Chef Kent Dagnall, most recently of Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, is now Pastry Chef at Annapurna Chai House (Silver and Yale). Dagnall will be helping owner Yashoda Naidoo expand the bakery aspect of the business, a challenge since everything at Annapurna is vegetarian and much of it is vegan. Naidoo and her staff had been making a small amount of muffins, cheesecakes, different Indian sweets and cookies, but Dagnall, who has extensive experience with vegetarian cooking, will be greatly expanding the restaurant's sweet repertoire. Annapurna now has two locations, one at Juan Tabo and the other at Silver and Yale. The original Annapurna, at San Mateo and Copper, is now Mediterranean Café. Naidoo said she vacated that space because the kitchen was too small and she had outgrown it. In fact, business is so good, Naidoo says that she's in the process of opening another location of her vegetarian café and that's why she's especially glad to have Dagnall now. "He speaks my language," she told me. "I'm planning my Santa Fe store, and now I know I have somebody in the kitchen I can trust. He's just like me. He experiments." Naidoo didn't have full details on the Santa Fe location because she's still in negotiation for the space, but she did say that it'll be just like her Albuquerque restaurants, about the same size as the University location.
Reader Monte Mitzfelt e-mailed in response to Elaine Kaufmann's story about looking for breakfast in Socorro. Kaufmann wrote, "Our East Coast tourist mentality made us sure that we would find an adorable little café or something along the way [to Bosque del Apache]. Or there would be a nice little cafeteria there. Open at 6:00 a.m. With fresh coffee. And yummy homemade baked goods."
Mitzfelt responds, "There is an adorable café, Martha's Black Dog Café and Bakery, at 110 Manazares, just off the Plaza. Unfortunately, it opens at 7:30 a.m." But Mitzfelt had another suggestion, too. "In a pinch, local favorite El Camino Restaurant (707 North California) is open 24 hours. They may even have some homemade baked goods." Thanks, Monte!
New Mexico farmers noted for their sustainable agriculture practices. Michael Alexander and Sharlene Grunerud of No Cattle Company, received an honorable mention from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, as part of their annual Patrick Madden Award for Sustainable Agriculture contest. Alexander and Grunerud manage No Cattle Company, an organic farm on the Mimbres River in southwestern New Mexico, and Grunerud also manages the Silver City farmers' market. No Cattle has nine acres of orchards and five acres dedicated to vegetables and flowers, but the rest of their nearly 30 acres are for wildlife. Joan Quinn of the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission co-nominated the pair who, in addition to farming, host tours for 5- and 6-year-olds in the state's Head Start program, university students, garden club members and farmers, hoping to share the sustainable practices that have made them successful. Congratulations, guys.