward retirement, he found this 11-acre property online—but it went under contract before they could make a move. “We looked at some desert homes, and they were gorgeous, but that type of living didn’t have the same

Jesse Ramirez

ebra and Dene Vance “doubled down” for the better part of 18 years. Both worked full-time careers while also raising prize-winning cattle on a 168acre ranch in Colorado. In 2015, they cashed it all in for a hacienda-style home tucked away in New Mexico’s Mesilla Valley pecan orchards.

Above: Debra and Dene are both John Wayne fans. In the living room, an authentic leather saddle underscores a quote from the man (or is it the legend?) himself. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Jesse Ramirez

The kitchen’s impressive makeover features all-new, chocolate brown cabinetry combined with dramatic granite countertops and highend stainless steel appliances. Contractor and remodeler Bill Quiñones is particularly pleased with the way the kitchen now opens to the living area.

appeal for us,” Dene remembers. “Months later, we decided to just check back in on this listing, and lo and behold it was back on the market.”

“[Painting] is something I’ve always wanted to do, but when you have to work for a living and you have cows, the time just isn’t there. Now that I’m retired, this is what I’m doing and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.” —Debra Vance The true adobe home was built in the early ’80s. It had been on the market for 12 years—and empty for eight— before the couple restored it into Hacienda Vance. “It’s 26

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really only one bedroom. There’s also a casita, but that doesn’t necessarily work for a lot of families. I think that’s a big reason it sat on the market so long,” Debra explains. “We’re retired. The casita is for friends and family who visit, plus it has great potential as an art studio. It worked for us.” One thing that didn’t work for Debra was the kitchen. Before they’d even finalized the purchase, the avid home cook had drawn her dream kitchen right down to the inch on graph paper. She and Dene had also decided that the original pine wood floors and the stark white walls throughout the home needed an overhaul. In Colorado, Debra regularly picked up issues of Su Casa at the grocery store. Through a little “cross-referencing and mixing and matching” she found Bill Quiñones of Las Cruces’s Quiñones Design/Build, who oversaw the remodeling project. Quiñones notes, “It really helped that the original construction—the bones—of the home was superb and extremely well designed. It was a real gift for me and my team to work on a true Mesilla adobe.”

Jesse Ramirez Jesse Ramirez

Jesse Ramirez

Four-legged family members Goldie (left) and Samson (right) find a comfy spot to snooze in the couple’s Southwest-inspired master bedroom.

Left: With more time for herself, Debra spends some of her days painting scenic images inspired by the road trips she takes with Dene.

Above: The master bath includes a walk-in steam shower as well as an elevated spa tub for added relaxation.



Jesse Ramirez

Bill Faulkner

One of the couple’s favorite pastimes is sitting out on their back porch while enjoying a glass of wine—often a vintage they make together with local grapes crushed in an antique grape crusher (below).

Jesse Ramirez

Right: For years before their retirement, the Vances won several awards for their prized Colorado cattle.


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The couple lived on-site for most of the three-month remodel, during which time El Paso painter Myriam Montes covered the barren walls with a dramatic faux finish and Stout Wood Floor Co. replaced the outdated and much-too-light pine flooring with a rich, engineered hardwood. Stone Masters brought together Debra’s kitchen design with new cabinetry, granite countertops, and a massive horseshoe-shaped center island. The Vances then gave their hacienda some ranch flair, outfitting it with John Wayne and Stetson memorabilia and repurposing their old saddles and tack as décor. The living room is adorned with an antique U.S. flag, one of the first made with a star for the state of New Mexico, and three paintings by famed Western artist Charles Marion Russell that Dene inherited from his father. A small lap pool in the master suite’s private courtyard got a full restoration, and the Vances added in a two-person hot tub and ambient lighting. Trees peeking up from beyond the 14-inch adobe walls create a serene and shaded soaking area. The home also boasts one other open air space, a vast entry courtyard with a bubbling stone fountain. While Debra claims it as one of her favorite R&R spots, she and Dene are hardly lazing around in their retirement. The

Above: True to authentic hacienda style, in the center of it all is a brick-lined courtyard with several seating areas and a grand fountain original to the home.

previous owner converted what was once a greenhouse into a sunroom/office. Debra now uses this space as a studio, where she explores her newfound passion for watercolors. She eventually plans to install a Murphy bed in the guest casita so it can better serve as a studio where clients can come see her work. “I started painting about six months ago and I’ve been taking advantage of workshops and classes and any opportunity that will expose me to different techniques so I can develop a style I call mine,” says Debra. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but when you have to work for a living and you have cows, the time just isn’t there. Now that I’m retired, this is what I’m doing—and I’m enjoying the heck out of it.” Since moving to New Mexico, she and Dene have also resurrected a hobby: amateur winemaking. Five years ago, their bottles were winning awards at Colorado wine fests. Then severe frost made getting grapes nearly impossible. Now, with grapes from Luna Rossa in Deming, they’ve dusted off their grape crusher 30

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Jesse Ramirez

Left: Beloved Old West memorabilia graces the front entryway.

Bill Faulkner

Bill Faulkner

Below: Large, ornate metal gates beckon toward the courtyard of Hacienda Vance.



Bill Faulkner

Above: Rows of pecan trees line the property, giving the home plenty of distance from the main road and providing a peaceful, bucolic setting.

and converted an old workshop into a wine storage room. “We like to joke that we started out as foodies raising our own beef and turned into winemakers, because what goes better with steak?” Debra grins. It all comes full circle when the couple sits out on one of Dene’s favorite nooks in the house, the east-facing porch, with a glass of wine. The property is situated just far enough from the main road to feel truly remote. Overlooking their new acres of pecan trees and farmland with the mountains barely peeking though in the distance, it’s just like being back at the ranch.

resources Builder Quiñones Design/Build Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery Cabinetry and Countertops Stone Masters Flooring Stout Hardwood Floor Co. Wall Treatments Myriam’s Faux Finish Studio 32

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Design Studio Uttermost Annileise Bookshelf This industrial-inspired bookshelf by Uttermost offers doubleduty practicality: in addition to being a storage solution for books, personal collections and knickknacks, pottery, and even small plants, it’s stylish and fun, and a departure from the usual wallhugging shelf. With five wooden shelves in a sun-faded, weathered charcoal finish, its compact, easel-style design gives off a sophisticated rustic look that’s great for the living room or home office. $350, Bed Bath & Beyond,

by Danielle Urbina

effortlessly edgy industrial décor is rustic and chic Once solely the aesthetic of old warehouses and factories, industrial style has recently taken on a new meaning, adding a humble (but unmistakably cool) dimension to contemporary, modern, and minimalist homes. From stripped-down walls and exposed architecture, to must-have materials like tin, iron, and steel, this style is at once utilitarian and rustic, yet trendy and sleek.

