Notes from the Field

Gourmet Girl - October 8, 2014

Santa Fe loses a big-hearted foodie...

Goodbye to the Pulse of Santa Fe

This week, Santa Fe lost a great friend of the food scene. His name was Joseph Anthony Moncada, but everyone knew him as Joseph “Santa Fe Pulse.”

Joseph had a strong online presence, posting food reviews of restaurants that were fun to read and highly informative. He was also active in the community, posting weather reports, traffic conditions, news and setting up fundraisers for friends in need.

Fittingly, I met Joseph online and his Facebook posts were full of his personality. He invited me to be a judge at a Pumpkin Bake-Off he organized last November at the original Tecolote location on Cerrillos Road.  Even then, he was struggling with the rare diagnosis of fungal meningitis, but he presided over a wonderful gathering of people from all walks of life who brought their amazing pumpkin dishes to the contest. At the time, he was battling severe headaches, dizziness that left him unable to walk and a host of other sever symptoms, yet he warmly greeted contestants and guests, sampled the baked goods and made sure everyone had a good time.

I kept in touch with Joseph's battle through his online posts and occasionally we messaged each other as we were in the same business. I referred my doctor to him, he brought me up to date on how he was doing. I always loved what he had to say about the Santa Fe food and nightlife scene.

Then his page went dark. He stopped posting except for a few updates about his condition, which were alarming. Fungal meningitis is rare, and he was in hospice. I kept hoping to see an update telling us he was home, finally healing. But through his friends' posts about him, I could see that this was far from where he was. He passed away early Monday, and all you had to do was read his Facebook page to see that Santa Fe was in mourning.

I'm grateful for the chance to have known Joseph and to have read his food reviews, which always left me wanting to race off to and try exactly what he'd just eaten. He had planned to make the Pumpkin Bake-Off an annual event, and since Tecolote is about to re-open on St. Michael's Drive, perhaps we should put together a team to continue this event in his memory. If anyone's interested, please let me know.

So we bid goodbye to yet another Santa Fe original, who's left us way too soon. Thank you Joseph for all that you did for the community for both friends and strangers. You will be greatly missed.

Soups to Beat the Chill

As beautiful as this fall weather is right now, winter's coming. Be prepared to stave off the cold with a slew of soups and stews you'll learn to make with chef Johnny Vee during his Classic French Soups and Stews cooking class at Las Cosas Cooking School on Tuesday, October 14 from 6 to 9 p.m.

On the menu is French Onion Soup,of course, made with Gruyere as well as Soupe au Pistou, a Provençal type of Minestrone made with beans, tomatoes and other vegetables. You'll also learn to make the classic Cassoulet from the south of France with Duck Confit and authentic Beef Bourguignon as well as a savory Fennel au Gratin. Et pour le dessert? Pear Crepes Flambé bien sur.  Best of all, after the dishes are made, you'll get to eat them! Bon Appétit!

Cooking with Raaga's Paddy Rawal

If you've dined at Raaga, then you that chef/owner Paddy Rawal's Indian cuisine is out of this world. Now, you can learn to make some of his delicious dishes when he leads a Northern Indian Cuisine class at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy on October 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Rawal grew up in Bombay (Mumbai) in a family of seven, watching his mother constantly cooking in the kitchen to feed everyone. Often, he took over the kitchen so she could have a break. He went on to culinary school and then learned all the aspects of hospitality, from finance and operations to menu planning and more.  He worked as a chef in London, Dubai, Egypt and Australia before opening restaurants in East Lansing, Michigan and Santa Fe.

Rawal's food is incredibly good, flavored with fresh spices and herbs. In this demo class, you'll learn to make Indian Salad, Aloo Mutter, Panner Palak, Chicken Korma and Ginger Mint Rice and, best of all, you'll get to eat an amazing lunch featuring the dishes made by Rawal.