Fall…in Love with Santa Fe

I love the way one season slips seamlessly into another here in Santa Fe. The added crisp in the air makes the blues of the sky more brilliant, the sunsets deeper shades of red and purple, and the aspen-covered mountaintops rich shades of gold. And if magnificent landscapes haven’t convinced you to hop a plane/car/boat/train/space shuttle/horse, September is chock-full of activities and events for every interest and palate. Here’s a quick peek:

Flex into Fall at the Santa Fe Yoga Festival

Santa Fe’s clean air, abundant outdoor recreation and farm-fresh food all over town attracts a healthy coterie of yoga-loving souls. With studios tucked all over the City Different, like-minded individuals can find a yoga class any day of the week. It all comes together at the first-ever Santa Fe Yoga Festival on Labor Day weekend Aug. 28-31. Taking place in the serene setting of Bishop’s Lodge Resort and Spa (rooms still available), the festival opens with a drum ceremony and blessing, followed with music by Native Spirits to accompany the setting sun. Native drums not your thing? The variety of yoga classes offered is as awesome as the list of instructors. In combination with special dharma talks, musical offerings and even a Zozobra excursion and after-party, this is one mind-blowing, body-centered, soul-fulfilling three-day weekend.

Hold the pose and reach for the sky at the Santa Fe Yoga Festival! (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Yoga Festival)
Hold the pose and reach for the sky at the Santa Fe Yoga Festival! (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Yoga Festival)

Fusing Food and Fun is a Santa Fe Specialty

Once I’ve fused myself into fall mode via yoga, I’m heading for FUZE.SW, a deliciously enticing Sept. 12-14 celebration of food and folklore. A potent mix of James Beard Award-winning chefs blends with a tasty, coast-to-coast recipe of authors and food historians offering demonstrations and leading discussions. And of course, there’s food —Friday night at the Green Chile Smackdown (tickets sold separately) pairs with Fuze DineAround specials at local restaurants and Saturday offers food-truck lunching and a Five & Dime Frito Pie finish.

Chefs like James Campbell Caruso of La Boca stir up discussions, insights and more at FUZE.SW

The Thunder Hits Santa Fe in September

After pairing food fantasies with facts at FUZE.SW, running it off is in the offing thanks to the Santa Fe Thunder Run. For me the Sept. 14 half-marathon is wishful thinking, but I’m up to speed for the 5K. And a one-mile walk gives couch potatoes an excuse to get out into the countryside. The half-marathon starts in the heart of Santa Fe on a scenic course, dropping 1,000 feet downhill through Tesuque Village, passing the Santa Fe Opera, Tesuque Pueblo and Camel Rock before reaching the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino finish line. The feel-good extra? The non-profit Global Running Culture uses race proceeds as the primary income source for local and global programs empowering youth through fun and fulfilling sports activities.

Kenya’s Oyugi set a course record in the 2013 Santa Fe Thunder half-marathon. (Photo Credit: Katharine Egli for The Santa Fe New Mexican)
Kenya’s Oyugi set a course record in the 2013 Santa Fe Thunder half-marathon. (Photo Credit: Katharine Egli for The Santa Fe New Mexican)

Game of Thrones Fans Get Medieval in Autumn Since “Winter is Coming”  

Speaking of fun, with September comes one of Santa Fe’s most fanciful events, the Sept. 20-21 Renaissance Faire at El Rancho de las Golondrinas.  If you’ve never visited El Rancho, you owe it to yourself to wander the grounds of this living history museum as locals in medieval garb pursue creative capers.

Juggling fire is all in a day’s work when Clan Tynker clocks in at the Renaissance Faire. (Photo Credit: El Rancho de las Golondrinas)
Juggling fire is all in a day’s work when Clan Tynker clocks in at the Renaissance Faire. (Photo Credit: El Rancho de las Golondrinas)

You’ll be awed by Clan Tynker’s feats of magic and musical mayhem and an assortment of sword-fighting swashbucklers will thrill Game of Thrones fans. I’ll be keeping a sharp eye out to see if local resident/author George R.R. Martin makes an appearance! It’s a certainty that their majesties King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella will be there to hold court over this benefit for the Interfaith Community Shelter. Sixteen food vendors and a host of arts and crafts stands help make this a memorable weekend of bedlam and buffoonery.

 

Wind Your Way into Autumn with Wine and Chile

There’s a different kind of bedlam when the big tent goes up at the Santa Fe Opera for Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta. Fine wines and fiery foods take center-stage Sept. 24-28 with a long list of tastings, seminars, demonstrations and wine dinners at Santa Fe’s best restaurants. Take the inaugural Gran Fondo Bike Ride to burn off extra calories as you stop at food stations for caloric indulgence before finishing with a champagne brunch. The Gruet Golf Classic pairs six signature wines with food from 10 terrific restaurants at Buffalo Thunder’s Towa Golf Course. And the Grand Tasting? I guarantee that once you partake in this truly grand experience, you’ll come back annually for the taste of Santa Fe!

There’s always more to pour and sample at the SFWC Grand Tasting. (Photo Credit: Kate Russell for the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta)
There’s always more to pour and sample at the SFWC Grand Tasting. (Photo Credit: Kate Russell for the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta)

Fall Under Santa Fe’s Autumn Spell

The flow into fall is packed with delicious adventures for those lucky enough to live here or smart enough to get here for the magic. Whether it’s flexing your body into cobra pose or testing your palate at the west’s best wine festival, Santa Fe has it made. I’m up to this tempting task — how about you?

 

 

Say ¡Que Viva Santa Fe!

I know I shouldn’t play favorites, but summer’s end is my favorite time of year. The gorgeous weather, a bounty of produce and Santa Fe’s liveliest local festivities offer the ultimate in hometown fun. The Que Viva feeling is alive, and I intend to get in the spirit.

Santa Fe Burns with Devotion to Old Man Gloom

Though I love my old man (okay, he’s not that old), I also love the Old Man, Zozobra, 90-year-old boss of this town. Picture a lovingly-crafted marionette scaled to more than 50 feet tall then set alight in a blaze of glory on a dark summer night.

Zozobra is Santa Fe’s resident hotshot.
Zozobra is Santa Fe’s resident hotshot.

Created in 1924 by artist Will Shuster and gifted in 1964 to the Santa Fe Kiwanis, Zozobra (aka Old Man Gloom) is Santa Fe’s annual cure for disappointment. Stuffed with the community’s glooms—pounds of shredded paper, including report cards, divorce papers and tax returns–he goes up in flames amid fantastic fireworks.

Zozobra’s Aug. 29 burning inaugurates the Decades Project, taking the event creatively back through time with designs mirroring past decades. Tongues are already wagging about his appearance, always one of our city’s most closely guarded secrets. In 2013, the Kiwanis added Zozofest, a family-friendly event (the actual burning can be scary) and this pre-burn fun comes to Sanbusco Market Center Aug. 23, 3-10 p.m. An all-Zozo art exhibition will be on display through Sunday afternoon and a portion of all sales benefits Zozobra events.

With a live entertainment backdrop, Mr. Z’s enormous head will be set up inside for photo ops. Gotta get something off your chest? Zozofest lets you add your gloom in person! And for those who can only be here in spirit, Virtual Zozobra gets your woes inside before The Old Man goes up in smoke! Can’t be there in person? The event will be streamed live here.

Fiestas de Santa Fe is a Centuries-old Party

Santa Fe’s 400-plus-year-old annual Fiestas de Santa Fe takes center stage to mark the 1692 re-conquest of the city following the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Presided over by a re-enactment of Conquistador Don Diego and his Cuadrilla (think entourage) and escorted by a Queen (La Reina) and her court, Fiesta is utterly local and totally fun. Preparatory activities happen throughout the year and pre-Fiesta entertainment starts on the Plaza Aug. 23, 3-7 p.m. A Labor Day Weekend Arts and Crafts Fair, taking place Aug. 29 through Sept. 1, sets the tone for the upcoming festivities.

