Santa Fe Buzz: March 2012

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, March 2012

You can now stop in to buy some of your favorite local pastries and other treats anytime you want, or at least anytime Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Keegan Crumpacker and his mother Amy Fagan—who are known for their catering business and the baked goods they sell at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market—have now opened their own restaurant. Crumpackers Café and Bakeshop offers everything from classic huevos rancheros and bagel and lox to a breakfast monte cristo (with homemade raspberry rhubarb jam) and a sizable array of paninis, sandwiches and salads. The eatery is also dedicated to using local ingredients wherever possible, says Crumpacker, including the Farmington-grown Valencia flour that goes into all its house-made breads. 5 Bisbee Court, Suite 108, 471.0226. www.crumpackers.com.

Vinaigrette’s monthly wine dinners are a little hush-hush. The gourmet salad-based restaurant doesn’t advertise the events, and so your only chances of finding out about them are if you read its newsletter—or if you’re reading this. Sometime around the third Wednesday of every month, $40 will get you three courses and a flight of five wines. The wines usually highlight a specific grape varietal or growing region (last month’s was wines of Spain). And although the menu is never the same, to give you a taste, February featured ceviche, a spin on the spinach and mushroom salad from the regular menu, and a braised short rib with cauliflower mash. Reservations are required. Also, Vinaigrette only hosts these dinners from November through March, although it’ll likely add one in April this year. Call for the exact date, which had yet to be set at the time we went to press. 709 Don Cubero Alley, 820.9205. www.vinaigretteonline.com.

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Albuquerque Buzz: March 2012

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, March 2012

Jaque Fragua continues on his path of world domination, or at least Southwestern domination. You may remember artist/musician/dancer Fragua from last year’s August issue [“On Native Ground”]. The prolific twentysomething hasn’t slowed down. He’s just finished a new mural in Las Cruces, N.M., and has a brand-new show opening at the Claredon Hotel on March 3 in Phoenix, Ariz. He’s partnering with El Mac to paint another mural in conjunction with the show’s opening. Go see him in action if you’ll be in Phoenix, or watch him create a piece in response to the banning of ethnic studies books here: www.bit.ly/yMPzYJ. To keep up with Fragua, follow him at www.fragua.tumblr.com.   

Jessica Fichot melds her French-Chinese-American background into her music, stripping the barriers between gypsy jazz, Chinese and Latin American folk, and French chanson traditions. She’ll be in Albuquerque for a night on her way back to her home in Los Angeles, so catch the richly layered talents of the chanteuse, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter while you have a chance. The show starts on Saturday, March 31, at 8 p.m., and if you stick around afterward you’ll get an extra aural treat from local dirty-gypsy-jazz favorite Le Chat Lunatique. Tickets are a mere $10 in advance or $12 the day of the show. Find it all at Low Spirits. 2823 Second Street NW, 505.886.1251. www.lowspiritslive.com, www.jessicasongs.com

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Red Hair and Green Gables

Canadian classic is youthful and charming at ALT

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, March 1, 2012

Even if you weren’t a redheaded orphan girl brought up on a farm near the turn of the 20th century, Anne of Green Gables will likely remind you of your childhood—of best friends, the realm of make believe and accidental drunkenness.

In the L.M. Montgomery book and the play it inspired, sister and brother Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert have decided to adopt a boy to work on their farm. Neither of them ever married or had children of their own, and as the candles on their cakes start to multiply, they like the idea of a strong young back around to help chop wood. The two send for the boy from an orphanage, but when Matthew arrives at the train station to pick him up, he discovers a particularly eager and loquacious girl instead. This is Anne Shirley.

Of course, Anne woos austere Marilla and flummoxed Matthew with her wonder, rapid-fire questions and bright-red braids. The rest of the story serves as a window into Anne’s somewhat ordinary yet entertaining life. She goes to school and is at first an outcast, at least until she befriends beautiful Diana Barry. She excels in her studies but then refuses to return to class when she’s singled out by a strict teacher. She nurses a small child back to health. Anne is brave, smart, silly, stubborn and immeasurably starry-eyed, and that’s why people love her, both from within the play and from our seats.

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From Toilet to Tap

Rio Rancho plans to pour effluent into the aquifer

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, February 23, 2012

Rio Rancho’s waste is being wasted. The same is true for most cities, which treat their sewage well enough to be used for gray water purposes but then send it downriver. Due to the plight of the desert and a rapidly growing population, Rio Rancho no longer wants to send off its sewage.

The city plans to inject it into the aquifer instead.

The project sounds scarier than it is, says Bruce Thomson, professor of civil engineering and director of the Water Resources Program at the University of New Mexico. “It’s extremely low-risk,” he says, adding that the project is environmentally friendly since it conserves resources. Still, people have an instinctually negative reaction to the idea of what’s called “toilet to tap,” and some worry about the safety of the plan.

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Hollywood Helper

Make dead celeb's dishes the life of your Oscar party

by Christie Chisholm, Weekly Alibi, February 23, 2012

Liberace’s sticky buns. That’s Frank DeCaro’s favorite recipe in his freshly published Dead Celebrity Cookbook (HCI Books, $19.95), and the reason has nothing to do with taste—although DeCaro says the packaged crescent rolls doused in rum, butter and enough seasoning to spice a pumpkin pie are dangerously delicious. “It just kills me,” says the Sirius Radio talk show host and former “Daily Show” film critic, “but only if he’s in on the joke. If he’s not in on the joke, it’s just sad.”

This is a theme throughout The Dead Celebrity Cookbook, which features obscure recipes from more than 145 stars from Hollywood’s Golden Age. It should be noted that a number of the nuggets are actually delicious: Harriet Nelson’s “favorite chicken,” for example, is bathed in entire cans of cream of chicken, mushroom and celery soup and “should come with a defibrillator,” says DeCaro. The recipes, however, weren’t chosen because they’re tasty. They also weren’t chosen for their oddity, even though there are certainly some strange ones in the mix (Don Ho’s pig foot soup, here’s looking at you). Rather, they were all chosen out of love.

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