Alibi V.13 No.28 • July 8-14, 2004 

The Dish

All the News That's Fit to Eat

At Casa Rondeña
At Casa Rondeña
Stacey Adams

There's something really cool going on this weekend: Lavender in the Valley Day. A group of more than 30 growers, restaurants and shops in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque have joined together to put on a day-long festival to celebrate this aromatic flower. If you want to go, head up there early; events kick off around 7 a.m. at the growers' market. Vendors will have lavender for sale, and you can nibble on some lavender pancakes for breakfast. Next, pick up a tour map and complete list of activities at the nearby Lavender Day gazebo. They'll point you towards the free shuttle bus which will circle the village all day long. Participating businesses will be marked with special lavender flags. Your next stop should be Los Poblanos Ranch, where a field of 3,000 lavender plants will provide enough blossoms for tour participants take part in cutting their own bouquets, distilling lavender essence and drying bouquets.

Starting at 1 p.m., the beautiful Casa Rondeña Winery (733 Chavez Road) will be selling glasses of a lavender-infused sangria (made with their Riesling) and boxed lunches from Indulgence Café. Be sure to check the place out while you're there—they'll be giving tours of the vineyard and winery buildings.

If you get to Rondeña after all the boxed lunches have been munched then duck into Fremont's Fine Foods (7901 Rio Grande NW). The seventh stop on the tour, this cool specialty food shop will be serving lavender scones and lemonade. As the area's largest purveyor of foods of the British Isles, they ought to know something about scones.

Sadie's Dining Room (6230 Fourth) has promised to serve up lavender sopaipillas. Doesn't that sound interesting? It could be good and it could be ... wait, who am I kidding? Deep fried dough. It's always irresistible, whether you stuff it full of red chile and beef or dust it with lavender.

For their part, Flying Star Bakery and Café plans to serve a lavender crème brûlée. Not sure about that one? See the above description of sopaipillas.

After all of that, if you can still stand the sight of the purple stuff, hit Plants of the Southwest (6680 Fourth NW) on the way home. The whole reason lavender is so popular here is this Mediterranean plant is well-suited to hot, dry weather and flourishes in the Southwest. Put some in the yard.

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