A taco on four legs takes a stroll at the Fiesta Pet Parade.
A taco on four legs takes a stroll at the Fiesta Pet Parade.

The Lensic hosts two Sept. 3 Mariachi Extravaganza performances; nothing like a few gritos to get you in the mood! Weekend food booths (yum!) set up Sept. 5 with an assortment of free entertainment on the Plaza Bandstand throughout. And two parades! Desfile de los Ninos (better known as the Pet Parade) provides “awwws” and paws Sept. 6 at 9 a.m. and Desfile de la Gente (the Hysterical-Historical Parade) amuses on Sept. 7 at 1 p.m. I’m the one yelling ¡Que Viva la Fiesta!— just answer “¡Que Viva!”

Be Green Burger-Wise

Who better than Old Man Gloom to sample the heat in a green chile cheeseburger?
Who better than Old Man Gloom to sample the heat in a green chile cheeseburger?

Food fits anyone’s agenda and personally I’m savoring the return of the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown. Santa Fe takes mixing chile and burgers seriously and everyone’s invited to sample and vote. Contenders are vying to reach the finals and group burger-crawls are being spotted all over town. Voting closes Aug. 15 when six talented finalists pause until the Sept. 12 chow-down cook-off in the Santa Fe Railyard. Burger-lovers be warned: The 500 tickets for this taste test (beer included) will sell out!

If a burger and a beer don’t ring your bell, save your palate for the Sept. 24-28 return of the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Festival. Glad I can attend both (hint: so can you)! Ninety wineries and 75 restaurant partners put their heads together to create a stunning set of pairings, with signature events happening over five days. The blend of seminars, wine dinners, tastings and demonstrations will keep you sipping. And it all culminates with a Grand Tasting on the grounds of the Santa Fe Opera.

Chef Charles Dale of Bouche Bistro offering an amuse-bouche at the Grand Tasting. (Photo Credit: Kate Russell Photography, courtesy of Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta)
Chef Charles Dale of Bouche Bistro offering an amuse-bouche at the Grand Tasting. (Photo Credit: Kate Russell Photography, courtesy of Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta)

Taste the Best of Summer in Santa Fe

Dying for a taste of Santa Fe? No apologies — that was my intention! I’m Santa Fe’s biggest summer cheerleader, and every one of these events is a winner in my book. Meet Old Man Gloom, shake paws with a pup dressed as Pikachu and grab a zesty bite of green chile — there’s plenty to go around and everyone’s invited to this summer party.

 

International Dining Santa Fe Style

I could eat my way around the world. Seriously. Fortunately for me and my tummy, there’s no place like home for a culinary adventure that lets me savor a bounty of global dining traditions. In New Mexico, we offer more than just chile.

Spice of a Different Flavor

Confession: I eat a lot of fiery Santa Fe cuisine. But some days I’d like more than just a capsaicin kick from New Mexico chile. When I crave a kick of a different sort, I picture India, where peppers meet the intricate blend of southern hemisphere spices. Seated under cool leafy trees at Raaga, I can get my fix with an Indian-style mix.

Raaga (translation: sweet melody) hits all the right notes on the plate.
Raaga (translation: sweet melody) hits all the right notes on the plate.

Paddy Rawal’s menu is simply enormous. His palate-pleasing path led from India to stints in Egypt, London and Dubai before creating his cozy Santa Fe café in an Agua Fria courtyard setting. The variety and complexity of choices means that vegetarians and vegans will be as delighted as those who crave an authentic chicken vindaloo.

The chicken palak is a palate-pleaser at Raaga.
The chicken palak is a palate-pleaser at Raaga.

An amazing number of delicacies can decorate a plate of rice, but discovering all the subtleties on the plate requires multiple returns. And of course there’s the naan — almost a dozen iterations in yummy bread choices. When ordering, it’s up to you to choose your heat index. Offered mild to medium to hell (yes, that’s what the menu says), my chicken palak was just perfect, thanks to waiter Dennis’ suggestion of medium-plus!

Andiamo! Immediatamente!

After years of dining out with Italian in-laws who know their pasta inside and out, I know that finding the right neighborhood trattoria means finding all the comfort foods of home.

Andiamo! is a light, bright and absolutely right spot to “Mangia Italiano!”
Andiamo! is a light, bright and absolutely right spot to “Mangia Italiano!”

A historic 1880s building gives Andiamo! its neighborly feel. The Mission-style bungalow on Garfield Street offers old-school ambiance and an up-to-the-minute kitchen. And proximity to the Santa Fe Farmers Market means local NM ingredients meld molto bene with authentic Italian imports.

Spicy linguine arrabiata meets its match with cool Peroni beer at Andiamo!
Spicy linguine arrabiata meets its match with cool Peroni beer at Andiamo!

Since I’m always on the hunt for hot, linguine arrabiatta is frequently in my sights but digging into the risotto with truffle oil is a tempting thought. Weekday lunch is a great deal due to its rotating cast of specials and with the Railyard Park across the street, al fresco take-out is a tasty option.

Antony, Take Me to Cleopatra

Okay, his name isn’t Antony, but my hero takes me to Cleopatra Café whenever I ask. With two locations, this Middle Eastern mecca makes a pita pit-stop an easy proposition. The original is in the downtown Design Center and you can’t beat the Zafarano outpost for scoring a quick table.

Cleopatra’s Gyro for my hero and the Nile Plate for me.
Cleopatra’s Gyro for my hero and the Nile Plate for me.

Service at both spots is fast and friendly, and affordable. Even with a beer, you’ll leave full and your wallet won’t suffer. The menu is a Middle-Eastern mash-up and boasts two different falafels: Lebanese-style with garbanzos or Egyptian with fava beans. Hummus is a staple for any homey feast and though a gyro works lunch-wise, the extra hungry should opt for the Nile Plate, laden with luscious lamb and a generous Greek salad. The Design Center is a fun backdrop for a visit since I can browse the shops after browsing the menu.

The Saltanah Dancers add some sultry spice to a meal at Cleopatra Café. (Photo Credit: Saltanah Dancers)
The Saltanah Dancers add some sultry spice to a meal at Cleopatra Café. (Photo Credit: Saltanah Dancers)

 

 

At the Zafarano location, I love the Middle Eastern soap operas murmuring from two corner screens and the Saltanah Belly Dancers add their sensuous gyrations at Thursday night performances. And at both spots there’s a mound of soft fresh pita bread.

The Far East is Nearer to The Plaza Than You Think

The multicultural mix of Santa Fe teaches its landlocked youngsters to look out to the world and my little one’s lessons generally lead to dinner decisions that revolve around sushi. I’m grateful her palate picks Shohko Cafe. The dining room’s window-side tables and sushi bar offer a serene oasis for delving into the culinary spectrum of Japan. The family owners of Shoko are always happy to provide a hijiki-to-handroll education.

Smiles come with the sushi at Shohko. (Photo Credit: Shohko Café)
Smiles come with the sushi at Shohko. (Photo Credit: Shohko Café)

 

Pursuing their interest in George Ohsawa’s macrobiotic philosophy, Shohko and Hiro Fukuda began a 40-year legacy with their original Oriental Natural Foods store. Over the years, three beautiful daughters and a detour into the restaurant kitchen resulted in this much-loved and frequently-visited Santa Fe spot.

Where’s the wasabi? At Shohko, of course. (Photo Credit: Eric Swanson)
Where’s the wasabi? At Shohko, of course. (Photo Credit: Eric Swanson)

We always start with seaweed salad and frankly, it’s so good I could eat it daily.. Enoki mushrooms sautéed in sake and butter on the Izakaya Menu (read “Japanese tapas”) are like no mushroom dish you’ve ever eaten. Green chile makes a welcome appearance in the tempura selection, and I love the bento box lunches. The sushi menu? Superb, and by the way, so is the sake menu!

