October 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Guacamole is omnipresent in New Mexico. Every supermarket sells a version of the avocado dip. Best of the bunch is the fresh packaged guacamole at Whole Foods. This is good guacamole, not great guacamole. The same could be said about the guacamole served in HG’s favorite restaurants dispensing authentic Northern New Mexican cooking: El Parasol, Sopaipilla Factory and Tia Sophia’s. Great guacamole is served at Gabriel’s, a large restaurant with a spectacular terrace, located 15 miles north of Santa Fe on highway 285. The guacamole is prepared table-side. A cart is pulled up to the table and a server scoops guacamole into a Molcajete (a round, volcanic stone bowl with three short legs). The server adds garlic, chopped onion and tomato, jalapeño peppers, cilantro, lime juice and salt. Pounds the mix with a Tejolote (stone pestle) into a proper consistency. Splendid. Even greater guacamole is prepared Chez HG/BSK. A swift and simple preparation. The Pojoaquë Super Market, a few minutes drive from HG/BSK’s, prepares fresh tomato based salsa, tomatillo salsa and pico de gallo daily (as well as ceviche). All are made by local women and have a down home taste. For a spicy (not fiery) guacamole, HG mixes (to taste) spoonfuls of the two salsas and adds an exuberant amount of freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice. Salt and pepper. Using a wooden fork and spoon, HG chops the mix into a smooth but chunky texture. HG serves pico de gallo (heavy on jalapeños) on the side for those who like fire in their mouth.


Two More Santa Fe Winners

September 29th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Here are two more Santa Fe dining musts. Gabriel’s is ten minutes north of Santa Fe. Beautiful outdoor terrace and lively indoors. Heed HG. There is only one meal to order and that is great. All else is mediocre. Start with guacamole and chips. The guacamole is mixed tableside and it is sublime. Best ever. Then have the pork carnitas platter. One platter can easily serve two and is a nice example of down home New Mexican cooking. Very good flan for dessert. Wash it all down with margaritas.

A polar opposite is New York Deli at the north end of Santa Fe. Here is where you will find nostalgic New Yorkers reading the New York Times while indulging in traditional treats. Owner Jeffrey Schwartzberg is an ex-Brooklynite (reared in Brooklyn before it became a hipster paradise). He serves all the usual suspects: corned beef, pastrami, matzo ball soup, chopped liver, nova smoked salmon with onions and scrambled eggs, bagels, cream cheese, Reubens, etc. Jeffrey has good standards. He cut out bialys when he couldn’t find any that met his standards. Okay, New York Deli isn’t Katz’s or Barney Greengrass, but if your New York heart longs for a traditional New York heartburn, try this haimish place. You’ll find some old Jews telling jokes: Abe Meets Moish. “Moish, the fire. Terrible.” Says Moish: “Shhh. It’s tomorrow.'”

New Mexico Family Christmas.

December 17th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Going to be a family Christmas at the HG/BSK hacienda compound. SJ, Exquisite Maiko, Adorable Haru plus Family Martonovich will be in attendance. Some food stuff HG is anticipating: Christmas Eve smoked fish feast courtesy of Russ & Daughters. SJ’s super creamy, yummy mashed potatoes. BSK’s stuffing and cranberry chutney. SJ & BSK’s roast turkey. HG pouring frozen vodka to accompany schmaltz herring. Adorable Haru gobbling up red caviar, rice and crisp nori. Noel M’s baked goodies. SJ’s Christmas morning potato latkes with red caviar and Greek yogurt. BSK’s soft, buttery scrambled eggs (with red caviar and sour cream, of course) and warmed (not toasted) New York bialys and cream cheese on the side. Lightly toasted New York bagels with scallion cream cheese, Nova Scotia smoked salmon, thin slices of sweet onion and capers (a couple of Kalamata olives on the plate).

Pre-Christmas birthday celebration for SJ at Gabriel’s with margaritas, sangria, tableside-mixed guacamole, pork carnitas with onions, peppers and warm tortillas. Charro beans. House-made flan for desert. (Maybe some breakfast burritos smothered in green chile the next morning at Tune Up–a continuation of the birthday festivities). Menudo at El Parasol with SJ to chase away any vodka hangovers.

