Lassoing a good time at Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup

What better place for two food lovers to spend a weekend than at a food and wine event. We loved the first annual Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup, a western-themed food event. The four-day event was held on the last weekend of August at the Angel Fire Resort in beautiful, mountainous Angel Fire, New Mexico.

One of the perks of being a food and travel writer is that we get invited to events so we can share our experiences with our readers. When we got the invite to  the Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup last spring we were very excited.

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roumduo - Tom Lisa Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse cutting the prime rib photo courtesy Angel Fire Resort

Tom Lisa Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse cutting the prime rib photo/courtesy Angel Fire Resort

We arrived at Angel Fire on Thursday afternoon so we could attend the invitational VIP dinner at the nearby Happy Trails Ranch. We were shuttled from the resort to the mountain ranch, about 10 minutes away. There was a light drizzle when we arrived, but a tent welcomed us and promised to keep us dry. The welcoming bunk house was also a potential haven from the rain., but the rain was so light, almost a mist so it was possible to walk around a bit and check out the roaring campfire and the large barbecue smokers that Tom and Lisa Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, Texas set up to cook huge Wagyu prime rib roasts from Texas’ A Bar N Ranch. The meat, cooked perfectly rare and accompanied by WHAT melted in the mouth. It was a memorable evening, the perfect kickoff to a weekend of food and wine..

The Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup

The Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup was a series of events including food demos, beverage seminars and tastings as well as meals all offered a la carte. People could decide what events they wanted to attend and buy tickets. Some events, including the private dinners and the mushroom foraging event were sell-outs. Buy your tickets early next year!

The Roundup Grand Tasting

Angel Fire Food and Wine Rounduo - Duck tamales, one of the delicious offerings from the Santa Fe School of Cooling, photo Billie Frank

Duck tamales, one of the delicious offerings from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, photo/Billie Frank

The weekend’s premier event, the Roundup Grand Tasting took place at Frontier Park on Saturday afternoon. The first food station we hit featured chefs Jen and Evan Doughty of Santa Fe’s Palace Restaurant and Saloon. They had two offerings: a three-bean salad topped with roulade, goat cheese and orange mole and La Boca Negro. I was going to wait until after I’d tasted all the savories before going for dessert; I’m glad I broke down and tried this luscious chocolate confection topped with whipped cream and red chile powder. When I went back for seconds after tasting all the savory offerings, it was gone.

The second food station we hit was the Santa Fe School of Cooking where they had three delicious samples; avocado gazpacho, duck tamale with a tangy ancho and guajillo chile sauce and smoked trout in cucumber. Steve and I each discovered a wine we liked. I’m a fan of Sauvignon Blanc and the Santa Rita Secret Reserve from Chile was lovely. Steve loved the Enza Sparkling Rose from Prosecco, Italy. Other food at the tasting included green chile cheeseburger sliders made from A Bar N Ranch’s Wagyu beef. The burgers grill, presided over by BBQ guru Meathead Goldwyn, had the longest lines at the event. Goldwyn said that the meat was so tender it was falling through the grill grates so they ended up cooking it on griddles. California competition pit master Harry Soo presided over the station serving his pulled pork made for the excellent heirloom breed meat raised by Kyzer Farm in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Other food and drink purveyors at the event included Santa Fe’s Barrio Brinery, Bodega Prime, Zia Energy Soft Drinks, Enchanted Circle Brewery, Broken Trail Distilled Spirits,, Angel Fire Vodka, Santa Fe Spirits, Black Mesa Winery, Southwest Wines, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. We had a great afternoon eating, drinking, running into old friends and making new ones. We left sated and we still had dinner to look forward to.

Food and beverage demos and seminars

The weekend offered a host of food and beverage demos and seminars.

Meathead and Harry

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup Meathead Goldwyn and Harry Soo going over tne fine points of BBQ, photo Steve Collins

Meathead Goldwyn and Harry Soo going over the fine points of BBQ, photo/Steve Collins

After a quick breakfast in the resort’s café on on Friday morning we headed to our first food demo featuring BBQ whisperer Meathead Goldwyn of Amazing Ribs and Harry Soo, pit master of the award-winning competition BBQ team, Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ. Goldwyn kept the group engaged with a running commentary while prepping A Bar N Ranch Wagyu rib-eye steaks he cut from an entire rib roast. Like the prime rib from the night before it was mouth-meltingly tender and delicious.

