Raaga

May 5th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Many years ago, HG /BSK dined at Chutney Mary , an Indian restaurant in London. A revelation. Best Indian food ever. On Many subsequent visits to London, HG/BSK made sure to visit Chutney Mary. Never disappointed. One of the CM cooks was Paddy Rawal, then a young man. HG/BSK were unaware that Paddy, after other culinary posts, had moved to Santa Fe and opened a very well regarded restaurant, Raaga. Well, Paddy has continued the CM tradition but with an emphasis on vegetables plus a few southwestern touches. HG/BSK dined there last week with a friend and colleague from BSK’s Colorado environmental battles. (BSK continues to fight in New Mexico for Mother Earth). Meal was spectacular. Highlights were two extraordinary vegetable dishes: Fried spinach salad with warm yogurt dressing and crisp fried okra with pico de gallo (both hot and sweet and totally satisfying). Other vegetable dishes included cauliflower in a garlic tomato sauce (lassoori gobhi) and raaga tikki (an Indian version of eastern European potato “latkes.”). There was a meat dish. Three sublimely tender pink lamb chops in a masala sauce. They were as good as the lamb “popsicles” served at Vij’s, the great Vancouver Indian fusion restaurant. HG/BSK also had mahi mahi in a mustard infused Bombay curry. Great curry. Tasteless fish — the meal’s only flaw. Naan was the best HG ever ate. Drank a well priced malbec. Refreshing desserts of rasmalai and mango ice cream. Yes, followers of Hungry Gerald. There’s more to Santa Fe than green chile and robust Mexican cooking.

International Santa Fe

November 11th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Two cliches that should be buried: You can eat well in London if you only eat breakfast and you can eat well in Santa Fe if you only eat burritos. Okay, English breakfasts are great if you hold off on the tinned mushrooms and beans and burritos smothered in green chili are a blessing. But, London is now one of the world’s great food cities, on a par with New York (better than New York for Indian food, not as good as New York for Chinese dining). And, Santa Fe, though resolutely New Mexican, offers the eater a wide variety of exceptional international food treats.

Jambo Cafe, located in a strip mall on busy Cerrillos Road, is an HG favorite. Chef-owner Ahmed Obo offers a distinctive Afro-Caribbean cuisine. On a chilly afternoon this week, HG warmed body and soul with Jambo’s “Island Spice Coconut Peanut Stew.” Flanked by a plate of fluffy jasmine rice, this was big bowl of layered flavors. There was plenty of heat (Jalapeno or Scotch Bonnet peppers?) gentled by coconut milk and chicken stock. The peanuts gave the stew a Szechuan Tan-Tan noodle zing. The chunks of chicken in the stew had a juicy, free range taste. There were some halved cherry tomatoes in the stew and it was topped with grilled scallions. A super generous portion designed for all day nourishment. There are other great stews at Jambo — goat stew reminiscent of Jamaica, East African lentil stew, Moroccan lamb stew. There’s jerk chicken, plantains, lamb burgers, hummus — cooking that hops and skips from the Maghreb to Eastern and Southern Africa and over the seas to Caribbean islands. Everything is assertively spiced and served by charming wait persons in a very busy, casual room.

Other Santa Fe destinations for the discerning internationalist: Eric Stapelman’s Shibumi Ramen Ya for outstanding ramen and small plate izakaya treats; plus his adjacent restaurant, Trattoria Nostrani for sophisticated and creative Italian cuisine. Another good Italian bet is Steve Lemon’s “O” Eating House, located a short drive north of town (HG has written about it often). There’s Shohko Cafe for wonderful sushi and tempura, La Boca for Spanish tapas, New York Deli for bagels and bialys and Geronimo, for classic cuisine in the elegant European style. Raaga is the spot for Indian food (whole curry leaves enliven a number of dishes). Nile Cafe has good middle eastern fare and Pupuseria y Restaurante Salvadoreno fills its customers up with hearty pupusas (like tamales but more robust).

Lots of good international dining. But, don’t skip burritos and green chili.


and green chili.