Give the French Their Due

A classic like steak and fries sounds and tastes so much more chic when one orders Steak Frites, don’t you think? And nothing is as quite as classy as the dishes at 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar.

315: It’s the name, the address and the place for finding food a la francaise.
315: It’s the name, the address and the place for finding food a la francaise.

Since 1995, 315 has been serving classic French culinary experiences to savvy diners at its Old Santa Fe Trail location. The flavors bring a French twist to fresh local ingredients and the wine list is one of the area’s largest and most thoughtfully-chosen. Combine those elements with a bar menu crafted for casual nights on the patio and you won’t be disappointed.

Pair the basil-wrapped shrimp with one of the 250+ wine selections at 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar. (Photo Credit: Joy Godfrey)
Pair the basil-wrapped shrimp with one of the 250+ wine selections at 315 Restaurant and Wine Bar. (Photo Credit: Joy Godfrey)

The menu is based on the best available in-season, along with some standards that loyal locals have refused to relinquish. It’s hard for me to resist fresh pea shoots and mais oui, no one makes confit like a French-trained chef.

Santa Fe: Serving the World on a Platter

We have it all here! Great weather, beautiful sunsets, world-class art and an array of cuisine in almost every accent. Even our world-famous green chile cheeseburger goes global on occasion. I’ve merely opened the menu, so take it from here and dig in.

 

Santa Fe: Artful and Full of Art

Drawn to the artistic? I know the feeling well. Watching the talent on parade at Canyon Road’s Passport to the Arts last weekend left me with an appetite for more. Fortunately, Santa Fe delivers a mighty dose of the artistic every single month. There’s so much happening this summer that it’s taken me two weeks to share it all with you. (You read last week’s post, right?) Rest assured, my soul — and yours — won’t go hungry.

Let Your Eyeballs Lead You on an Artful Tour

Summer’s arrival brings long shadows. Around here, we call that time of day “legend light” and the magnificent landscape has been inviting paintbrushes, pastels, and photographers for centuries. Many artisans call Santa Fe home, and revelation arrives when these artistic residents open their doors to welcome us to the Santa Fe Studio Tour June 27-29.

Painter Jayne Levant plies her brushes with ease. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Studio Tour)
Painter Jayne Levant plies her brushes with ease. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Studio Tour)

A Friday night preview at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design kicks off the excitement. On Saturday and Sunday, it’s time to work the map. The Santa Fe Studio Tour offers the opportunity to visit with 58 artists in 37 studios across the city. Chatting with the artists and seeing their creative spaces always gives me more context, deeper insights into their work. Plus, I get to see whose space is the quirkiest.

 

 

 

 

From Cutting Edge to Classic at Weekend Warp Speed

The Downs at Santa Fe may have morphed from a racetrack into a flea market, but the City Different is way out ahead of the field with this summer’s Art Trifecta. From July 12-14, three stellar organizations join forces to create a winning triplet of artistic expression. Two are storied annual festivals, Art Santa Fe and the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, and they share this summer weekend with SITE Santa Fe. Santa Fe’s year-round destination for the avant-garde, SITE is revered by locals for showcasing radical re-evaluations of what art means in the 21st century.

Enrique Martinez Celaya pulls you into the world of The Pearl. (Photo Credit: Peter Kirby)
Enrique Martinez Celaya pulls you into the world of The Pearl. (Photo Credit: Peter Kirby)

The Friday, July 13 opening for The Pearl proves the point with a multi-media exhibition of works by Cuban artist Enrique Martinez Celaya (who also trained as a physicist – now that definitely piques my interest).

 

 

Art Santa Fe — Three Words That Say It All

While Santa Fe has a justifiable reputation as the art capital of the Southwest, the art is by no means all Western-style. We have our share of cowboy painters —and darn good ones, too — but cutting edge work shows up all the time. And nowhere is this more evident than at Art Santa Fe.

At Art Santa Fe, you can look at the art while it looks at you. (Photo Credit: Art Santa Fe)
At Art Santa Fe, you can look at the art while it looks at you. (Photo Credit: Art Santa Fe)

Kids rebelling against the idea of another museum? Turn their eye-rolling into the eye-opening with a trip to Art Santa Fe. The international, contemporary art fair July 10-13 brings the newest, boldest, most original works in its 14th show. My little artist anticipates seeing what’s new every summer and participating in a number of the event’s special sessions, like Korean papermaking I know where I’ll be spending a lot of the weekend.

 

 

 

 

Globally Yours in Santa Fe

You’re guaranteed to find the finest in folk art under the blue skies of Santa Fe.
You’re guaranteed to find the finest in folk art under the blue skies of Santa Fe.

Just as the quickly as Art Santa Fe has transported me to unimagined other worlds, a quick jaunt over to Museum Hill to the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market sends me back to the past, to traditions, and to the far reaches of the globe.

Bertha Aquino works intricate designs onto a gourd at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.
Bertha Aquino works intricate designs onto a gourd at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With over 150 folk artists from more than 60 countries collected in the space (the expansive Milner Plaza), on same weekend (July 11-13), I can watch a Guatemalan master gourd carver at work, while munching on Indian samosa and listening to Kenyan music.  The best part? As I load up my new, handmade basket for Farmers Market shopping or adorn myself with some great new ethnic jewelry I’ve picked up at the market, I’ll do it in good conscience: Artists take home roughly 90% of all proceeds to support their families—and traditions– back home. I’ve already purchased my ticket!

Santa Fe’s Historic Art Heritage Hits the Plaza

It’s no surprise that Santa Fe boasts the deepest roster of traditional Spanish artists in the country. Many of the artisans who show at Spanish Market are direct descendants of the Spanish settlers who, when packing for their trip across the ocean into the new world, decided against packing easels and paint brushes. (No room on the burro!) Without any of the Old-World gold-leaf for decoration, the settlers turned instead to gold-colored straw, crafting intricate straw inlay to decorate their homes and churches.

Lawrence Cordova’s santos are altar-worthy.
Lawrence Cordova’s santos are altar-worthy.

And without any oils or paints, they mixed natural pigments still used by traditional retablo artist to depict and honor their favorite saints.

It’s not just the divine that’s sublime, though.  After popping into the St. Francis Basilica, I like to head over to the Contemporary Hispanic Market for some twists on tradition.

 

 

Pack Your Comfortable Walking Shoes for Indian Market

Santa Fe’s renowned SWAIA Indian Market turns 93 this year but hardly shows its age. In fact, it seems to get bigger and stronger every year. No wonder, since this is the country’s premiere Native American Arts Festival. (Note to self: Don’t forget the comfy footwear!)

Beautiful beadwork will blow your mind at SWAIA’s Indian Market.
Beautiful beadwork will blow your mind at SWAIA’s Indian Market.

Indian Market is a sell-out occasion, so make hotel reservations in advance. That way, you can hit the stalls early before the best pieces are whisked away by proud new owners.

I appreciate how the entire town–locals and visitors alike–turns out in their finery for Indian Market. No doubt, we’re stimulated by the variety of colors and textures on display. And if you mosey over to the Bandstand, you might see how all the elements of a Native costume work in unison when the person on stage does a hoop dance.

Indian Market covers not only the entirety of Santa Fe’s Plaza but the gamut of native art as well. And it’s not all pottery and turquoise.

Painter Ryan Singer poses with his self-portrait.
Painter Ryan Singer poses with his self-portrait.

Artistic traditions vary from region to region, with Pima baskets and Haida carvings, Pueblo pottery or Navajo weaving. Contemporary artists are also on display, giving us a generous peek at the next generation of tradition. Simply put, Indian Market is on my Must List!

