Santa Fe Buzz: October 2011

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, October 2011

It’s an upscale, modern American bistro. That’s how Brian Rood describes the new restaurant where he’s serving as chef de cuisine. The eatery comes to us from Maria Renteria, owner of Max’s, and is nestled in the old Louie’s Corner Café spot, at the intersection of Galisteo and Alameda. Renteria says the vibe at Tomme is “sexy but mellow.” “It’s another adult restaurant,” she says, “but we’re trying to make this more approachable financially. It’s cool, innovative, fun, contemporary food, but there are no white tablecloths.” (There are black tablecloths, though, and appetizers that run from $6 to $11) Using local ingredients when possible, Rood says the bistro will serve classics like steak frites and mussels alongside familiar dishes with a twist (their fried chicken and their posole offer some pleasant surprises, he adds). “It’s more casual than Max’s but with the same kind of good quality,” he says. Tomme is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch and from 5 to 9 p.m. for dinner. 229 Galisteo, 825.2253.

How can you not love something called Eat Local Week? It’s Oct. 10 through 16, and to celebrate, the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is breaking out two food-centric competitions. The first is the Cook with the Chef Showdown on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Market Pavilion. Chefs George Gundry (from Atrisco) and Patrick Lambert (from Cowgirl BBQ) will battle over who can make the best chile and yak (yes, you heard me) appetizer. Judges Chef Matt Yohalem, Chef Rocky Durham and food writer Rob DeWalt will select an ingredient from that night’s market to be used in the dish. Then on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to noon under the water tower, home bakers will show us what they’ve got in the Local Baking Competition as they vie for first place. Come down, buy some local veggies and maybe get a slice of something delicious. 1607 Paseo de Peralta, 983.4098, www.santafefarmersmarket.com.

I found my new home. It’s in Whoo’s Donuts, the made-from-scratch donut shop that just opened next door to the ChocolateSmith. The owners of that artisanal, cocoa-laden boutique, Jeff and Kari Keenan, are taking the same approach to the fluffy pastries as they do with their candies. While you can still get the classics like Boston cream and raised glaze at Whoo’s, you’ll also be able to get such decadent desserts as pistachio with white chocolate lemon ganache, or maple bacon with dark chocolate glaze and chili brown sugar. As though you aren’t already convinced that you want to move in, too, here’s another tasty tidbit: Whoo’s will use organic, locally grown ingredients when it can, including Sangre de Cristo flour from Taos and organic Fat Boys coffee from Cedar Crest. I think I’ll go grab a baker’s dozen right now. 851-B Cerrillos, 629.1678, www.whoosdonuts.com

If you’ve been waiting in the wings to furnish that side room or purchase that perfect antique chair, the time to act is now. Stephen’s, A Consignment Gallery is throwing its semi-annual fall sale on Saturday, Oct. 15, and Sunday, Oct. 16. Come from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday to nab 10 to 15 percent of items at this Santa Fe institution. 2701 Cerrillos Road, 471.0802, www.stephensconsignments.com.

Here’s a new one. The next time you want to take your dog with you to dinner, you don’t have to settle for café fare. Both you and your dog can have a fine dining experience at Graham’s Grille in Taos. I don’t mean your dog can hang out with you on the patio while you eat. I mean your dog can eat, too. Graham’s has a new “Yappy Hour” menu, which includes grilled free-range chicken breast or Angus beef and diced, local lamb. At $4 a pop, Rover can eat in style while you treat yourself to your camarones al mojo de ajo. 106 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, 575.751.1350, www.grahamstaos.com.

You just know you’ve got a can of green beans in your pantry you’re never going to open. Won’t you feel better if you give it to someone who’ll use it? From Oct. 16 through 30, A World Feast is conducting its second annual food drive. All you have to do is drop off donations like that can of green beans at one of a couple dozen locations, including La Montanita Co-op, Santa Fe Community College and the New Mexico Museum of Fine Art. Right now non-perishable beverages and personal hygiene items are in short supply, so any donations along those lines would be much appreciated. For a full list of drop-off locations, to find out how to be a corporate sponsor for a mere $50 and all the other details you might desire, visit www.aworldfeast.com.

