October Cuisine Scene

It's October, the month that brings us fall foliage, falling leaves, football and other rituals of autumn. Of late, October has also brought us "Pumpkin Madness," a time when the flavors of pumpkin spice are everywhere. You can't miss pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin donuts and pumpkin bagels spread with pumpkin spice cream cheese. Pumpkin spice chocolate truffles, anyone? How about pumpkin spice caramel corn or pumpkin spice-buttered pumpkin croissants? Heck, you can start your day with pumpkin spice oatmeal, end it with a shot of pumpkin spice rum.

Good luck trying to avoid this ubiquitous fall trend. It's with us as much as Halloween merchandise showing up in stores in August and Christmas retail displays set up in September. But if you must indulge in this American fad, at least do it in style. In Santa Fe, that means forgoing all this processed pumpkin nonsense and savoring local, house-made pumpkin delicacies instead. Try the ethereal pumpkin ravioli with brown sage butter, pine nuts and pecorino romano on the menu at il Piatto Italian Farmhouse Kitchen. Or sip a handcrafted pumkin spice latte from The Teahouse, paired with a slice of the restaurant's pumpkin pie with house-made whipped cream. Now that's a delicious way to welcome October.

There will be Polka!

What would October be without Oktoberfest? Yes, this Bavarian folk festival began in Munich more than a century ago, but the celebrations now take place around the world and that includes right here in Santa Fe, with the first-ever Oktoberfest celebration at Susan’s Fine Wine and Spirits this Friday, October 4, 4-7 pm. Festivities include German beer on tap and German brats, kraut, pretzels and other snacks. Sample discounted beer flights and full glasses and get discounts on packaged German beer. You can also enjoy wines and top-shelf spirits. Select purchases will get you a free stein and you could win prizes in drawings. Best of all, enjoy live polka music...now where else in the city can you find that? If you feel like donning your lederhosen and dirndl, you'll probably feel like dancing a polka, and who would blame you?

More Wine & Chile

If you missed Wine & Chile, don't despair. You still have a chance to celebrate New Mexico's famous pairings at the Madrid Chile Fiesta, a rowdy celebration that includes music and more. From October 5-14, the Mine Shaft Tavern will serve a special menu showcasing Hatch chile and offer live music, including the High Desert Playboys, The Barb Wires, Odd Dog and other bands. In between dancing, cool off with a Mad Chile Margarita, and fuel up on the Mad Chile Burger, winner of a Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown's People's Choice Award. You can tour the old Coal Town Museum and take a peek at the Historic Engine House Theater, where melodrama regularly unfolds.

Fall Fiesta

The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is a true treasure, so it's always a great idea to support this year-round nonprofit during the annual Santa Fe Farmers' Market Fall Fiesta fundraiser, held Friday, October 4, 5:30-9:30 pm in the Farmers' Market Pavilion. You'll enjoy a seasonal meal of local ingredients prepared by culinary artisans, along with a tribute to Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), honored as a Community All-Star for his commitment to preserving natural wonders and limited resources. He'll also be honored for his pivotal role in developing the Santa Fe Railyard.

This year's dinner is organized by Dig & Serve, which produces experiential dining events by transforming venues where "culinary artisans push the boundaries of social food," according to the company's website. Dig & Serve has organized pop-up dinners at Meow Wolf, for instance, as well as in outdoor spaces and other intriguing locations. For the Fall Fiesta, the focus is on bringing foodies, farmers and others together to discover the environmental, economic and social impact of dining on food prepared with ingredients from area farmers. The evening includes a live auction, folk music by Cloacas, and the presentation of the Farmer All-Star awards to SunStar Herbs, RZ's Bees and Malandro Farm.

Native Cookery

October is a grand time to learn about Native American cuisine, with the bounty of fresh, seasonal ingredients this time of year brings. Native people have a long history of farming and cooking with plants and vegetables, making them what many consider to be America's first skilled cooks, so a class devoted to Native cooking at the Santa Fe School of Cooking will be revelatory in many ways. Add in Chef and James Beard award-winning cookbook author Lois Ellen Frank, and this is one class you won't want to miss. Frank will explore Native American food and culture and show you how to make some winning dishes, from blue corn gnocchi arrowheads with guajillo chile sauce to lamb-stuffed rellenos with tomato sauce. Also on the menu, seasonal greens with jalapeño dressing and sweet fry bread with seasonal berries and prickly pear syrup. Best of all, after Frank has demonstrated how to make each dish, you will get to enjoy the full meal. The three-hour class takes place on Friday, October 18, starting at 10 am.

Breakfast Worth Getting Up For

Sometimes a change in seasons can leave you feeling tired, listless and lacking energy. But you can turn that around with the Southwest Breakfast class at the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Learn to make dishes such as New Mexican Egg Frittata, Chilaquiles with Chicken and Green Chile Tomatillo Sauce, Chile-Glazed Bacon and Piloncillo Baked Apples with Cajeta Sauce. Who wouldn't want to get out of bed for a Mexican Hot Chocolate or a Fruit Liquado? Once you've mastered these breakfast dishes, you'll want to make them for your friends and family for a weekend brunch. The three-hour demo class takes place Wednesday, October 9, starting at 9 am.