OSGO Furniture Metal Flower Vases Even pared-down, industrial homes can use a little color and freshness that can only come from flowers and plants. This set of vases by OSGO Furniture is shabby-chic with galvanized metal and a cage-like design that reflects the urban look of industrial style. Create visual interest by staggering the vases on a tabletop and use varied lengths of fresh-cut flowers for a pop of brightness. $177, OSGO Furniture,

West Elm Sculpted Metal + Leather Bowl Chair With industrial style, the beauty is in the architecture—and the same goes for this chair. Vintage tan leather is stretched over the chair’s hand-welded, metal frame, which sits on hairpin-style legs, giving it a serious midcentury modern vibe. The soft leather is comfortable without being too plush, and the frame’s sunburst silhouette makes it a statement piece for the living room, office, or bedroom. $1,599, West Elm, 34

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Uttermost Bingham Pendant When it comes to industrial-style lighting, you won’t find much ornamentation or over-the-top detail—but that doesn’t mean no-frills fixtures can’t make a statement. This classic industrial pendant light features a gorgeous bronze finish complete with Egyptian gold that gives the shade a pretty copper glow. The pendant also features minimal, darkcolored accents and a hinged door with a glass diffuser to house the bulb. Price upon request, Charlotte’s Furniture,

Sarreid Ltd. Scrubboard Desk Decades ago, the Chinese used wooden scrub boards in washtubs to hand-wash clothing. Today, the furniture designers at Sarreid Ltd. use those same scrub boards as inspiration for furniture pieces, including this edgy, sturdy desk. Made from real wooden scrub boards, the desk features a clean, rectangular design (made with all-natural pine in a variety of hues) and three spacious drawers, and sits on thin metal legs. $1,680, Charlotte’s Furniture, SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


new venture,

new home builders turned restaurateurs go all in with Southern New Mexico charm


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by Jessica Salopek

photographs by Bill Faulkner


hen fate offered Albuquerque builders Tom and Jeanine Springer the chance to open a restaurant—something they’d never done before—they took a leap of faith and moved to Las Cruces. When their venture, the Pecan Grill & Brewery, had been open and successful for about five years, they decided it was time to settle in. “We were gypsies for several years, moving from rental house to rental house,” Jeanine remembers. “When it became apparent that this was going to last and we weren’t going back to Albuquerque, we went ahead and built a home.”

Rugged, exposed vigas and a blazing fireplace add to the vibrant Southwestern landscape of Tom and Jeanine Springer’s Las Cruces home. Their stunning backyard captures picture-perfect views of New Mexico’s prized Organ Mountains. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Right: A heavy, wooden entry gate, custommade by West Studio in Canutillo, hints at the Southwestern aesthetic of the rest of the home.

Below: Antique candelabras and crystal pieces passed down from family members are proudly displayed in the dining room, which opens out to an outdoor kitchen and living area.


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In the kitchen, several hues of brown offer an elegant yet relaxed feel. Jeanine’s favorite part of this space? The large, granite-topped island with its full-size sink, which provides even more room for preparing big family dinners.

In their previous lives, the couple had built traditional and Tuscan homes, but one of the rentals they’d lived in—an authentic Pueblo Revival built by Wayne and Kiki Suggs of Classic New Mexico Homes—inspired them to go all in with Southwestern style. “We really began to enjoy the beefier walls and just the overall look of the style,” says Jeanine. Following an eight-month build they oversaw themselves, the Springers have enjoyed their 4,000-square-foot Pueblo-style home for just over a year now. Embracing the colors of the surrounding desert and sky, they opted for a rich brown façade trimmed with sky blue windows and doors. The final touch: an exposed adobe brick wall enclosing the front courtyard and adding some Santa Fe flair. “When it came time to stucco the adobe wall like many people do, I thought it was just so beautiful the

way it was that we shouldn’t cover it up,” Jeanine says. Inside, authentic Southwestern elements on a subtly oversized scale create depth, dimension, and sturdy warmth. Extra large, round, pine vigas line the ceilings against a backdrop of cedar latillas and hefty lintels, and corbels grace the interior archways. Tony Gonzalez of West Studio Doors hand-crafted three massive doors for the home, all adorned with rustic iron latches and ornamental crosses. One leads into the entry courtyard. Another extra-wide version with sidelight windows and shutters creates the home’s main entrance, and the third, 10-fee-tall with an arched top, discreetly tucks away the private master suite just off the kitchen and dining area. Based on their years of experience in the building industry, the Springers knew that a family-friendly floorplan based SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM


Above: A corner fireplace with soft, rounded edges is the focal point of the living room. True to typical Southwestern style, materials like rustic wood and smooth, cream-colored stucco remain consistent throughout.

Above: The cozy master bedroom strikes a balance between light and dark, with black and brown furnishings and a large picture window that floods the room with natural light.


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around an open concept great room was a must. (Daughters Ashley and Jessie and five-year-old granddaughter Bentley visit frequently). The layout is a true split plan with each of the two guest bedrooms tucked away in its own wing with walk-in closets and private baths. (Ashley’s suite includes access to the back patio where Mom says she enjoys “camping out” in front of the fireplace and beneath the stars when she’s visiting.) “In all the homes we’ve built, we’ve always done a big master, a spacious kitchen and laundry areas, and really nice-sized closets—and that’s just for the women,” Jeanine notes with a laugh. “Of course, you have to have something for the guys. Tom has his workshop.” Jeanine says the kitchen is one of the most functional she’s ever lived in. Walt Kowalski installed custom knotty alder cabinetry with plenty of hidden storage in the form of spice rack pull-outs and spacious, easy-toorganize drawers hidden behind cabi-

Above: The huge master bath is all about relaxation, with his-and-hers vanities, walk-in closets, and a luxurious soaking tub with a cozy corner fireplace.

net doors. Thick, granite countertops with bullnose laminate edges match the robustness of the home. The stainless steel Wolf appliances include an oversized refrigerator/ freezer, a double oven, and a six-burner stove with a griddle top where Jeanine whips up perfectly cooked pancakes for Bentley. One of Jeanine’s favorite amenities is a full-sized prep sink with a garbage disposal in the center island. “This isn’t one of those tiny island sinks where you can only wash a head of lettuce,” she says. “This is a true prep and cooking area, leaving the other side of the kitchen for clean up.” Just off the kitchen area, Tom and Jeanine’s private sanctuary offers much more than a typical master. One of Gonzalez’s doors effectively creates a small foyer that opens up into a bedroom with a sitting area arranged 42

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Left: A strip of mosaic tile wraps around the shower, giving it a distinct, layered look that’s still harmonious.



