The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe

Chocolate gift box from The ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Chocolate gift box from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

A good friend helped me celebrate my birthday with the gustatory equivalent of the fabled fountain of youth. Chocolate.

Chocolate!

And not just any chocolate, but a truly decadent assortment of epicurean dark chocolates from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe. All semblance of restraint abandons me when confronted with good chocolate, and this most recent experience was no exception. I gorged!

And just to tease/tempt you, I’m going to share a few of my favorites. Digitally. Sorry…

Sybaritic Sampling from The Chocolate Smith

I love dark chocolate. Even before I was diagnosed with lactose intolerance (20+ years ago) and casein intolerance (5+ years ago), I gravitated toward chocolate with the highest percentage of cacao. The following treats betray my bias, so I figured I’d better get that out in the open right from the get-go.

Chocolate covered with cacao nibs from The ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Cacao nib covered chocolate from The ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

I’m a sucker for textures, so this beauty snared me as I opened the lid. Crushed cacao nibs inside dark chocolate, sprinkled with more crushed cacao nibs. Did I mention cacao nibs?

If you love chocolate, real chocolate (not the waxy sugarbombs we too often call chocolate) then this thin-but-lumpy decadence is for you. It’s crunchy and almost nutty in the way that toasted cacao nibs are. It’ll leave “hoolies” in your teeth, but it’s totally worth the mockery from your loved ones. Trust me.

Cherry cluster from The ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Cherry cluster from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Mingling texture with sweet-and-sour, I turned to this chewy cherry cluster. Vaguely tart dried cherries punch up the sharpness of the dark chocolate for a dazzling taste. Make no mistake, this chocolate is plenty sweet, but the familiar chocolate flavors become unfamiliar given the cherry nuances. This delicacy would make an extraordinary breakfast starter with a shot of espresso!

Chocolate swirl from The ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Chocolate swirl from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

I started with two of the more decadent chocolates in the gift box, so now I turn to the simple, unadulterated bliss of chocolate. Less is more. This is The Chocolate Smith’s signature blend of 72% dark chocolate, and it’s a powerful reminder that chocolate needn’t be gussied up to dazzle. On the contrary, good chocolate is often best in the buff.

Peanut butter bar from The ChocolateSmith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Peanut butter bar from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Pretty, right? And pretty tasty too! This rectangular brick of bliss is the Peanut Butter Bar. A good sized hunk of creamy organic peanut butter takes a swim in a vat of dark chocolate, and this striped charmer is the result. Imagine the patron saint of peanut butter cups, and you’re getting close to the mark.

Petite dark chocolate from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Petite dark chocolate from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Akin to the peanut butter bar, but the heart and soul of this chocolate is vanilla blushed ganache. I suspect that I may have wandered into the forbidden realm of dairy given the heavenly creaminess of this confection. So good. Dipped in dark chocolate in case a lump of ganache isn’t decadent enough.

Ginger dipped chocolate from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Ginger dipped chocolate from The Chocolate Smith in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

This mysterious looking wonder is dipped ginger. Chunks of dried/candied ginger soaked in sake are smothered in dark chocolate. It’s an appetizer, palate cleanser, meal, dessert, and digestif all in one! And it’s large enough to share if you’re generous (and super disciplined.)

About The Chocolate Smith

Santa Fe chocolate lovers are extremely fortunate to have several gourmet cacao-to-confection specialists who ply their enchanted arts in The City Different. The Chocolate Smith is one of several that is part of the New Mexico Chocolate Trail!

Looking for the best hand-crafted dark chocolate in the world? (Source: santafe.org)

 

Gourmet dark chocolate by The Chocolate Smith is made by hand using a bittersweet blend of dark chocolate and premium, fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Indulge in timeless chocolate classics or explore contemporary twists and regional flairs. Whichever your preference, be ready for an over-the-top chocolate experience. (Source: www.chocolatesmith.com)

 

The storefront at Chocolate Smith might remind you of your grandmother’s house, with its quaint retro-style displays and pastel-oriented décor. It’s a well-lit, wide-open space, so you can watch as candy makers stir, temper, dip, and cut just beyond the display counter; this also means that chocolate’s heady aroma hits you right as you walk in the door. Chocolate Smith offers a nearly overwhelming range… (Source: “Restaurant Review: Chocolate tiers” via santafenewmexican.com)

The Chocolate Smith was featured on The Food Network’s Road Tasted series.

