Wine Not? Wine Yes!

About once a month, SFR features a wine column called ¡Pour Vida! from a very knowledgable local sommelier named Mary Francis Cheeseman . We think this is cool because because we've learned so much we finally don't have to fake using the term "terroir" in polite conversation. Well, at least we won't have to fake it soon, as long as we keep paying attention to her.

Anyway, this got us thinking about how maybe other folks out there might be oenophiles (which sounds gross, but is really just the fancy term for wine lovers) and that they maybe just don't know where to start. Here's a few upcoming things to help—and make sure you keep an eye on SFR the last Wednesday of each month.

Arroyo Vino Restaurant and Wine Shop   (218 Camino La Tierra, 983-2100)does tastings and workshops ALL. THE. TIME. It's a good idea to visit the website (which we just linked back there) or give them a call, but just know in your heart they're doing it up right—and that it's more affordable than you'd think. One recent event that explored merlot came with a mere $5 tasting fee, and folks who spent $50 in the wine shop while there received a credit that covered it. Score one for you, you little vine-lovin' maniac.

It's common knowledge that   La Casa Sena (125 E Palace Ave., 988-9232) has one of the finest wine shops in the city. On Thursday Nov. 16 (one week from today), the restaurant/wine shop pops in on pals at Rio Chama Steakhouse  for a special event called Bargain Hunting in Burgundy. Basically, you're gonna learn all about wines from the area and why they're so damn good.

Did you know that Nov. 6 to 12 (that's through this Sunday) is the fourth annual  International Sherry Week ? That means that everyone from Frasier fans (who'll know why we just made that wonderfully topical joke) to the everyday curious can get onboard. It takes place across 25 countries and also brings out great food, so when we tell you that La Boca (72 W Marcy St., 982-3433) is part of the deal with tastings and a three-course tapas tasting menu, you should be excited. Give 'em a call for specific pricing info.

Susan's Fine Wine and Spirits (1005 S St. Francis Drive, 984-1582) also does tastings, like this Friday Nov. 10 from 4:30-6 pm, when they host Italian Wines from Denver-based  Enotec Imports . There's no tasting fee associated with that particular event. More of a beer person? The following day (Saturday Nov. 11), Susan's hosts an eclectic beer tasting from 2-4 pm. There's no telling what'll pop up for that one, but we hear it's brews from all over the world and also there's no cost to taste. Double-score.

More Tidbits

– Know what's cool? Being in on super-secret stuff that you can brag to your friends about, so listen in—you want to sign up for the dig & serve mailing list. These folks call themselves "a speakeasy underground supper club," which is a fancy way of saying they do experiential dinner events that you wanna know about. Specifics are scarce (which is part of the fun), but we know the next one takes place on Tuesday Nov. 28 at Meow Wolf and is called A Fest for the Senses. At $145, it's a little on the pricey side, but there's no cost too great when it comes to sticking it to your friends.

– It's been quesadilla season for some of us who work all the time and get lazy at night, and while cheese is obviously a big deal, a tortilla can make or break one of those bad boys. Our top pick for avoiding the heartache is Alicia's Tortilleria ( 1314 Rufina Circle, 438-9545). Not only does this midtown gem churn out the goods by the dozen ($1.25 for corn, $2.75 for flour or wheat), but they've got a full menu of tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more.

– If you're trying to find family-friendly food things to do, try out the Santa Fe School of Cooking 's (125 N. Guadalupe St., 983-4511) New Mexican Family Class. For $80, you can learn to cook local dishes while also picking up history and a few lessons about healthy choices. We know we just said that quesadilla stuff before, but we've gotta try to be good sometimes, right?

– Also for families, the Santa Fe Farmers Market Institute has some pretty excellent youth programs under the Local Food for Local Kids banner. In addition to field trips that have scavenger hunts (which made us gasp internally—you never outgrow scavenger hunts), the Power of Produce (or PoP) Club provides eight weeks of activities and lessons and produce that's super-local and super-fresh. That's not even mentioning the Two Bite Club which encourages picky eaters to try stuff they'd probably like anyway if they'd just relax and listen to you. These things are free.