A sizable wooden vanity is topped with neutral-toned tile and features a backsplash to match tile in the shower and the tub surround. Recessed lighting adds the perfect ambient glow.

around one of the home’s four kiva fireplaces. (The others are in the living room, on the back porch, and providing ambience next to Jeanine’s bathtub.) The bedroom offers the only access to Tom’s spacious office, where a desk facing a picture window overlooks the city. An adjacent tiled and heated storage space leads into Tom’s workshop and a much-bigger-than-it-looks-from-the-outside garage where the Springers store their “toys.” The home’s location allows them to spend weekends and evenings four-wheeling and riding their Fatboy mountain bikes in the surrounding sandy desert arroyos.

Embracing the colors of the surrounding desert and sky, the homeowners opted for a rich brown façade trimmed with sky blue windows and doors. But most of the Springers’ outdoor time is spent in their backyard. The property is perched just perfectly for a 180-degree view of Picacho Peak, the Doña Ana Mountains, the Organs, and the entire Mesilla Valley—above it, a vast expanse of New Mexico sky stretches out for infinity. “We 44

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Left: A trickling rock water feature empties into the sparkling pool and provides aural interest and ambience.



There’s a spot for everyone to take in the views from the backyard, whether from around the fire pit, by the pool, or from the covered outdoor living area.

chose this lot for the view and because no one is looking in on us and we’re not looking down on any of the neighbors’ homes,” Jeanine explains. On extra land beyond their rock wall, the couple recently planted grapevines that will eventually provide not only table grapes, but an additional privacy hedge.

The property is perched just perfectly for a 180-degree view of Picacho Peak, the Doña Ana Mountains, the Organs, and the entire Mesilla Valley. On days when they don’t eat at the restaurant, Jeanine whips up hearty steak or prime rib dinners that are more often than not enjoyed alfresco on a bistro table. Afterward, she and Tom round out their days with a dip in the heated pool and elevated hot tub and enjoy a favorite local pastime: watching for shooting stars. 46

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resources Builder Springer Group

Interior Doors L&P Building Supply

Appliances Builders Source Appliance Gallery

Fireplaces Adobelite

Cabinetry W. Kowalski Inc. Countertops Stone Masters Entry Door and Gate West Studio

Pool and Spa Pools by Design Tile Casa Mexicana Tile Tile Installation Olacio Tile



Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

¡qué sabroso!

Right: Fresh lime juice adds a refreshing kick to the spicy flavor of the Camarones Enchipotlados.

traditional Mexican cuisine is deeply rooted in history


n the Southwest, we’ve grown accustomed to both Tex-Mex and New Mexican styles of cooking, both of which take influence from more authentic Mexican cuisine from our neighbors across the border. Although things like burritos, tacos, and nachos aren’t commonly found on the streets of Mexico, the country’s cuisine is deeply rooted in tradition, with many cooks using ingredients and techniques that date back hundreds of years. Traditional Mexican food is a combination of both indigenous and Spanish cuisine, with an emphasis on staple ingredients (corn, beans, various chiles, and tomatoes), herbs, and often, lots of spice. However, no two regions of Mexico produce the same style of cooking, which makes dining in Mexico an adventure for the palate. From the seafood-based dish-

es of Veracruz to the less spicy but hearty dishes of Chiapas, every state in Mexico has something different to offer. Chef Daniel Hoyer takes a tasty journey through the country in his cookbook, Culinary Mexico. Hoyer, who worked with Chef Mark Miller at Santa Fe’s Coyote Cafe, has taught culinary arts in Santa Fe and has led numerous culinary tours in Mexico. Here he shares two mouthwatering recipes from his book with Su Casa to give readers a true taste of Mexico’s rich culinary history. For a peek into one local family’s Mexican cooking traditions, see “Leaving a Legacy,” page 64.

Culinary Mexico: Authentic Recipes and Traditions, by Daniel Hoyer, with photographs by Marty Snortum Studios, Gibbs Smith, paperback, $25

Hongol de Chiquin-Te (Wild Mushroom “Polenta”) “This side dish from San Juan Chamula, in the hills surrounding San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, is served along with meat dishes for festivals or used as vegetarian meat alternative during Lent. The Chiquin-Te mushroom is a type of tree ear mushroom similar to the Chinese varieties. The addition of some sharp grated cheese and chopped cilantro just before serving makes a nice contemporary addition.”—Daniel Hoyer 2–3 medium tomatoes (about 6 oz), charred 1 medium white onion, peeled, sliced, and pan-roasted 2 teaspoons Recado Colorado or prepared achiote condiment ½ lb dried tree ear mushrooms, soaked in very hot water until soft and stems removed, or 1 lb assorted fresh wild and domestic mushrooms, all cut into bite-sized pieces 1 ½ teaspoons salt ¾ cup masa harina 2 sprigs fresh epazote, or 2 tablespoons dry epazote, or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves

Popular in Chiapas, artisanal cheeses are a great topper for this creamy Hongol de Chiquin-Te.


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Puree the tomatoes, onion, and recado or achiote in a blender. Place the mushrooms in a pot and add just enough water to cover, bring to a boil, and add the salt. While stirring over the heat, mix in the masa little by little until it is smoothly dissolved. Add the tomato mixture and the epazote, stir well, reduce the heat to simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Camarones Enchipotlados (Shrimp in Hot & Smoky Chipotle Sauce) “Camarones enchipotlados is one of my favorite dishes! We used a buttery version of this sauce to top small corn griddlecakes for an appetizer at Coyote Cafe. You can make a tasty version of it with chipotle chiles en adobo, but the deep, spicy, complex flavor of the Veracruzano pasta de chile seco goes way beyond tasty to soul satisfying. These shrimp are suitable as a main dish, appetizer, or in tacos, served either hot or cold.”—DH Makes 6–8 servings 6–8 cloves garlic, peeled and roasted 3 ripe tomatoes, well roasted or charred 1 medium white onion, thickly sliced and pan roasted until well caramelized 2 ½ lbs shrimp, deveined (and peeled, if desired) Salt to taste Freshly ground black pepper to taste ¼ cup olive oil 2–3 chipotle chiles en adobo, finely chopped, along with a pinch of ground cloves and ½ teaspoon ground canela (cinnamon) Juice of 2 limes or 1 orange ¼ cup chopped cilantro Blend the garlic with the tomatoes and onion, adding a little water if needed to facilitate the blending. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Heat a large sauté pan or Dutch oven and add the oil. Sauté the shrimp on very high heat until half cooked and beginning to brown. Remove the shrimp from the pan with a slotted spoon. Fry the sauce in the oil for about two minutes along with the pasta de chile seco or the chipotle chiles en adobe, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the shrimp, stir to coat, and cook the shrimp through. The sauce should be fairly thick, adhering to the shrimp. Add the lime juice and the cilantro, stir again, and serve hot or chilled.

