November 13, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Fall Food Fare

New restaurants, pumpkin bake-off, Jalapeno's & 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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Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves

New Restaurants

First off, a few new restaurants have popped up on the scene, including one that, judging by the early reviews, you won't want to miss.

Ten Thousand Waves has been on the international travel map for decades, and it's a longtime favorite with the locals, too. Now, the Waves has launched a new restaurant, Izanami, helmed by acclaimed chef Kim Muller, formerly of the Galiesto Inn and Real Food Nation. Judging by the early reviews I've heard, this will be bit hit. Izanami's wide-ranging menu features organic, locally-sourced foods that contain no GMOs. Dishes include Lone Mountain Ranch wakyu tri-tip with fresh wasabi and Himalayan pink salt; the nami burger with Lone Mountain Ranch wagyu beef, caramelized onion, shimeji and glaze; and miso glaze; and butakushi, Heritage pork belly with ginger barbecue glaze. Can't wait to give this place a try! For more info, click here.

Next month brings L'Olivier, a new venture from chef Xavier Grenet, formerly of Ristra. This French restaurant will offers such classics as Croque Monsieur, New York Steak Frites with Pink Peppercorn Sauce, Duck Confit with Mashed Potatoes and Greens and more. Grenet has cooked for the James Beard Foundation and was hailed by The New York Time for his French-inspired menu at Ristra, food, which “uses bold Southwest flavors with finesse.”

The restaurant is scheduled to open December 20. For more info, click here.

Jalapeno's

This past weekend I was lucky to be invited to a food sampling at Jalapeno's Santa Fe-Mexican Grill/Taqueria y Torteria, located in the space that used to house Guadalupe Cafe (which now is located in The Pink Adobe...I know, the musical chairs of Santa Fe restaurant scene can often be confusing).

Wow....this is one place you won't want to miss. From the quartet of salsas served with fresh-baked white and blue corn chips to the Baja tacos stuffed with grilled shrimp, ceviche tostaditas trio, chile en nogada and mariscada Yucateca, the food here is amazing!

Jalapeno's started as a food truck helmed by chef Raul Aboytes, who grew up working at his mother's taco stand in Mexico. He would help by grinding the corn and making homemade salsas using the molcajate. After coming to the U.S. At age 18, he found himself craving the Mexican-style barrio home cooking he'd grown up and he began recreating his mother's recipes for simple fresh food full of flavor. Aboytes and his wife, Janet, opened Jalapeno's as a food truck before tackling it as a restaurant. They've painted the restaurant's interiors in vivid colors with whimsical touches wood-carved chairs with jalapeno images and local art displayed on the walls.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering tantalizing dishes like hand-held breakfast burritos with homemade chorizo, migas and carnitas de puerco, tequila-flamed fajitas with chipotle shrimp, acoiote chicken or brava steak, and enchiladas Suiza, with a cream based-red tomato sauce or green tomatilla sauce with blanco poblana and choice of beans or sopapilla. One of the best things I tasted during our sampler was the mole, which Jalapeno's puts on burritos, enchiladas, mole cornish hens and more. This is by far one of the best moles I've tasted in all of Santa Fe—thick, rich and full of the flavors of ancho, pasilla and negro chile and Mexican chocolate I'm still craving it.

Jalapeno's also makes a green chile mole using poblano peppers, pumpkin seeds and cilantro that is also out of this world. And if you love chile rellenos, the dish here is grilled and stuffed with Oaxacan cheese, then battered and fried to perfection. Another amazing dish is the cochinita pibil, slow-roasted pork served on banana leaves. It's one of the Yucatan's most popular dish, and it just might become one of Santa Fe's favorite dishes, too.

Street tacos are a specialty here, stuffed with pork belly, al pastor, pollo, carnitas and lamb barbacoa. But you can also order a burger, made with eight-ounces of Angus beef. Asadero cheese, guac and green chile.

A first for me was the Micheladas, an incredibly refreshing combination of beer and clamato sauce and lime, served in a frosty glass with a salted rim. Yum! The sangria here was delicious, too as are the agave wine margaritas.

Desserts include a pumpkin flan and a traditional Mexican treat, a buenuelo, topped with ice cream and drizzled with a warm piloncella guava sauce.

Jalapeno's menu will change seasonally, and I predict that very soon, once it's discovered, this restaurant will become a Santa Fe favorite. For more info, click here.

Pumpkin Bake-Off

Got a great recipe for pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, or pumpkin cupcakes? Then sign up right now for the first annual Pumpkin Baking Contest, hosted by Joseph at Santa Fe Pulse and Tecolote Cafe on Saturday, Nov. 23 from 2:30 to 6 p.m. You could win a $200 cash prize, gift certificates from Tecolote, t-shirts and more! The entry fee is $5, and you must bake enough for three judges to sample, as well as extra to feed the attendees.

Judges include Rob DeWalt, senior editor at New Mexico Magazine, Leslie Chavez, Tecolote's executive chef and New Mexico Restaurant Association's Chef of the year; and yours truly, Gourmet Girl! For more info, send an email to: editor@santafepulse.com.

Bang Bite

You may have noticed a new food truck parked in the space formerly occupied by Le Pod at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta. Instead of Airstream silver, this truck is bright orange and hard to miss, which is a good thing as you won't want to miss the seasonal fare, including the Thanksgiving blue plate special, a Trailer-Style Fried Turkey Dinner. The menu also includes cooks up soups, burgers, tacos, seafood and pasta dishes.

Bang Bite is helmed by chef/owner Enrique Guerrero, whose resume reads like a Who's Who in the culinary world. He's worked for Daniel Boulud at the fabled Le Cirque in New York City and also Thomas Keller of the revered French Laundry. He moved to Albuquerque to work as executive chef at Scalo, then to Santa Fe to helm La Casa Sena. He moved on to La Mancha, the restaurant at the Galiesto Inn, which was selected by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the country's “Hottest Tables.”

It's great to see Santa Fe's food truck scene evolving. We need more food trucks

For more info, click here.

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