Happy Visit From The Craggs

April 9th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Though they are now American citizens, Antony and Claudia Cragg retain many engaging Briticisms. Antony has the looks, bearing and accent of nobility. Claudia is in the great tradition of English women with outsized personalities and intellect. Antony is a financial wizard specializing in the Asian markets. Claudia, a journalist and author, is a star interviewer on alternative radio. The Craggs arrived at HG/BSK’s New Mexico home with daughter Cleo (an Oxford student) and her boyfriend, Jason (a Nottingham University student). Engaging and attractive young people. Happily, the Craggs also brought their two delightful dogs, Boodles (a female Labrapoo) and Genghis (A Havanese cross who looks likes a smaller version of Toby, The Wonder Dog). Toby was in heaven. Playmates!! Toby and Boodles formed a romantic relationship while feisty little Genghis bounced around like an animated toy. There was a splendid welcoming dinner on Friday night. HG’s guacamole as a starter. Then, a traditional meat loaf prepared from the many decades-old Craig Claiborne New York Times Cookbook recipe. Wrapped in thick strips of bacon, the loaf was juicy and herbaceous. Accompanied by perfect haricots vert. HG prepared a massive amount of thinly sliced potatoes fried in duck fat. Alas, HG overcrowded HG’s cast iron pan and the potatoes were rather greasy and not crisped enough. The courteous Craggs ate them without complaint. Dessert was chocolate biscotti dipped in red wine. There was a special treat. After dinner, Cleo, who is a member of Pink, an a cappella vocal group, sang for the dinner group. Sheer joy. The evening continued by the fireside, with snifters of Sabroso, a Mexican coffee liqueur. HG topped the drinks with a pour of sweet cream. Better than a sundae. On Saturday morning, the Craggs swam in HG/BSK’s pool and then were off to stroll the colorful streets of Santa Fe. They returned in the afternoon for a brief rest and change of clothes. Then back to Santa Fe for a five o’clock visit to Meow Wolf. This is a mind-blowing, multi-level art installation that uses dazzling resources of sound, light, color, paintings, sculpture and decor. Both adults and children are lost in a world of wonder. You are introduced to Meow Wolf by a parking lot that sports huge metal sculptures of a robot, a dog and a spider. Meow Wolf is witty, original, creative. It should not be missed by any visitor to Santa Fe. Dinner at The Compound, the very good restaurant on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road. HG and BSK each had a perfect meal. One starter to begin. Another starter as the main. A shared plate of a special–morels in a light cream sauce–and a shared dessert. BSK began with tuna tartare with preserved lemon, walnut bread, caviar. Perfectly grilled, plump sea scallops as a main. HG stated with a salad of crisp fried frog legs, radicchio and watercress. HG also chose the scallops as a main. The shared dessert was tart key lime cheesecake in a graham cracker crust, key lime curds and coconut sorbet. Drank an abundant amount of Gruet sparkling wine. Everyone at the table was equally pleased with their choices, which included roast duck, chicken schnitzel with caper sauce, papardelle in duck ragout. Brunch was at the HG/BSK home Sunday morning. BSK’s tasty egg, cheese and bacon casserole. HG’s shrimp and grits with a sauce of shallots, butter, olive oil, smoked Spanish paprika, smoked black pepper. Sad to see the Craggs leave. Toby, The Wonder Dog, was desolate. Farewell to playmates and the abrupt end to romance.


Santa Fe Dining Musts

September 24th, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

Santa Fe seems to have more restaurants per capita than any place in the West. A very wide range from the pretentious and pricey to the down home and cheap. Permanent population is small but when the legislature is operating there is a deluge of politicos, lawyers, lobbyists, etc. And, of course, there are the omnipresent tourists. Once more a wide range: Dusty drifters, plain folks, multi-millionaire art collectors — and everything in between.

HG is often asked for dining advice in “The City Different.” Here are some must-visit spots that HG has posted about previously: 12 minutes north of Santa Fe in Pojaque is El Parasol and O’ Eating House. El Parasol is where the Latino folks eat and it is homey, cheap, delicious. Real Northern New Mexico cooking. Do not miss the green chile menudo and the chicken tacos. O’ serves sophisticated Italian food and creative, thin-crusted pizzas. In Santa Fe, go to Tia Sophia’s for Tex-Mex food, Jambo Cafe for Caribbean and African food, Tune Up (a real neighborhood hangout) for a great breakfast burrito smothered in green chile sauce. Tune Up also has wonderful pies and cakes (so save room). Shohko Cafe has surprisingly good sushi and crisp, light tempura. HG’s favorite New Mexico chef, Eric Stapelman, has two wonderful places: Shibumi Ramenya (ramen and Japanese izakaya dishes) and Trattoria Nostrani (sophisticated Italian food and splendid wines). Be forewarned: Eric runs fragrance-free restaurants so omit perfume and cologne. HG;s luncheon favorite is The Compound on gallery-lined Canyon Road. Do not miss the chicken schnitzel with caper sauce. Bon appeit!!

Delicious Discovery – The Compound’s Chicken Schnitzel

March 19th, 2012 § 1 comment § permalink

HG and BSK’s favorite luncheon restaurant is The Compound on Santa Fe’s gallery lined Canyon Road. The Compound is a lovely place. White washed adobe walls and beamed ceilings. A few select works of Native American and Hispanic art. Best of all is the New Mexico light — most artfully represented in the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe — that pours into the room. The lunch menu is small but choice: A “Stacked Salad” with butter lettuce, ham, avocado, tomatoes, cheese, hard boiled egg, bacon, blue cheese dressing — basically a riff on Cobb Salad; a house smoked pastrami sandwich; a lobster and crab salad; a lunch-sized steak; a burger with poblano peppers. All good but the star is the chicken schnitzel. The chef gently flattens a generous chicken breast (still a bit thick, not a paillard). Then the chicken is given the traditional Viennese Veal Schnitzel treatment of breading and frying to greaseless crispiness. It is topped with a sauce of wine, butter (maybe a hint of cream), parsley and an abundance of capers. Flanked with a mound of sauteed leaf spinach. HG accompanied the dish with a nice flute of Gruet sparkling white from New Mexico. In HG’s opinion, the Gruet is better than champagne or prosecco.

HG has long dismissed the chicken breast finding it dry and tasteless. Not The Compound chicken breast. Don’t know the secret. Brining, perhaps?

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