Jim Arndt

Su Libro

a flair for style books for car lovers and decorators

Blue Bel Air at Julian’s Barber Shop, Pojoaque, 2012


ew things are as iconic to Northern New Mexico as red and green chiles, adobe Pueblo architecture, and lowriders. In his stunning new coffee table book ¡Órale! Lowrider: Custom Made in New Mexico, author Don J. Usner provides thoughtful insight, detailed history, and snippets of conversations with the interesting characters behind these distinctive vehicles, and further explores the influence of the lowrider and its cultural tradition. The book was published in conjunction with the New Mexico Museum of Art’s 2016 exhibition Con Cariño: Artists Inspired by Lowriders, and the New Mexico History Museum’s Lowriders, Hoppers, and Hot Rods: Car Culture of Northern New Mexico exhibit, on view until March 5, 2017. Filled with 120 striking images in color and black and white, this book is sure to bring joy to car enthusiasts and photography lovers alike. From detailed shots of hubcaps, hoods, and interiors to rich black and white portraits of 50

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Bob Eckert

¡Órale! Lowrider: Custom Made in New Mexico, by Don J. Usner, The Museum of New Mexico Press, hardcover, $40

the cars and their owners, the gorgeous images give a glimpse into the cultural and community pride of those immersed in lowriding. Curated by Daniel Kosharek, photo curator at the New Mexico History Museum, and Katherine Ware, curator of photography at the New Mexico Museum of Art (who also contributed an interview with lowrider artist Meridel Rubenstein to the book), the selected photographs span 40 years and showcase four main types of vehicles: bombs (large, rotund American cars circa 1930–1955); originals (old cars restored to original condition); hoppers (cars with hydraulic lifters that allow them to bounce and jump); and hot rods (classic American cars with modified engines). So what exactly is a lowrider? Usner defers to the renowned Fred

Rael: “If it isn’t low, doesn’t have small-spoke rims, whitewall tires, and a nice paint job, it isn’t a lowrider.” The term also refers to the car enthusiast; thus, Rael himself is a lowrider. This book highlights the lowrider as a work of art in its own right, while delving into the who, the what, and the why behind it all. As a companion piece to the two lowrider exhibits, ¡Órale! Lowrider is deeply satisfying, especially for those who truly love cars. “I’m convinced there are two kinds of people in the world—those who drive for the purpose of getting from point A to point B . . . and people like me who drive cars to, well, drive cars,” explains Kosharek. “This exhibit is about the latter: people who express themselves through pride in their ride.”—Amanda Jackson

Bob Eckert

Above: Renowned lowrider Fred Rael and “Precious.”

Above: Benny Vigil’s 1972 Buick Riviera with Mural in Rear Window, 2015



Su Libro Below: “Walls” covers everything from painting to window frames, with a special emphasis on wallpaper, such as the eyepopping 3-D print shown here.


oving into a new home? Wanting to redefine your style? Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home might just be what the home decorator ordered. Over 270 pages divided into 10 chapters cover everything from defining your style with expert terminology to how to copy or re-create a look and the pros and cons of different styles and structures. Written by the editors of Domino magazine, Domino is laid out in an easy-to-digest magazine style, but in a longer format. Each chapter is broken into four main sections: an example of what the editors love, a handbook/how-to, style statements, and style school. The “Art” chapter, for example, begins with snapshots of art in different rooms and various styles of hanging art, followed by ideas to consider and where to find unique pieces. A brief blurb about mats and frames rounds out the discussion. Style statements serve as a visual dictionary, with snapshots of art placed in context, followed by exactly how to accomplish the look in your own home.


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Ellen Mesu, Ellie Cashman Design

Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home, by Jessica Romm Perez and Shani Silver, Simon & Schuster, hardcover, $35

Lastly, style school covers the down and dirty how-to, including visualizing, curating, arranging, and hanging art, followed by topics specific to the theme: big art, color theory, placement (if not on the walls), and finally, other options for art and how it lives in a space, with a funky side note on mirrors as art. Other chapters tackle subjects such as seating, walls, flooring, shelving/ vignettes, and lighting. Decorating with ‘soft stuff ’ (plants, flowers, and textiles) is covered, and finally the book ends with a chapter on entertaining. There’s also a shopping resource to help spark your planning. Domino: Your Guide to a Stylish Home is a balance of whimsy and

realistic options for new decorators figuring out their style and those wanting to redefine their style—with additional great options for renters. It is truly a nuts and bolts compendium of decorating that offers solid, widesweeping advice, clear explanations as to why certain elements work together—or don’t, and lots of how-tos to help you define and express your own specific decorating style.—AJ Opposite: Patterns, say the authors, add depth and texture, such as in this whimsical wallpaper—but always bring home a sample to consider in situ before making a final decision.

Alyssa Rosenheck

Laure Joliet

Above: The chapter on flooring highlights area rugs and the trick to expertly placing them.

Vida Buena

by Donna Schillinger

Taos, New Mexico the junction of ancient and eclectic


mong New Mexico’s many gems, Taos is not to be missed. Between the millennium-old, continually inhabited Pueblo settlement and the nearby town only just incorporated in 1933, Taos offers remarkable hospitality, scenic beauty, and recreational and cultural encounters for history buffs, creative types, and adrenaline junkies.

for the amateur anthropologist

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and a National Historical Landmark, Taos Pueblo, an ancestral home of the Tiwa-speaking people who live there today, is a tiered adobe complex that rises to five stories. It is a remarkable structure exemplary of the preHispanic Americas, and unique to our country in that its people have successfully retained much of their traditional way of life. 54

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Debbie Lujan

Taos Pueblo has been continuously lived in for over 1,000 years.

Respectful visitors are welcome daily, with some exceptions for religious ceremonies and community events. Start here when you visit, and subsequent Taos history will start to fall into place. Coronado’s expedition made the first European contact with the Taos Native Americans in 1540; five centuries later, the town’s architecture as well as its occupants are a fascinating amalgam of Native American, Spanish, Hispanic, and eccentric Anglo-American that creates a distinctive vibe. Experience all of these cultural elements at the Millicent Rogers Museum, home to a large collection of prehistoric and modern ceramics, jewelry, and textiles, as well as Zuni and Hopi kachina dolls. More recent historical artifacts are on exhibit at the Kit Carson Home and Museum, which offers a summer lecture series and living history weekend replete with re-enactors.

for the adventurer

Courtesy MarkeTaos

Courtesy Wild Earth Llama

A short drive northeast of Taos, options for the outdoorsy abound. The beautiful Taos Ski Valley is the main draw for skiers, snowshoers, and even inner tubers. Off the slopes you can trek with llamas with Wild Earth Llama Adventures—you lead, the llama totes your gear and lunch—or take a hot air balloon ride through the dizzying Rio Grande Gorge, which drops 800 feet from the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.

