September Cuisine Scene

The days of wine & chile, craft ale and hippie love

Ahhh, September...the days of wine and chile. And serious foodies know I'm not just talking about enjoying freshly roasted chile with a glass of wine. I'm referring to Santa Fe's biggest foodie event of the year—the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, five delectable days devoted to Santa Fe's culinary stars and world-class wines. Now celebrating its 28th year, Wine & Chile brings 90 wineries from around the country to partner with 75 acclaimed Santa Fe restaurants for cooking demos, wine seminars, winery luncheons and dinners and a wine auction. Also on tap is a film fiesta, a Gruet golf classic and a bicycle race. But the big event is the Grand Tasting, where the restaurants and wineries showcase samples of their delicious food and wine, on the beautiful grounds of the Santa Fe Opera. Below you'll find some Wine & Chile cooking classes that can't be beat, along with a few other culinary happenings in and around town this month.

Wine & Chile at the Cooking School

Another way to experience Wine & Chile is over at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, which hosts Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta Guest Chef Demos with acclaimed chefs such as Geronimo's Slin Cruz, Eloisa's Jon Sedlar and Cheryl Jamison, host of "Heating It Up!" on Hutton Broadcasting's KTRC 1260AM 103.7 FM. Each of these culinary superstars will pair their demo with wines from a world-class winery, specifically selected to complement the ingredients and techniques they'll be working with.

Cruz, for example, will showcase the famous Global Eclectic food that helped Geronimo earn its AAA Four Diamond and Mobil/Forbes 4-Star awards, paired with Duckhorn Winery tastings. His demo class takes place Wednesday, Sept. 26 from 9:30 am to 11 am.

Sedlar will focus on the fusion of Old World and New World, which had given Eloisa such acclaim. He'll demo his Latin culinary traditions paired with pourings of Rioja from Bodegas Faustino. His demo class is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 28 from 3 to 4:30 pm.

Learn the joys of barbecue with Jamison, who will offer a fun breakfast demo devoted to brisket, butts and other smoke-flavored food, paired with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne then Australian GSM. Her class takes place Saturday, Sept. 29 from 9:30 to 11 am.

Santa Fe's Brew Culture

Switching now from wine to ale, Santa Fe has earned a spot on Thrilllist's “Small U.S. Cities with Amazing Breweries” list, along with Longmont, Colorado; Bozeman, Montana; Hood River, Oregon; Traverse City, Michigan.; Bloomington, Indiana; and Frederick, Maryland. Thrilllist praised Santa Fe's “impressively diverse, rounded-out drinking culture that takes it influences from the European tradition more than its Southwestern charm lets on” and cited Santa Fe Brewing's “impressive array of Euro-style beers” and Blue Corn's “more American-style of sipping beers.” Cheers, to Santa Fe's brewmakers!

What's Cookin' at Las Cosas

Fall is in the air, and so are the irresistible scents of of Moroccan spices. Or, at least, they will be when Chef Johnny Vee explores the many delights of Moroccan cooking in his class, Terrific Tagines & Couscous at Las Cosas Cooking School on Tuesday, September 11, from 6 to 9 pm. You'll finally learn how to use that dusty tagine that's been sitting on your kitchen shelf, the earthenware pot that is used to make tagine, the fragrant Moroccan stew. The menu includes tagine of chard, snapper tagine with chermoula and lamb tagine with preserved lemon couscous, as well as eggplant salad, flatbread with Zahtar and baba ghanoush, and, for dessert, a sweet couscous with dates.

If you haven't yet discovered the joys of mole, Chef Johnny Vee's class at Las Cosas Cooking School devoted to The Magic of Mole will quickly show you what you've been missing. This Oaxacan specialty is world-famous, a slowly simmered blend of chiles, nuts, spices and other ingredients with so many flavors, it tastes sublime. You'll also learn to make some accompanying dishes also from Mexico to complement the mole, including guacamole, salsa verde, sopa de tortilla and tres leches, for dessert. This hands-on class takes place Saturday, September 29 from 10 am to 1 pm at Las Cosas Cooking School.

Hippie Love

For those of us who missed Woodstock, here's another chance to celebrate peace, love and music, albeit almost 50 years later. Madstock—hosted by the Mine Shaft Tavern and Madrid Railyard—descends on Madrid Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 22-23, for a celebration of the historic mining village's artistic and cultural diversity via art, music and food. Known as “the Most Hippie Town in New Mexico,” Madrid is the perfect place for a weekend of fantastic food and local microbrews along with music on three stages—inside the Mine Shaft Tavern, on the tavern's Cantina deck and on the main stage at the Madrid Railyard Amphitheater. The line-up includes Sean Healen, Felix y los Gatos, Rhythm Dragon, Jim Almand, Kitty Jo Creek and more! Snack on smoothies, bagels and healthy foods from the Railyard Bar and enjoy local microbrews. Shop handmade arts and crafts and enter a costume contest or a look alike contest. Feel the hippie love!