Oct. 27, 2016
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The Fork

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

September 15, 2016, 11:30 am

There’s a new taproom restaurant in town. Rowley Farmhouse Ales (1405 Maclovia Street, 428-0719) specializes in the kinds of beers that European farmers historically made from the grain, hops and yeast they grew and had at hand. The place also has an alluring menu of reasonably-priced food like a BLT with Kyzer Farms crispy braised pork belly; a banh mi sandwich with duck pâté, roasted duck breast and traditional Vietnamese fixins. Also, a thing they call “brinner” which is pork belly with a Belgian waffle, two eggs, maple syrup and apple compote. YUM. Check it out.

Congratulations to the winners of two cheeseburger contests that happened over the past week. Laguna Burger won a contest between 10 restaurants competing for the Green Chile Cheeseburger Challenge at the New Mexico State Fair. The Laguna Burger comes from the 66 Pit Stop, a retro-themed destination across I-40 from the Route 66 Casino, east of Albuquerque. The Laguna Burger is a simple thing: beef, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato and chile on a toasted sesame seed bun. Sparky’s, a quirky little eatery in Hatch, took the award for People’s Choice.

Meanwhile, at the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown at the Railyard last Friday, chef Anthony Smith from the Inn and Spa at Loretto won the top prize. Second Street Brewery won that contest’s People’s Choice Award.

On the other side of the food spectrum, I recently ate at Arroyo Vino out at Las Campanas and was super intrigued by the squash blossom appetizer with nasturtium pesto (that's it in the picture up there). Oho! Made with nasturtium leaves? Wh,y I have a bunch of those in the garden right now. I put the flowers in my salad, but what to do with the leaves? Nothing—until now. Essentially, you can just substitute the leaves (and flowers) for the basil in a regular pesto recipe. Nasturtium is much more pungent than basil, so if you taste a few and they’re too powerful, you can blanch them first. Here are directions.

Acclaimed chef Rob Connoley will be in Santa Fe at the end of the month to do a cooking class and book signing at Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe. Connoley was recognized as a James Beard semifinalist for the wildly creative menu at the now-closed Curious Kumquat in Silver City, where he frequently featured ingredients he had foraged. His new book is called Acorns & Cattails, alluding to the foraging thing, get it? The book signing is from 3-5 p.m. on Sept. 29 and the cooking class ($95) will follow at 6 p.m. To register call 877-229-7184.

Have you heard of butterfly pea powder, a miraculous natural ingredient that can turn your food and drink a glorious shade of blue? Me neither! I must have missed its write-up in The New York Times in June (how?) but I discovered it in the pages of—bear with me here—the in-house magazine of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. Gosh bless Canada! Yes, if you live in Toronto you have to buy your booze at a government store (booo), but that store has a good selection and a gorgeous glossy magazine full of really fancy food and drink recipes. Including this thing about butterfly pea powder. It comes from a pretty flower called the butterfly pea and you can buy it as a powder, tea or extract. Must have.

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