Left: Trek into the Gorge with a team of friendly, gearcarrying llamas for a scenic, guided excursion you’ll remember for years to come.

Above: It’s a toss-up as to what’s more breathtaking: standing on the bridge atop Rio Grande Gorge or gliding through it via hot air balloon.

for the artist

A roaring fire and a cold margarita await at Doc Martin’s at the Historic Taos Inn. Courtesy MarkeTaos

A mecca for creatives, Taos is home—or occasional haven—to many contemporary artists, no doubt drawn to the same architecture, landscape, and natural light that made it an artists’ colony; the Taos Society of Artists was founded here in 1915. Make the obligatory pilgrimage to the Mabel Dodge Luhan House where, even before the city of Taos existed, East Coast heiress Mabel Dodge and her Taos Indian husband Tony Luhan were offering retreat to the preeminent authors, artists, and thinkers of their time, among them Ansel Adams, Carl Jung, Willa Cather, D. H. Lawrence, and Georgia O’Keeffe. After a short stint as a hippie hangout in the 1970s under the ownership of actor Dennis Hopper, the house is today a B&B. New Mexico’s second oldest art museum, the Harwood Museum of Art boasts a permanent collection of more than 1,700 Native American, Hispanic, and contemporary works of art, as well as 17,000 photographs from the 19th century to the present. Additionally, the Nicolai Fechin House, the home of the Russian-born, 20th-century portrait painter and wood carver, houses the Taos Art Museum. For the kind of art you can take home, there are dozens of galleries to browse.

Courtesy El Monte Sagrado


El Monte Sagrado offers world-class spa resort pampering not far from Taos Plaza.

Taos is a little over an hour’s drive from Santa Fe and two hours from Albuquerque. If you fly into either city, you’ll want to rent a car or otherwise motor in to Taos, as you’ll need wheels to explore this place of unconventional allure. Taos Tourism,



Vida Buena

by Amy Gross

Courtesy MarkeTaos

Millicent Rogers’s namesake museum houses many pieces of Native American, Hispanic, and European art.

Courtesy The Harwood Museum

Adventurers, anthropologists, and artists alike need good food and a warm bed, and Taos offers plenty of options for a longer stay. Try the varied breakfast menu all day at Michael’s Kitchen, a Taos locals’ favorite. Gutiz, a daytime only eatery, features a Latin-French menu. In the Taos Plaza, Lambert’s of Taos is an elegant spot for dinner. Cap the night with a killer margarita at Doc Martin’s at The Historic Taos Inn—conveniently equipped with 44 guest rooms should one margarita roll into one too many. Other lodging in Taos runs from the low-key B&B (Adobe & Pines Inn, Old Taos Guesthouse) to the luxurious resort (El Monte Sagrado). Close to the slopes are Bavarian Lodge and the new, 80-room alpine retreat The Blake, where you can package discounted lift tickets with your stay.

Above: Founded in 1923 during the Taos Society of Artists years, The Harwood Museum of Art is the second-oldest art museum in New Mexico.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

2017 Great Backyard Bird Count count yourself in


ou don’t need birding experience, binoculars, or even a goofy hat to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count, held nationwide and right here in El Paso and Las Cruces from February 17–20. Free, fun, and, as the name implies, done right in one’s own backyard, the GBBC is a way for absolutely anyone with an interest in birds to help the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society in their conservation and identification efforts. Participants are invited to count birds as often as they like or are able—whether that’s one day or all four, for hours at a time or for just 15 minutes. When they’ve finished counting for the day, participants submit a checklist online at gbbc.birdcount .org, which offers charts and maps that show where—and what—other bird lovers are observing and counting around the country. Last year over 160,000 people participated in the count, and more than 18 million birds representing 5,600 different species were observed. “One great resource available to those who’d like to know more is the ‘Explore

Roadrunners (right) and lesser goldfinches (above) are two birds you might get to see in West Texas and the Mesilla Valley during the Great Backyard Bird Count in February.

Data’ feature on,” says Scot Pipkin, Director of Community Education for Audubon New Mexico in Santa Fe, New Mexico. “It’s easy to punch in Las Cruces or El Paso as regions to explore and get lists and bar charts of what birds can be found here, and when.” Scott Cutler, president of the El Paso/TransPecos Aububon Society, says West Texas and Southern New Mexico birders can expect to see the usual complement of resident birds and winter visitor birds in February, among them yellow-rumped and other warblers, dark-eyed and gray-headed juncos, lesser goldfinches, curve-billed thrashers, robins, gulls, roadrunners, ladderback woodpeckers, and many others. “If the weather’s not too severe we’ll even see hummingbirds in February,” says Cutler. “On the other hand, if the weather turns nasty, especially in the higher elevations, we might get to see Steller’s jays.”

Mark L. Watson

time to relax

Vida Buena

by Otto Nicli

healthy steps ahead El Paso makes a push toward overall wellness


“Be a part of that change. Change the mentality that people have here toward eating healthy. It doesn’t have to be boring.”—Mark Sano On the Westside, gym members at Fit 30 run, lift, and train their way to ultimate fitness. The gym was established by owner and trainer Alan Cooksey a few years ago; since then, Cooksey has seen an increase in the city’s overall commitment to health and well being. His high-energy workouts span 30 minutes and are designed to help clients lose body fat, not necessarily weight. “You’ll lose weight eventually,” Cooksey says, “but it’s mainly to lose body fat, gain muscle, and acquire physical conditioning.” According to Cooksey, high-intensity interval training (known as HIIT) has proven to be one of the best methods to lose body fat. Even though the gym gets its name from the 30-minute workout routine, Cooksey believes younger people may mistakenly think it’s a gym for people 30 years of age or older. “Anybody can do the workout,” 58

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Acavius Largo

s we welcome a new year, countless El Pasoans are surely resolving to lose some extra weight, get healthy, and stay healthy. Now more than ever, this yearly fad has the potential to become a lifelong commitment to health and fitness thanks to a growing health-consciousness that has graced the city in the last couple of years. From local gyms that focus on quick workouts to meal preparation programs that act as a helpful guide on what to eat, there’s no better time to achieve the healthy lifestyle that at one point seemed very limited in the El Paso area. From sesame-encrusted salmon, to spicy sriracha lime chicken, meals at Just Fit Foods are full of flavor and are made with fresh, healthy ingredients.