Next Soo cooked his award-winning pork ribs using pork sustainably raised at Kyzer Farm, The farm specializes in heritage breeds including Berkshire, Red Duroc, Old English Spotted and York hogs. The ribs were delicious.

Both Goldwyn and Soo shared great tips for the food-loving audience. Steve, who has been passionate about cooking with fire for decades (he writes a monthly column for National BBQ News), came away with tips and information he never knew. These guys are good! And both have great senses of humor which made the morning fun. The demo was followed by an optional luncheon which included the steaks and the ribs followed by a free Q &A so that Goldwyn and Soo could share their passion for cooking with fire.

Dutch oven cooking demo

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup - Kent Smith and Mike Gilcrease showing Dutch oven cooking, photo Steve Collins

Kent Smith and Mike Gilcrease showing Dutch oven cooking, photo/Steve Collins

Saturday we had breakfast and then shuttled over to Frontier Park for the Dutch oven cooking demo given by Kent Smith and Mike Gilcrease, authors of Dutch Oven Cooking. They thoroughly covered everything you need to know about Dutch oven cooking from buying the cookware and accessories to cooking with and caring for the pots all the while sharing their hilarious stories about   camping and cooking out. They kept the crowd engaged for the entire two hours. As they talked they cooked elk chile while their wives cooked corn fritters on a griddle. The men also each cooked a dessert. Everyone left the demo with a helpful handout with helpful Dutch oven cooking information and recipes to try out. On the buffet line on Saturday night I overhead a man  remark that he’d enjoyed the Dutch oven demo so much that next year he’d have to get to more demos. That’s a sign of a successful event.

Wine, spirits and beer appreciation seminars

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roiundup - Irby Wood of the renowned Jackson wine family talking about wine, photo Steve Collins

Irby Wood of the renowned Jackson wine family talking about wine, photo/ Steve Collins

Friday afternoon, Steve, the oenophile in this outfit went to the Wine Appreciation Seminar hosted by Irby Wood of Jackson Family Wines (as in Kendall Jackson). The group tasted three whites (Benvolio Pinot Grigio, Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc and La Crema Chardonnay) and five reds (Chianti Classico, St. Emilion Bordeaux 2009 Chateau Lassegue, Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon and Yangarra Shiraz from Australia. Wood went over each wine, talked about the process of tasting and the unique characteristics of each wine. Steve went away from the seminar with a better understanding of both the language used to describe wines and the subtle differences between the varietals.

There was also a Spirits Appreciation Seminar given by local distillers (Angel Fire Vodka, Santa Fe Spirits, and Broken Trail Spirits). We got to taste their wares at the Reserve Tasting later in the afternoon.

Craft beer aficionados weren’t left out. Saturday morning brought the Craft Beer Seminar & Lunch. Attendees sampled New Mexico-produced brews from the lightest ales to full bodied Porters and Belgian Sours followed by a pub fare lunch.

Reserve Tasting and Silent Auction

Angel Fire Food and Wine Rounduo - The Reserve Tastlng and Silent Auction, photo courtesy Angel Fire Resort

The Reserve Tasting and Silent Auction, photo courtesy Angel Fire Resort

We ended the afternoon at the Reserve Tasting and Silent Auction. We tasted our way around the room. Besides wine, local spirit distillers and craft breweries were set up sharing their wares. I usually don’t drink hard liquor, but for some reason I tasted Santa Fe Spirts single malt whisky. It was really smooth. I could get used to sipping this stuff! We also sampled Angel Fire Vodka, made from “premium grains,” is also a good sipping liquor. Maybe I’m turning into a drinker! Attendees were able to bid on wine and other offerings on the silent auction table while enjoying the nibbles set up at a few food stations.

Breakfast, lunch and dinners

Special wine dinners

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup - One of the sold-out wine dinners photo courtesy Angel Fire Resort

One of the sold-out wine dinners photo/courtesy Angel Fire Resort

Friday evening brought two special wine dinners cooked and served at private homes. They quickly sold out. Santa Fe husband and wife chef team, Jen and Evan Doughty of the Palace Restaurant and Saloon. Jen was at the Rush residence and Evan was at the Hensel’s home. Each prepared a unique menu highlighting the A Bar N Ranch Wagyu beef and the Kyzer Farm Pork. We heard rave reviews from those lucky enough to secure seats.