Visit The Chocolate Smith

If you’re hankering for some world class chocolate, then we recommend you swing by The Chocolate Smith for an experience your taste buds won’t soon forget. And if you’re not close enough to drop in, you can order online!

Chef John Rivera Sedlar’s Eloisa Restaurant 

Eloisa Restaurant's Chef John Rivera Sedlar (Source: eloisasantafe.com)

Eloisa Restaurant’s Chef John Rivera Sedlar (Source: eloisasantafe.com)

Much anticipated and much celebrated Chef John Rivera Sedlar opened his first Santa Fe restaurant last year after an extraordinarily successful restaurant career in Los Angeles. And I’ve been returning eagerly ever since the first days open. My most recent visit to enjoy Sedlar’s creative twist on modern southwest cuisine was no exception, except I finally managed to eat slowly enough to take photographs before inhaling his design-forward creations.

Belated Birthday at Eloisa Restaurant

A missed birthday provided the perfect excuse to try Eloisa’s new menu. No birthday cake but all manner of debaucherous dining ensued. Here’s a glimpse.

Eloisa's Cochiti Pueblo Gazpacho (Source: Geo Davis)

Eloisa’s Cochiti Pueblo Gazpacho (Source: Geo Davis)

I started with Cochiti Pueblo Gazpacho, a “chilled summer soup of cantaloupe and honeydew” melons. This creative twist on gazpacho soup was pureed into a viscous liquid as refreshing as it was beautiful. I imagine this dish would be equally wonderful for breakfast and dessert.

Eloisa's Pastrami Tacos (Source: Geo Davis)

Eloisa’s Pastrami Tacos (Source: Geo Davis)

Although my dining partner—aka “the birthday boy”—exercised greater restraint, choosing two small plates for his meal, I succumbed to temptation and doubled up my appetizers. Although much of Eloisa original menu has changed in the most recent incarnation, one of my favorites is still being offered. The miniature Pastrami Tacos are stuffed with “spicy smoked beef, sauerkraut, pickled chilies” and that unnaturally yellow mustard referred to by the chef as “ballpark mustard”. Oddly enough, it works. In fact, it really works! I’ve ordered these every time I’ve eaten at Eloisa, and I don’t intend to alter my guilty habit until they are removed from the menu. (Note: the order is served with four tiny tacos, but I wasn’t able to resist gobbling one before snapping the photo.)

Eloisa's Beef Tenderloin Tierra y Mar (Source: Geo Davis)

Eloisa’s Beef Tenderloin Tierra y Mar (Source: Geo Davis)

For my main course I ordered the Beef Tenderloin Tierra y Mar, but the chef adapted the dish to accommodate my dairy-free diet. Normally served, “wood-grilled with shrimp, potato-corn gratin, asparagus, chipotle béarnaise”, a smoky reduction was invented to replace of the béarnaise, and additional asparagus (after all, they are in season!) stood in for the gratin. The steak was marginally overcooked, but the medley of flavors worked so nicely so that I enjoyed every bite without complaint.

Eloisa's Wood-Grilled Asparagus Salad (Source: Geo Davis)

Eloisa’s Wood-Grilled Asparagus Salad (Source: Geo Davis)

The birthday boy started with a Wood-Grilled Asparagus Salad consisting of “lemon olive oil, lime cream, garrotxa cheese snow”. He was well satisfied with his generously proportioned order.