From Far and Near, the Art Comes Here

I know, lucky me, I live here. Sorry if I’ve made it hard for you to choose. That’s why my own visitors come back again and again … and again. All these wonderfully artistic events return annually, too, so pick what you’ll be doing in Santa Fe this summer and next summer — I know you’ll be back!

Santa Fe: It’s Summer-Sensational

Seven weeks of spring, and already I’m yearning for the next season. Impatient, I know. That’s part of spring, though, that anticipatory feeling that bids you to hop out of bed every morning, brain bursting with ideas. I’m grateful the days are getting longer, because my list of this year’s what-to-do is getting longer too!

St. John’s Music on the Hill is a Santa Fe thrill. (Photo credit: St. John’s College)
St. John’s Music on the Hill is a Santa Fe thrill. (Photo credit: St. John’s College)

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music

It’s possible – Rodgers and Hammerstein might get jazzed up or Latin-inflected, but you’ll have to set aside Wednesday evenings to find out. From 6-8pm, June 11 through July 25, St. John’s College’s hosts Music on the Hill, and this ever-so-pleasant way to enjoy Santa Fe skies with a musical backdrop is an ever-so-popular midweek outing.

Six concerts (none on July 2) in this ninth season offer great sounds on the grassy lawn, and you can either bring a picnic or feed the family via Walter Burke Catering at the venue. Parking is limited, so take the free shuttle and settle without a hassle.

 

 

 

Strike Up the Band (Stand)

Carve a spot in the crowd at a Santa Fe Bandstand Concert.
Carve a spot in the crowd at a Santa Fe Bandstand Concert.

I’m an aficionado of public spaces like our beautiful Plaza, and when free entertainment is part of the scene, I am so there, especially for the Santa Fe Bandstand Concerts. What could be better than totally free music in the heart of town as the City Different invites us all to Tune into Santa Fe? Nightly performances June 23–August 28 bring time-tested favorites such as Joe King Carrasco and local legends like the Santa Fe Chiles Dixie Jazz Band; some of the 2014 New Mexico Music Awards finalists are also on the bill.

Picnic blanket or a pair of chairs; choose your seating on the Santa Fe Plaza for a Bandstand Concert.
Picnic blanket or a pair of chairs; choose your seating on the Santa Fe Plaza for a Bandstand Concert.

Absolutely my favorite summer party, the Bandstand concerts let locals mingle with neighbors who hibernate in winter, and visitors get that insider’s intro to Santa Fe’s resident talents. All you need is a picnic blanket, a nosh, and a swing partner.

Sultry Singing, Stravinsky, and Sun Yat-Sen

It could only be the Santa Fe Opera! Anyone who knows me knows I can’t wait to see the sun set over the stunning Crosby Theatre. Although each two-month season presents repeat pleasures, there’s always a thoughtful new repertoire. It’s true again, with six all-new productions, including one double-the-treat double-bill.

Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.
Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.

Seductive solos start June 27 with Bizet’s Carmen, a sell-out whenever the sets go up and the lights go down. Laughter follows tragedy with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, sure to offer stupendous comic relief. Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio, a mighty tale employing a ton of talent, brings new Chief Conductor Harry Bicket to the podium. The aforementioned double-header pairs Mozart’s witty opera, The Impresario, with Stravinsky’s exquisite one-act Le Rossignol. SFO’s annual mission of presenting premieres is completed with the U.S. debut of Huang Ro’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, a mix of classical and folk styles from East and West.

The Strings are the Thing

Classical music has deep roots in Santa Fe, and I assure you it doesn’t stop with opera. Now in its 42nd season, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival is the epitome of a summer music must-do. Brahms, Handel, Mozart – you’ll hear music from all the masters, with concerts almost nightly from July 22 through August 25. And the weekly noon-time offerings are my special secret for a musical lunchtime escape.

Sit, settle, and let the sun set before you’re swept away by the music at the Santa Fe Opera.
Bravura “bowmanship” is at its best at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Reporter)

Performers are top of the line, with a mix of professional chamber ensembles like the Orion String Quartet, and a gathering of talents brought together to play specific concerts. Faithful piano lovers are rewarded with Yefim Bronfman and Joseph Kalichstein taking to the keys. And personally, I’m psyched that new music is on the scene at a concert of new works by young composers, performed by the Flux Quartet.

Get the Scents and Sights of the Santa Fe Scenery

Whew, let me catch my breath from singing Santa Fe’s musical praises and head outdoors! Santa Feans spend mucho tiempo en el campo, meaning we cherish summer outside. My choice for country charm is El Rancho de las Golondrinas, the 200-acre history museum south of town. From May through October, weekend events reveal the unique culture and traditions of New Mexico. Golondrinas embraces its educational mission seriously, but always makes it fun and fascinating.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is the essence of all things New Mexico.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas is the essence of all things New Mexico.

Once summer is officially here, fresh herbs grace the stalls at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, and summer scents rule at Golondrinas’ June 21–22 Herb and Lavender Fair.  You’ll come away with fresh ideas for a home herb garden via tips from professional cultivators. Just walking the grounds is a distinct pleasure; you can discover how an acequia (New Mexico’s fabled watering system) works or learn about traditional village life. An integral part of my summer activities, a jaunt to El Rancho is my way of re-visiting New Mexico’s historic heritage.

In New Mexico, where water is precious, an acequia gate controls the flow.
In New Mexico, where water is precious, an acequia gate controls the flow.

Taking Pride in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is known for warmth and welcome, extended to the LGBTQ community long before there was an acronym. Many global cultures are home to individuals with diverse gender identities, and New Mexico is no exception. Santa Fe is doing a brisk business in gay weddings, and that’s a source of pride for the City Different.

Santa Fe shows its pride of place at the June Pride parade.
Santa Fe shows its pride of place at the June Pride parade.

 

 

 

 

 

We celebrate our equality activists at Santa Fe Pride on June 28. This annual event, organized by the Santa Fe Human Rights Alliance, opens with a colorful parade from the Roundhouse, our State Capitol building, to the Railyard, ending with food, fun, and all-day entertainment. I’m planning on breakfast at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, before grabbing curbside space for parade viewing. Bring a parasol or wear a hat and sunscreen if you plan to stay all day.

Why Wine? Why Not?

If you crave the whisper of terroir from wine, note that New Mexico is the nation’s oldest wine-growing region. Long before the union of states, settlers tended vines and crushed grapes in the Land of Enchantment. When summer ends, we welcome fall at the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Festival, but we also save a slice of the July 4th weekend for the Santa Fe Wine Festival.

Get a taste of Santa Fe and New Mexico wines this summer. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Wine Festival)
Get a taste of Santa Fe and New Mexico wines this summer. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Wine Festival)

At 21 years, the Wine Festival is “old enough to drink,” as the organizers cleverly put it, and there’s plenty to sniff before sampling. Vintners from all over the state will pour their best for our appraisal, and there will be food – look for me at Roque’s Carnitas. The roster of arts, crafts and unique products is too long to list; suffice it to say, there will be no lack of entertainment!

 

Read It Here Now, Relax Here Later

So what ARE you doing this summer? If you’re craving a unique summer adventure, then Santa Fe should surely be on your itinerary. Slip some of our signature events into your vacation, and you won’t be disappointed. And check back next week for the rest of my round-up … you didn’t think this was everything, did you? Oh, no, the fun here lasts all summer!

 

 

Everything’s Coming Up Roses in Santa Fe

 

The sun is hard at work in Santa Fe, coaxing bulbs to put out their colorful blossoms to sway in the spring breezes. We’ve had our final drift of snow, and day by day, the sun sticks around in the sky longer and longer. I say it’s time to take a leisurely tour to look around the colorful Santa Fe landscape and be assured the city is indeed in full bloom.