Cooksey says. “It gets your heart rate going, and you get to build strength as well as endurance. You build stamina and you also work every muscle in the body as well as all types of ranges of motion and directions, planes of motion.” As Cooksey mentions, the Sun City has welcomed health and fitness with open arms, in many ways. With a wider variety of gyms, local meal preparation shops, and the addition of walking and biking trails all around the city, there’s a clear, positive difference taking place within the community. But local fitness professionals believe that this change can progress even further and El Paso can reach higher levels of health and fitness in the near future. “It starts with the family,” Cooksey says. “If the parents are working out and eating healthy, their kids usually do the same. That’s one place where change can be made.” Mark Sano, owner of the meal preparation system Just Fit Foods, agrees with the notion of healthy eating. In less than two years, Sano has opened three Just Fit Foods locations all over town. Their menu boasts 21 different items ranging from steak fajitas and chicken parmesan to smoked barbecue brisket—

At Fit 30, owner and trainer Alan Cooksey centers his workouts around high intensity circuits that build a higher level of endurance, work to burn fat, and increase muscle.

and the best part is that the food is incredibly good for you. Meals are made daily with highquality ingredients, like all-natural chicken breast, ground turkey, fresh veggies, and healthy sides that include sweet potato mash and cilantro lime jasmine rice. “We’ve helped thousands of people,” Sano says. “We have so many success stories—clients that come back to us and tell us that they’ve lost, literally, hundreds of pounds from eating our food.” According to Sano, a simple change of lifestyle can have a big impact. By choosing to follow the directions set in place by Just Fit Foods, clients can eat tasty meals while still losing weight and maintaining their health. But, Sano notes, healthy eating has to first become a commitment. “As long as [clients] eat our foods, we can pretty much guarantee results,” Sano says. “That means following our advice: eat our foods and stay away from the junk food. It has to be a lifestyle change; it has to come from within.” In the short time Just Fit Foods has been open, El Paso has fully embraced the concept. Sano credits that to the change he has seen not only in his clients but also in the city’s attitude toward health as a whole, and he urges the community to continue down that path. “Be a part of that change,” he says. “Change the mentality that people have here toward eating healthy. It doesn’t have to be boring.”

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January through April


The ever-popular Broadway production of Annie makes a stop in El Paso with two shows this January. Directed by lyricist Martin Charnin and choreographed by Liza Gennaro, the show is an all-new incarnation of the famous original. The show includes entertaining dance numbers and unforgettable songs like “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” and of course, “Tomorrow.”


Known as the “Greek God of Guitar,” Pavlo mesmerizes audiences with his one-of-akind fusion of Greek, classical, flamenco, Latin, and Balkan music, a style he simply refers to as “Mediterranean music.” Pavlo has received several awards for his recordings, performed for royals such as Prince Charles, and worked and toured with several acclaimed artists including The Tenors, Rik Emmett, and Oscar Lopez.


Following a wildly successful 2016 run on ABC, Dancing With the Stars makes its way to several stages across the U.S., including a stop in El Paso this February. Fans of the show will get to see some of their favorite stars—such as Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez—dance with a cast of all-star dancers including Lindsay Arnold, Val Chmerkovskiy, Jenna Johnson, and others. 60

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017


Cabaret—John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Tony- and Academy Award–winning musical—closely follows the lives of performers at the infamous Kit Kat Club during pre-World War II Germany. The show features memorable songs like “Cabaret,” “Willkommen,” and “Maybe This Time,” performed by a talented cast of UTEP theater students.


Fresh off a major Broadway success, The Illusionists perform a show that takes magic to the next level. The spectacular showcase features the talents of some of the most incredible illusionists in the world. For two shows at the Plaza Theatre, the cast will amaze audiences with sophisticated magic and acts of levitation, mind reading, and full-view Houdini-esque water escape.



In the Mood is a celebration of the lively and beloved Big Band era. With catchy melodies and unforgettable lyrics, Big Band music dominated the airwaves for decades, and the era became a historic moment in American history. Complete with the 13-piece String of Pearls Big Band Orchestra and a cast of energetic singers and dancers, the era’s music comes to life in a nostalgic show. AN EVENING WITH BILL MAHER MARCH 19, 7 pm, PLAZA THEATRE, EL PASO

For more than a decade, comedian Bill Maher has reeled audiences in with his distinct sense of humor, bringing politics to comedy on American television. For the last 14 years, Maher’s HBO hit show Real Time has served up laughs and honesty, earning him 38 Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award in 2014. Don’t miss Maher’s live stand-up show this March at the Plaza Theatre in El Paso. SHEN YUN PERFORMING ARTS APRIL 23, 3 pm, PLAZA THEATRE, EL PASO

Straight from New York, Shen Yun Performing Arts is a well-known classical Chinese dance and music company. Full of magic and splendor, the Shen Yun experience highlights the colorful culture of China and its long history through classical Chinese dance and orchestral music.

Undeniably one of the biggest pop stars of all time, Elton John and his flamboyant style have captured the hearts of millions of fans since the 1970s. Since then, Sir Elton has produced 38 gold and 31 platinum or multiplatinum albums and has sold more than 250 million records worldwide. Elton John and his band will grace the stage at the Don Haskins Center to perform memorable favorites like “Rocket Man,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind,” and many more.


After developing a friendship while starring in Les Miserables, Brad Robins, Casey Elliot, and Bradley Quinn Lever decided to put their talents together to become GENTRI. In becoming a trio, the three Broadway sensations developed a blend of tenor vocals with its own distinct sound. Their “cinematic pop” hits the stage at the Spencer Theater in Ruidoso this April.


You can do this, and we’re here to help. With weight loss surgery, medical guidance, lifestyle coaching and the techniques it takes to eat right and live healthier, you can change your life. We invite you to learn more about the Weight Loss Center at MountainView Regional Medical Center and look forward to helping you on your journey. Call 575-521-8860 to learn more. Patient results may vary. Consult your physician about the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure or treatment.

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11/23/16 1:51 PM

Vida Buena

by Danielle Urbina

shower, but what most people don’t know is that once you’re 10 minutes into your shower, your skin begins to dehydrate,” Montelongo explains. “If you must indulge, try to reduce the amount of time you’re in there, and immediately after, hydrate with products that contain glycerin, mineral oils, or ceramides.” The chilly weather is here to stay, for a couple more months at least, and Montelongo advises anyone worried about their skin to seek out what works best for their particular skin type. “If you have dry skin, you’ll want to moisturize more; if you have oily skin, you’ll want to try a light, lotion-based moisturizer,” she says. “It all depends on the individual— we’re all different, our skin is different.”


When temperatures drop and air becomes drier, skincare professionals suggest boosting your daily regimen with ultrahydrating moisturizers and mineral oils.

The MedSpa at El Paso Cosmetic Surgery

best face forward winter skincare tips to help you glow


here’s plenty to love about the winter season, but when it comes to being outdoors, sometimes the weather outside can indeed be frightful—for our skin. As temperatures begin their decline, the air gets drier, often becoming destructive to the skin’s complexion. “Winter tends to dry out the skin a lot more than usual because of the cold weather and constantly going in and out, from cold air to warm rooms,” says Mitzy Montelongo, a medical aesthetician at The MedSpa in El Paso. “The first thing we notice with patients during this time of year is that the weather tends to dry out everyone’s skin.”

