Notes From the Field

Gourmet Girl - February 27, 2013

Restaurant Week, new French bistro, St. Patty's Day & more...

New French Bistro Opens

Chef Charles Dale, who made his mark in Santa Fe as executive chef of Terra at Four Season Resort Rancho Encantado has just opened Bouche, his French bistro, in the space formerly occupied by Aqua Santa at 451 W. Alameda.

In keeping with traditional bistro food, Dale offers a menu of classics with a modern twist, like escargot, duck confit, steak frites, onion soup, roasted chicken and steak tartare, as well as a vegetarian entrée. Appetizers include a seafood combo of crab, prawns and oysters and a charcuterie plank of dryed meats and duck rillettes. Other specialties include braised beef short ribs, herb ravioli with crispy frog legs, mussels in white wine, olive oil-poached sole and an array of salds including tuna carpaccio, made with arugula and sashimi-grade tuna.

Bouche, the French word for "mouth," also offers specials such as sweetbreads and calf's liver and coq au vin. Desserts include creme brulee and chocolate souffle. Bouche also offers French and American wines and that famously delicious bread baked by Aqua Santa's former baker.

Bouche is open for dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call 982-6297 for more info.

Restaurant Week

The third annual Santa Fe Restaurant Week is in full swing through March 3. This is a great opportunity for locals and visitors to try out restaurants they haven't visited before as well as re-visit their favorites, at affordable prices.

More than 40 restaurants are participating in this year's Restaurant Week. Dinners will be priced at $25 for 2 or $20, $30 or $50 per person. Many restaurants also offer specially priced lunches during Restaurant Week. The week includes daytime events and lodging specials at many of Santa Fe's finest hotels.

The event's website includes a chance to register for gift certificates at many of the participating restaurants and hotels offering special Restaurant Week package deals. Santa Fe Restaurant Week is followed by Taos Restaurant Week, held March 3-10, and Albuquerque Restaurant Week, held March 10-17. Click here for more info.

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

There's plenty on tap in Santa Fe for St. Patrick's Day, including a celebration at Second Street Brewery in The Railyard with corned beef and cabbage and stout beer, along with music by Josh Martin & Friends, a Joe West, Ben Wright and Friends, and a "Black Irish Jam" with Gary Blackchild. And over at Second Street Brewery on Second Street, you can take in a performance of Irish pipe and drums by the Albuquerque & 4 Corners Pipe & Drum Band, from 3 to 5 p.m. followed by Irish string band and drinking music played by Irish Free Range Rambles & Friends from 5 to 8 p.m. The evening ends with a performance of Irish and Celtic music by Wallop The Spot, from 6 to 9 p.m.

The Zia Diner serves up Irish fare along with bluegrass performed by Railyard Reunion from 3 to 7 p.m.

Out in Madrid, the legendary biker bar, the Mine Shaft Tavern, devotes the whole day to celebrating St. Patty's Day, starting with music and food and drink specials. Gene Corbin takes the stage to play Americana music from 3 to 7 p.m., followed by Paw and the Clinkers from 7 to 11 p.m. The event includes Jameson & Guinness drinks and food specials as well as gifts awarded for Best Irish Costume and Best Green Costume. Click here for more info.

Santa Fe Cooks for James Beard

Mark Kiffin of the Compound and Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin have been given distinctive invitations to cook for the James Beard Foundation this year.

Kiffin, owner/chef of The Compound in Santa Fe and Zapatecas in Albuquerque, traveled to New York to showcase a New Mexican dinner on Feb. 20 at the Beard House. His menu included whole-roasted pig tacos roasted lamb ribs and braised leg with celery root and dishes from the Compound's award-winning menu, including tuna tartare with crispy lobster and preserved lemon, sweetbreads and foie gras with cepes, cayenne and Spanish sherry.

Kiffin's dinner was part of a series of chef dinners served at the Beard House, it's Greenwich Village brownstone headquarters that once was the home of James Beard himself. Kiffen is the recipient of a 2005 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest.

Rios, revered for his progressive American cuisine, will assemble an all-star team of chefs from the Beard celebrity chef tour, who've all earned Best Regional Chef nominations for an unforgettable dinner in Santa Fe at his restaurant on April 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Martin, who competed on the Food Network's "Iron Chef" show against Bobby Flay, is a Celebrated Chef for the National Park Council and was featured in a Bon Appetit Magazine cover story, "The American Restaurant: Our Favorite Places."

The crew includes Bruce Auden of Biga on the Banks and Auden's Kitchen in San Antonio; Kevin Binkley from Binkley's and Café Bink in the Phoenix area; Bowman Brown of Forage in Salt Lake City; Kevin Nashan of Sidney Street Café in St. Louis; and Frank Bonanno of the Bonanno Restaurant Group in Denver.

Rio was a semi-finalist for Best Chef Southwest and Best New Restaurant James Beard Awards. Reservations are a must have for this special dinner. Click here for more info.