Capture the Colors at The Bishop’s Garden

Seeing Santa Fe’s spring color in the Bishop’s Garden makes a person feel in the pink!
Seeing Santa Fe’s spring color in the Bishop’s Garden makes a person feel in the pink!

The harbinger of spring in Santa Fe is the ubiquitous forsythia. The rich yellows of this hardy plant, followed swiftly by fragrant flowering fruit trees, call me to the Bishop’s Garden, designed by Bishop Lamy who built the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis. A colorful real-life character, he is the famed subject of Willa Cather’s Santa Fe-centric novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop, a must-read for lovers of Santa Fe.

I love spending some quiet moments in our Cathedral before making a meditative circuit on the path under the beautiful blossoming trees. My next stop? A picnic on the Plaza, where the hanging baskets add color to the heart of our historic town.

Canyon Road, Painted in Mother Nature’s Hues

The Santa Fe Plaza is painted in nature’s colors in the blooming months of spring and summer.
The Santa Fe Plaza is painted in nature’s colors in the blooming months of spring and summer.

 

 

Any historic town deserves help sustaining special sites, and we’re fortunate the Historic Santa Fe Foundation is so firmly rooted in its commitment to preserving the gorgeous gardens at El Zaguan. Built in the 1840’s, the former Johnson family Canyon Road hacienda is named for its long interior hallway (the zaguan) and has served as an artists’ colony since the 1920’s when it was converted into a series of small apartments.  The Foundation continues this tradition by offering one-year residencies to artists and writers whose work benefits from the serene surroundings.

A quiet spot in the heart of Santa Fe, El Zaguan welcomes meditative moments. (Photo Credit: The Historic Santa Fe Foundation)
A quiet spot in the heart of Santa Fe, El Zaguan welcomes meditative moments. (Photo Credit: The Historic Santa Fe Foundation)

 

Some of the trees in the small but lush garden are well over 100 years old, and I love to lean against their trunks and listen to leaves murmur as they did in years gone by. Stands of lilac, lavender, and roses perfume the air from spring to fall. The Santa Fe Master Gardener Association partners with the Foundation, ensuring that the garden is a water-wise oasis retaining its historic origins and beauty. Open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 5pm, the Master Gardeners are on-site and happy to plant-talk on Thursdays and Saturdays.

A 400-plus Year-old City Has a Gardening History

A town as old as ours is bound to count dedicated gardeners amongst its citizenry. The Santa Fe Garden Club relies on many dedicated members, who planted the sculpture garden at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture and maintain and support gardens at the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts.

Rocks, plants, adobe … what could be more Santa Fe than being behind adobe walls? (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Garden Club)
Rocks, plants, adobe … what could be more Santa Fe than being behind adobe walls? (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Garden Club)

If you think Santa Fe is all sagebrush and cottonwoods, you’re in for a delightful surprise! Mid-April through mid-October, the Garden Club’s Pequeno Tours (pequeno means little) offer intimate tours of three stunning homes and gardens, with a knowledgeable, plant-loving Garden Club member as guide. The tours run frequently, and are a one of a kind experience. Come July, Santa Fe is a riot of color, and the Garden Club’s Behind Adobe Walls Home and Garden Tour is too. Two successive Tuesdays take flora fanatics to eight fantastic gardens, located in private estates and historical sites.

Santa Fe Plants for the Future with a New Botanical Garden

The magnificent museum complex on Museum Hill gained a new partner across the road when the Santa Fe Botanical Garden arose amid the junipers and piñon trees. Celebrating our region’s biodiversity and plant heritage, the Botanical Garden began in 1987 with the seed of an idea planted in the minds of local gardeners. By 1993, the 35-acre Leonora Curtin Wetland Preserve opened adjacent to El Rancho de las Golondrinas and cultivated the desire for a city site to host native plants and educational events. In 2006, with 11 acres of land leased long-term from the city, planning began in earnest. With the first phase completed, the Garden opened its gates for year-round viewing in 2013. I’m excited about Origami in the Garden, a large-scale outdoor sculpture exhibition with creations from Santa Fe artist Kevin Box. Kevin’s work is on display until October 25th, and the self-guided cell phone tour ensures a fully enlightened experience whenever I visit.

Blue skies and native plants tell the tale of Santa Fe’s botanical history. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Botanical Garden)
Blue skies and native plants tell the tale of Santa Fe’s botanical history. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Botanical Garden)

Plans are laid for the next phase, showcasing plants used by local cultures throughout Santa Fe’s ancient past. Clustered around a central plaza, the newest plots will include plants traditionally used for healing, cooking, weaving, and dyeing, along with outdoor classrooms to host programs for the whole family.

Pick Some Pretty Posies at the Santa Farmers’ Market

Growing Southwest beauty differs from planting in the moist Midwest or coastal rain-belts. Be it food for the table or flowers for the soul, those who live by hands in the soil bring their harvest to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Tuesdays and Saturdays. With spring’s arrival, the Market has moved back outside, and that means vendors are multiplying. Right now, I’m all about fresh greens to grace my plate, and beautiful bunches of flowers to make my dinner table festive only gets easier as spring turns to summer.

You can pick a basket of blossoms or a bushel of chiles at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)
You can pick a basket of blossoms or a bushel of chiles at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)

Make Yours a Colorful Journey to Santa Fe

A Colorful Journey … there’s more than one reason this phrase is the City Different’s calling card. The sun is painting long shadows to frame the bright hues tucked against adobe walls and lining garden walks all over town. I am nurturing the notion of adventures yet to come, but in the meantime, I invite you to share the blessings of colorful blossoms and leaves that whisper softly, “Come outdoors and celebrate spring’s return.”

Santa Fe: The Ultimate Treat for Dogs

What’s not to love about two adoring eyes gazing up at you from a four-legged friend? When you have a dog, you know you are loved. So why would you travel without your BFF (that’s Best Furry Friend)? Time was, the pooch was passed up, but we’ve become more conscious that though our pets can’t speak, they experience feelings of abandonment when we go off without them. Hence, the big mournful eyes that ensue as your packing begins. A fun adventure in Santa Fe, ranked as a top spot for canine travel, can definitely include Fido if you know where to go — and I’m happy to share my hound-dog’s favorite haunts.

A Companionable Stay in Santa Fe

The first order of travel business is finding the perfect perch with all the comforts of home. I’ve invited my Kitty-Q to travel too, because “Pets R Us,” but she let me know in no uncertain terms that cars aren’t her thing, so I’ll concentrate on the pooch patrol.

Macie Mae snuggles in for a snooze at the Santa Fe Sage Inn. (Photo credit: Sheila Williams)
Macie Mae snuggles in for a snooze at the Santa Fe Sage Inn. (Photo credit: Sheila Williams)

Whether it’s dogs, travel-tolerant cats, or iguanas (okay, not many of them travel either), Santa Fe is on point with pet travel; in fact, picking pet-friendly lodging boils down to location, price, and style. You can’t go wrong near the happening Santa Fe Railyard, and that means a stay at the affordable Santa Fe Sage Inn. As the inn of choice for the folk artists who come annually for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, this hotel is used to making all kinds of guests feel right at home, and four-legs enjoy the same genuinely welcoming experience. Your pup gets yummy check-in treats from Zoe & Guido’s Pet Boutique, and you get breakfast daily and free shuttle service. Cozy pet beds are provided, and what better place to walk Walter the Wire-haired Terrier than the 10-plus acre Railyard Park right across the street?