“If you have dry skin, you’ll want to moisturize more; if you have oily skin, you’ll want to try a light, lotionbased moisturizer.” —Mitzy Montelongo Some of the most common skin problems associated with winter weather? “We tend to see a lot of dry patches, and various other skin problems 62

S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

associated with dry skin. That’s sometimes where the problem starts,” notes Montelongo. Because of the loss of hydration in the skin, problems like inflammation and cracking can occur, both painful and damaging if not taken care of properly—but there is a way to combat winter-weather skin problems: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. “We want our patients to pay attention to moisturizing more, and always ask them to continue wearing sunscreen,” says Montelongo. “Even though it’s not summertime, it’s still best to wear sunscreen daily, because in this area we are still exposed to the sun during the day.” As for a skincare routine, Montelongo says that for most, maintaining a typical skincare routine is fine—with a couple tweaks. “If anything, you might want to switch out your moisturizer for something that’s a little more hydrating. You may also want to use a humidifier at night,” she advises. One thing to avoid? Hot showers. “During this time of year, everyone wants to indulge in a hot

Hydrating ingredients include glycerin, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and plant-based oils.

Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

photographs by Nohemy Gonzalez

leaving a legacy a beloved cook, her recipes, and a kitchen full of memories


speranza Salazar de Gonzalez loved to cook, and if she wasn’t at church or visiting others, she could usually be found in the kitchen preparing huge meals for her family. Esperanza was originally from Aguascalientes in Central Mexico, and, thanks to her roots, she not only knew authentic Mexican recipes, but also came up with her own—the same recipes that her children re-create now, in her memory. Of her 12 children, eight are daughters (Marisela, Martha, Lucy, Diana, Lourdes, Laura, Rosario, and Nohemy) who carry Esperanza’s legacy, each in their own way, including a coffee and tea house opened by Laura several years ago—Café Fioretti in Central El Paso— where the sisters often pitch in, and where Esperanza spent seven years working and contributing some of her own special recipes before her passing in 2013.

breaking bread “For Mom, the kitchen was the heart of the home. Her cooking was one of the ways she showed unconditional love for her family, making sure that we were nurtured physi-

Sisters (from left) Rosario, Lourdes, and Martha gather together in the kitchen to re-create some of their favorite recipes, including traditional dishes from Mexico.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

Esperanza Salazar de Gonzalez’s photo sits on a dining room table filled with dishes she once made for her children, who now make them for special occasions and holidays.

“Cooking for Mom was the very essence of love, and her kitchen was the heart of the home,” says Marisela (at left). She and her sister Laura (right) team up to flatten and fry masa for the enchiladas.

Above: Enchiladas estilo Potosi served with fresh green salsa and sour cream.

cally,” says Martha. Most of the family’s memories of Esperanza revolve around family dinners and holidays when everyone would linger well into the evening, listening to her stories while sitting at the kitchen table. “One of my favorite memories of my mom is of her telling stories to the kids, some of which were very animated,” laughs Lourdes. “She was a great storyteller; my kids still laugh at some of those stories.”

“Cooking was intuitive to Hubbard. I never once saw her use a recipe card.” —Nohemy Gonzalez

Above: An old fashioned tortilla press is used to carefully flatten small mounds of chile-infused masa.

Taking on the nickname “Hubbard” from the nursery rhyme “Old Mother Hubbard,” Esperanza absolutely loved having a large family, and managed to raise her children on her own, “by the grace of God,” as she would say, when her husband David passed away at the young age of 55. Esperanza showed her love in many ways,

including in the meals she made for her children, something that seemed to come naturally. “Cooking was intuitive to Hubbard,” says Nohemy. “I never once saw her use a recipe card.” As a young girl in Aguascalientes, Esperanza learned cooking skills and techniques from both of her grandmothers, so she did everything the authentic way, often without any kind of shortcut. Her cooking style, says Lourdes, was “Mexican with a little Mediterranean,” but certainly always delicious; which is why her home was always filled with her own family, neighbors, and children. “During the summers, many [guests] stayed late— the sound of children playing and laughing always made my mom smile,” says Nohemy. “She made everyone feel welcome, fed them, and didn’t let them leave without packing some of her food to go.” From buñuelos and tamales, to dishes unique to Central Mexico, Esperanza had her own distinct way of preparing meals, but as Rosario notes, “Hubbard always said, ‘If you add love to your cooking, it will be delicious!’” That same love can be felt simply by walk-



Above: Like Esperanza, the sisters take few shortcuts when cooking her recipes and use authentic and fresh ingredients in their food, including freshly-chopped spinach for the tortas de espinaca.

ing into the kitchen of her El Paso home, where an unmistakable presence resonates within its walls. The family has chosen to keep many of her kitchen items—like well-seasoned cast iron pots and old-fashioned checkered and embroidered aprons—in place, open for anyone to use at any time.

keeping the memories alive

Right: Getting in on the family traditions, Esperanza’s grandson Noah learns how to roll out dough for buñuelos from his Aunt Lourdes.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

To get a better sense of what it’s like to be a part of the tight-knit family Esperanza and David created, the Gonzalez sisters invited me to take part in an afternoon of cooking some of their favorite recipes. On a cool but sunny Saturday morning, I gathered with the family to watch as they prepared an authentic Mexican feast of tortas de espinaca (spinach patties in a flavorful tomato broth); enchiladas estilo Potosi (enchiladas made in the style of San Luis Potosi); buñuelos (crispy, cinnamonsugar pastries); and canela (cinnamon) tea. As the sisters established their roles in the kitchen, I couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming sense of togetherness as they filled Esperanza’s pots and pans with aromatic spices and ingredients, all the while joking with one another and laughing. “We got a chance to witness her sense of humor quite a bit as she worked alongside us at my sister’s coffee house,” says Rosario. “She used to say that laughter was an important and vital force, and God knows we shared many laughs.” As the sisters worked together cohesively, assembling enchiladas and rolling out and perfecting dough for the buñuelos, they all looked to Lourdes, who they admit caught on to Esperanza’s techniques the most. Meanwhile, the home began to fill with the delicious aromas of Esperanza’s kitchen—the heady scent of drying dough, garlic, onion, and chile in the sauce, and

the strong aroma of cinnamon from a boiling pot brimming with tea. The affection between members of the Gonzalez family is evident, as Esperanza’s children and grandchildren filed in and out of the kitchen for most of the day. The sisters shared stories from their childhood and worked in unison—passing food and utensils back and forth, checking on the way things were coming together, helping each other season each dish to perfection with a pinch of this and a handful of that; it’s hard to believe that one woman did all of this on her own.

