Tidbits: when March comes marching in

It feels like spring in Santa Fe. While some of the country has experienced record low temperatures, it’s been spring-like here. We’ve had days in the mid to high 60s. Sandals are our, people are wearing shorts and I even saw a bee. While meteorologists are predicting a couple of days in the 40s this week and it snowed a bit today, most days will be warmer. We’re enjoying it while it’s here. Don’t have spring break plans? Think Santa Fe.

To help with that decision, March is “Kids Free” month in Santa Fe. And there’s a lot to do. Read our post on Santa Fe family-friendly activities. For information on specials offered during “Kids Free” month click here.

Santa Fe food, drink and dining news

Santa Fe Chef Eric DeStefano (left) with Chef Marc Quiñones of Luminaria, photo courtesy Marc Quiñones,

Chef Eric DeStefano (left) with Chef Marc Quiñones of Luminaria, photo courtesy Marc Quiñones,

Sadly, one of Santa Fe’s most talented and loved chefs, Eric DiStefano, who was Executive Chef at both Geronimo and Coyote Café, passed away unexpectedly on Friday, February 5th. His memorial service at the Santa Fe Civic Center was packed with people whose lives he impacted. Chefs who’d trained in his kitchens, people who’d worked the floor, people who’d dined on his food for 19 years as well as family and friends. Eric won many accolades over the years, the last one coming shortly before his death. Business Insider named Geronimo as the best restaurant in New Mexico in their 2016 their list of Best restaurant in every state. Eric will be greatly missed. I shared a few of my Eric memories in this post.

Some of the staff of Tourism Santa Fe around the sign introducing the Santa Fe Margarita Trail photo.Steve Collins

Some of the staff of Tourism Santa Fe around the sign introducing the Santa Fe Margarita Trail photo.Steve Collins

What’s more fitting for Santa Fe than a margarita trail? On May 5th Santa Fe will launch its official Santa Fe Margarita Trail. Here’s the deal: buy a Margarita Passport at either the TOURISM Santa Fe Visitors Centers or participating restaurants for $3, head to the restaurant(s) of your choice, order their Margarita Trail signature margarita (priced from $7 to $12), and get your passport stamped. To encourage responsible drinking, you can only get two stamps per day. Five stamps will get you a free tee-shirt; claim it at the Visitors Center at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. Twenty stamps will get you an autographed copy of Al Lucero’s The Great Margarita Book: A Handbook with Recipes with a forward by Robert Redford. Lucero was the long-time owner of Maria’s New Mexican Kitchen now under the umbrella of Santa Fe Dining. Fill the entire card and claim a yet to be determined prize. The passport is good for the entire length of the promotion so visitors can save it and bring it on subsequent visits to The City Different. The passport will also get you a dollar discount on your drink. The promotion is open to people 21 and over. We’ll post a link to the participating restaurants in next month’s Tidbits.

Florence Jaramillo between her grandaughter Lauren and daughter Laura at Rancho de Chimayo,'s 50th Birthday celebration photo/Steve Cpllins

Florence Jaramillo between her grandaughter Lauren and daughter Laura at Rancho de Chimayo,’s 50th Birthday celebration photo/Steve Cpllins

The 2016 James Beard Awards best restaurant and chef nominations have been released and Santa Fe is in the running in two categories. Eloisa, opened by Chef John Sedlar last spring, inspired by the Chef’s grandmother, the eponymous Eloisa was named to the Best New Restaurant category. Chefs Andrew Cooper of Terra at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado and Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin Santa Fe are in the running for Best Chefs of the Southwest. Also, one of our favorite local restaurants,C Rancho de Chimayó (which celebrated 50 years in business in October), was named to the Foundation’s “America’s Classics” list. They deserve it!