Let your pup take you to the Railyard Park for a sunset stroll. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)
Let your pup take you to the Railyard Park for a sunset stroll. (Photo Credit: Santa Fe Sage Inn)

If your Coco is a city dog who likes sidewalk action, you can both be comfy downtown near the Santa Fe Plaza at the Hotel Chimayo. Named for the northern New Mexico village of Chimayo (which some of us believe grows our state’s tastiest chile), this hot spot boasts a Pet-Friendly Package that waives nightly pet fees. And along with a pet swag bag, you get a 15% discount at BOTH Teca Tu Pet Emporium and Zoe and Guido’s — hard to argue with that deal! And while your sweet Shih Tzu Suzie takes a snooze up in the room, you can catch some authentic Santa Fe flavor by kickin’ back on the tuck’n’roll seating in the hotel’s Low’n’Slow Lowrider Bar.

You can get the lowdown on Santa Fe at the Hotel Chimayo’s Low’n’Slow Lowrider Bar. (Photo credit: Hotel Chimayo)
You can get the lowdown on Santa Fe at the Hotel Chimayo’s Low’n’Slow Lowrider Bar. (Photo credit: Hotel Chimayo)

A bed-and-breakfast could well be the optimal option for that old pal who relishes curling up at your feet in an intimate home-like setting. Picture Pancho the Pug taking an afternoon siesta in one of the five individually designed rooms at the Antigua Inn, tucked in a residential neighborhood in the heart of downtown. Small size doesn’t mean any skimping on amenities, which include in-room Jura Espresso machines and loose-leaf tea from the Teahouse any time of day. As befits a classic B&B, the breakfast is a marvel, with fresh croissants and quiche from Clafoutis, along with fresh fruit and juices, organic bacon, yogurts, granola and cereals. And the fresh roses in your room every day? Oh my, you’re the one getting petted here!

A day of doggie delights in Santa Fe begins with a breakfast of champions for humans at the Antigua Inn. (Photo credit: Antigua Inn)
A day of doggie delights in Santa Fe begins with a breakfast of champions for humans at the Antigua Inn. (Photo credit: Antigua Inn)

The “Paws” That Refreshes

When you’re a member of the four-legged species, sometimes you just gotta run! Oh, it’s fine to sniff out new smells at the end of a leash as your human walks along the Santa Fe River, strolls artistic Canyon Road, or browses the shops, but sometimes a pup needs a “paws” for action! The Frank Ortiz Dog Park is the locals’ destination for dog-day cavorting with others of their tribe. There’s an off-leash area for romping, and picnic tables if you want to nosh while Rover does rollovers with Rex, but as always, pet courtesy must be observed, so be aware and have your leash handy.

Pets get off-leash and on the run at the Frank Ortiz Dog Park. (Photo Credit: Bring Fido)
Pets get off-leash and on the run at the Frank Ortiz Dog Park. (Photo Credit: Bring Fido)

Let’s Get Cleaned Up and Chow Down

Living with four paws means picking up more trail dust than two feet do, so perhaps baby will need a bath. Pooch Pantry Bakery and Boutique to the rescue! Not content with baking fresh treats daily, this pet emporium on the north end of Guadalupe Street also offers a self-serve dog wash.

 

A bathing beauty takes a break at the Pooch Pantry. (Photo credit: Pooch Pantry Bakery & Boutique)
A bathing beauty takes a break at the Pooch Pantry. (Photo credit: Pooch Pantry Bakery & Boutique)

Open every day except Monday, the best part of this experience is that once you’ve cleaned your pet, they clean up after you. Now that’s service.

Once doggy is fresh as a daisy, you can pick up pet snacks to go, as well as vitamins (don’t you travel with same?), leashes and collars, new toys, or a colorful dinner bowl.

Speaking of dinner, are you hungry? Just leash up as you leave the Pooch Pantry and lead that clean canine south on Guadalupe Street. You don’t have to let Samson suffer the left-behind blues, because he can come with you when you eat at the Cowgirl Santa Fe.

Get along little doggies, and head for the Cowgirl!
Get along little doggies, and head for the Cowgirl!

 

Spanning almost an entire block, this happening haven has a pleasant patio space for well-behaved pooches to laze while we partake of music and a meal. The craft beer selection has just doubled, the daily specials always get my attention, and portions here are beyond ample.

Bring the Four-legged Family

Maurice says, “Make Mine Santa Fe!” (Photo credit: Candace Martinez)
Maurice says, “Make Mine Santa Fe!” (Photo credit: Candace Martinez)

Traveling with Toto is a treat. As Dave Barry so memorably puts it, “Dogs love to go for rides. A dog will happily get into a vehicle going anywhere.” Pets are welcome guests in Santa Fe; after all, the patron saint of our city is St. Francis of Assisi, lover of the animal kingdom. Our fine furry friends are likely to have more than one travel tale to tell us, but until we speak their lingo, you’ll just have to settle for a look at that eager tail wagging to get full-fur approval on a visit to Santa Fe.

 

Your Shop Santa Fe Assignment: Consignment

Recent renovations on my little adobe have made me judicious about allowing things back into the house from the garage. And while I hate the thought of spring cleaning, once I start, the results are thrilling. Between the home re-arrangement and the seasonal sweep through the house, I suddenly have space to welcome something new into my life. USA Today Travel readers named Santa Fe #1 for shopping, and since my super-stylin’ Santa Fe neighbors have probably cleaned out their closets too, I’m ready to rock my favorite consignment shops on a hunt for first-rate treasures at second-hand prices.

You’ll do a double-take when you track down Santa Fe’s consignment goodies.
You’ll do a double-take when you track down Santa Fe’s consignment goodies.

Great Deals and No Doubling Down at Doubletake

Consider Doubletake’s size, and you’ll realize why it needs such a large, helpful staff. This enticing emporium has more than doubled (pun intended) in size since 1987, expanding beyond clothing into décor, collectibles, memorabilia, pawn jewelry, and antiques. Doubletake is also my best hope in the elusive quest for quality vintage clothing. Trolling the aisles of the two-story building takes time, especially when I am held captive by the biggest-ever collection of Bakelite jewelry!

Doubletake’s display is decorated with a bevy of Bakelite beauties.
Doubletake’s display is decorated with a bevy of Bakelite beauties.

Pricing throughout is fair, with everything well-curated for condition. Delicately used designer duds make a splash on opera opening night without breaking the bank. Western wear rates its own dedicated space, loaded with cowboy boots, Fiesta skirts, and cowboy shirts. Kids’ clothing offers enormous selection, and brand-new brand-name shoes are obviously recent-season items that didn’t sell retail.

The adventure at Doubletake extends up the staircase with a broad array of home décor and memorabilia.
The adventure at Doubletake extends up the staircase with a broad array of home décor and memorabilia.

Upstairs is a homey treasure trove, with colorful Fiesta dinnerware, antique furniture, and vintage linens by the score. There’s a designated art gallery, but with everything so beautifully displayed, the whole shebang is gallery-worthy! I always enjoy an hour or two here, saying good-bye to things that no longer fit my aesthetic and spending the proceeds to say hello to new adornments. Doing Doubletake is doubly fun!

Get Into a Groove with The Beat Goes On

Since we’re all Tuned Into Santa Fe, it’s no wonder that The Beat Goes On in the City Different. Right up the street from Doubletake, The Beat definitely deserves its billing as “Very Cool Consignment.” As you might imagine, Santa Feans are a diverse bunch with a wide range of stylish tastes, and The Beat gets the overflow when closets get too full. Nondescript building notwithstanding, this is a gotta-have-it collection of gently used deals.

Get the rhythm of Santa Fe with The Beat.
Get the rhythm of Santa Fe with The Beat.

There’s vintage here too, ethnic and designer styles, with shoes and boots and a medley of handbags and home goods. Prices are reasonable, and there’s always a sale rack to tempt. Don’t forget to look for lingerie, because soft silk robes may linger there. The excitement of consignment shopping lies in never knowing what you’ll find, and that’s what makes it an adventure. The selection at The Beat proves that principle beyond a doubt!

