Tasting Away in Margaritaville™

The City Different launches the Santa Fe Margarita Trail

Jenny's View

Dear Friends,

We celebrate Cinco de Mayo around here as we do most holidays, by reveling in our city’s innovative cuisine and cocktails. This year the holiday gets even more festive with the official launch of Santa Fe’s answer to Scotland’s Malt Whiskey Trail and our own state’s Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail and Breakfast Burrito Byway. If you love a bite of salt and lime with your red and green—as many New Mexicans do—you may have noticed that La Fonda now has three signature versions of our state drink, made with 100 percent agave: the spicy Bell Ringer Margarita in our Bell Tower Bar, the Centennial Margarita in La Plazuela, and the Don Rael Margarita in the redesigned La Fiesta Lounge, which our mixologist named for himself!


If that’s not enough margaritas for every day of your trip, the new self-guided trail includes over 30 bars and restaurants that are rolling out their own top-shelf creations. You can add two stamps a day to your margarita passport (to encourage drinking responsibly), and qualify for T-shirts and other prizes at each level. Santa Fe was the first North American destination for tequila imported from Mexico, so we definitely can lay claim to being Margaritaville™!

The inn at the end of the Santa Fe Trail also plans to be the inn at the start of the Santa Fe Margarita Trail, thanks to our Book, Lime & Shaker promotion, which should get you well on the way to earning stamps without even having to designate a driver.

Looking for my lost shaker of salt,

Jennifer Lea Kimball

Margaritaville™ is owned and trademarked by MARGARITAVILLE ENTERPRISES, LLC 

Recipe For Adventure

This is a far cry from army-green split pea soup. Cooking the peas briefly retains their vibrant color and keeps the finished soup looking and tasting bright. Delicious warm or chilled, it's a springtime staple.

Fresh Pea Soup - Serves 8  Yields 1/2 gallon


2 oz. butter

1 bunch leaks, white part only, thin sliced

8 oz. Idaho potato, small diced

1 qt. chicken stock

2 lb. fresh peas, you may use a good quality frozen

To taste, kosher salt and white pepper

1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves



- Cook the leeks and potatoes in the butter on medium heat until leeks are translucent, now add the chicken stock and simmer until potatoes are tender.

- Add peas and remove from heat.

- Puree in blender and season to your liking with salt and pepper

- Garnish with some chopped cilantro and crispy fried onions or fresh peas and a dollop of sour cream, if you wish…..


Live at La Fonda

A happy musician in downtown Santa Fe, Antonio Avila turns heads with his odd-looking harp that produces sounds not usually heard in church. North Americans may be surprised to learn that Avila’s strings make a most appropriate soundtrack for Cinco de Mayo.

The Mexican harp is, in fact, one of the principal instruments in the traditional mariachi band, along with violins and guitars, and the music typically played on it is the son (“soun”), folk music from the state of Jalisco. Avila picked up his 80-year-old harp on Craigslist a couple of years ago, after the one he had been playing for 15 years wore out. In the U.S., there are not many resources for playing the Mexican harp or fixing it.

He picked up the instrument as an adult after being forced to play the violin as a boy. In the six or so years he has lived in Santa Fe, Avila has accompanied weddings, funerals, baptisms – the traditional venues for mariachis – as well as playing outdoors, where he enjoys introducing people to the instrument. La Fiesta Lounge booking manager Jose Suniga heard him playing on the Plaza and invited him to play at La Fonda.

Audiences are quite appreciative, Avila says, as “most of them are from out of town and having a beer or what-have-you, and I imagine they don’t expect a harp player.” The familiar folk music he plays – son, rancheras, polkas – sound unique coming from the harp. “When you see it, you really want to hear what it can do,” he says. He does not consider himself an expert, he adds, but just wants to share that Mexican music is not all brassy horns and tequila shots. Come hear him play on May 22 and June 19, and judge for yourself.

It's a Good Time To...

Outside Magazine, which is based here in Santa Fe, puts on a weekend celebration May 19-22 that includes riding, eating, concerts, and tasting New Mexico’s fine craft beers. We are sweetening the deal at La Fonda with our Gear Up package for cyclists, whether you Bike & Brew, ride the Santa Fe Century (May 22) along the Turquoise Trail, or book a custom tour.

If you prefer hooves to spokes, the annual Rodeo de Santa Fe offers an extended weekend of down-home competition that includes barrel racing, mutton bustin’, and other traditional Western hijinks (June 22-25), ushered in by the popular parade past the Plaza (June 18). Catch custom lowriders cruising the Plaza on May 22, when the New Mexico History Museum offers free admission to its lowrider exhibit.

Formerly known as Passport to the Arts, the Canyon Road Spring Art Festival features art walks and gallery events May 6-7, including the Artist Slow Draw on Saturday. The Annual Edible Art Tour invites you to “gaze and graze” at 20-plus art galleries serving comestibles from the city’s finest restaurants, all to raise money for art programs for Santa Fe youth (June 10-11). 

The community-driven annual Fantase Fest includes more than 125 local organizations promoting downtown walkability and vibrancy through new media, art installations, and performance (June 18).


