December 11, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Delicious December

New eateries, Johnny Vee's Top 10 Dishes of 2013, pairing wine with holiday cookies & more

By Lynn Cline

Gourmet Girl

Lynn Cline is a former food editor and the author of two books – Romantic Days and Nights in Santa Fe and Literary Pilgrims: The Santa Fe and Taos Writers' Colonies, 1915-1950. She also loves to cook, when not dining out.

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Photo: John Phelan

There's a lot going in the food world this month, starting with the opening of L'Olivier, a new restaurant helmed by the former longtime chef at Ristra, Oliver Grenet. Located at the corner of West Alameda and Galisteo, L'Olivier will offer Grenet's trademark cuisine, a combination of classic French culinary techniques with Southwest ingredients and flavors.

The menu includes duck confit salad with cranberry, pepitas, almonds and a raspberry vinaigrette; a grilled merguez sandwich with Dijon mustard on spinach salad or with fries; steak frites with pink peppercorn sauce; and the classic Croque Monsieur, bien sur!

The restaurant holds its grand opening on December 20. For more info, click here.

Holiday Events at Estrella Vineyards

Are you a fan of Christmas cookies? Have you ever thought of pairing holiday treats with New Mexico wines? Then head on out to Estrella Wine Vineyards in Nambe for the 4th Annual Wine Tasting & Holiday Cookie Exchange. You'll sample six wines with different cookie varieties. Plus, you'll get to home some delicious cookies for your holiday. December 15, 3 to 5 p.m.

The vineyard also hosts a Wine & Cider Barrel Tasting, an afternoon of wine tasting with wine and cider makers, who'll guide through the process of making wine an cider. You'll also enjoy a special tasting of unbottled vintages from the bottle. Call for reservations. Dec. 21, 3-5 p.m.

Click here for more info.

Johnny Vee's Top 10 Dishes of 2013

I always look forward to seeing which dishes make it to the Top 10 List of award-winning food writer and chef extraordinaire, Johnny Vee, in Local Flavor magazine, and this year, he's chosen another great group of winters, staring with the Mustard Seed and Creme Fraiche Crusted Cauliflower with White Beans and Anchovy Tomato Sauce, served by Joseph Wrede at his new restaurant, Joseph's of Santa Fe. The dramatic plating of the cast-iron seared lobe of cauliflower on tender beans shows off Wrede's Italian heritage and skill as the chef once deemed in the top Ten in the country by Food & Wine Magazine,” Vee writes. “Many chefs lay claim to the farm-to-table moniker in this dish, but Wrede walks the talk in this dish and on much of his menu.”

Also on the list is chef Charles Dale of Bouche's Classic Escargots a la Bourguignonne, which Vee said transported him to the Left Bank in Paris, and Arroyo Vino's chef Mark Connell's Crispy Suckling Pig, served with kimchi consomme, vermicelli and snap peas, a specialty this past summer. The Green Chile Quiche Lorraine from Dulce's head pastry chef, Dennis Adkins mad the list for its, comes filled with crispy bacon nubs and spicy chile, all in a flaky crust.

For Vee, the Vegan Mushroom Stew from Vinaigrette's kitchen manager Avery Pearson makes the cold winter weather bearable. The miso-based stew is full of porcini and forrest button mushrooms and topped with fried olive-bread croutons. Sounds like a dish to chase away the winter blues. The Rib & Chicken Combo from The Ranch House's owner Josh Baum, is served with green chile cold slaw, smoky beans and buttery green chile cornbread, impressed Vee with its big, rich flavors. “I think the test for great barbecue is that the meats don't need added sauce to be moist and tasty, and the Ranch House wholeheartedly achieves this every time.”

The Poutine from Tabla de Los Santos makes the list because chef Clay Bourdan “really gilds the lily by adding green chile-braised short ribs and sexing up the gravy with truffles," Vee writes. Yum. Think I may have to try that tonight...poutine in Santa Fe! The Big Bite Burger from owners John and Bonnie Eckre of Santa Fe Bite will keep fans of the now-shuttered Bobcat Bite very happy—16 ounces of  house-ground beef grilled and served on garlic bread, with green chile and cheese as add-ons.

Vee loved the Loretto Eggs Benedict from Luminaria's chef Brett Sprman, bedecked in hollandaise foam, asparagus, shaved ham and served with crispy breakfast potatoes. And the Oven Roasted Rock Hen, rubbed with spring garlic, lemon, honey and thyme on creamy citrus black truffle risotto, from Geronimo's Eric Stefano was another hit, as well.

Nice job, Johnny Vee! I've got my culinary map carved out for the next few months. Click here to read the article.

Liquid Outpost

There's a new coffee shop in town, housed in the Loretto Shoppes at the Inn at Loretto. Liquid Outpost not only serves up freshly roasted coffee, espresso, and breakfast and lunch, it's also an art space, filled with the work of local artists. The menu includes breakfast burritos, scones, stuffed and savory croissants, quiche and more. They also serve Whoo's Donuts on weekends. Try their hand-crafted specialty drinks, like the White Chocolate Hazelnut Mocha or the Coconut Latte. Liquid Outpost uses only fair-sourced, locally roasted coffee and fine Italian espresso. For more info, click here.

Guys in the Kitchen

The last of the 2013 Local Organic Meals on a Budget class takes place Wednesday, December 18 5:30-7 p.m., led by chefs Danny Rhodes and Matthew Sherrill. "Raw & Saucy: Guys in the Kitchen—Soups, Sauces & Tasty Holiday Treats.” focuses on  making delicious, healthy gluten-free soups and sauces as well as meals and desserts based on raw ingredients that are all delicious. The class includes a New Mexican chocolate truffle-making demo.

The Local Organic Meals on a Budget classes are offered in collaboration with Kitchen Angels, Home Grown New Mexico, and the Santa Fe School of Cooking, where the classes are held. Click here for more info.

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