These boots at The Beat ain’t made for walkin’ because they’re tin planters!
These boots at The Beat ain’t made for walkin’ because they’re tin planters!

Boots Are Not Just for Cowboys

Trot a little further up Guadalupe Street past The Beat, pardner, and your feet will find a footwear fantasia at Kowboyz. Tucked back off the street, this is a local sweet spot for western wear, belts, buckles, shirts and hat, and – you guessed it – boots. A guy or gal (and kiddos too) need ‘em for boot-scootin’, and with over 5,000 new and vintage pairs, the only challenge is narrowing it down to a single choice. Not that I’ve done that – I’m currently holding at three pairs, but since they come in great condition at prices I can’t resist, why stop there?

Kowboyz is for Kowgirlz and Kidz too!
Kowboyz is for Kowgirlz and Kidz too!

There’s something about those just-the-right-height heels on a cowboy boot that makes a chiquita feel utterly chic in a completely different way than high heels. And don’t just wear them when you’re here to visit; wear them at home, be it North Dakota or North Carolina, and lead the way with our legendary Western style.

I’ll take that pair for the papoose.
I’ll take that pair for the papoose.

There’s Nothing Like a Flea Market for Finding Fanciful Treasures

 

Over the years, the Tesuque Flea Market up by the Santa Fe Opera has received justifiable accolades as a fun way to spend a morning. That’s great news for me, because it means less of a crowd to beat me out for bargains at the Santa Fe Flea Market! When warm weather returns, this collection of curios and curiosities moves back to its summer home at the old Downs of Santa Fe, but until then, a Saturday or Sunday browse-a-thon is on my weekend agenda.

Flea Market finds bring the blessing of bargain prices.
Flea Market finds bring the blessing of bargain prices.

Spread throughout El Museo Cultural (home to many offbeat Santa Fe events), across the railroad tracks from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market, the Flea is a bazaar of the bizarre for those who like a good bargaining session as part of the mix. Old books and pottery, household “junque,” hand-made jewelry – it’s an eclectic mix of the rare and the ridiculously inexpensive. With 100-plus vendors anxious to go home with cash rather than their stash of collectibles, it’s impossible to leave without a smokin’ deal. And remember, you won’t see that one special thing twice, so just say “yes” to your flea market fantasies.

Revisiting the Past and Bringing It Home from Recollections

After I’ve satisfied the yen for vintage finery and folderol, I make a beeline for Recollections to see what surprises await. You can’t miss the dark-red building in the Baca Street District of Railyard, and I never miss the chance to stop, because I know I’ll come home with something fresh and unexpected. The southern end of the Railyard is an up-and-coming area, and Recollections has anchored it from the beginning. The vintage iron furniture I scored suits my patio to perfection, at a cost much less than new.

The spotlight is on whimsical antiques and unique furnishings at Recollections.
The spotlight is on whimsical antiques and unique furnishings at Recollections.

Over the holidays, a gaggle of glass photo plates made for unusual and inexpensive gifts, and the antique spotlight I yearn for is tempting me — resistance may be futile! The light-up lucky horseshoe sign must be from a casino; since New Mexico has plenty of gaming palaces, it will go quickly. This is a great spot for whiling away a lazy afternoon surrounded by a serious selection of Americana and Western arcana.

Make the Case for Consignment Shopping in Santa Fe

Out with the old, in with the “new” old! I think I’ve made a good case, don’t you? If you take time to wander off the Plaza over to the Guadalupe District and the Railyard, you’ll find bountiful bargains buried in the bins or hanging on the racks. Travel + Leisure named Santa Fe as the best for one-of-a-kind shopping, and that includes unique independent boutiques of the second-hand variety. A now-you-see-‘em, now-you-don’t shopping adventure, this one is definitively City Different!

Spring in Santa Fe…Love Your Greens

My sweaters have been washed and loaded into the cedar chest, my boots are back in the inner recesses of my closet, and I am so ready for spring. Just when I am totally fed up with winter vegetables, spring obliges me with new inspiration on getting fed. As the sun lifts higher in its course over the blue skies of Santa Fe, I feel lighter and brighter, and that means it’s time to say hello to the fresh green flavors of spring.

It makes everyone happy to see spring greenery return to Santa Fe at the Nedra Matteucci Sculpture Garden.
It makes everyone happy to see spring greenery return to Santa Fe at the Nedra Matteucci Sculpture Garden.

Vinaigrette Is So Much More Than a Salad Dressing

What can you say to a salad bistro except “I love you”? I say it regularly to Vinaigrette, along with giving thanks regularly for bountiful salads that spare me the struggle of trying to pair two lightweight appetizers to make one satisfying meal. If you bring a big boy with a bigger appetite, savory protein additions can be added, though I rarely need to tweak. During the summer growing season, a majority of the organic produce is sourced directly from the owner’s 10-acre Nambe farm, so saying Vinaigrette is farm-to-table is right on target.

A Vinaigrette salad has a whole cast of characters at play!
A Vinaigrette salad has a whole cast of characters at play!

 

My personal favorite is the French Frisee; cherie, I just feel so chic when I eat those curly greens (mais oui, the bacon lardons are tres delicieux). And j’adore the clever word play that invites me to tickle my taste buds with choices like the Nutty Pear-fessor or All Kale Caesar. There is a cast of seasonal salads in play too, and if your dining pals simply must have soup or a sandwich, both are on the menu. And in warm weather, I delight in the cozy back patio for enjoying my greens with a glass of wine and a good friend.

Sampling Sweet Spring Greens at Sweetwater

Me, I love a Brussels sprout. I always think it’s a shame that these beautiful stalks of tiny, tightly wrapped, tender leaves only seem to show up at holidays. That’s why I’m happy that they materialize at my mealtime when I land at the Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen. I’m so hooked on the bright, cheery, sustainable nature of this friendly spot, recently named by FlipKey as a top restaurant in New Mexico. My Green Goddess salad was chock-full of fresh greens, walnuts, pears and the afore-mentioned Brussels sprouts, all coated with avocado dressing. My inner goddess deserves this heavenly treat.

Green me up, Sweetwater!
Green me up, Sweetwater!

Lunch and dinner both have ample options for me and my vegan and gluten-free friends. On Wednesday Thai nights we can “Thai one on” with the once-a-week Asian dishes like Cambodian green mango salad or Vietnamese spring rolls. Wine and beer menu, yes, and those selections rotate to keep us interested. Thanks to Sweetwater, I’ve also discovered that breakfast can be pretty green, with smoothies like Sweet Greens (fruit-heavy but with spinach too!) or Soma’s Sunrise (carrots, beets, kale, and apple). Eat it…drink it…they have it all!

 

Make a Bee-line for The Beestro

Sitting in a beautiful dining room or outdoor patio is a treat at lunchtime; after all, I do plenty of brown-bagging during the week. But when there’s not enough time to make a leisurely lunch hour reality, the petite Beestro comes to the rescue. I can perch on one of the outdoor stools, or I can do take-out, which is perfect for a desk jockey, and just as perfect if I want to sit on the Plaza to people-watch. “Chef-made daily” and “available until sold-out” are calls to action that tantalize me, as is curbside service — call once to order, again at the pick-up spot, then receive the goods.

It’s always buzzing at The Beestro.
It’s always buzzing at The Beestro.

As a tried-and-true SantaFesina, I’m always up for a kick of chile, so the Serrano Lime Chicken Farmer’s Market Salad had my name on it (literally, because I called ahead just in case they ran out). Below a layer of marinated grilled chicken lay fresh greens, thin shavings of carrots and beets, salty olives, and a host of veggies snuggled together. I slathered on the piquant jalapeno ranch dressing, put my fork to work, and I was one very happy chiquita!