– Apropos of nothing in particular: If you haven't tried the oatmeal at The Teahouse (821 Canyon Road, 992-0972), you haven't truly lived. It's gluten-free, jam-packed with oats and groats (whatever those are—jay kay, they're the hulled husks of cereal grains, says the internet) plus maple cream and whipped cream—and friends, believe us when we say you might want some extra whipped cream. This fantastic anytime treat will set you back $8.67, and that's including tax. Try also the coffee and there was something else, which was …. oh right! Tea. They have lots of tea there, we bet.

– And finally, did you hear Tomasita's is, like, two seconds away from opening an Albuquerque location? They are, and they now join the ranks of Santa Fe businesses like Duel Brewing and Jambo that can claim dual city-zen-ship. Haha! Oh man, that was some good word twisting. Anyway, according to a Facebook post we came across, the Santa Fe institution should be announcing an opening date for the ABQ version quite soon.

Also

Our digital manager Brianna Kirkland got all on our case this week about sharing a special recipe, so here she is with a guest spot chock-full 'o' sweet potatoes and—oh man, now she's standing over us, shrieking demands! You guys! Send help! She's overpowering us! Oh no! Send he—

… Hey, Fork friends, Bri here. This recipe comes to you direct from a recent SFR cover story about those schmancy home meal delivery services—like Blue Apron —we did a few weeks back (read it here ), and is the version I made myself from ingredients I actually left my home to buy. In the story, we stacked up the delivery services against actual effort. Which is best? Read the story and find out. And while you're mulling over this question, try out this recipe:

A Better Sweet Potato Side Dish

Brianna Kirkland

Ingredients

  • 2 cups diced sweet potato
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 1 cup diced apple
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons finely diced candied ginger
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup candied pecans

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and prep the vegetables. Peel and dice the sweet potato and butternut squash into 1/4-inch cubes. Dice the apple into 1/4-inch pieces, leaving the skins on. Use whatever apples you like to bake with or have on hand; Granny Smith apples work particularly well, lending some tartness and a pretty color to the recipe.
  3. Toss the cubed fruit and veggies in a bowl with the cranberries, candied ginger and pumpkin pie spices. Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet with a lip (line it with parchment paper first for easier clean-up), and top with the butter cut into small pieces. Slide the tray into the oven, then pour the apple cider into the tray to avoid spills.
  4. Roast the vegetables until tender, stirring occasionally—about 30 mins. If you like your veggies to be a little crispier, go ahead and let it roast longer. Or if you decide you’d prefer the soft and moist version use a baking dish instead of a sheet pan, and increase the volume of liquid.
  5. Garnish with chopped candied pecans for crunch.

If you end up with leftovers, a great way to use them up is to get some store-bought cresent dough, spoon a tablespoon into the middle of each cresent before you roll it up, garnish with a pecan on top and bake as directed.

Also—ok, Bri's gone, it's us again now—know that somewhere out there, Bri is makin' this thing, too, and you'll always have an ethereal connection because of that. Kinda like Fievel Mousekewitz.

Meanwhile…

You know we've got to bring up our 2017-2018 Restaurant Guide again, and this week's highlight is called " Guilt Tip 2 ." In the piece, we spoke with local drink slingers about the things that drive them nuts and, if nothing else, it's a great way to stay informed when it comes to not pissing off the people making your drinks. Read it online here or find that snazzy guide all over town in print.

Finally…

We were sad that no one answered the call to provide us with region-specific holiday foodstuffs, and will ask you again nicely—what weird holiday dish can you simply not live without? We want to immortalize y'all in this newsletter (and maybe try something new ourselves). And since we're not about to just repeat ourselves and run, we're also curious—what are your kids' favorite local restaurants to visit? We're putting together a list to be used for the purposes of good.

And really, just generally speaking, we want your food tips. Let us know at thefork@sfreporter.com and maybe we'll start handing out prizes or something. Maybe.

…Till next time!