Standing the Test of Time
You may have noticed it the first time you walked into La Fonda, the relief visible on people’s faces from stepping back in time. It’s like when you walk into the monuments in Washington, D.C., or castles in Europe—the recognition that once upon a time, people built things like they were confident of lasting forever. That’s not always how some approach modern architecture today, so it’s a great comfort to realize that these buildings have survived into the present. They are monuments to their own endurance.
Working in a historical building also affects the way you think, in a subtle way, every day. It helps put things in perspective, to move within walls that existed in the time of your ancestors. I find it calming, a reminder not to get too excited about the ups and downs of present times and especially my own daily life. The faces in the century-old paintings seem to smile with kind tolerance at my anxieties. “This too shall pass.”
That’s why history matters, and why we crave old things in a time when everything seems to be as fleeting as the posts scrolling by in your Facebook newsfeed. The endurance of grand old buildings like La Fonda reminds us that some things haven’t changed, and probably won’t anytime soon. This year our beloved hotel, a monument to “Santa Fe style,” turns a stately 95 years old—a legacy we are commemorating with the volume La Fonda: Then & Now. Just launched, this 224-page history was several years in the making and a project near to my heart.
I am so thrilled to honor our grande dame hotel—just named Best Historic Hotel of its size in the country and best hotel in the state of New Mexico—with a biography worthy of her! If you didn’t find yours under the Christmas tree, gift yourself with this coffee table pick-me-up for those moments when the tides of change threaten your feeling of security.
For auld lang syne,
Jennifer Lea Kimball
Recipe For Adventure
Winter calls for warm, hearty meals accompanied by a full-bodied wine. And Osso bucco, an Italian dish that traditionally braises veal shanks, satisfies on all counts. Chef Lane loves to use wild game for the deep, full flavors it produces.
Braised Venison Osso Bucco, Santa Fe - Serves 4
8 each- 4 ounce Venison shanks cut for osso bucco
2 quarts venison or veal stock
10 ounces Spanish onion, chopped
5 ounces carrot, peeled and chopped
5 ounces celery, chopped
1 ounce roasted garlic cloves
4 each chile chipotles, dry or 2 each if canned in adobo sauce
8 ounces tomatillos, roasted
2 tomatoes, roasted (peeled & seeded)
1 Tablespoon fresh epazote, chopped or 1 teaspoon dry
6 ounces Spanish Sherry
2 ounces vegetable oil
To Taste - Salt, Pepper and Cumin
1) In a two gallon, oven-proof pan, heat the vegetable oil until smoking.
2) Season meat with salt, pepper and cumin. Sear, remove and set aside.
3) Add the onions and carrots to pan and caramelize.
4) Add the celery, garlic, chipotles, tomatoes, tomatillos and epazote, cook this for a few minutes.
5) Add the Sherry to deglaze
6) Put the venison back in the pan, add the stock and bring to a boil.
7) Turn down to a simmer, cover and place in a 250 degree oven for about 2 ½ hours or until meat is fork tender.
8) Remove the meat, strain the stock through a chinoise and reduce the stock until you have enough to it lightly coat the meat with a thin even layer .
9) Plate and serve with your favorite potatoes and vegetables.
Live at La Fonda
Together, the polished musicians in Jimmy Stadler’s band count more than a half century of playing La Fiesta Lounge, either backing up Bill Hearne or in solo and duo configurations. It’s still the best gig there is in Santa Fe, says Jimmy.
With a repertoire that tops 600 songs spanning blues, rock, country, and Americana, the multi-instrumentalist Stadler and his bass player Dave Toland (married to our own Street Feet co-owner, Lou Ann) and drummer Mark Clark are pleased as can be that the band’s original tunes are the most requested. They have won New Mexico Music Awards for best CD and best song, and after decades of playing La Fonda, they’ll often look out to see the audience singing along.
“It’s always special at La Fonda,” says Stadler, noting that many of the hotel staff have been around as long as the band has. He’s been playing with Toland, a regular in Bill Hearne’s band, for 17 years. Drummer Clark has been with them four years, and previously toured with Ottmar Liebert and John Popper of the Blues Travelers. Nowadays, says Stadler, they just tailor their sets to the crowd that shows up, which always includes some devoted dancers. He likes to jam—“I can go off on piano, guitar, or mandolin”—but he always yields the floor to Mark and Dave for solos. “When they rock out, I’m always so proud. It’s really a treat to play with these guys,” he says.
Ski bums who make their home in Taos, the band enjoys playing the City Different because it doesn’t shut down at 10 p.m., Stadler laughs. “It’s such a happening thing, the Plaza. I feel pretty privileged playing there. I meet people from all over the world, and it opens doors—that’s how we got to go play Chicago this summer. It’s a prestigious gig.” Catch Jimmy Stadler and his band in La Fiesta Lounge the weekends of Jan. 20-21 and Feb. 10-11.
It's a Good Time To...
Catch the powder before it disappears! Ski season is short in New Mexico, so don’t wait to hit the slopes or trails. You don’t need any skills but just a love of fun to grab an inner tube and make like a kid at any tempting incline in the Santa Fe National Forest.
You can sled pretty much where you like in the national forest. Just head up Hyde Park Road toward Ski Santa Fe and pull over where you’re inspired. One popular spot is Hyde Memorial Park, a few miles up, where plastic sleds and snow gear are sometimes sold on site. The Dale Ball Trail system is also popular, as is Aspen Vista Trail—though these two are also used by snowshoe and cross-country ski enthusiasts. Several stores in town rent skis, snowboards, snowshoes, and the like, or sell plastic toboggans and discs. Tire shops in town will not be surprised if you stop in to buy an inner tube, the sliding device of choice in the Land of Enchantment.