Eloisa's Crispy Oysters on the Half Shell (Source: Geo Davis)

Eloisa’s Crispy Oysters on the Half Shell (Source: Geo Davis)

For his main course he ordered Crispy Oysters on the Half Shell which arrived with a steamy aroma so tempting I almost asked for one of his half dozen delicacies. But it was his birthday, so I swallowed my greed. These “blue cornmeal-crusted fresh oysters with tropical salsa” were enormous! He romanced each oyster, only pausing when he reached the last one. After eating half he pled too content to continue and insisted that I try the final bite. Without hesitation, I accepted his offer and the still-warm creaminess melted in my mouth. Divine!

I’ve skipped the liquid refreshments, but suffice to say that several wines were sampled from the well curated wine list. And a unique cocktail to boot! Perhaps a future post will be dedicated to Eloisa’s libations… Stay tuned.

About Eloisa Restaurant in Santa Fe

Chef Rivera named his new restaurant after his grandmother and is cooking “elemental” New Mexican dishes that celebrate the traditions of southwestern women. It seems he’s off to a great start as Eloisa was nominated for best new restaurant in the 2016 James Beard Awards.

The vaguely cosmopolitan L.A. vibe seems fitting at Eloisa, which chef John Rivera Sedlar opened in the new Drury Plaza Hotel to herald his return from the City of Angels to the City Different. He named his restaurant for his grandmother, a fact you’ll learn from your menu. Sedlar pays homage to his Northern New Mexico roots by including traditional dishes — rellenos, calabacitas, carne adovada, and Frito pie — often given a creative personal spin. So many of them are remarkable in texture, flavor, and seasoning. (Source: santafenewmexican.com)

 

Eloisa pays homage to the female figures Sedlar grew up with — it is named after his grandmother and borrows inspiration from the kitchens of Sedlar’s various relatives. As a child, he was especially inspired by Eloisa – she was the artist Georgia O’Keeffe’s personal chef for 15 years – and her philosophy: namely, mastering how to make much of little. “Southwestern ingredients are limited,” Sedlar says, “but there’s a variety and dimension to them.” (Source: The New York Times)

 

Few grandmothers have had the luxury of such a regally appointed kitchen as the immaculately gleaming kitchen which graces Eloisa. It’s twice the size of the kitchen at Rivera, Chef Sedlar’s last restaurant in Los Angeles. You’ll want to be seated in close proximity so you can lustily ogle the transformation of down-to-earth New Mexican ingredients into exotic creations which both honor and elevate the Land of Enchantment’s culinary traditions. Watching the kitchen staff assiduously go about their prep work with the efficiency and synchronicity of drone bees is almost mesmerizing. Eloisa’s commodious dining room seats 120 guests inside and weather-permitting, another 65 guests on the patio. (Source: nmgastronome.com)

Visit Eloisa Restaurant in Santa Fe

You should visit Eloisa and try the mouth-watering dishes I’ve described for yourself! The restaurant is open for lunch on Monday – Friday, 11:30 – 2:30. Open for dinner on Sunday – Thursday, 5:30 – 9:00 and Friday & Saturday, 5:30 – 10:00.

Last Waltz: Spring Skiing in Santa Fe

Spring Skinning and Skiing in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: Geo Davis)

Spring Skinning and Skiing in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: Geo Davis)

One month ago, on April 5, 2017, I skinned and skied Santa Fe’s local ski hill for the last time second to last time this season.

Long after winter had turned into spring and the snow had begun to melt, Santa Fe received several significant snowfalls. In the vernacular of my fellow powder hounds, a couple of “epic dumps”. Lift service had ended on April 2, so I lashed on my boards and skins and headed uphill to catch the fresh powder.

Here’s a glimpse of uphill portion of my most memorable ski of the year.

As you can see, the conditions were A+ immaculate!

I started out early enough that I barely saw a soul (even though a couple of headlamp-hardy skinners must have made it to the summit for sunrise.) On my ski-out, I must have passed 3-4 dozen people skinning up. Plenty of powder left for all of them…

Spring Skinning and Skiing in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: Geo Davis)

Spring Skinning and Skiing in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: Geo Davis)

Although I envisioned this as my last ski day, my bride decided that she wanted a final lick at the hill before the daffodils pushed their golden heads into the blue sky. So we headed up the following weekend.

