August 25, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Santa Fe Cuisine Scene: Summer Cools Down, the Food Scene Heats Up

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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Summer may be winding down, but Santa Fe's cuisine scene is heating up as we get ready to celebrate our  unique foodways with the 2nd Annual FUZE.SW Food + Folklore Festival; our world-famous green chile crop with the 24th Annual Wine & Chile Fiesta and a few other food happenings that aren't strictly for serious foodies.  Here are just a few events to whet your whistle, but be sure to check online calendars and your favorite restaurant's website as many are hosting special dinners for next weekend's Indian Market and to mark the end of summer.

Food Trucks on the Plaza

Here's a great way to celebrate these last few weeks of summer. Head on over to the Plaza for the Santa Fe Bandstand's free outdoor concerts and, when you've danced until you can dance no more, fuel up on creative food from the city's food trucks, including Bambini's, Bang Bite, Dr. Field Goods, Santa Fe BBQ, The Street Institute and others. Only one more food truck event is scheduled for this year, on August 28.

As the Santa Fe Bandstand enters its final week, I look forward to checking out some of the remaining concerts. Not sure which food trucks will be there, but I'm really looking forward to an authentic Philly cheesesteak from Bambini's, Gooey Trailer Fries with cheese, crispy pork belly and pepper sauce from Bang Bite and a few other unique items found only at these moveable eateries. See you there!

Farm & Wine Feast

Take a drive to Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm in Ranchos on September 6 to celebrate the inn's 80th Anniversary with a Farm & Wine Dinner that highlights the flavors of the farm's finest Field to Fork cuisine as well as wines from around the world.

The evening begins at 6 p.m. with a summer aperitif that showcases honeys from the bees raised at Los Poblanos, herbs from its garden and other ingredients from local artisans. Dinner will be served on the La Quinta Grand Portal,  where you'll be surrounded by 25 acres of lavender fields, towering cottonwoods and formal gardens.

The feast begins with eggplant salad with wild rice, roast pepper vinaigrette and pickled tomato followed by Lobster with creamy dill, green chile, corn, arugula, potato, roasted garlic fried shallot and lobster gelee. The entree, Grilled Rack of Shepherd's Lamb with Pomegranate & Rosemary,  includes glazed beets and carrots and potato haystacks while dessert sounds like a creative new twist on Baked Alaska with almond ricotta cake, almond crunch, balsamic fig jam, mascarpone ice cream and baked honey figs.

Book your table now, as Los Poblanos' chef Jonathan Perro was nominated for a James Beard Award for Best New Chef last year and his cuisine has drawn fans from near and far.

FUZE.SW

It's not too early to get your tickets to FUZE.SW Food + Folklore Festival, which returns to Museum Hill Sept. 12-14 with a full schedule of fascinating keynotes, seminars and  panels as well as tastings, a buffalo roast,  a lunch cooked by a team of Pueblo grandmothers, food trucks and much, much more.

This year's theme, Sitting at the Same Table, focuses on on Native American foodways and explores how traditional Native practices can inform our agriculture and culinary traditions today. The guest lineup includes more than 60 celebrated Native American and James Beard award-winning chefs and authors as well as renowned scholars, poets, journalists chefs, journalists, farmers, archeologists and food historians.

Festival-goers will feast on unique New Mexico breakfasts, lunches served up by local food trucks, a Frito Pie & Brew tasting and, new this year, a Marketplace on Sunday that's free to the public, offering tastings of New Mexico foods, that you can buy to take home. Also on tap is Native American music and dance performances, cooking demos by top Santa Fe chefs, cookbook signings, horno breadmaking, a green chile roast, tours of the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, food trucks, and more.

The Days of Wine and Chile

The smell of roasting green chile is back, signaling that it's almost time for the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, and this year, the famous food event is bigger than ever, topping 100 participating wineries for the first time.

Santa Fe's longest-running food event brings foodies together with winemakers and chefs,from around the world  to celebrate acclaimed New Mexico cuisine and fine wine. The schedule includes a golf tournament, a champagne brunch and, new this year, the Gran Fondo, a bicycle ride inspired by the Bottega Gran Fondo in Napa Valley. Riders will stop at four gourmet food stations after departing from the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Tesuque and passing through Nambe, Cundiyo, Truchas and Chimayo.

This year, the Gruet Family, celebrating 25 years of wine-making in New Mexico, will receive the Honorary Winery of the Year during a five-course luncheon prepared by Kevin Nashan of Sydney Street Cafe, a semi finalist for James Beard Best Chef Midwest 2014 as well as James Campbell of La Boca and Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin — both multiple James Beard nominees for Best Chef of the Southwest,; Anthony Smith, the Eldorado Hotel's executive chef; and Laura Werlin, James Beard award-winning author of six books about cheese.

Local chefs take center stage at Wine & Chile, presenting cooking demos and hosting luncheons with visiting chefs and winemakers. This year, they include Charles Dale of Bouche Bistro, Eric DiStefano of Coyote Cafe, James Campbell Caruso of La Boca, Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin, Juan Bochenski of the Anasazi, Fernando Olea of Epazote, Andrew Cooper of Terra at Rancho Encantado, Jeffrey Kaplan of The Bistro at Santa Fe Courtyard, Kim Mueller of izanami and authors Bill & Cheryl Jamison.

Event highlights  include a VIP Tour and Tasting at the Gruet Winery in Albuquerque led by winemaker Laurent Gruet followed by a four-course luncheon prepared byIl Piatto's Matt Yohalem with ingredients from the Santa Fe Farmer's Market meal paired with Gruet wines. Sake lovers will want to attend a cooking demo and sake tasting paired with signature dishes from izanami, led by chef Kim Mueller and certified sake sommerlier Deborah Fleig. The restaurant was a semi-finalist for the 2014 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant.

Don't delay in getting tickets to the 24th Annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta. The weekend's biggest event, The Grand Tasting—which features small plates from some 80 Santa Fe restaurants and wines from around the world set up under tents on the grounds of the Santa Fe opera—sells out like hotcakes, as do the guest luncheons and other events.  Cheers, and see you at Wine & Chile!
 

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