April's culinary happenings in Santa Fe
April brings a fresh crop of culinary news, events and other mouthwatering items that are perfect for welcoming spring. From a new tap room in the heart of Santa Fe to cooking classes that will inspire you to throw a spring party or two, plenty of things are cooking in Santa Fe this month. Didn't get away for spring break? It's not too late to sign up for a class or two that will transport you to a foreign country, or a chocolate elixir workshop that will whisk you back through time. Let's get started looking at all the food-related fun that April brings.
Santa Fe Brewing Company's Downtown Digs
Craft beer lovers can rejoice! The Santa Fe Brewing Company has opened its first downtown taproom in a wonderfully atmospheric building, which formerly housed the Santa Fe Cigar Co. The Brakeroom is located in a turn-of-the-century waystation that, back then, provided sleeping quarters for railroad crews passing through on their work routes. Because the brakemen held one of the riskiest rail jobs of all, helping the train to brake, Santa Fe Brewing Company owner Brian Lock named his third taproom in their honor. (The other taprooms are located in Eldorado and Albuquerque.) The Brakeroom's warm and inviting ambiance pays tribute to the railroad era with chandeliers, wood tables, saloon-style chairs, and a bar you can belly up to beneath a tin ceiling. The plush wallpaper and leather banquettes harken back to an earlier time, too. Stop in and choose from 18 beers on tap as well as food items you can order from Restaurant Martin just down the street that are delivered to your table.
Party Fare from the Santa Fe School of Cooking
So you're ready to have a few friends and workmates over to celebrate the arrival of spring. But you're tired of the same old cheese and crackers and store-bought dips that don't meet your standards. Skip the routine spread this time and impress everybody, including yourself, with some delectable Southwestern appetizers. Do mango and Brie quesadillas and skewers of bacon-wrapped chipotle-marinated shrimp sound tempting? These are just some of the recipes you'll learn to prepare with panache at the Southwest Appetizers demo class, hosted by the Santa Fe School of Cooking on Saturday, April 21 at 10 am. By the end of this three-hour event, you'll also be skilled at making avocado soup, duck confit, mini chicken tacos and churro bites.
If brunch is more your speed, the cooking school has you covered there, too. The Southwest Brunch class will teach you how to create a sumptuous New Mexican meal featuring blue corn pecan pancakes with fresh berry compote and chipotle spinach and goat cheese quiche. Also on the menu are huevos rancheros, a New Mexico favorite, and chorizo cottage fried potatoes. The three-hour demo class takes place on Saturday, April 28, starting at 10 am.
Culinary Adventures at Las Cosas
If you didn't get away for a spring break this year, take a class focusing on foods from far flung places with Chef Johnny Vee at Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe & Cooking School. You'll feel as if you've journeyed halfway around the world in just a few hours with the delectable dishes he'll teach you to make in his hands-on cooking classes. On the schedule this month is a Peking Duck-Fest, a Chinese feast featuring the Beijing dish dating to the imperial era. Discover the secret to creating Peking Duck's famously crispy thick skin and help prepare a bounty of side dishes—hot and sour soup, mandarin pancakes, scallion pancakes and more. The feast concludes with ginger sorbet. This class takes place on Thursday, April 10 from 6 to 9 pm.
If you're more in the mood for Morocco, take Chef Johnny's Terrific Tagines & Couscous Class on Tuesday, April 24, also from 6 to 9 pm. The country's scented spices are the star here, and they'll have you feeling as if you're in Marrakesh, especially as you learn to use the tagine cooking pot. You'll be making many of Morocco's beloved traditional foods, from flatbread with zahtar and baba ghanoush to an array of tagines—one with chard and snapper, another with chermoula and lamb and a third with preserved lemon couscous. Wind up your culinary adventure with a sweet dessert couscous paired with dates.
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Cacao's Chocolate Elixirs
In case you didn't get your fill of Easter chocolate, or the Easter Bunny failed to deliver any at all, here's a chance to make up for that. Cacao Santa Fe, which creates exquisite artisanal chocolate, is equally known for its chocolate and coffee workshops as well as chocolate factory tours. A new hands-on class is part of the mix, devoted to historic drinking chocolate. Led by acclaimed chocolate historian Mark J Scisenti, this event delves deep into the history of drinking chocolates, from MesoAmerican and Ancestral Puebloan to Historic European and Colonial New Mexico era. During the one-and-a-half hour session, Scisenti will lead you on an exploration of hydrosols, chilis, spices, herbs and Cacao's own chocolate. Throughout every smonth, each Wednesday is devoted to a different era, so choose the one that interests you. Or sign up for all four workshops so you can sample each and every elixir. That should take care of any chocolate cravings leftover from Easter.