Food and Love

Jenny's View

Dear Friends,

The margarita is the top tequila cocktail nationwide, especially on Cinco de Mayo. But New Mexicans feel we own this drink, thanks largely to our local resident, Al Lucero, author of The Great Margarita Book. Lucero eschewed the slushy blender margaritas served elsewhere, substituting 100 percent agave tequila and fresh ingredients that put the City Different on the margarita map. Lucero’s 85 different versions all embody the purity of the New Mexico margarita, though apparently the cocktail owes its popularity elsewhere in America to Jimmy Buffet’s classic party song from 1977! 

We drink margaritas year-round in New Mexico, and restaurants enjoy concocting their signature versions, like our Bell Ringer Margarita with its bracing kick of jalapeño. Personally I think hot-pink strawberry versions really stretch the definition, (as does Great Margarita Book contributor Robert Redford), but you can decide for yourself during Restaurant Week (Feb. 19-26)—the perfect occasion to add some stamps to your Margarita Trail Passport.

While we’re on the topic of fun February holidays, how about the endless debate that rages in the local press about the latest hot mess? I’m referring, of course, to nachos, which also come in a hundred local versions. All get their due on Feb. 24, National Tortilla Chip Day. (I’m not making this up!) Tortilla chips are as all-American as margaritas: The packaged version originated at El Zarape Tortilla Factory in Los Angeles, as a way to use rejects from the automated tortilla maker.

As for nachos, the story goes that waiter Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Ayala threw the dish together to satisfy some Americans who walked into his restaurant in Mexico when the chef was nowhere to be found. You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned the holiday for which February is usually known. That’s because nothing says love in Santa Fe like the marriage of Hispanic and American culinary traditions—a crazy-spicy plate of green-chile nachos with an ice-cold, pure-agave margarita.


Jennifer Lea Kimball

Recipe For Adventure

To me, cold weather invites the ultimate comfort food that should come together quickly and have minimal ingredients. Chef Lane has shared this yummy Cream of Roasted Cauliflower soup that was served January 21st at this year’s Souper Bowl in Santa Fe. Serve with some crusty bread and curl up in front of the fire. Yum! 

Cream of Roasted Cauliflower  Yield 1 gallon, Serves 6-8


2 ounces whole butter*

2 ounces olive oil

8 ounces white onion, small diced

2 pounds of cauliflower, separated into florets (save a few small roasted florets as garnish)

¾ pound Idaho potatoes, peeled, medium diced        

¾ pound carrots, peeled, medium diced

4 ounces cream sherry

1/2 gallon chicken stock, hot

16 ounces heavy cream, hot

Pinch nutmeg

Kosher salt and white pepper to taste

Chives for garnish (optional)

* Whole Butter is an uncultured emulsion of butterfat (about 80-81%), Milk Solids (1-2%) and water that comes from slightly fermented and churned or centrifuged whole milk.



1) Heat oven to 450° F, toss florets and onions with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, place on baking sheet with sides or in a roasting pan, add to hot oven and roast until golden brown and tender… approximately 30 minutes, remove and cool down.

2) In a 2-gallon pot, melt the butter over medium high heat and add the potatoes and carrots, cook until there is a little color starting on the carrots.

3) Add the cauliflower and onions to the pot and stir, now add the chicken stock and bring to boil for about 20 minutes.

4) Puree in blender with heavy cream and sherry.

5) Add back to pot and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

6) Serve and garnish with chives and a few drops of olive oil and florets.


Live at La Fonda

It’s no exaggeration to call Bill Hearne a legend nearly as deep as La Fonda itself. The classic cross-picking crooner started playing the hotel bar with his wife Bonnie in 1991. On his own with his trio since 2003, Hearne celebrates 25 years running at La Fiesta Lounge this month. 

Folks from elsewhere may puzzle at the roadhouse band that takes over La Fiesta Lounge on Monday and Tuesday nights, but in Santa Fe this is roots music—and the loyal crew of two-steppin’ dancers proves it. Hearne, who started his career in Austin, picked up a guitar at age 7 and hasn’t stopped playing in the six decades since. He and Bonnie toured Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico for decades, playing their signature mix of roots music with the likes of Lyle Lovett, Tish Hinojosa, Michael Martin Murphy and Nanci Griffith before settling in Santa Fe in 1991.


“We were hired by (former La Fonda Food & Beverage Manager) Evelyn Martinez, and the way I understand it, she was a two-stepper,” Bill recalls. “We were playing two-nighters (at another hotel) and she’d come over to dance and thought it was a cool scene, and wished they had something like that at La Fonda.” The first night they played for her, he was “scared to death,” knowing it was a kind of audition. He hoped they would get to play the bar again, and they did—over 2,600 gigs and 25 years later, Bill is still going strong. Bill's 25th Anniversary celebration will take place this month on February 7th in La Fiesta Lounge starting at 7:30. Join us for the festivities, music, cake and a champagne toast. 