Spring Skinning and Skiing in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

Spring Skinning and Skiing in Santa Fe (Source: Geo Davis)

The conditions were mushier at the bottom and icier up high, but this sun-soaked spring adventure with my bride and dog offered a glorious curtain call for an amazing ski season. Thanks, Ski Santa Fe!

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: www.sweetwatersf.com)

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen’s refreshing foodie oasis is tucked into the Pacheco Park Design District in a handsome design forward building that feels like a best friend’s Tesuque (or Glorieta?) home/studio. Full of light and earth warmth and some of the happiest diners in Santa Fe.

We’re lunch regulars and recently we’ve been meeting friends for Chef Nath’s Thai dinners (Wednesday through Saturday, 5:00-9:00 PM) which are exotic and organic and totally gluten-free. We’re always eager for a Sweetwater meal, and to entice you, I’ve documented my most recent lunch. Enjoy.

Memorable Lunch at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

Midstream a busy-as-a-bee week my bride and I dropped into Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen for lunch and a mini vacation.

Mini vacation?

Right. A rejuvenating escape into the Santa Fe interstices.

Strawberry Mint Shrub at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: virtualDavis)

Strawberry Mint Shrub at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Source: virtualDavis)

The first sip of my strawberry mint shrub sent a tingle across my tongue and up my spine. Aaahhh… Refreshment. The subtle flavors of fresh strawberry and just-crushed mint snapped to crispy attention with a hint of vinegar. My pint-sized elixir was drifted with just enough ice to keep it chilled in the sunshine.

Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: virtualDavis)

Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Source: virtualDavis)

My soothing drift into gustatory Elysium continued with a cup of butternut squash and coconut milk soup. Yes, dairy free. Yes, slightly sweet with just hint of Caribbean isles. Yes, sooo delicious!

Chicken Enchilada with Green Chile at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: virtualDavis)

Chicken Enchilada with Green Chile at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Source: virtualDavis)

And then the main course. (There’s nothing more decadent than interrupting a busy day with a multi-course meal, right?) Recreating a favorite and oft-repeated, but still super tasty dish, I tweaked the on-menu chicken enchilada slightly to accommodate my dietary needs. Normally it is accompanied with Monterey Jack cheese. Yum. But not for me, dairy be damned. Okay, I admit a twinge of regret every time I alter a dish to accommodate my dairy-free, gluten-free needs. But it’s so refreshing when a restaurant smiles and says, “No problem. We can do that.”

I chose green chili, though I’ve sometimes opted for “Christmas”. In all honesty, the black beans and rice were too, too much for a midday meal. But the rice was nicely flavored and so moist. I ate everything.

Raw Chocolate with Date and Hemp at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: virtualDavis)

Raw Chocolate with Date and Hemp at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Source: virtualDavis)

Lunch dessert? Over the top!

But I’m so rarely able to indulge in decadent desserts, so I succumbed to temptation. Not one chocolate, but two. Two raw chocolates stuffed with dates and hemp hearts. 100% dairy-free, 100% gluten-free, and 100% divine!

Apple Tart at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: virtualDavis)

Apple Tart at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Source: virtualDavis)

My bride, a slightly more tempered vegetarian nevertheless concluded her tasty lunch with an indulgence, a strawberry topped wedge of apple tart. While the crust ensured that I wouldn’t be able to steal a bite, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to document this beauty for you.

About Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

Let Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen tell you about their carefully chosen menu offerings:

Our menus are deliciously varied because we’re inspired by fresh, natural foods and international cuisines.

We mill our organic flours on-site daily, prepare meals by hand, and source responsibly produced seasonal ingredients. Our beer + wine list includes local and regional options and features New Mexico’s only sustainable wines on tap. Our many vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free dishes ensure that all members of our diverse community feel welcome and nourished.

Sweetwater offers counter service for breakfast + lunch; full-service dinners; espresso, teas, and organic fresh smoothies; daily gluten-free baked goods; and a selection of craft brews, sakes, cellared wines, and SIP-certified (Sustainability In Practice) wines on tap.