San Q Japanese Sushi and Tapas is the place you’ve been hearing about—or at least it’s the place you should have been hearing about. The newest incarnation of the old Café Paris space in Burro Alley, it’s a place where you can find green chile tempura with rock salt along with nigiri-informed monkfish liver, fire steak, quail eggs wrapped in bacon, chicken teriyaki donburi bowls and a classic caterpillar roll. The new restaurant comes from Kohnami Japanese Restaurant owner Sanggyoo (San Q is dubbed for the phonetic version of his name). The inspiration for the restaurant was to provide a place where good food could be found for small prices, much like the culinary outlets that cropped up in Japan after World War II. With low-priced beer, San Q also takes on a pub quality. Go pay your new neighborhood pub / tapas / sushi bar a visit. 32 Burro Alley, 992.0304.

Get your paws on some limited edition libations that have just been released by KGB Spirits. The hand-crafted small-batch beauties include Vodka Viracocha, a potato-based concoction made in a 12-foot Arnold Holstein copper still and named after the original god of the Americas; Los Luceros Hacienda Gin, of which 90 gallons were created in the botanically infused Alembic still (it’s also the only potato based gin in the world, according to KGB); and the Taos Lightning, a three-year-old, single-barrel, straight Rye Whiskey. KGB says the the release of the Whiskey is the first since 1847, at the beginning of the Taos Pueblo Revolt. It’s dedicated to John David Albert, who escaped to Colorado on the day Simeon Turley, the drink’s creator, and Gov. Charles Bent were killed. Pick some up before they disappear.

It’s not often that you get the chance to watch a live taping of NPR’s hit show “From the Top,” the one in which pianist-host Christopher O’Riley introduces the stories and music of the best pre-collegiate musicians with the world. No, it’s not often you get to do that. That’s why you should go—for the compelling performances, for the thrill and for the chance to say you did. Presented by the Santa Fe Concert Association, it’s on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at 7:30 p.m. at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Tickets range from $20 to $72 and can be bought at www.ticketssantafe.org or by calling 984.8759 or 988.1234. 211 West San Francisco, www.lensic.org

Three cheers for the Taos High School Culinary Team, which snagged the honor of 2011 Culinary Team by the New Mexico Restaurant Association at the Hospitality Industry Awards. The award comes out of New Mexico’s ProStart Program, which is a curriculum that teaches high schoolers key aspects of culinary, management and hospitality education. Right now it’s in 54 schools around the state. With 400 hours under their belts, those who finish the program are ready to enter the hospitality workforce. Another accolade for Taos High School goes to Benjie Apodaca, who won the National ProStart Teacher of the Year award for 2011. He also took home a $5,000 scholarship for the 2011 James H.Maynard Excellence in Education Award. Taos High School also got to compete in the National ProStart Student Invitational in Kansas City. A big pat on the back to Taos! 

Let’s paint a little picture. You’ve just sat down to plates of piquillo peppers a la plancha stuffed with queso mahon; tuna carpaccio with smoked sea salt, blood orange aioli and olives; and black mussels steamed in almost-romesco fish broth. You’ve got the perfect Spanish wine to wash it all down. Things are already looking pretty good. Add to this portrait a troupe of live, internationally trained Flamenco dancers and musicians, and you’ve got your next night at La Boca. Once a month, the restaurant will play host to Inspiración Flamenca, whose world-class performers have shared stages with Maria Benitez and Carlota Santana. Cover charge is $10, and reservations are recommended. The next La Boca Baila! night is Friday, Oct. 28. Shows start at 10 p.m., with seating beginning at 9:30 p.m. Order off the regular menu or get one of several La Boca Baila specials. 72 W Marcy Street, 982.3433, www.labocasf.com.

The Dixon Studio Tour is celebrating its 30th birthday in a rather remarkable way—by printing a book. A reading for Creating Art & Community, by authors Stan Crawford, Estevan Arellano, Harvey Frauenglass and Michael Wildgoose, will be held at The Range Café in Bernalillo on Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6 p.m. The Dixon Studio Tour proper, in which artists let the public into their homes, studios and businesses to showcase their methods and process, is slated for Nov. 5 this year. The book feature 112 pages of artist vignettes and color illustrations along with essays on Dixon’s community. You can get your own copy for $20. Congratulations to the Dixon Studio Tour on 30 outstanding years! 925 Camino del Pueblo, Bernalillo, 505.867.1700, www.dixonarts.org.

Here’s some advance notice so you can mark your calendars. Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe is holding an Italian Holidays event on Thursday, Nov. 3, from 3 to 7 p.m. Not only will there be Italian sweets and treats to snack on, Vietri ambassador Jody Kennington will also be there to sign things you buy. If you get there early, you’ve also got a chance at scoring one of the limited edition Old Saint Nick platters signed by the artist. 181 Paseo de Peralta, 988.3394, www.lascosascooking.com.