Each time I show up at a growers' market, it’s like coming home. Even if it's one I've never visited. As soon as it comes into view, I feel like I already know the people I'm about to meet, like I've slipped into a recurring dream that’s always different yet familiar. That’s why if, during the next few weeks, you don’t find yourself reading about too many restaurants in this space, I hope you understand. I haven’t been eating at restaurants much. Instead I’ve been haunting the markets, bringing home the goodness and cooking it into 10,000 permutations of green chile, corn, calabacitas, garlic and meat, and washing it down with melon juice.
Ten miles north from Bernalillo, right by theexit ramp for the San Felipe truck stop and casino, the San Felipe market convenes on Wednesday evenings. The vibe is funky, jovial, relaxed and no-nonsense, with a slightly lawless feeling: Some vendors drive into the market while it’s going full-swing to set up their booths. It’s also a reminder of what an amazing melting pot New Mexico is.
A good Alfredo has a kiss of nutmeg in the sauce. Masala means an amalgam of spices. Traditional Peking duck requires infusing the bird with star anise and other flavorings. What they all have in common are spices.
Martin Ly is a local classical guitarist who attended Manzano High School before studying classical guitar performance at the University of New Mexico. The guitar program at UNM, as one might recall, is headed by the heady and totally awesome Michael Chapdelaine, who's been guiding young hands as they explore the frets and frequencies associated with the nylon-stringed axe for over 30 years. It figures then, that Ly rocks too; you can hear his amazing reach and subtle sonics…
Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey and Southern Food Pairing
By Robin Babb
Flights to Kentucky are expensive, and they have Polar Vortices over there. (Yes, that is the plural of vortex. Look it up.) Instead of making that trek on the hunt for some strong liquor and Southern hospitality, why not do some barstool tourism at O’Neill’s Pub in Nob Hill? This Wednesday, Feb. 20, come by to enjoy pairings of four Kentucky bourbon whiskeys with four Southern comfort dishes any time between 5 and 8pm. You’ll sip on Eagle Rare, E.H. Taylor, Buffalo Trace and Blanton's bourbon while the kitchen serves up fried green tomatoes, honey corn fritters, smoked brisket and a pecan pie tart. Not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night, huh? The pairing is $25 per person and, obviously, only for those 21 or older.
Although this is the big week for romantic candlelit dinners, hopefully you make time for a few of those at other times of the year as well. If not, well, maybe it’s time to start. Here’s a few of our suggestions for places to take your sweetie out to dinner on a special day, even if that special day is just “Friday, and it’s been a long week.” You’ll probably want to make reservations for these ones, and wear your nice shoes.