The interior of Naruto, Albuquerque's new ramen house photo courtesy Naruto

The interior of Naruto, Albuquerque’s new ramen house photo/courtesy Naruto

We love Santa Fe’s original sushi restaurant, Shohko Café so we were thrilled to hear that Hiro and Shohko Fukuda, the husband and wife team behind that popular eatery have opened Naruto, a traditional ramen house, in Albuquerque. We hear the food is great and reasonably priced. We plan to go next time we’re in the Duke City. Meanwhile, Albuquerque food blogger, Gil Garduno, who’s always on top of that city’s dining scene, reviewed it on Gil’s Thrilling (and Filling) Blog. The review made my mouth water and I’ve already planned what I’m eating (unless there are specials that day).

We’ve been fans of Chef Mark Connell for years. We first tasted his food at the no longer open Max’s in 2010 and then at the also defunct Tomme. He was the first chef at Arroyo Vino, where his small plate menu delighted diners. Connell’s new restaurant, State Capital Kitchen opened today. The eatery, with a strong focus on small plates, is committed to using locally grown, produced and foraged foods. The food delivery method is innovative. SCK has adapted the dim sum model. Servers will circulate with carts offering a variety of tempting small plates or diners can order off a menu. We can’t wait to try it!

Heard on the Santa Fe grapevine — the Hilton Historic Plaza will be launching Ortiz, a new restaurant with popular local chef Tom Kerpon as Executive Chef. The hotel is mum on their new eatery at the moment but we hear it’s opening mid-March. We’ll have more info for you in April’s Tidbits.

It’s musical chairs in Santa Fe again. Ecco Gelato has moved a bit east on Marcy Street. Their new location at128 East Marcy Street is right next door to Cheesemongers of Santa Fe. Their old digs at 105 East Marcy Street will house a new outlet for local Verde Juice.

Santa Fe Music

Classical music from 18th Century Mexico

The Spanish Colonial Arts Society presents the Chicago Arts Orchestra (CAO) in Rediscovered Treasures, a concert featuring 18th Century Spanish and Mexican music, on Friday, March 4th at 8pm in the St. Francis Auditorium at the New Mexico Museum of Art. The concert, under the direction of University of New Mexico graduate Javier José Mendoza, will feature centuries-old works found in archives of cathedrals and churches throughout Mexico. Tickets, $15 to $50, are available on the CAO website.

Serenata of Santa Fe presents Kurtág’s Ghosts, an evening of chamber music, on Friday, March 11th at 7:30pm at the First Presbyterian Church. The concert will feature the works of György Kurtág, Schumann, and Mozart, among others. Solists are Yi-heng Yang (piano), David Felberg (viola) and James Shields (clarinet). Tickets, $25, are available on the Serenata website or at the door. Ms. Yang will also lead a Piano Master Class on Saturday, March 12th at 10am. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra performs photo/courtesy of Snta Fe Symphony

Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra performs photo/courtesy of Snta Fe Symphony

The Santa Fe Symphony presents Brahms & Stravinsky on Sunday, March 20th at 4pm at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Guest conductor Oriol Sans will lead the orchestra in Brahms’ Serenade No. 1 and Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite. Sans will present a free pre-concert lecture at 3pm. Tickets, $25 to $80, are available at both the Symphony and Lensic box offices or online at Tickets Santa Fe. Half-priced tickets are available for children 6 to 14 with adult purchase.

Santa Fe Film

The Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival is holding The Jewish Experience in French Cinema, a French film fest. The event, which runs from Sunday, March 6th to Sunday, March 20th, at the Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA). The five films Jewish Identity in France and the New Antisemitism, Natan, Le Chant Des Mariées (The Wedding Song), Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children), and Les Héritiers (Once in a Lifetime), provide a unique perspective on the experience of Jews in France. The full schedule is on their website.

Northern New Mexico Misc

Santa Fe family friendly activities : The historic Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site photo Steve Collins

The historic Taos Pueblo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site photo/Steve Collins

The Taos Pueblo is a popular destination for visitors. Please note that the pueblo will be closed starting the 2nd week of March through the end of April. Check their website as dates are subject to change.

That’s it for this month. Tidbits will be back on the last Tuesday in March with more Santa Fe news you can use.

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