May Cuisine Scene

Gourmet Girl - May 26, 2015

Food truck frenzy, a cocktail convention and a film noir feast. . .

Food Truck Fleet

Gourmet Girl was out to lunch last week when The Food Network's Tyler Florence and five food trucks competing in The Great Food Truck Race rolled in to Santa Fe. I was just as surprised as the rest of the city when the news broke that five food trucks from around the country had pulled into Santa Fe on a cross-country race for a $50,000 prize. Luckily, Billie Frank and Steve Collins of Santa Fe Travelers were on the scene and happy to provide an eyewitness report.

Photo: Steven Collins/Santa Fe Travelers

“We went to check it out at the Railyard on Saturday as some of the trucks had been Tweeting me,” Frank says. “At 11:45 am, business was a bit slow. There were people, but no food lines.” Perhat that was because the prices were a bit steep for food truck fare, ranging from $10 for waffles to $15 for burgers, breakfast, and Indian-style chicken. Even the dumplings from Pho Nominal Dumplings were $12 to $15, and it was quite a feat that Pho Nominal was there at all, as their truck broke down on the way from North Carolina to Santa Monica for the race launch and they had to pay for a rental. “I hope they made the cut,” Frank says. “There's lots of heart in this race. I think that the prices were high for locals, though. Hope they got the tourist crowd.”

Photo: Steve Collins/Santa Fe Travelers

On Thursday, contestants were parked on The Plaza, where acclaimed Santa Fe chef Martin Rios taught the food truck chefs how to cook with New Mexico chile then joined Food Network star Tyler Florence in judging dishes made by the visiting chefs.

This is the second time “The Great Food Truck Race” has visited Santa Fe, described by The Food Network online as “a small arts community” rather than one of the world's major art centers, but no matter. At least we ended up on the map of a contest that has professional food truck chefs drive their mobile eatery from city to city, competing by cooking and selling. The truck that makes the least amount of money at each stop is then eliminated.

Photo: Steve Collins/Santa Fe Travelers

The Great Food Truck Race will launch its new season on The Food Network on August 23, with the Santa Fe episode scheduled for September 6.

Cocktails & Culture

The sight of Tom Cruise athletically slinging glasses and shakers in the 1988 rom-com Cocktail  inspired many a career behind the bar. But since then, the craft of making cocktails has been elevated to a new high, as mixologists have ditched the pre-made and powdered mixes and jars of maraschino cherries in favor of apothecary concoctions infused with fresh herbs and fruits and made with seasonal ingredients from the local farmers' market.

If you've always wanted to know how to make craft cocktails, sign up for New Mexico Cocktails & Culture, a festival devoted to spirits and cocktails created by Natalie Bovis, who grew up in Santa Fe, has worked in the restaurant business and is the founder of Liquidmuse, devoted to mixology.

Whether you're a budding bartender, a seasoned mixologist or a foodie looking to pair cocktails and spirits with a six-course dinner party, you'll be inspired by all that's on tap at Cocktails & Culture. Some of the biggest bartenders and chefs in the country will be here, along with restaurant and bar patrons and people who just like to cook at home.

The event kicks off on Saturday, May 30 at the Scottish Rite Temple with a VIP cocktail party and a screening of Hey Bartender, an award-winning documentary about the rebirth of bartenders and the comeback of cocktails.The three-day festival also offers Mind Body seminar, showing how hospitality professionals can forge a healthy path through the hectic pace of their bar and restaurant careers; seminars on bitters and distilled vodka; and Food & Cocktails, A Culinary Adventure, led by author, consultant and educator Kim Hassarud on food and cocktail pairing as well as culinary cocktails made with local ingredients.

Night of a Thousand Stars

Dinner and a movie is a longstanding pairing, one that's provided many a date night as well as a way to for friends and family to relax on a Saturday evening. Rancho Encantado's Terra restaurant continues the tradition on Saturday, May 30 with a screening of Gilda, the 1946 film noir that launched Rita Hayworth's career.

Hayword plays a femme fatale and Glenn Ford a thug and her ex-lover. The famous black gown she wore, designed by Jean Louis and said to have been inspired by John Singer Sargeant's portrait of Madame X, became almost as famous as Heyward.

This screening of Gilda is part of the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival's Night of a Thousand Stars, featuring dinner in Terra's courtyard, followed by the film, a perfect pairing of an acclaimed restaurant with a film selected by the Library of Congress in 2013 to be part of the National Film Registry.

The dinner, featuring the restaurant menu created by Terra's acclaimed chef Andrew Cooper, includes a killer lamb carbonara, perfect for any femme fatale, made with chile-infused fettuccine, house made lamb pancetta and coddled eggs. There's also a cool melon prosciutto and burrata salad with agave vinaigrette; pan seared scallops with carrot puree, pea tendrils and grapefruit glaze; and a grilled New Mexico lamb chop with Romesco sauce and shingled potatoes.