Watching the Gonzalez sisters, it’s easy to conclude that Esperanza passed down not only her special recipes, but also her kind and generous personality. Watching the Gonzalez sisters, it’s easy to conclude that Esperanza passed down not only recipes, but also her kind and generous personality. “We used to be up all day and all night working on these,” says Nohemy as she inspected the drying discs of buñuelo dough. “Because it was never just for us; it was for neighbors, aunts, uncles—everyone.” As Esperanza’s photo sat in a frame nearby, almost as if overlooking it all, the sisters mentioned setting aside parts of the day’s meal for their brother and other members of the family; and in true Gonzalez fashion, they weren’t letting me leave without first having a bite to eat myself. In Esperanza’s absence, her spirit still shines on in many ways. I like to think that she couldn’t be more proud, knowing that her apron will never really be hung up, but passed down.

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Above: Tortas de espinaca served with a tasty broth made of tomato, garlic, onion, and flavorful spices. SUCASAMAGAZINE.COM



coming of age

by James Selby

Gruet’s sparklers are New Mexico’s pride and joy

Courtesy Gruet

A family of sparkling wines, from a family of sparkling wine makers.


ruet Winery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is more the product of a family vine rather than a tree, with roots in the heart of a small village in the Champagne region of France where patriarch Gilbert Gruet began the family business in 1967. On a trip through the American Southwest in 1983, Gilbert met with European expats growing wine grapes near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and decided to plant vines there. Two of his four children, Nathalie Gruet and Laurent Gruet, in their 20s at the time, jumped in with both feet to help Gilbert make méthode champenoise (the process of fermenting sparkling wine in the same bottle from start to finish), releasing 2,000 cases in 1989. Novelty got them in the doors and reasonable prices put their wine into consumers’ glasses, but quality has kept Gruet on shelves and on wine lists from California to New York. In 2011, Gruet Blanc de Noirs ($16), the first New Mexican wine to receive 90 points from Wine Spectator, was selected for the magazine’s coveted list of Top 100 Wines of the Year, and was described as “elegant and focused, with rich yet crisp flavors of baked pear and cinnamon bread.” On a recent visit to Santa Fe a winemaker from Champagne stepped from his plane and asked, “Where may I buy a bottle of Gilbert Gruet Grande Reserve?” Produced only in exceptional years from Gruet’s oldest vines, aged before its release, this tête de cuvée exhibits creamy sophistication and brilliant acidity ($40).


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

Novelty got them in the doors and reasonable prices put their wine into consumers’ glasses, but quality has kept Gruet on shelves and on wine lists from California to New York. A newer offering, Sauvage (“wild” in French), is a bone-dry, zesty sparkler with touches of green apple and citrus, perfect with seafood ($20). Bringing me to the subject, if you only drink sparkling wines at celebrations, you’re missing the pleasure of pairing them with food. Try them with fried foods, sushi, and even popcorn. Today Gruet produces 15 wines—11 of which are sparkling—topping 175,000 cases annually. Though the family has never forgotten where they came from, they have—most asJames Selby suredly—arrived. James Selby has directed wine programs in New York, Gruet Winery,

The aptly named Gruet Sauvage is tart and dry.

Portland, and Santa Fe, where he lives and works as a wine consultant and writer.

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Su Cocina

by Danielle Urbina

Courtesy Pai Designs

Pink Chandy

sips that sparkle raise a glass to festive, bubbly cocktails

Similar to classic Champagne, cava is a sparkling wine from Spain, produced in the same way as Champagne, but with a variety of different grapes. Macabeo, xarel-lo, and parellada grapes all come together in cava with faint floral aromatics, high acidity, zesty citrus, and pear-and-melon-like notes for a taste that’s fruity but less sweet than typical sparkling wines. For bigger parties, think beyond the dainty flute with largevolume cocktails like this sparkling sangria, which combines cava with an assortment of fresh fruits and liqueur for a dazzling twist on the Spanish classic.


S U C A S A W I N T E R 2017

with specialty ingredients, are elevated into something super chic with an interesting flavor profile. The best part? Sparkling wine cocktails are very versatile and add a fun, sophisticated touch to events all year long. Celebrate Valentine’s Day or say “Cheers!” with three perfectly bubbly cocktails that are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Makes 1 cocktail 2 oz pink lemonade 2 dashes Meyer lemon bitters 3 oz rosé Champagne or rosé sparkling wine 1 slice fresh jalapeño Pour the pink lemonade into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add the bitters and top with rosé sparkling wine. Add the jalapeño slice as a garnish and serve.

Sparkling Sangria Serves 4-6 3 oz passion fruit juice 3 oz fresh lime juice 2 oz simple syrup 1 oz orange liqueur 3 oz Pisco 1 bottle Freixenet cava Sliced grapefruit, pineapple, strawberries, and fresh mint In a pitcher with ice, combine passion fruit juice, lime juice, simple syrup, orange liqueur, Pisco, fresh fruit, and mint. Top off with the bottle of cava and serve chilled.

Courtesy Freixenet


othing is as festive as a glass of something fizzy and sparkly. You could turn to the typical mimosa or bellini to jazz up brunch and other gatherings, but there are many other cocktails that combine delicious sparkling wine with one or two fresh ingredients to go beyond the ordinary and hit all the right notes. Sparkling wines—including cavas, proseccos, and Champagnes—pack a lot of flavor and fizz, but when paired

Within the last couple of years, rosé sparkling wines have been in high demand thanks to their luxurious flavor and eye-catching pink color. The wine’s cherry, strawberry, and light watermelon notes paired with a citrusy acidity makes it incredibly refreshing and tasty for those who crave something lighter or aren’t into dry wines. This flavorful chandy takes it a step further, adding a little more sweetness from fresh pink lemonade, balanced out by lemon bitters and a slice of jalapeño for a spicy kick.

Lavender-Lime Fizz Classic Champagne is one of the best bases to work with when it comes to sparkling wine cocktails. Its signature flavor profile of citrus, apple, pear, and a hint of spice makes it versatile when combining other ingredients for an elevated, more complex cocktail. Taking inspiration from the soft and subtle spring season, this cocktail features tart and refreshing lime juice with an unexpected lift from aromatic lavender. It’s a fabulous accompaniment to an elegant Easter brunch.

Makes 1 cocktail 1 oz lavender simple syrup 2 oz fresh lime juice 3 oz brut Champagne or sparkling wine

resources WB Liquors & Wine

Courtesy Pai Designs

Pour the lavender simple syrup and lime juice into a decorative glass and stir to combine. Add the chilled Champagne or sparkling wine over the top and serve.



Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Winter 2017 | Digital Edition  
Su Casa El Paso & Southern New Mexico Winter 2017 | Digital Edition