Catering services are available for private gatherings. Gluten-free cakes and pies can be special ordered. (Source: www.sweetwatersf.com)

Take a look at other reviews and accolades about Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen.

Have you been tempted? Then stop by for a meal!

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Credit: sweetwatersf.com)

Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen (Credit: sweetwatersf.com)

Visit Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen

The restaurant is open for Breakfast & Lunch on Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–2:30 pm and on Saturday, 9:00 am–2:30 pm. Open for Brunch on Sunday, 9:00 am–2:30 pm. Open for “Thai Night” dinner on Wednesday–Saturday, 5:00 pm–9:00 pm. Make a reservation for Sunday Brunch and Thai Nights!

  • Telephone: 505.795.7383
  • Adress: 1512 Pacheco Street, Building B, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
  • Email: kitchen@sweetwatersf.com
  • Website: www.sweetwatersf.com

Beware of Bears, New Mexico

Bear hitchhiking on Los Alamos garbage truck (Source: Evan Welsch via Albuquerque Journal)

Bear hitchhiking on Los Alamos garbage truck (Source: Evan Welsch via Albuquerque Journal)

Winter’s wrapped up and spring’s suddenly certain. Our New Mexico world is so, so alive. Streams are flowing, and birds are frenetically homemaking and singing all the while. Buds are bursting, lime green tendrils are sprouting, and the bears are back! Or they will be soon…

The Albuquerque Journal reminds us to anticipate plenty of wildlife including bruins.

New Mexico wildlife officials say bears are expected to be busy this spring after three years of good precipitation following what has been a long-running drought. (Source: Albuquerque Journal)

Right. Bears. Last year I missed the bear warning, but that didn’t stop the handsome bears from visiting.

Bears, Oh My!

“Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!” ~ L. Frank Baum (Source: Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz)

Last summer I received an email from one of our neighbors alerting us that bear activity had become increasingly high, so high in fact, that another neighbor had witnessed this fine fellow a little closer than desired.

Neighborhood Bear, 25 May 2016 (Source: Richard Andre)

Neighborhood Bear (Source: Richard Andre)

Apparently the bear appeared around 6:00 PM in the evening in late June. For approximately 45 minutes the bear explored the yard and ate the food from bird feeders. The homeowner banged furniture and shouted (in hopes of shortening the bear’s visit), but the bear was undeterred. Only when he blew an emergency whistle did the bear finally depart.

Neighborhood Bear (Source: Richard Andre)

Neighborhood Bear (Source: Richard Andre)

As an unabashed wildlife enthusiast, I was initially thrilled to hear that the bear was visiting our neighborhood. My more levelheaded bride reminded me that sufficient risks accompanied bear encounters in residential neighborhoods, that I’m contemplating a future post about the best bear-proof bird feeding practices. All pointers welcome!

Neighborhood Bear (Source: Richard Andre)

Neighborhood Bear (Source: Richard Andre)

Update: May Bear Visit

Over laughter and libations with neighbors last night I discovered that our neighborhood bear (or more likely—given the dramatic difference in size, girth, etc.—another neighborhood bear) has been spied just down the hill from our house. Can you see him (or at least his head and ears) in the trail cam photo below?

Neighborhood Bear Behind Bush (Source: Richard Andre)

Neighborhood Bear Behind Bush (Source: Richard Andre)

After several of us expressed interest, the Richard Andre (the same neighboring homeowner who documented last summer’s bear sightings above) emailed photos and the following missive.

“Please note that a day ago from 2-6 AM, a large black bear came into the neighborhood.” ~ Richard Andre (8 May 2017)

No passerby, this lingering bruin. A four hour visit from this mountain of fur and muscle.

Neighborhood Bear Walking (Source: Richard Andre)

Neighborhood Bear Walking (Source: Richard Andre)

This handsome fellow looks considerably better fed than last summer’s visitor. Apparently he didn’t spend too much time hibernating this winter and living off his stored fat. Or, if he did, he must have discovered some very filling garbage cans in the neighborhood since then!

