Santa Fe’s Summer Cuisine Scene: New Chefs and Tailgating at its Best

Gourmet Girl - June 11, 2014

Joel Coleman's new gastropub, luxe tailgating at the opera, Taberna's sherry dinner & Summer Solstice celebrations

Chef Joel Coleman

Comings & Goings

Great news for fans of Mauka and Koi. Chef Joel Coleman is back In Santa Fe and opening an exciting gastropub, Fire and Hops, in the space on Guadalupe Street formerly occupied by Tulips. Coleman has cooked his way around the country, including stints at Ame in San Francisco, Ruth's Chris in Wailea, Hawaii and, most recently, as head chef at Elevation 66 in El Cerrito, Calif. In Santa Fe, he also cooked at Mu Du Noodles and worked as a private chef. The Santa Fean named him Best New Chef and Best New Restaurant for Mauka and Koi.

Coleman says he expects to open next month, offering a menu that focuses on local and organic foods, as much as possible. “There will be some plays on pub food, but also just some fun dishes with a bit of Asian influence,” he told Gourmet Girl.

Check him out in action on this video from Kasa 2 Style, which aired last Friday. He whips up some bacon and rice fritters with chile and preserved lemon mayo, and I sure hope this will be a staple on his menu. A big welcome to Fire and Hops, which will be a great addition to our city's dining scene!

Luminaria, which has one of the most beautiful patios in Santa Fe, has a new executive chef, Marc Quiñones, who's made the move to Santa Fe from Bien Shur Sandia Resort & Casino in Albuquerque . A native of the South Bronx, Quiñones began cooking in Manhattan restaurants and then went on to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Ariz. After graduating and becoming a member of the Escoffier Society, he cooked in Hawaii, Arizona and Napa restaurants and also staged for chef John Besh's signature restaurant, August in New Orleans. He has cooked for the U.S. President aboard Air Force One. Albuquerque The Magazine named him Best Chef in the City in 2012 and 2013, and he's included in the inaugural edition of “Best Chefs of America.” Welcome to Santa Fe, chef  Quiñones!

And The Palace Restaurant & Saloon also has a new executive chef, Joshua Ortiz, who has worked as a sous chef for David Sellars at the now defunct Amavi and for Lane Warner at La Fonda. Ortiz has been cooking at the historic restaurant since last August, and has brought back some of the Italian flair the Palace was once known for, including cicchetti (small plates) such as squash blossoms, calamari and fried goat cheese.

Savoring Rare Sherry at Taberna

Taberna hosts Sherry: A Comparison ~ A Celebration on Wednesday June 18 at 7 p.m., a wine dinner led by host Marshal Jorgenson of Classical Wines of Spain that will explore some rare, special and allocated sherries from the Spanish regions of Jerez and Montilla-Morile that, until now, have never been available in New Mexico. Chef/owner James Campbell Caruso and executive chef Jose "Kiko" Rodriguez have come up with a tantalizing menu to pair with each varietal that includes Assorted Pintxos with a skinny gypsy cocktail; Pan-Fried Oysters with shishito pepper jam & preserved lemon aioli;  Zarzuela de Mariscos, a thick stew of clams, shrimp, cod, hazelnuts & red peppers; Urfa Chile-Rubbed Hanger Steak with garlic-orange mojo; and Cabrales, rosemary honey and marcona almond butter. The dinner will take place on the newly furnished patio. Reservations are limited. Call 988-7102.

Gourmet Tailgating at the Santa Fe Opera

If you love the opera but are just too busy to prepare a gourmet feast for the famous tailgating parties that take place in the parking lot before performances, you'll be happy to hear you now have an excellent option. Andrew Cooper, executive chef of Terra at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado, will offer A Show-Stopping Opera Tailgate this summer, which includes a chauffeured ride from the hotel to the opera, a behind-the-scenes tour of the stage and set designs and a four-course feast served in a private tent based on the theme of that night's opera. You don't have to be a hotel guest to enjoy this opportunity. Just call the hotel to make a reservation, and you can park at the hotel and enjoy the chauffered driveto and from the opera. What a great way to start off a stellar evening of world-class opera! Click here to learn more.

Summer Solstice Happenings

Who doesn't love the first day of summer? And this year, there's a host of food events to help celebrate the longest day of the year!

What better way to honor the solstice than outdoors in a lovely garden setting at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden's Summer Solstice in the Garden Saturday, June 21 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The fundraiser features cocktails and hors d'oeuvres as well as live music by the Bert Dalton Jazz Trio and Nacha Mendez. The menu from Adobo Catering includes goat cheese and fresh herb crostini with fig spread; mini tacos with spicy grilled yellow corn, smoked tomato and black bean stew; watermelon gazpacho, chilled summer borscht and creamy avocado with lim crema shots; baby fingerling potatoes filled with chipotle cream and chopped chives; grilled achiote shrimp with mango-guacamole salsa on homemade blue corn tortillas;  and lemon curd squares with lavender and and stone fruit bite-sized tartlets, to represent what is grown in the garden here. The evening includes a live auction and an unveiling by artist Kevin Box of his “Master Peace,” a sculpture of a thousand cast-metal cranes that's  part of his “Origami in the Garden” show, on view through October 25. For ticket info, click here.

James Beard award-winning cookbook authors Cheryl and Bills Jamison kick off the celebration of Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante's 50th year on the Solstice with a celebration of the new “Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook 50th Anniversary Edition” from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. They'll be joined by restaurant owner Florence Jaramillo for a booksigning that includes mariachi music and complimentary refreshments.This is the first of many events marking the anniversary of the restaurant, which opened Sept. 15, 1965. Click here for more info about Rancho de Chimayo Restaurante.

There's a new neighborhood on the downtown map, one that once housed a bordello as well as a military barracks but today is a trendy, tree-lined street full of fun places for foodies to visit. Check out the Johnson Street Experience this Summer Solstice, a block party tohat celebrates this historic area, now occupied by three restaurants, including the brand new Georgia, as well as galleries and shops. The fun kicks off at noon and continues until 5 p.m., featuring tastings from Georgia and Southwestern food samples from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, which also hosts a booksigning with the Jamisons at 4 pm. You'll also taste wine at Terra Cotta Wine Bistro and sake at Shohko Café, where you can check out  taiko drumming. Also on tap are craft projects at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum and art demos.

(Thanks to for the Summer Solstice info.)