July 13 was the official opening of Cool Water Fusion Restaurant in Wyoming Mall Shopping Center. The location is not visible unless you’re driving through the center’s expansive parking lot, but I guarantee that once you find it, you’ll happily make a return trip. On a visit to Cool Water Fusion, I learn that it is the creation of Glenn Williams and Jason Upshaw, both formerly of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center’s Pueblo Harvest Café and Bakery.
A native Santa Fean, Williams earned his chops in management; at 27, he was the youngest General Manager of the Year for Humperdink's restaurants in Texas. He’s also no slouch in the kitchen, as I learned by sampling his bread pudding—a no-fruit, straight-up bread and custard classic—topped with vanilla ice cream. Upshaw, former executive chef at Pueblo Harvest, met Williams when he joined its staff as the restaurant’s general manager. Their combined skills brought new excitement to the Pueblo Harvest menu with such signatures as bison short ribs.
New Mexican for the old guard
One morning while waiting for a plate of huevos rancheros at Cocina Azul, some sort of meeting started taking place at a group of tables by the piano. Owner Frank Barela told me later that Cocina Azul has become a popular meeting place for local politicians, judges and other operators, and that Henry Tafoya sometimes does his KDEF 1150 AM radio show from the dining room, via cell phone.