Summer food fun, all month long
With longer days and shorter nights, the season is here for outdoor dining, picnics, grilling and other summer food fun. It's also the month for weddings, so if you need a gift for food-lovers, read on. June brings wine events, too, at acclaimed venues with food pairings from great chefs. And don't miss the new summer menu at a restaurant that, in less than a year, has become a hot spot. Welcome to June, and let's hope the monsoons aren't far behind!
It's time for Arroyo Vino's annual Rosé Extravaganza, a wine-lover's paradise featuring some 80 wines, half of which are rosé. You can also taste whites, reds and sparkling wines but make no mistake, the star of this event is rosé, which has been enjoying much more than a moment. This year marks the 7th Annual Arroyo Vino Rosé Extravaganza and it's popular enough that if you go, your hosts recommend hiring Lyft or other transportation companies to ferry you to and from the event, not just so you arrive home safely but also to ease the parking problems. As you sample refreshing rosés, which are perfect for summer, along with the other wines, you can savor small bites from Arroyo Vino's relatively new Executive Chef Allison Jenkins. The event takes place Saturday, June 9 from 2 to 4 pm.
On the subject of wine, La Boca's acclaimed Chef/Owner James Campbell Caruso will be at the spectacular winery, Casa Rondeña in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque, this Saturday, June 2, creating a four-course Spanish dinner. He'll pair his famous tapas with the winery's award-winning pours in an event that promises to be an epicurean odyssey.
Summer at Maize
At Maize, the mission is to capture “the essence of the Southwest, with a bold and modern twist.” If you haven't yet tried this elegant restaurant, this is a great time as Maize has just opened for lunch and launched its new summer menu. The creation of acclaimed Chef Charles Dale and New Mexico Dining, Maize features creative fare that melds the traditional with the modern, emphasizing the foods of the Southwest. Corn, of course, is a staple.
The weather's perfect for patio dining, where you'll be surrounded by fresh flowers. The new summer menu offers satisfying starters such as Three Sisters Soup, a summer squash bisque with cornbread and fermented black beans. Or try the blue corn blinis, a combo of smoked trout, caviar and crème fraiche. Equally enticing, the elk tenderloin carpaccio incorporates juniper and gin, and is served with wild greens and fried capers. Entrée choices include cornmeal-crusted Rainbow Trout with creamed corn and roasted beets in a red pepper sauce. Or try the Willow Basket, featuring banana leaf-steamed market fish that changes nightly, accompanied by mango jam and a vegetable medley. Leave room for dessert because you'll want to order one of everything, including the Dreamcatcher, a concoction of chocolate pecan mousse, pinon meringue and pistachio ice cream.
The new lunch menu at Maize offers bison sliders with bacon chipotle mayo and tomato jam. The tempting soft tacos are filled with an array of combos, including garlic and jalapeño shrimp with jicama lime salad; and tempura avocado with black beans and corn relish. Don't miss the duck wings, covered with a honey chipotle glaze and served with chayote spears and blue cheese dip.
If you've got a thing for sweets, you'll want to be at Las Cosas Cooking School on Saturday, June 23 when El Farol's Pastry Chef Taylor Burns presents a class devoted to Spanish Desserts at El Farol. Burns recently won the top award at Divine Decadence: The Chocolate Challenge fundraiser for La Familia, where she wowed the crowd with her lavishly delicious chocolate dessert. She's famous for her El Farol temptations, such as citrus olive oil cake with gelato and churros with rich drinking chocolate. You'll learn to make these, and more, during this hands-on three-hour class that begins at 10 am. And if that's not enough, while you're baking you can snack on a platter of Spanish jamon and cheese served with Spanish olive oil crackers, which you'll learn to make in this class, too. Buen provecho!
June is one of the most popular months for weddings and if you're searching for a unique and memorable wedding gift for foodies, consider two spots in the Santa Fe School of Cooking's Chile Amor class. It's easy to be passionate about the Land of Enchantment's official state vegetable, not just for its earthy, smoky flavor but because of the spicy way it makes our mouths feel. So why not gift the newlyweds a chance to explore the delights of chile, from its prominent role in New Mexico history and foodways to its medicinal and culinary qualities as well as the many varieties and ways to eat them. The Chile Amor class takes place on Friday June 8 at 1:30 pm but if that date doesn't work, it's scheduled several times throughout the summer.