Mr. Andre’s report inspired simultaneous awe (for the majestic wildlife with which we share our neighborhood) and wariness (for the implicit risk in frequent visits from a laaarge hungry bear looking for handouts.) We discovered that the bear likely helped himself (or herself?) to a buffet dinner courtesy of another neighbor’s trash bin followed by dessert and digestifs of bird food and hummingbird nectar in the Andre’s yard. And it struck one and all as quite likely that our bear sightings are unlikely to end soon…

 

Arroyo Vino Restaurant & Wine Shop

Arroyo Vino in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: AFAR.com)

Arroyo Vino in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Source: AFAR.com)

My parents celebrated their 47th anniversary during a recent visit to Santa Fe, so my bride and I treated them to a memorable dinner at Arroyo Vino to ensure happy memories (and to subversively reinforce their burgeoning interest in relocating part-time to Santa Fe.)

A ten minute drive from Santa Fe to the new Arroyo Vino is a treat. The space functions as a sleek, well-stocked wine shop and a delicious gourmet dining spot from chef Mark Connell. Expect a rotating menu of seasonal items… Wine lovers will take delight in the menu or shopping the store for their table’s bottle. (Source: AFAR.com)

Driving from downtown Santa Fe to Arroyo Vino during a sunset is so enchanting you risk missing your reservation. It’s not uncommon to see cars pulling over onto the shoulder to gaze and photograph the panorama.

Memorable Meal at Arroyo Vino

We soaked up the tie-dye sky but nevertheless managed to arrive at Arroyo Vino in time.

Our first welcome surprise was being greeted by the familiar face of the branch manager at our local bank. Santa Fe is famous for these wonderful crossovers! The subsequent parade of gastronomical surprises is best chronicled with photographs.

Arroyo Vino: Steamed Artichoke smoked oyster vinaigrette, comté cheese & potato fondue, preserved lemon, parsley

Arroyo Vino Steamed Artichoke (Source: virtualDavis)

Susan started out with a steamed artichoke served with “smoked oyster vinaigrette, comté cheese and potato fondue, preserved lemon, parsley”. Needless to say, she spoke less than usual and happily navigated the tender blossom.

I started with a decidedly gamier dish.

Arroyo Vino: Duck Confit Larb bibb lettuce, pickled red onions, cilantro, pea sprouts, Thai chilies

Arroyo Vino Duck Confit Larb (Source: virtualDavis)

I’m a sucker for wild protein, so the duck confit larb was an obvious choice. Served with “bibb lettuce, pickled red onions, cilantro, pea sprouts, Thai chilies”, I savored the interplay of rich duck and peppers, balanced against more delicate greens. The nest of pseudo-safron was actually shaved hot pepper.

My father’s colorful appetizer is also worth documenting.

Arroyo Vino: Charcoal Roasted Beet Tartare granny smith apples, horseradish, pickled mustard seed, pine nuts, goat chèvre

Arroyo Vino Charcoal Roasted Beet Tartare (Source: virtualDavis)

Art too handsome to eat? Hardly! This beauty is “charcoal roasted beet tartare”. Served with “granny smith apples, horseradish, pickled mustard seed, pine nuts, and goat chèvre”, this remarkably healthy opener charmed my father before I could beg a bite.

My main course was an especial treat since the crumbled black pepper wafer was gluten free. All too often I’m obliged to pass up similar decadences…

Arroyo Vino: Duroc Pork Tenderloin rhubarb, whole grain mustard, swiss chard, spring onions, black pepper tuille

Arroyo Vino Duroc Pork Tenderloin (Source: virtualDavis)

Glistening beneath a crimson drizzle of rhubarb puree, delicate morsels of Duroc pork tenderloin was seasoned with whole grain mustard and tossed with spring onions and swiss chard. The black pepper tuille balanced the succulent dish’s texture profile with a crisp crunch. Divine!