Bring it on, Beestro, and we’ll take it out!
Bring it on, Beestro, and we’ll take it out!

Spring is happening at the Santa Fe Farmers Market

The ultimate in greenery, of course, is being served up as we “speak” at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. With spring here, the Market is alive with new activity. There’s always a line for fresh greens from Mr. G’s, so get there early or go without. Bouquets of flowers are once again adorning dinner tables all over town, and the final jars of last season’s jams are selling out in preparation for what is to come.

We celebrate the return of spring with bright bouquets of color from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.
We celebrate the return of spring with bright bouquets of color from the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.

Not a week goes by that I don’t feel lucky to shop at this centrally-located market, ranked as one of the country’s best by Travel + Leisure magazine. Open in the Santa Fe Railyard on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, it’s one of my go-to’s all year long, and not just for food, since I love the sustainable focus of the Wednesday movie series screening in the Pavilion at 7 pm through May.

Green Up Your Santa Fe Dining

That eat-green feeling is calling … not just for me but also for anyone who sees the sun arc higher or feels the gentle spring rain coaxing tulips to open and the first peas to flower. I am feeling refreshed and ready for everything green; will you accept an invitation to dine on the green side of Santa Fe?

 

No Place Does Spring Like Santa Fe

Santa Fe is so blessed with seasonally special sights and sounds that I never feel shortchanged at any time of year. But I admit that being on the cusp of spring has me in a fever of eager anticipation. As days grow longer, blossoming trees will begin to decorate the city and festive events will bloom all over town. Now is the moment to give in to the beauty and bounty of a colorful southwest spring, so I offer my primavera primer.

The first flowers of spring — forsythia — bloom in abundance in Bishop Lamy’s quiet garden adjacent to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.
The first flowers of spring — forsythia — bloom in abundance in Bishop Lamy’s quiet garden adjacent to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.

One Old Culture Honors Another

No country pays a more handsome homage to spring than Japan. Fragrant flowers, gusty winds sending kites aloft, a rich and ancient culture … Santa Fe has them too, though our early blossoms come from gorgeous old apricot trees. Delicious jam ensues later, so look for it at our Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. And Santa Fe also has a Japanese tradition, when we celebrate “equinoxically” on March 22 at the Japanese Cultural Festival.

The delicacy and depth of Japanese artistry is rooted in deliberate design and meaning, and I salute the 10th annual return of this spring event, known as a Matsuri. This year’s theme, good luck, is symbolized by “sho,” “chiku,” and bai,” which translate as pine (symbol of tenacity, here it’s our piñon tree), bamboo (beloved for flexibility, a vital attribute for the original New Mexico settlers) and plum (its early flowers evoking the optimism of spring). I plan to capture in full the flavor of this eloquent triad.

This Japanese kite can turn its frown upside down when it’s finally aloft!
This Japanese kite can turn its frown upside down when it’s finally aloft!

After repeatedly visiting the killer kite exhibit (which I’m happy to report has been extended through July 27) at the Museum of International Folk Art, a kite-making demo strikes my fancy as fantastic fun. I also intend to learn to turn my homey tea party into an elegant tea ceremony. And getting into the beating heart of the whole shebang will be a rhythmic riot aided by the Smokin’ Bachi Taiko drums.

Sounds for Serenading Spring

If you’re like me, your life has its own soundtrack, so you’ll also be stoked that the City Different is inviting everyone to Tune into Santa Fe this year. As a die-hard fan of summer’s rich musical offerings, I’m grateful I don’t have to wait until then to get my music fix. The Santa Fe Symphony and Chorus season covers March with gold-medal violin work, and they’re serving up a big dose of symphonic music in April and May. My calendar is marked in pastels for Easter, obligating my attendance at Santa Fe Pro Musica’s Baroque Holy Week concerts, where the timeless setting of the Loretto Chapel and evocative musical excellence sweeps me back seamlessly back through the ages.

There couldn’t be a better place to tune into Santa Fe’s musical scene than the Loretto Chapel.
There couldn’t be a better place to tune into Santa Fe’s musical scene than the Loretto Chapel.

Spring brings Aspen Santa Fe Ballet back to the Lensic, and much as I delight in classic ballet repertoire, I cherish the chances that ASFB takes with more avant-garde programs. With a world premiere in the wings and a pair of striking works by contemporary choreographers, I’m relieved to know that if I miss the March performances at the Lensic, a one-night April encore guarantees my dance date.

No Passport Needed to Paint a Pretty Picture of Spring

While New Mexico Magazine features funny monthly tales in which New Mexico is confused with Old Mexico, the only passport required to visit Santa Fe is a Passport to the Arts. Thoughtfully timed with Mother’s Day weekend (by the way, Mom, it’s been way too long since you visited!), there’s much to love — and share — when we wander in and out of the Canyon Road galleries and watch artists ply talents in the open air. Beginning Friday night with openings and receptions, the weekend is rife with demonstrations, food, and music clustered behind adobe walls and in sculpture gardens of historic buildings.

Get a Passport to the Arts on Canyon Road – it’s the only way to travel! (Photo credit: Canyon Road Merchants)
Get a Passport to the Arts on Canyon Road – it’s the only way to travel! (Photo credit: Canyon Road Merchants)

I’m awed by the Artist QuickDraw on Saturday morning, a tour-de-force event when participants combine any and all media with individual talent and techniques to create original works of art under the constraints of time and an avid public audience. When time’s up, palette knives and brushes, carving tools and crayons are retired, as the artists prepare their finished pieces and hustle them over to the Live Art Auction. As for me, I relax while they work, but I’m prepared to bid right quick on a favorite piece!

May I Invite You to May … and June Too?

By Memorial Day, Santa Fe will be gussied up in spring finery, trees leafed out and stalks of blue flax bobbing. And El Rancho de las Golondrinas will be spinning the old mill’s water wheel as the New Mexico Fiber Arts Festival returns. I feel sheepish to confess I play favorites, but El Rancho really is one of my special places, especially when it’s time to shear sheep, dye their wool, and spin it into fine colorful yarns. My sister holds the family-knitting crown, and I’m the crochet queen, so I’ll wind up with some naturally hand-dyed yarn for both of us.

Maria had a little lamb – or two, or four. (Photo credit: El Rancho de las Golondrinas)
Maria had a little lamb – or two, or four. (Photo credit: El Rancho de las Golondrinas)

Memorial Day also showcases fine fiber handicrafts at the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival. With 200-plus artists, there’s always an ample display of museum-quality wares to admire, and it’s a perfect appetizer for everything discovered later in summer at SWAIA Indian Market. Since I’ll be fiber-minded, maybe I’ll finally find that long-sought-after Navajo rug for my bedroom. And if not, I’ll still be coming home with a treasure or two.

Spring doesn’t truly end until mid-June, so kids and all, I’ll scoot back out to El Rancho for the Spring Festival and Children’s Fair as soon as school ends. Watching “settlers” baking outdoors in an horno (the traditional NM beehive-shaped oven) and herding livestock makes this re-enactment of New Mexico village life a history lesson disguised as a fun day in the sun for little ones. And with cute baby animals bleating and clucking, there’s an “awwwww” factor that’s hard to beat.

Be Impetuous and Spring into Action

Adobe walls offer the perfect backdrop for Santa Fe’s spring colors.
Adobe walls offer the perfect backdrop for Santa Fe’s spring colors. Photo Credit: Eric Swanson Photography

On the scale of awe factors, spring in Santa Fe is a hard-to-beat-the-pleasure time. Balmy weather, flowers blooming, people smiling, and blue skies make each day a precious chance to collect kindred souls and share with them the places I return to again and again. I’ve planted some seeds for spring adventures here in Santa Fe, so don’t wait for summer — have a spring fling of your own!