May Cuisine Scene - May 1, 2018

Across the city, almost everyone revels in this merry month of spring

The month of May in Santa Fe is abloom with festive, fun food events. It's the time of year when restaurant patios, porches and garden terraces are spruced up for the outdoor dining season and chefs overhaul their menus to feature the fresh, local flavors of spring. Eateries may open earlier and stay open later, adjusting to the longer days and shorter nights. If the weather's right, you may hear live music fill the air, drawing you to one of Santa Fe's outdoor venues. Across the city, almost everyone revels in this merry month of spring, with Cinco de Mayo celebrations, rooftop Happy Hours, Kentucky Derby parties and more. If you need some suggestions, here's a look at some of the events on Santa Fe's culinary calendar this May.

A Bar with a View

The wait is over for the return of one of Santa Fe's most venerated rooftop bars. If you've been there before, you'll rejoice to hear that The Bell Tower Bar at La Fonda has re-opened for the season. If you've never visited, you're in for a treat. Perched on high, with magnificent views of the Sandia Mountains in the distance and the city laid out below, the Bell Tower Bar is one heckuva place to see a Santa Fe sunset. It's also the perfect spot for relaxing over signature cocktails and light bites. Start with the signature Bell Ringer Margarita and a refreshing shrimp ceviche, accompanied by a crisp chalupa, chile serrano, avocado and plantain chips. Choose from an assortment of quesadillas—pork carnitas, grilled sirloin or chicken and an unusual pairing of honey ham, Swiss cheese and Hatch green chile. For a sweet treat, indulge in a caramel brownie made even sweeter by chocolate sauce, vanilla gelato and whipped cream. It's a heavenly end to your high-altitude adventure.

Horses, Hats and a Southern Buffet

America's most fabled horse race takes place this Saturday, May 5 at Churchill Downs. If you can't get to Louisville to cheer on your favorite horse, you can watch the Kentucky Derby right here in Santa Fe, simulcast, at the Drury Hotel. This Kentucky Derby Gala Fundraiser, a Santa Fe tradition since 2008, benefits Santa Fe Habitat for Humanity. In addition to watching the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” you can enjoy all the Derby Day traditions, from fancy hats and a Hat Parade contest to festive dresses, live jazz, mint juleps and an all-you-can-eat Southern buffet prepared by Eloisa. The menu includes pickled shrimp; mint sugar peas and strawberry salad; and cream cheese Southern biscuits with sliced ham and fig jam.You can also savor Kentucky Bourbon, served as a gravy for pork tenderloin sliders and on roasted and glazed chicken thighs. Dessert features chocolate Kentucky Bourbon pie, lemon squares and berry rhubarb cobbler. The Kentucky Derby Gala Fundraiser takes place from 1:30 to 5 pm and includes live and silent auctions. The money raised supports building affordable housing in Santa Fe. Find ticket information here.

Mole and Music for Cinco de Mayo

Looking for a way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this Sunday? Take a drive out to Madrid, where the historic Mine Shaft Tavern hosts an evening of traditional Mexican music with the acoustic trio Lone Piñon, from northern New Mexico . In Mexico, this annual holiday is celebrated with fervor, marking the unexpected Mexican defeat of the French army at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (the Mexican Army was greatly outnumbered). In Madrid, you'll celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a feast of chicken mole, a signature Mexican sauce, and unique, cross-cultural music rooted in early New Mexico and Mexico styles that will have you dancing all night long. Lone Piñon's musicians play violin, accordion and guitar as well as jarana huasteca, quinta huapangera, bajo sexto, guitarrón and tololoche, singing harmonies in Spanish, English, and Nahuatl. They've updated the Chicano stringband style once popular in New Mexico to bring audiences diverse music, from regional polkas and chotes to Mexican huapango and son calentano, and classic borderlands conjunto. The party kicks off at 8 pm in the Mine Shaft Cantina and I can't think of a more fun way to celebrate El Dia de la Batalla de Puebla, unless you're in Mexico.

Crawdaddy Cuisine

The Mine Shaft Tavern also host's the 12th Annual Crawdaddy Blues Fest May 19-20, where you can feast on fresh crawfish brought in from organic rice fields outside Beaumont, Texas. Enjoy these slightly sweet, slightly salty crustaceans boiled as well as in crawfish corn pie and crawfish boudain. The menu also includes green chile blue crab cakes, boiled and fried Gulf shrimp, chicken and sausage gumbo, Texas style BBQ ribs and smoked pork and brisket. Wash everything down with a fresh-squeezed hurricane, the classic N'Orleans cocktail. Where there's crawfish in Madrid, there's always blues and this year, you can check out the sounds of 21 blues bands during the two-day fest, held on three stages: one inside the Mine Shaft Tavern, another on the Mine Shaft Cantina deck and the main stage at the Madrid Railyard Amphitheater.

Fiery Flamenco

With the arrival of May, El Farol launches weekly flamenco shows on Fridays and Saturdays from 6:30 to 9 pm, where you can watch the exhilarating music and dance performances by Albuquerque's National Institute of Flamenco. Feel the duende, or passion, of these devoted performers of a moving tradition that originated in the ancient dance and music styles of Andalusia. The evening includes dinner, and what better foods to pair with fiery flamenco than traditional Spanish tapas. El Farol's menu includes hot and cold tapas, such as a cured white shrimp ceviche with roasted garlic, pickled chile, fresh herbs and citrus; shrimp, crab and scallop croquettes with smoked onion aioli; and beef skewers with pearl onions, heirloom cherry tomatoes and chimichurri. A classic margarita or sangria will enhance your evening. Reservations are required.