One thing for sure: The best family cook, Expectant Mom Exquisite Maiko, is not allowed to display her skills. Time for her to rest and be pampered.

Down Home Dining In New Mexico

June 19th, 2011 § 3 comments § permalink

HG has long discovered that even the most humble of restaurants (excepting the very worst) have something that they do wonderfully. And, that’s the way it is in Jacona, HG’s New Mexico neighborhood some 15 minutes north of Santa Fe. There’s El Parasol for a wonderfully soothing and earthy menudo. Gabriel’s for the ultimate mixed-at-the-table guacamole. Sopapilla Factory for (you guessed it) sopapillas ( they also do a giant chicken burrito smothered in green chile and a killer bowl of charro beans). All eateries are located on Highway 84/285.

HG never eats New Mexican food in Santa Fe. Too touristy. Santa Fe is HG’s venue for Japanese food: Shohko Cafe for sushi and tempura and Shibumi for Ramen.

On a cross cultural note. Last time HG was in Sopaipilla Factory, HG saw a large gent in a turban, long cloaks, etc, digging into an appetizing and spicy
platter. HG made inquiry. Sikh gent replied: “Tofu carnitas in red chile sauce”).

Friends.. Food, Wine And Laughter. Who Could Ask For Anything More?

May 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A life enhancing, talented and fun loving quartet has been visiting HG and BSK. Here’s the cast: Donald K. and Bruce M., HG’s and BSK’s former business colleagues. Donald K’s wife, Susan, a former investment banker and Bruce M.’s companion, Theresa T., former senior executive at Ralph Lauren and Martha Stewart. These are folks who know and enjoy food and wine. So, what was on the table? Friday night there was a platter of Middle Eastern appetizers and then a Mariscada (Spanish seafood stew) of mussels, shrimp, scallops, much garlic and parsley cooked in fish stock, white wine and the juice from canned asparagus — a surprising secret ingredient gleaned from New York’s El Charro. Washed it down with glasses of Rose, Pinot Grigio and Barbera.

Light salad lunch on Saturday at Santa Fe’s Santacafe. Dinner was a feast at the much posted about “O” — Eating House. Appetizers of fried zucchini and home-made mozzarella with the first stewed cherries of the season; chorizo and roasted garlic; chunks of unusually spiced corn on the cob. Mini portions of strozzapreti (a name which translates to priest stranglers) in a beef cheeks sauce. Main dishes of duck confit and grilled quail accompanied by a sweet corn risotto. Dessert: bread pudding and creme brulee. Much Champagne, San Giovese, Malbec and Chianti flowed (possibly too much flowed in HG’s direction).

Brunch the next day on the sunny terrace featured BSK’s egg and cheese casserole. Farewell dinner tonight at Gabriel’s. Margaritas. Guacamole (best in New Mexico). Fajitas. Charro beans. Sopapillas. Sangria. Flan. Ole!!! And then, sadly, adios.Photo Courtesy of Steven Nereo

Guacamole Especial at Gabriel’s

March 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Farewell dinner for Glorious Granddaughters at Gabriel’s in Tesuque, NM (a few miles north of the Santa Fe Opera). Guacamole Especial is big time at Gabriel’s. A cart is wheeled table side and a skilled specialist with a P.H.D. hand mixes avocados, tomatoes, onions, fresh oregano and cilantro, lime juice…and some secret ingredients. The sublime guacamole is served with appropriate ceremony in a Molcajete bowl made of volcanic rock. All agreed this was the best guacamole ever. It was followed by carnitas (shredded marinated roast pork) topped with lightly stewed tomatoes and squash; beef chimichangas (deep fried burritos); charro beans; corn tortillas; more guacamole and pitchers of sangria. Sopapillas (Mexican popovers) with honey and flan for dessert. Much tasty fun. Gabriel’s has a beautiful terrace (opens in May) and HG intends to spend some hours there sipping margaritas and dipping into Guacamole Especial. La dolce vida in The Land of Enchantment.