Vying with the city’s new Margarita Trail, New Mexico’s “most spirited festival” promises to add another celebration of the city’s dining culture, as NM Cocktails & Culture presents seminars, parties, and tastings over Memorial Day weekend (June 3-6) at venues yet to be determined.


Alien-hunters will be heading to the inaugural Dulce Base UFO Conference, put on by the Jicarilla Apache in the remote northern part of the state (May 14-15). Closer to home, the unique wildlife park and rescue facility known as Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood offers a Chuckwagon Supper Show on Saturday nights in summer, with falcon shows, hayrides, and musical entertainment. Never heard of the Albuquerque Isotopes? Well here’s your chance to see the Duke City baseball team for free on Santa Fe Day (May 15), with free T-shirts and City Different celebrities


At the Museums

The annual Native Treasures Indian Art Festival offers the work of some 200 juried Native artists selling direct to the public to benefit the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (May 27-29), opening with a gala celebration on Friday night.

You can also hunt for bargains at the Museum of International Folk Art’s 7th Annual Folk Art Flea, which offers gently used folk art at bargain prices (May 7). On May 14 the museum will be celebrating spring Andalusian style at Feria, an evening of music, dancing, and tapas with free flamenco lessons.

At the Santa Fe Botanical Garden, spring offers many classes for high-desert gardeners, plus events anyone can enjoy, such as sunset viewing, mindfulness practice, bird walks, or yoga in the gardens.

At El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum, spring brings the annual celebration of traditional crafts (May 14-15), Fiber Arts Fair (June 4), and Herb & Lavender Festival (June 18). 

The New Mexico History Museum is opening Fractured Faiths (May 22), the first major exhibition about Crypto-Jews in North America (through Dec. 31). On May 6 the museum honors civil rights hero Minoru Yasui, posthumously given the Presidential Medal of Freedom (May 6).

Father’s Day (June 19) is Community Day at the museum, with author Denise Chavez speaking on lowrider culture, plus a free family workshop painting a miniature metal car. Other events at the museum include the talk “Kit Carson and Lucien Maxwell, Compadres” (May 11) and make-a-kite day for the family (May 15).




The contemporary arts and music venue known as Meow Wolf opened to great fanfare in March, and has begun hosting concerts such as L.A. band Chicano Batman (May 3) and experimental musical performers Lucky Dragons (June 4).

At the Lensic, jazz icon Jack DeJohnette performs with tap dancer Savion Glover (May 22), and the legendary Leon Russell brings his unmistakable sound to the stage June 4. Speaking of legends, John Mayall will be playing the revamped venue now called Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company (formerly Sol) on Father’s Day (June 19). World music duo Rising Appalachia play Skylight (May 18), while blues-rocker Danielia Cotton plays a free concert at the Railyard (May 28) to inaugurate the summer concert series, followed by eight-piece soul band Orgone (June 18). GiG Performance Space presents the Leni Stern African Trio (June 17), followed by Little Tybee (June 28) from Atlanta.

​The classical music season is winding down, but superstar pianist Yuja Wang will be playing Brahms, Schumann and Beethoven (May 9) at the Lensic, with more Beethoven from Van Cliburn Crystal Award winner Sean Chen at the Beethoven Festival, featuring guest conductor Ryan McAdams (May 14-15).

And renowned electric cellist Jami Sieber plays Center Stage Santa Fe at the Center for Spiritual Living (May 14).

Film & Performance

                                                                            Recitals take the stage this month at the Lensic as indigenous teens in a filmmaking workshop present their best work (May 5), ,as does City of Dreamers, a multi-agency storytelling event that showcases youth from Santa Fe’s overlooked, immigrant-driven South Side (May 8). The New Mexico School for the Arts shows its finest work at ArtSpring 2016 (May 19), followed by a champagne reception and gala (May 20). Lifesongs concert is a project that joins senior artists and youth, hospice patients, and others to create a collaborative performance about end-of-life insights, screening May 7 at the Lensic. 

Yet another recital takes place May 28 when the School of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents its 200-plus dancers in training, followed the next night by Folklorico, inspired by the traditions of Mexico, showcasing original choreography by students in the after-school program (May 29).

Award-winning comedian David Cross comes to town with his touring stand-up act, Making America Great Again (May 4) at the Lensic.

Dine on stage at the Lensic when the nonprofit performance space holds its annual fundraising gala Passage to India (June 18), with Indian-themed cuisine. Or enjoy la dulce vita during CineFesta Italia, a celebration of the films, foods, and culture of Italy to benefit local charities, including dinner with a Sicilian mayor and four days of films (June 2-4).


The Lensic hosts former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück (May 11) and comics artist Lynda Barry (May 31), followed by author John McWhorter, who debunks the myth that language shapes our experience of the world (June 7). 

La Fonda and Santa Fe In the News

Santa Fe New Mexican “In updating its popular La Fiesta Lounge, La Fonda evokes its history” CLICK HERE to read more.

The Denver Post  15 new things to do, see and eat in Santa Fe” CLICK HERE to read more

Haute Living: Inside a Haute Southwestern Road Trip CLICK HERE to read more