Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Late Summer in Santa Fe: Culinary, Museum and Event News

Late Summer Sky in Santa Fe

The city of Santa Fe is buzzing with action this summer and that means visitors have new things to taste, see, experience and explore. Below are a few of the latest happenings in the City Different:

Food and Spirits

Santa Fe is already a chocolate lovers’ paradise with so many artisanal boutiques that there’s a chocolate trail, but now comes C.G. Higgins, a downtown chocolate lounge and store just steps from the Plaza. Whether it’s a luscious beverage to sip on or a decadent bite of something rich, the handmade and high quality items from C.G. Higgins are perfect pick-me-ups for a day of exploring the museums and shops downtown. Owner Chuck Higgins is already well known in town for his other store, Chuck’s Nuts Originals.

Santa Fe Spirits’ new tasting room in the always-lively Railyard recently opened in early August. The small distillery has taken giant steps in popularity for its award-winning, distinctive liquors that feature local ingredients. Silver Coyote Pure Malt Whiskey, Wheeler’s Gin, and Expedition Vodka are just a few of the stars. The new space at 308 Read Street will sell drinks and food and staff will explain how the beverages are made.  

Duel Brewing has opened in an art-filled, industrial style space in the up and coming mid-town area of Santa Fe. The micro-brewery serves Belgian type brews that are heavier on malt than hops and full of complex flavor. As the alcohol content of some of the beers is higher—around 11%, a percentage similar to wine—they’re served in smaller, more elegant glasses. Additionally, there are snacks and sandwiches to go with the beer. Dual has already formed a friendship with another newcomer, Dr. Field Goods restaurant, and the beer is on tap there.  

Another new culinary shop, Savory Spice, is filled with gourmet goodies and, of course, spices of all kinds. Owner Kate Wheeler has a culinary arts degree from Johnson and Wales University and whips up her own concoctions from Cajun to cake spices. There are more than 400 spices and seasonings and customers can buy a little or a lot. Tasty mustards, syrups, sugars, and other items cooks will love fill the shelves.   
The Deck at 221 is definitely the place to be this summer. It’s on top of the wonderful Tanti Luce restaurant and has summer breezes and gorgeous views to enjoy along with signature cocktails—Salad in a Glass, Maria Takes Manhattan, or Three Italians Walk into a Bar, for example. There’s also a cozy, contemporary indoor area for summer showers and cooler evenings. Chef Tom Kerpon’s menu of bar treats is a sure temptation. Make it dinner during Happy Hour, 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, when seven menu items are only seven dollars.  

Another new spot for a nosh and a glass of something sublime is TerraCotta Wine Bistro, 304 Johnson Street. Owners Catherine O’Brien and Glenda Griswold know the Santa Fe food scene well. They’re the owners of Peas ‘n’ Pod Catering, which has been making local parties and events delicious for years. Their customers have long encouraged them to open a restaurant and things just came together for TerraCotta. The menu is fresh, diverse, and has lots of veggie options for a light meal or a full dinner.

The popular Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda Santa Fe on the Plaza re-opened July 15. La Fonda is Santa Fe’s most historic hotel, located at the end of the Santa Fe Trail, and there is no better place than the rooftop bar to watch the sunset over the city. So what's new to the Bell Tower experience? Food. A new kitchen will prepare exclusive dishes for the bar plus draw on popular items from the property’s other menus. La Fonda is wrapping up extensive renovations to its guest rooms and exterior. Guest rooms are updated and more comfortable, but without losing one whit of the historic charm the hotel is known for. The Bell Tower Bar is open from 2:00 p.m. until sunset.  
Inn of the Anasazi

It’s always tough to unwind after an exciting evening at the Santa Fe Opera. So this summer, the Inn of the Anasazi has added the perfect late night snack to send opera lovers home. The Aria Menu offered during extended hours in the bar pairs a decadent dessert with a perfect wine to enhance its flavors. Imagine, for example, a chocolate fudge brownie with chocolate mousse and cajeta ice cream partnered with Susan Balbo Late Harvest Torrontes after an evening of La Traviata. The Aria Menu is available on opera performance nights, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through August 24 and the bar stays open late those evenings to accommodate hungry opera patrons.  

Update:  Santa Fe Bite plans to open August 15 in Garrett’s Desert Inn, 311 Old Santa Fe Trail. The Eckre family, who ran the wildly popular Bobcat Bite for years have landed there after a dispute with the Bobcat’s property owners and brought their famous green chile cheeseburger with them. The new restaurant will serve a more varied menu and will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But that luscious cheeseburger will be available any time of day. 