Bonnie’s health forced her to quit in 2003, but Bill forged on with his trio and four-piece Roadhouse Revue, attracting a loyalty among two-steppers that hasn’t quit. Some have been coming to dance for as long as he’s been playing, Bill says, though a number have passed on. “Barbara Hester had a plaque in the old bar—if she missed a night, she had to be flat on her back sick,” he says of his most loyal fan. After 25 years, “I still enjoy playing La Fonda as much as I ever did,” he adds. “And I’m still grateful. I don’t take it for granted, I give it my best shot every night.” 

It's a Good Time To...

Marvel at the wealth and diversity of music coming to Santa Fe this winter from across the globe—reason enough to head inside and get your groove on. From Africa to Hawaii, banjos to bagpipes, our local impresarios have gathered delights for all ears.

The Lensic’s calendar is rich and full the next two months, including six virtuoso guitarists from four countries—the Montreal and California guitar trios (Feb. 12)—and New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty with his funk/rock/jazz/hip-hop band Orleans Avenue (Mar. 3). Banjo players Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn perform some unique ying-yang (Mar. 13), while the quartet Well-Strung melds classical with pop vocals (March 14). Playing “Celtic music with Latin passion,” Carlos Núñez showcases his Galician bagpipes (March 21), and Dervish performs “Magical Music from Ireland” (Mar. 26).

Trombone Shorty

Carlos Núñez 

Elsewhere, the African Guitar Summit brings masters from Guinea, Ghana, and Madagascar to the James A. Little Theater (Feb. 28), followed by three Masters of Hawaiian Music (Mar. 5). From punk to alt-country to rock, Alejandro Escovedo has morphed again in a collaborative turn toward rock ‘n’ roll which he brings to Skylight (Mar. 4)



Singer-songwriters always play well in Santa Fe, coming to the Lensic, Texas guitar legend Eric Johnson has been long missed (Feb. 10). Also at the Lensic are Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves (Feb. 26), songwriter Jimmy Webb recalling his years working with Glen Campbell (Mar. 4), and songwriters Hayes Carll, Bob Schneider, and Eliza Gilkyson performing apart and together (Mar. 10). The Dawes return to the city that inspired their start (Mar. 22). 

Elsewhere, singer-songwriter/surfer Donavon Frankenreiter joins Grant-Lee Phillips at Skylight (Mar. 7), followed by the nine-piece “Powerfunk” Brooklyn band Turkuaz (Mar. 11). At Meow Wolf, it’s Clozee and Psymbionic (Feb. 3), The Chain Gang of 1974 (Feb. 9), Detroit Lightning (Feb. 10),  Angel Olsen (Feb. 11), Devendra Banhart (Feb. 13), ), DJ Tennis (Feb. 18), Tacocat (Feb. 20), Priests (Feb. 25), The Wild Reeds with Blank Range (Feb. 28), Lady Lamb (Mar. 6), Mykki Blanco (Mar. 9), Desert Daze Caravan (Mar. 12), LVL UP (Mar.13) and Princess Nokia (Mar. 18).

Dianne Reeves

The Dawes


On the classical side, Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux joins the Santa Fe Symphony orchestra for a concert recital of classical guitar works (Feb. 16), followed by an evening of Rodrigo, Dvořák and Schubert (Feb. 19) at the Lensic. Then violinist Jinjoo Cho joins the orchestra in a program of Glazunov and Mahler (Mar. 19). The Santa Fe Community Orchestra performs its free mid-season concert with its chorus and choirs from local schools at the Lensic (March 5). At First Presbyterian Church, the symphony chorus will perform three European masses (Mar. 12).


                         Jason Vieaux

The New Mexico Performing Arts Society plays its annual Valentine’s concert “La Catrina Quartet” at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel (Feb. 5). And the chamber ensemble Serenata of Santa Fe offers concerts on the themes Complex Stories (Feb. 12) and Paris (Mar. 26) at First Presbyterian Church. 


Montreal-based circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main performs the gourmet-inspired Cuisine and Confessions (Feb. 21-22) at the Lensic. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet delves into multimedia with Shadowland (Feb. 28), while comic Brian Regan stops in for an evening of standup (Mar. 2). TOr catch comedian Ian Harris at Skylight (Mar. 9). The high-energy drummers of Kodo: Taiko Performing Arts Ensemble push the boundaries of the art with dance and vocals (Mar. 23) at the Lensic, followed by Menopause the Musical, a parody featuring classic tunes from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. And ladies, it’s true—Magic Mike is on tour and coming to Skylight, so save your dollar bills (Feb. 9).