Susan’s appetite likewise tipped toward the decadent, but the quaint presentation was totally unanticipated.

Arroyo Vino: "Fish & Chips" brandade croquettes, black garlic, dill, horseradish, pickled celery, leek

Arroyo Vino “Fish & Chips” (Source: virtualDavis)

That photo-worthy dish is Arroyo Vino’s twist on “Fish & Chips”. Surprised? So was Susan. Happily surprised, I should add. The chef describes the tasty starter as “brandade croquettes, black garlic, dill, horseradish, pickled celery, and leek”. Not your usual pile of fried fish and French fries drizzled with malt vinegar. She was thrilled and eagerly consumed all three dainty delights without offering even a tiny taste to the rest of us.

I’ll wrap up with my mother’s summery main course, Petrale sole meunière.

Arroyo Vino: Petrale Sole Meunière spring garlic, english peas, lardons, hand rolled cicione pasta, local oyster mushrooms, beurre blanc

Arroyo Vino Petrale Sole Meunière (Source: virtualDavis)

Prepared with “spring garlic, English peas, lardons, hand rolled cicione pasta, and local oyster mushrooms” this dish aspires to glossy cover stardom on a swish foodie ‘zine. Swimming in beurre blanc and as terrific for the eyes as the taste buds, my mother offered resounding praise for this high desert twist on sole meunière.

In Vino Veritas

We opted for individually matched wine tastings paired to each of our courses. A thorough review is due our oenological accompaniments, but too enrapturing was the experience (and too long this post) for me to offer just complement. So I’ll defer this delightful task for my next visit.

For now I conclude with the final fireworks of our evening, exploding liquid truffles. No photo. Just a tingling memory and encouragement for you to include the treat in your next Arroyo Vino experience.

Visit Arroyo Vino

  • Arroyo Vino
  • 218 Camino La Tierra
  • Santa Fe, NM 87506
  • 505.983.2100
  • info@arroyovino.com
  • www.arroyovino.com

Shohko Café: Santa Fe’s First Sushi Bar

Shohko Cafe Seared Scallops: Sushi in a 200 year-old adobe house (Source: TOURISM Santa Fe)

Shohko Café Seared Scallops (Source: TOURISM Santa Fe)

Last night my bride and I followed massages at Body Spa with a pitstop at Shohko Café to prolong the sybaritic pampering. In addition to being the original, longest running, and most reliable sushi restaurant in Santa Fe, Shohko Café offers another rather unique bonus. The whole establishment is fragrance-free. This policy was originally a response to the owner’s scent sensitivity, but it has grown into a welcome retreat for many Santa Feans like my bride who choose/need to avoid fragrances.

A demi-carafe of Kikumasamune Taru Sake Cedar Cask… Now my post-massage mellow shifted into overdrive!

My meal was—and always is—delicious. I started with some warm ginger tea followed by a demi-carafe of Kikumasamune Taru Sake Cedar Cask. Now my post-massage mellow shifted into overdrive!

My bride started with miso soup and a tempura oyster mushroom roll, and I enjoyed “Prawns Blanketed in Snow”, three sizable tiger prawns wrapped in rice flour and lightly fried. It’s gluten free! I swapped the chili miso sauce (which apparently has a trace of gluten), instead dipping my crisp prawns in gluten free tamari.

I followed my appetizer with a couple pieces of bluefin high toro nigiri sushi and then dove into the “Chef’s Choice”, an impressive roll that included too many exotic ingredients to make a proper accounting. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious!

And one final recommendation…

Santa Fe Roll (Source: Clare M. via Yelp)

Santa Fe Roll (Source: Clare M. via Yelp)

A past favorite (before my gluten free shift) was the “Santa Fe Roll” comprised of green chile tempura, shrimp tempura, and avocado. Makes me miss the old days.

