You know what's weird? About half of the way through Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow—the retro-future film in which Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow save the world from robot attackers—I realized that so far nobody had eaten anything. I made a bet with myself that nobody would, either. I mean, what is retro-future food? In case you haven't seen the movie, Sky Captain has the look and feel (mostly computer generated) of a film about the future made in the '40s. Somehow, it seemed unlikely that the director would sway the viewers' attention with the introduction of pot roast pellets or tuna casserole injections. Would Sky Captain pause before climbing into the cockpit, pull out a small plastic case and place on his tongue a dissolving film, not a breath-freshening mint, but one that releases the full flavor of turkey and all the trimmings? Probably not. The only two foods I did notice in the film (and honestly, I had to go to brandcameo.com to recall them) were Coke and Dubble Bubble. Maybe imagining Jetsons-style meal-replacement mints was silly. If there's any food that will make it into the future, it's certainly going to be Coke. And if Dubble Bubble, the gum with the flavor that disappears after a minute of chewing, is still going strong after 80 years, it'll still be here when the giant robots come to kill us all.
Downtown's El Chamizal Mexican restaurant (Fifth Street and Central) is now Paco's New Mexican restaurant. After taking over at the end of September, the Aviles family quickly painted over the El Chamizal logo and simply added "New" to the words below it. They later repainted the entire sign, but for most Downtown lunchers the temporary fix was good enough. (The Central Avenue corridor has been without a New Mexican restaurant for a while now, though many cafés serve New Mexican items on their menus.) Paco's is a family business, Marisol Aviles said last week. She and her siblings—sister Gabriela and brothers Martin and Paco—run the place together. They agreed to name the restaurant after Paco because he's the cook, and the one with 18 years of experience in the restaurant business, most recently at Garcias Kitchen, Marisol said. The Aviles Family have also drafted Mom, Dad and various nieces to help out, the guys in the kitchen and the ladies out front. The family grew up mostly in Mexico but most members have been in the States for years. Marisol said they decided to focus on New Mexican food because of its simplicity and Paco's experience with the food. Paco's serves breakfast all day, including pancakes and omelets alongside huevos and breakfast burritos. Speaking of breakfast burritos, the tortillas here are notably delicious. They're thick, fluffy and taste suspiciously homemade—because they are! Marisol informed me that they make all of the tortillas in-house as well as the dough for sopaipillas and Indian tacos. A few dishes on Paco's menu, the flan, sweet rice and salsa are made in the traditional Mexican fashion from family recipes. Paco's serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday; and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday. Check it out when you're in the mood for a really nice tortilla.
Dan Murray, a successful salesman for large and powerful wine distributors, has been a familiar figure in New Mexico's wine business for a decade. But now Murray has quit his corporate gig and, with a small group of investors, bought a small Santa Fe company called Boutique Wines. Last week we chatted about wine, working for The Man and the transition to working for yourself.
Today we celebrate the apple, that sweet, tart and firm-fleshed fruit of autumn. Fragrant like its cousin the rose, the apple blushes but isn't a pushover.