Museum Hill
In its only U.S. stop, the exhibit Renaissance to Goya: Prints and Drawings from Spain, will be featured at the New Mexico Museum of Art, December 14, 2014 through March 9, 2014. This groundbreaking show is rewriting the book on Spanish art. The 132 drawings and prints, many of which have not previously been on display, offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to look deep into four centuries of Spain’s visual culture and history. The exhibit of works by Iberian artists, chief among them Francisco Goya, was assembled by the British Museum in London breaking the misconception that Spanish artists of the era did not draw or produce prints.  

The Institute of American Indian Arts, the premier Native American art education facility in the United States, has opened the archive of its former president, Lloyd “Kiva” New. New is a widely respected artist and educator who is credited for innovating the multicultural curriculum at the school. The archive contains his publications, speeches, manuscripts, photographs, drawings, and more. Viewing the archive is by appointment only: Archivist Ryan S. Flahive, 505-424-2392 or rflahive@iaia.edu


¡Viva! Santa Fe, August 31 through September 8, includes Fiesta de Santa Fe, the oldest, most colorful community celebration in the nation, the joyful public burning of Zozobra, a giant puppet filled with the year’s troubles, and the city’s first ever Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown. It’s one week-long party filled with food, music, mariachi bands, parades, and more. Fiesta honors the city’s Native American, Spanish, and American roots and traditions. 

Santa Fe is the capital of green chile cheeseburgers and The Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown is a new event to honor the creators of these culinary creations. After an online selection process that attracted more than 50,000 votes, seven green chile cheeseburger finalists were chosen to be judged for an Overall Best burger and a People’s Choice Award. The Smackdown will take place, as part of ¡Viva! Santa Fe, on September 7, 2013 at the Farmers’ Market during the market’s new Green Chile Harvest Festival. This is sure to be a hit with flaming competition for the titles and burger tastings for the crowd. 


Santa Fe’s original art and independent film theater, the Jean Cocteau, just reopened after closing in 2006. George R.R. Martin, a Santa Fe resident and the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the basis for the popular Game of Thrones series, decided he was the man who could breathe new life into this boutique theater in the Santa Fe Railyard. The site has been renovated and opened with a free week of programming in early August. There is also a promise that the Jean Cocteau will, once again, have the best popcorn in town.  


The beautiful new Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill opened the weekend of July 20 to rave reviews. The garden includes an orchard, a meadow area, an art trail, and a dry garden. There is a unique water catchment system called La Rambla and, the star of the garden, a restored 100-year-old bridge painted bright red. The garden is full of information about New Mexico plants and its setting in the mountain foothills makes it a spectacular stroll. Check www.santafebotanicalgarden.org for a schedule of demonstrations, art workshops, guided walks and more. Museum Hill is a destination of its own with the Museum of International Folk Art, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, all set around a scenic plaza with a labyrinth and gardens. It’s a great place to spend a day with lunch or a snack at the Museum Hill Café. 

One of the best things about Santa Fe is the landscape surrounding it, from towering mountains to red foothills and miles of open plateau. There’s nothing else like it. Now, it’s easier for visitors to explore with new free maps of the Dale Ball trail system and all of the connecting trails along with the La Tierra Trails. The maps detail more than 50 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails within just a few minutes of downtown in an easy-to-use format. The maps include suggestions for hikes and rides of varying lengths. They can be downloaded at www.santafenm.gov/index.aspx?NID=2281 and there are paper copies available at the Visitor Center in the Santa Fe Convention Center.   

Ski Santa Fe begins its fall chairlift rides on Labor Day weekend. The ride itself is spectacular—taking visitors through towering pine and spruce trees with views of mountain peaks. But at the top, it’s beyond spectacular. The entire Rio Grande valley opens up with the Jemez mountains to the west, the Ortiz and Sandia mountains near Albuquerque to the south, and even more distant mountains to the north. There is a viewing scope that makes it easy to spot landmarks like the Pedernal painted by Georgia O’Keeffe. The chair will run on weekends in September, then every day from October 5 through 13 for prime fall colors viewing. The La Casa Café will be open for lunches and snacks, live music is scheduled and ski season passes and discount cards can be purchased. Round trip on the chair lift costs $12 or $8 for those who choose to walk down. 

Information courtesy: Santa Fe CVB

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