Welcome to Shohko Café

Shohko Cafe logo

Welcome to Shohko Café, Santa Fe’s original Japanese restaurant. Since our founding in 1975, we have strived to serve delicious and wholesome food. Our menu was developed with your utmost health in mind and abounds in organic and all-natural ingredients. We remain committed to serving you good food for good health. (Shohko and Hiro Fukuda, 2010)

The Fukuda family opened New Mexico’s first sushi bar, and they are dedicated to serving authentic Japanese cuisine as well as providing innovating new flavors inspired by the region. Take a look at their lunch menu, dinner menu, sake menu, and sushi menu to see the variety of meal combinations you can create.

Housed in a former 19th century bordello with 3-feet thick adobe walls and original vigas, the restaurant’s décor fuses simple Japanese and Northern New Mexican design elements. (Shohko Café)

Get a glimpse into the history of the Shohko Café by visiting their photo gallery. To learn more visit their website shohkocafe.com. Or call (505) 982-9708. You can also visit the Shohko Café Facebook page.

Visit Shohko Café

Shohko Café is located at 321 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501. Find it on the map below:

Eske’s Brew Pub in Taos, New Mexico

Eske's Brew Pub

Eske’s Brew Pub (Photo credit: howderfamily.com)

I followed up a sun soaked day on the Taos Ski Valley delicious lunch at Eske’s, one of my favorite Taos dining/drinking destinations. (I’ve been returning here ever since the mid 1990’s when I first lived out in this southwestern wonderland.) Delicious green chile stew, and the highlight? A gluten removed Eske special bitter called The Chemist. I love a good just-brewed bucket of suds, but the last few gluten free years have too often left me standing on the sidelines when I visit a craft brewery. Thanks, Team Eske’s for getting me back in the game. It was delicious!

Eske’s is located in the historic district of Taos, one-half block southeast of Taos Plaza. Our nearly 100 year old, flat-roofed adobe home offers a cozy atmosphere and beautiful outdoor seating. Live entertainment, quality food, handcrafted beer and local color make Eske’s a place to go alone, with friends, or with the entire family. (www.eskesbrewpub.com)

Eske’s Brew Pub Information

Eske's Brew Pub

Eske’s Brew Pub (Photo credit: howderfamily.com)

If you’re a fan of craft beers (and healthy but delicious home cooking), I encourage you to stop in at Eske’s Brew Pub the next time you’re in Taos. They even offer free parking which is a handy bonus when Taos is busy and scarce parking is pricy.

  • Eske’s Brew Pub and Eatery
  • 106 Des Georges Lane
  • Taos, New Mexico 87571
  • (575) 758-1517
  • info@eskesbrewpub.com
  • eskesbrewpub.com

Acoma Pueblo: North America’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Settlement

Acoma Pueblo: North America's Oldest Continuously Inhabited Settlement (Source: Daily Mail)

Acoma Pueblo: North America’s Oldest Continuously Inhabited Settlement (Source: Daily Mail)

Acoma Pueblo in Valencia County has been occupied by the Acoma people for over 800 years, since 1150AD – though today it only has 50 full-time residents. (Source: Daily Mail)

Haa’ku: A Place Prepared

The video below, Haa’ku: A Place Prepared, features Acoma tribal elder Ernest Vallo and Brian Vallo, Director of the Acoma Cultural Center, sharing a glimpse into the heritage of their peaceful, spiritual culture.

Learn More About Acoma Pueblo

You can learn more about the Acoma by visiting the official Pueblo of Acoma website and the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum website.

Acoma Pueblo: Map (Source: Daily Mail)

Acoma Pueblo: Map (Source: Daily Mail)

Arroyo Hondo Panorama

Arroyo Hondo Panorama, February 21, 2016

Arroyo Hondo Panorama, February 21, 2016

Like a prairie dog popping up out of a hole in New Mexico’s high desert, I stood for a few minutes on a mound of earth near my friends home in Arroyo Hondo, surveying the late winter afternoon, the distant Sandia Mountains, the open space interrupted only by occasional chamisa and pinon,…

A photograph can’t quite take you there, but it just might tempt you to discover Northern New Mexico for yourself. Or to come back if it’s been a while since your last visit. There’s beauty and power and magic in these wide open places!