Santa Fe’s Cuisine Scene

Gourmet Girl - March 2, 2014

Santa Fe gets a butcher shop, New Mexico gets a lot of James Beard nominations and Restaurant Week is happening

New Mexico's 2014 James Beard Award Nominations

The James Beard Foundation has announced the 2014 semifinalists for the prestigious James Beard Awards, and New Mexico is in the running in a big way with eight nominees!

Izanami, Ten Thousand Waves' Japanese gastro-pub, is up for Best New Restaurant. Izanami's cuisine features locally sourced meat and produce, emphasizing seasonal ingredients. Chef Kim Muller has received rave for her small plates, including tonkatsu, a panko-breaded heritage pork loin cutlet with hot mustard, cabbage and miso katsu sauce, and a nami burger with Lone Mountain wagyu beef, caramelized onion, shimeji and miso glaze.

A number of creative New Mexico chefs have been nominated for Best Chef Southwest, including James Campbell Caruso of La Boca and La Boca Taberna in Santa Fe and Mas in Albuquerque. His world-famous tapas have been featured on The Food Network  and include jamon Serrano and manchego cheese croquetas with membrillo cream sauce, and carrot-garbanzo hummus with cumin, mint, lemon, and grilled house-made yogurt flatbread.  Campbell Caruso was one of only four chefs nominated to compete in the Sherry Council of America’s Copa Jerez International Food and Sherry Pairing Competition in both 2011 and 2013.

Also up for Best Chef Southwest is Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin, who competed against Bobby Flay in The Food Network's “Iron Chef America.” The acclaimed menu here includes Maple Leaf Farm duck breast with pearl barley, sharp cheddar, Tokyo turnips, blood oranges, butternut squash and Mayan chocolate, and Maine diver scallops with a shallot-pearl puree, winter root vegetables, bok choy, candied lemon, kalamata-porcinin tapenade and Spanish chorizo nage.

In Albuquerque, revered chef Jennifer James of Jennifer James 101 is also in the Best Chef Southwest competition for her innovative dishes that include risotto with truffled pecorino, parmesan and seared treviso radicchio and suma-crusted grilled mahi with smashed and fried potatoes and lemon-herb salad.

Jonathan Perno of La Merienda at Los Ranchos de Albuquerque's Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm is also in the running. His seasonal menu features artisan ingredients grown on the inn's farm and sourced from local growers.  Dishes includes pappardelle pasta with lemon rosemary chicken, mushrooms, green chile and herbed mascarpone and buffalo osso bucco with polenta cake, glazed turnips and carrots and orange gremalata.

Up in Taos, Frederick Muller of El Meze is also up for the Best Chef Southwest award. He call his fresh, regionally inspired rustic comfort food La Comida de las Sierra, or food of the mountains, and it includes such dishes as tamale de cardenas, a buffalo tamale with chile verde, Campo de Mantaban and Tucumcari feta and Truchas Yerba Buena, grilled whole trout with preserved lemon, mint, cilantro and garlic.

Down in Silver City, Rob Connoley of The Curious Kumquat  is also up for the Best Chef gold. His locally foraged and sourced ingredients create a modernist cuisin, with entrees that includs a Duck Confit and Pecan Salad, Raspberry Rabbit Ancho and Thai Duck  .

And in Ranchos de Taos,  Ron Cooper of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal has been nominated for the Outstanding Wine, Spirits or Beer Professional award.

Congratulations to all the nominees! The winners will be announced on May 2 and 5. To see the full list of semifinalists click here.

Ten Thousand Waves' Izanami is one of seven New Mexico restaurants to be nominated for a prestigious James Beard Award.

The Real Butcher Shop Opens

Big news for Santa Fe meat lovers. The Real Butcher Shop, the city's first whole carcass, producer-owned butcher shop, has just opened on Alameda Street, next to La Montanita Co-op, thanks to the hard work of Pollo Real's Tom Delahante and Tracy Hamilton.

The shop offers  organic, pasture-fed and grass-finished meats as well as poultry, pork and lamb from family farms in New Mexico and the owners'  six-generation family farm in Wisconsin.  You'll find heritage breeds, including  Red Devon, Blue Belgian, Red and Black Angus Beef, Berkshire and Red Wattle Pork; northern New Mexico Shepherd's Lamb and Pollo Real's French Label Rouge and American Cornish Cross Chickens, heritage turkeys, Muscovy duck and Pintade (guinea hen).

The Real Butcher Shop also features Pollo Real eggs,  housemade bone stocks, soups, vegetarian Farmer's market soups, housemade chicken, turkey, pork, lamb and beef sausages, charcuterie specialty items including pates, terrines, prosciutto and salami, and bacon, ham, turkey, chicken and other smoked meats. You can also purchase breads made with organic, heirloom grains, artisan cheese, Bee Chama honey and pet food. In the pipeline are meat-cutting and preparation classes and workshops.

While the shop is open to the public, it's also designed as a progressive CSA (Community Supported Agricultural), where members who prepay can choose the meat of their choice.

For more info, click here.

"Unloaded our first Panorama Grass-Fed Meats shipment this morning!" – Courtesy The Real Butcher Shop Facebook page

Restaurant Week

Don't forget it's Santa Fe Restaurant Week through Sunday, March 2, when more than 50 restaurants around the city offer prix fixe lunches and dinners for as little as $25 a person. Often, the prices during Restaurant Week are a fraction of the cost you'd normally pay, so this is a great time for you to explore restaurants that are new to Santa Fe, or new to you. The week includes some fun classes, demos and tastings led by local chefs and mixologists. Taos and Albuquerque are also hosting Restaurant Week during this same time period, so you can explore the incredible range of excellent food in those cities as well.

Find all the Restaurant Week menus and events here.