Santa Fe’s Everchanging Food Scene

Gourmet Girl - May 8, 2013

Restaurants change hands and close, Cooking with Kids' well-deserved award, the Good Doctor & more

Photo of Shibumi Ramenya is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Big Breaking News

There's been big news in the restaurant world this week as one longtime restaurants plans to close and others change hands, or prepare to close.

Over at Shibumi Ramenya owner, Eric Stapelman will soon close up shop so he can move to Seattle to open Shibumi there, he confirmed during a phone interview with me. Stapelman moved to Santa Fe from New York City more than a decade ago to open Rociada to rave reviews from the national press. Rociada later morphed into Trattoria Nostrani, an Italian restaurant that also became famous for its food. A few years ago, Stapelman opened Shibumi, a Japanese noodle house, in the same building.

A few weeks ago, Stapelman and his longtime chef Nellie Maltezos, who had opened Vivre in the space formerly occupied by Nostrani, sold the space to Peas'n'Pod Catering, which plans to open a restaurant there. Now, Stapelman confirms more change at this address as Shibumi in Santa Fe has not yet been sold. Who will buy it? What will they open? It all remains to be seen, but suffice it to say that Santa Fe's dining scene is ever-changing and never boring.

In other food news, it looks like the Pink Adobe has been bought by the Guadalupe Caf&eaeacute;, located on the same block on Old Santa Fe Trail. Rumors have been flying around town all week, and when I called the restaurant for confirmation, I got a recording, which stated…"Please join us for breakfast or lunch at our sister restaurant, the Guadalupe Cafe."

If the rumors are true, this is a huge change for one of Santa Fe's oldest restaurants, founded by New Orleans native Rosalea Murphy in 1944. I hope they keep the Dragon Room the same and Gypsy Stew on the menu. Watch here for updates on this story…

Kudos to Cooking with Kids

Lynn Walters broke a lot of  epicurean hearts when she closed her Natural Café almost two decades ago, but her work since then has more than made up for that. In 1995, she founded Cooking with Kids to partner with schools, families and our community to teach children about healthy eating. Today, her program is nationally recognized as an innovative leader in hands-on food and nutrition education.

Cooking with Kids was just awarded with the 2013 International Association of Culinary Professionals Award of Excellence. And no wonder. This nonprofit has made an incredible difference in the lives of Santa Fe kids. For example, this month, more than 5,000 school children across the city tasted different salad greens, including sunflower sprouts grown by farmer Susan Higgins of Sungreen Living Foods. It's farmers like these who provide fruits and veggies for Cooking with Kid's tasting lessons all year long.

Cooking with Kids offers cooking classes, where kids work together to prepare dishes that include vegetable paella, Ecuadorian potato pancakes and East Indian lessons. Tasting classes have the kids exploring different kinds of fruits and vegetables they may not eat at home.

The group's Superchef program pairs Santa Fe's finest chefs with elementary schools, where they share their expertise and passion about food. Together, chefs and kids create tasty foods like spinach fettuccine, Moroccan tagine and vegetable tamales. The Farmers in the Schools Program pairs local farmers with schools, where they talk about the foods they grow and demonstrate how to cook them.

Cooking with Kid's healthy and tasty school lunches are served twice a month in Santa Fe elementary schools based on recipes adapted from classroom cooking lessons. And there's a program with school gardens to enhance children's knowledge about where food comes from.

The nonprofit also integrates local chefs and farmers into cooking classes and, as a partner in the Santa Fe Food Project Coalition, hosts an Americorps Youth Food Cadre Volunteer who teaches cooking and gardening. In addition, Cooking with Kids develops educational materials and implements hands-on training for Extension educators in New Mexico in partnership with state universities.

Santa Fe is lucky to have such an amazing nonprofit working to promote healthy eating among Santa Fe kids! Healthy habits learned young can last throughout your whole life and ensure  that it's a healthy life. For more info, visit

The Mexican Shed?

The Shed has been celebrated for its New Mexican cuisine for 50 years now, so it was rather bizarre to see one of the country's top travel magazines, Travel + Leisure, place the restaurant at No. 10 on its Top Mexican Restaurants in the U.S. list. The reviewer listed off the great New Mexican fare The Shed is known for, including green chile stew, red chile cheese enchiladas and "pozole." Hmm…

I'm sure The Shed is unfazed and happy for the praise. After all, the restaurant has already earned the food world's equivalent of the Oscar, a James Beard Award, for being an American Classic of timeless appeal. Mexican, New Mexican…some people still don't know the difference even though our cuisine is celebrated around the world for its distinctiveness. To see the full list, click here.

The Good Doctor

I like to stay on top of Santa Fe's restaurant scene, but sometimes things slip through the crack. That's the case with Dr. Field Goods, a food truck  opened by chef Josh Gerwin last summer that has morphed into a brick-and-mortar restaurant located at 2860 Cerrillos Rd., next to Jackalope.

This farm to table restaurant serves up some amazing lunches and dinners. The innovative menu reflects the season's bounty, from egg rolls stuffed with slow-roasted carne adovada and peanut sauce to green-chile rubbed pulled pork sandwich with apple jicama slaw. There's also onion naan bread with house-cured salmon, Philly cheesesteak, fish'n'chips with a creamy malt vinegar cabbage salad, wood-fired pizza, handmade onion rings with red or green chile and cheese and curried devil eggs.

If you still have room after your meal, the bread pudding is crazy good made with raisins, pinon nuts and caramel, while the decadent Truffle Plate includes an array of truffles made with green chile, caramel with sea salt and roasted pinon nuts and more.

It think it's time for lunch. See you at the Doctor's! For more info, click here.

Savor the Flavor

Save the date for Savor the Flavor, a celebration of New Mexico's diverse and unique flavors on June 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Museum of International Folk Art.

New Mexico food businesses will offer samples and sell their products, while the Book Fair will feature New Mexico cookbooks and authors reading about their favorite foods including Bill and Cheryl Alters Jamieson, Candace Walsh, Dave DeWitt, Bill Dunmiere, Irene Sanchez, Barb Awalt and Andrea Feucht.

The day also features outdoor horno baking demos, a demo with chef Rocky Durham of the Santa Fe Culinary Academy, a wine and beer tasting and many other fun food events. Sounds like a delicioius way to celebrate the foods of New Mexico! See you there! (Wonder if anyone will be offering "pozole"...)