Ski Santa Fe
Downhill skiers already know about Ski Santa Fe and Taos Ski Valley, but there are smaller, lower-cost lifts within a one or two-hour drive, like Pajarito Mountain, Sipapu, Red River, and Sandia Peak, which are geared to local residents and may sometimes have more snow.
Cross-country skiers and snowshoers have a range of options, from the Santa Fe National Forest and Valles Caldera to developed trails at Pajarito Nordic Ski Trail, Enchanted Forest, Angel Fire Nordic, and for yurt-based touring, the Southwest Nordic Center. (And here’s a link for you competitive XC racers.)
And, when you need to warm up after skiing on the mountain, make sure to check out the annual Souper Bowl, which benefits The Food Depot, and is one of the more popular local events for Santa Feans. La Fonda's, Chef Lane, will be making a creamy soup this year. Held Saturday, January 30th from 12:00 to 2:30PM at the Community Convention center, local Santa Feans and visitors alike get to sample and vote on some of the best soups made by the community's finest restaurants.
The Santa Fe Symphony introduces a new principal conductor, Guillermo Figueroa, with a concert of Sibelius, Mozart and Brahms (Jan. 22) at the Lensic, followed by Rodrigo, Dvořák and Schubert, including the latter’s “Unfinished Symphony.” Grammy Award-winning guitarist Jason Vieaux joins the symphony for a guitar concerto (Feb. 19), following a solo concert recital of classical and contemporary adaptations (Feb. 16) at the Lensic. The Santa Fe Pro Musica orchestra will celebrate Mozart’s birthday with violinist Benjamin Beilman at the Lensic (Jan. 28-29), with an optional artist dinner on Sunday.
Elsewhere, the Brentano String Quartet plays a concert in honor of the New Mexico Museum of Art’s centennial in its St. Francis Auditorium (Jan. 15). Enjoy another vocal concert at the Cathedral Basilica with Grammy-winning polyphonic octet Roomful of Teeth (Jan. 21). The New Mexico Performing Arts Society plays its annual Valentine’s concert “La Catrina Quartet” at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel (Feb. 5). The chamber ensemble Serenata of Santa Fe gathers unique compositions under the headings “Harmonic Divergents” (Jan. 15) and “Complex Stories” (Feb. 12) at First Presbyterian Church. And Joseph Illick continues his popular performance talks with an exploration of Franz Schubert at the United Church of Santa Fe (Jan. 31).
|Roomful of Teeth|| |
In contemporary music, Americana songwriters Dave Alvin, James McMurty, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore perform together at the Lensic (Jan. 14), followed by the Grammy-nominated, family-friendly Trout Fishing in America (Jan. 15) and singer-songwriter David Bromberg (Jan. 25). Then, Texas guitar legend Eric Johnson touring with his first all-acoustic album (Feb. 10), and multiple Grammy-winning jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves. Six virtuoso guitarists from four countries representing the Montreal and California guitar trios take the stage (Feb. 12), and then six African guitar masters at the James A. Little Theater (Feb. 28). At Meow Wolf, it’s Clozee and Psymbionic on their BioHackers Tour (Feb. 3), indie singer-songwriter Angel Olsen (Feb. 11), Devendra Banhart (Feb. 13) touring with his ninth album, and punk band Priests (Feb. 25) ) and harmonic L.A. band The Wild Reeds (Feb. 28)..
Montreal-based circus company Les 7 Doigts de la Main performs the gourmet-inspired Cuisine and Confessions (Feb. 21-22) at the Lensic, where Aspen Santa Fe Ballet ventures likewise into multimedia with Shadowland (Feb. 28). Performance Santa Fe stages a free opera, Mikado in abridged form, at the Scottish Rite Center (Jan. 11, 13, 14, 15).
At the Lensic, Met Live in HD simulcasts a new production of Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette (two shows, Jan. 21), followed by Verdi’s Nabucco with Placido Domingo in the title role (two shows, Jan. 7), and a new production of Dvořák’s Rusalka starring Kristine Opolais (two shows, Feb. 25), all at the Lensic. Also, National Theatre Live in HD will broadcast the iconic Amadeus, winner of multiple Olivier and Tony Awards, performed with orchestral accompaniment (Feb. 2).
Les 7 Doigts de la Main
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet - Shadowland
Roméo et Juliette
The Lannan Foundation’s literary speaker series joins sci-fi author China Miéville with literature professor Jord/ana Rosenberg (Jan. 18), and poet Eileen Myles with critic Dan Chiasson (Feb. 15); in current affairs, journalist Glenn Greenwald speaks with Tom Engelhardt (Feb. 1), all at the Lensic.
Topics in New Mexico history are covered in three winter lectures at the New Mexico Museum of Art’s St. Francis Auditorium, including Paul Hutton on the Apache Wars (Jan. 31) and author Nancy Bartlit on the Santa Fe Japanese internment camp (Feb. 28).
Discover what the latest scholarship has found about Georgia O’Keeffe, in a discussion with former O’Keeffe Research Center Fellow Alicia Guzman and the O’Keeffe Museum curator Cody Hartley (Jan. 4).
La Fonda and Santa Fe In the News