January 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Santa Fe’s Cuisine Scene

Souper Bowl Winners, Winterbrew's fun, Chez Mamou and 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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Souper Bowl Winners

The big game day is over and the winners have taken home their trophies. Jambo Cafe won Best Overall Soup for its Coconut Cream Guava Lime Soup with Crispy Plaintain. This was the record-breaking fourth consecutive year that Jambo won, topping last year's unprecedented third win.

Jambo also took home Best Cream for the same soup that won the overall category, while Café Pasqual's Blue Hubbard Squash with Chimayo Chile and Pepitas won the Best Savory category. Azur Mediterranean Kitchen earned Best Seafood for Paul Hunsicker's Crab Cake Bisque  and The Pantry won Best Vegetarian for its Black Bean Chipotle Soup.

More than 1,400 people filled the Santa Fe Community Convention Center on Saturday, January 25 to taste 27 soups prepared by some of Santa Fe' finest chefs.

From a Creamy Thai Coconut Horchata from Fuego at La Posado to Blue Corn Brewery's Green Chile Oxtail Stew, the Inn and Spa at Loretto's Luminaria's  Roasted Re Pepper Potato Soup from with Pineapple and Mango Salsa.

The event raised more than $60,000 to help feed New Mexio's hungry, a record-breaking figure. A silent auction, along with T-shirt and cookbook sales, contributed to the amount raised.

French Fare on Palace Avenue

It's always surprising how many excellent French restaurants there are in this Southwest city. And just when you thought there really wasn't room for one more, along comes Chez Mamou, a sweet little spot on Palace Avenue serving traditional French fare.

You may recognize the man behind the counter. That's Paul Perrier, who ran the popular Café Paris on Burro Alley for 17 years before closing it to retire. But he's been lured back by owner Noella Rose, whose Noella Jewelry Couture shares the space, back into baking pastries like butterfly palmiers, flaky croissants, linzer cookies and tuile, brioches and pain au chocolat at Chez Mamou.

The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch daily and the menu includes French favorites such as Croque Monsieurs and Croque Madam, crepes, quiche, salads, French onion soup, and a smoked salmon croissant sandwich. All lunch entrees include an herb-roasted tomato half and a choice of potatoes Provencal or a green salad.

I'm a huge fan of French food and somehow, Santa Fe has become a thriving center for the best of it, from Le Pod, the airstream eatery serving up authentic crepes and other street food, to 315, with its elegant menu and bistro atmosphere. There's also Clafoutis, the French Pastry Shop in La Fonda and the Swiss Bakery and Pastry Shop. Each eatery has its own style and unique approach to food and Café Mamou is a welcome addition to the French food scene in the high Southwest desert.

East Wing Eatery @ the Santa Fe Community College

The Santa Fe Community College has been cooking up some great dishes served at the East Wing Eatery, in the East Wing of the college's main campus.

The concept is to offer the college's culinary students a chance to practice the techniques and skills they've learned in the classroom in a real restaurant. The menu features sustainably and organically grown local and regional ingredients.

Drop by to for breakfast or lunch for student-made pastries and breads, baked fresh daily, along with soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. The menu includes scones, muffins, croissants and New York bagels, steel-cut oatmeal, Reubens, grilled cheese sandwiches, flatbread pizza, homemade soups, Asian chicken salad and more.

Click here for more info.

Winterbrew Fun

Last Friday I went to Winterbrew and had a chance to marvel at how many artisan brewers New Mexico is lucky to have. There was some excellent food, to, including some stellar donuts from Whoo', pizza from Rooftop Pizzeria and an excellent Frito pie from Junction. But the best food of the night award for me went to the Malt Beer-Smoked Pork Belly tacos, made with pastoral style ground pork cooked down with pineapple, oranges, red chile and cayenne  and served with a pickled jalapeno cole slaw from Second Street Brewery, created by Jason Gleichman, the restaurant's executive chef.

One of the new craft brewers on the scene, Duel Brewing, was serving up samples of two of their ales, Titan Ale and Dark Ryder. The owners plan on opening a Belgian Style Brewery and Taproom , has plans to open a brew pub and restaurant this spring on Parkway Drive, off Rufina Street, in the spring. This should be a great addition to Santa Fe's microbrewery scene. For more info, click here.

Taos Winter Wine Fest

The annual Taos Winter Wine Festival takes place January 30 through February 2 . The event features wine dinners, tastings, seminars and other events, all set against the dramatic Taos Mountain.  You could taste Syrah wines with a blindfold on, sample Tuscan wines, and enjoy après-ski tastings and much more.

The Grand Tasting at the Taos Ski Valley offers more than 150 wines and food from a dozen local restaurants.  The silent auction of rare wines benefits the Taos Community Foundation.  Click here for more info.

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