Holiday Cuisine Scene

Lynn Cline - November 16, 2016

The holiday season is here...here's how to get in the spirit!

Thanksgiving is just a week away, marking the official start of the holiday season. So, after you've eaten the last piece of turkey, emptied the gravy bowl and reduced your elegant stuffing to crumbs; after you've polished off the pumpkin pecan pie with the last little bit of whipped cream, it's time to start thinking about Christmas...and the New Year's Eve bash, the New Year's Day brunch, oh, and don't forget the office holiday party.

But wait...before you start to stress remember, “tis the season to be jolly, not frantic and frazzled. If you're starting to feel like the grumpy Grinch, don't worry. I've been making a list, and checking it twice, filled with fun festivities that will inspire your inner Santa Fe and make your holidays merry and bright.

Prep yourself for the holiday season with a class devoted to a Southwestern Christmas, at the Santa Fe School of Cooking on Saturday, December 3 at 10 am.. Learn everything from the art of napkin folding to setting the table with a festive flair. The three-hour demo class is devoted to a holiday menu with Southwestern accents, including a spiced pumpkin, lentil and goat cheese salad, and
roasted beef tenderloin with a red chile, coffee and cinnamon rub, served with pecan roquefort butter. Sides include smoke chile scalloped sweet potatoes and Southwestern shredded brussels sprouts. For dessert, there's a French tart with dried apples. Best of all, the class includes lunch—a feast of all the dishes on the menu.

Explore the centuries-old culinary dishes of aTraditional New Mexican Christmas, at the Santa Fe School of Cooking on Saturday, December 10 at 10 am. The demo class showcases holiday classics, including shredded pork tamales and poblano-corn tamales with red chile sauce, a traditional Christmas Eve dish in New Mexico that the entire family helps make. The menu also green chile posole, calabacitas and the official state—and holiday— cookie, bizcochitos.

Bring in the holiday season with a stirring performance by Noches de Flamenca and Mina Fajardo y Alejandro at La Boca on Saturday, November 26 and again on Saturday, December 16 from 8 to 10 pm. Hailed as one of most authentic flamenco touring companies today, the group performs all aspects of flamenco – dance, music and song—and will dazzle diners with a mesmerizing performance. Your dinner will be equally impressive, with signature small plates such as bruschetta with cremini mushrooms, cream and Reggianito topped with a fried egg and truffle oil. Or try the bacon-wrapped dates with marcona almond and cabralas dipping sauce, along with the delectable gambas al Ajillo, made with spicy garlic wild-caught shrimp with white wine and chile arbol. Leave room for dessert because the gateau Basque , a vanilla cream tart with brandied cherries and crème fraiche, will linger in your memory as long as the night's haunting performance.

Give yourself and a loved one a holiday gift by sharing a plate of fresh oysters at 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar, where oysters are half price as are the bottles of wine on Tuesdays. So choose a bottle of bubbly from the restaurant's award-winning wine list and, when you've finished the oysters, order some of 315's classics, including house made charcuterie with pickles and mustard, and Salt Spring mussels with club fries. Or try the basil crepes with ratatouille and the bistro classic, steak frites.

Plug into the holiday spirit during the annual tree lighting of the Plaza, held the day after Thanksgiving, starting at 6 pm. This is a seasonal favorite, where crowds gather to watch the illumination of colorful holiday lights in the trees, sing carols, warm up with hot chocolate and greet Santa Claus when he arrives for a visit.

You'll see Santa again during the annual Christmas at the Palace, a community holiday party with live music, entertainment, pinatas, craft making, cookies, hot cider and more, at the Palace of the Governors on Friday, December 9. This time, Santa will be accompanied by Mrs. Claus, doubling the fun.

If you still can't shake the stress of the holiday season, it's a great time to go for a walk...and check out revered restaurants along the way. Savor a feast of flavors with the Santa Fe School of Cooking's Restaurant Walking Tour, which leads you to some of the city's most revered restaurants, including Eloisa in the Drury Hotel, where chef John Rivera Sedlar has been serving up some of the most creative cuisine in Santa Fe. You'll also visit Restaurant Martin, where chef Martin Rios' award-winning progressive American cuisine reflects Southwestern and Asian influences as well as his training in classical French technique. Also on the tour,, the contemporary American cuisine served by Georgia, housed in turn-of-the-century Army officer’s quarters. And just down the street, you'll visit TerraCotta Wine Bistro, serving globally-inspired cuisine with seasonal local and regional foods. The tours take place December 2 and December 21.