Chuckwagon Breakfast

Angel Fire Food and Wine - The chuckwagon, photo Billie Frank

The chuckwagon, photo/Billie Frank

Saturday morning started with a chuck wagon breakfast cooked by Texans Roland and Sandra Saul on their Studebaker Chuck Wagon. Attendees enjoyed scrambled eggs, breakfast meat and biscuits cooked in Frontier Park. I sampled a Dutch oven biscuit and it sure was tasty!

Mushroom foraging and lunch

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup - A bounty of foraged mushrooms, photo Cheryl Alters Jameson,, Excited About Food

A bounty of foraged mushrooms, photo/Cheryl Alters Jameson,, Excited About Food

Another sold-out event was the mushroom foraging and lunch. Tom Bowles took a group of folks hunting for wild fungi in the nearby hills. Since Angel Fire has been getting copious afternoon rains lately there were a lot of wild mushrooms for the group to gather. After the hunt, he and Santa Fe’s Cheryl Alters Jamison, James Beard Award-winning cookbook writer and enthusiastic culinarian, created a delicious lunch featuring chanterelle and porcini risotto, smoked chanterelle salad with tomato-herb vinaigrette and grilled porcini-dusted Wagyu rib-eyes with red wine-porcini demi-glacé made from the foraged bounty.

Boots, Boogie and BBQ

Two-stepping at Boots, Boogie and BBQ, photo Steve Collins -Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup

Two-stepping at Boots, Boogie and BBQ, photo Steve Collins

Buffet fans loved the sumptuous Boots, Boogie and BBQ dinner held at the Angel Fire Country Club on Saturday night. The buffet offered a selection of BBQed meats that included three kinds of sausage, smoked baby back pork ribs, slow-cooked brisket, Caribbean Jerk grilled chicken Carolina-style pulled pork and New Mexico carne adovada with Chimayó red chile. A selection of sides including chile corn muffins, salads, , huge ears of roasted corn on the cob, sweet potato succotash, New Mexico calabacitas with heirloom green chile and baked potatoes with all the fixin’s The grand finale: a dessert table showcasing a host of sweets including white chocolate blueberry bread pudding with whiskey sauce, mixed berry cobbler, Key lime pie, tiramisu, and lemon lime orange cheese cake.. The dance floor was packed with couples doing the two-step. It was a fun evening.

Bloody Good Bacon Brunch

Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup - The omelet station a Sunday's Bloody Good Bacon Brunch, photo courtesy Angel Fire Resort

The omelet station a Sunday’s Bloody Good Bacon Brunch, photo/courtesy Angel Fire Resort

The weekend ended with Sunday’s Bloody Good Bacon Brunch featuring a lot of food along with Bloody Marys where people could add shrimp, cracked black pepper maple wagyu bacon  from A bar N ranch, celery, pickled pepper, pickled okra and/or olives. Or for those with tamer taste there were mimosas. Food offerings included a make your own burrito bar, a salsa bar, selection, a serve yourself selection featuring scrambled eggs, Cajun hash brown, sweet potato hash, breakfast potatoes, green chili cheese grits, a veggie frittata, pork carne adovada made with Chimayó chile, bacon ,breakfast sausage links and pattie as well as assorted pastries and breads.

Resort activities

The view from the Angel Fire chairlift, photo Steve Collins

The view from the Angel Fire chairlift, photo/Steve Collins

Angel Fire resort offers many activities. You can zipline, paddle board, golf, swim and more. We took the chairlift to the top of the mountain and enjoyed the ride and the panoramic views. Others brought their bikes with them. They were conveyed to the top by special carriers attached to the lift. up on special racks on the lift. There’s an extensive system of trails leading down the mountain. It was fun to watch these daredevils of all ages from youngsters to seniors navigate their way down the mountain/

We thoroughly enjoyed our weekend at the Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup. We came away with some great tips to use cooking outdoors, got to eat some good food, met interesting people and enjoyed the beauty of Angel Fire. We can’t wait to see what’s on tap for next year’s Roundup!

Author’s note: We were guests of the Angel Fire Food and Wine Roundup. Opinions are our own.


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