Met Live in HD has a busy season in swing, with a new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka (two shows, Feb. 25), Verdi’s La Traviata (two shows, Mar. 11), and a rare revival of Mozart’s Idomeneo (two shows, Mar. 25). Meanwhile, National Theatre Live will broadcast Amadeus, winner of multiple Olivier and Tony Awards (Feb. 2), followed by Bernard Shaw’s classic Saint Joan (Feb. 17) and a new version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (Mar. 9).     

Les 7 Doigts de la Main

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - Shadowland

Menopause The Musical

Out and About

For the eighth year in a row, Santa Fe Restaurant Week (Feb, 19-26) offers curious diners special prix fixe dinners from top chefs at $15 to $45. Of course La Plazuela will once again participate so check out the menu and get your reservations in soon by calling 505-995-2334.

The list of the participating restaurants grows as the date approaches, so go to their website and make your reservations early. Also, the second annual Mezcal & Tequila Festival features tastings, paired dinners, and classes (Feb. 10-11).

ARTSmart raises money for art programs in Santa Fe schools through fun events combining food, art and design. The Annual Dinner and Auction takes place Feb. 25, followed by the free self-guided Art of Home Tour (Feb. 25-26) of 15 residences in a range of prices and styles staged with artwork for sale.

Kids rule during spring break as hotels, restaurants and attractions offer deals for the whole family, including La Fonda’s invitation to bring two adults and two children to experience Meow Wolf’s one-of-a-kind interactive immersive experience known as the mysterious House of Eternal Return.

Indulge in all things bead-related at Bead Fest Santa Fe (Mar. 23-26), with workshops and a jewelry expo at the convention center.

At the Museums

The Museum of Indian Arts & Culture opens an exhibit of work by Frank Buffalo Hyde. In I-Witness Culture, the Onondaga/Nez Perce artist uses street art to explore where Native Americans exist in the present (Feb. 3).  Also at the museum, Toadlena Trading Post owners Mark and Linda Winter talk about the history of their historic Navajo trading post and the Toadlena/Two Grey Hills weavers they work with (Mar. 16).

Frank Buffalo Hyde            


Toadlena Trading Post

The Museum of International Folk Art is opening No Idle Hands: The Myths & Meanings of Tramp Art, a woodworking style from the 1870s to 1940s erroneously attributed to hobos. It is the first large-scale museum exhibit of so-called tramp art in over 40 years (Mar. 12). 

The New Mexico Museum of Art opens Alcoves 16/17 #7, five more in a series showcasing contemporary New Mexico artists (Feb. 3), with a gallery talk Mar. 3. Come make Valentines cards and collages, and explore the museum on a love-themed treasure hunt Feb. 12. Young New Mexico poets compete in a statewide championship March 12. Paintings in the museum collection by Cady Wells  will open Mar. 24. The museum is also participating in Editing for Equality, a communal updating of Wikipedia entries on subjects related to art and feminism (Mar. 11).

Come check out the newly revamped and upgraded House of Eternal Return at Meow Wolf at an unveiling party (Feb. 2) featuring new rooms and sculptures. If you haven’t checked out this one-of-a-kind surrealistic art experience, now is the time!

Learn drawing composition in a free family program at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (Feb. 11) or learn to paint in a half-day workshop (Feb. 18, 25). You can explore the painter’s ideas about cooking with Santa Fe School of Cooking chefs (Feb. 15).


The Lannan Foundation’s literary speaker series joins poet Eileen Myles with critic Dan Chiasson (Feb. 15) and Pulitzer winner Viet Thanh Nguyen with novelist Maxine Hong Kingston (Mar. 29); in current affairs, journalist Glenn Greenwald speaks with Tom Engelhardt (Feb. 1), and environmental activist Terry Tempest Williams joins novelist Colum McCann (Mar. 8), all at the Lensic.

Free winter lectures at the New Mexico Museum of Art’s St. Francis Auditorium include author Nancy Bartlit speaking on the Santa Fe Japanese internment camp (Feb. 28) and author Carmella Padilla on Hispano art and culture (Mar. 28).   

Viet Thanh Nguyen


Terry Tempest Williams 


La Fonda and Santa Fe In the News

  • Ion Oklahoma “La Fonda on the Plaza- A look back in time combined with modern trendsREAD MORE  

  • Mountain Meetings  “Updates from Santa Fe: An Unexpected Mountain DestinationREAD MORE

  • San Antonio Woman  Eat, Stay Play in Santa Fe- Year-Round Fun in “The City Different”  READ MORE      

  • PaperCity Magazine: Girlfriends' Guide to Santa Fe: The Best Restaurants, Hotels & Shopping For an Underrated Getaway  READ MORE   

  • Love La Fonda? Help us win in the hotel category for the Travel & Leisure World Awards by voting HERE.