Sept. 22, 2017
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The Fork

Love and Chiles

February 2, 2017, 1:30 pm

Eloisa (in the Drury Plaza Hotel, 228 E Palace Ave., 982-0883) has changed hands. John Rivera Sedlar will still be executive chef and culinary advisor at the restaurant named for his grandmother, but he will only be there part-time, according to manager Rick Pedram. I was there just a few weeks ago to try “The O’Keeffe Table,” Sedlar’s five-course tasting menu (loosely) inspired by the artist. The chef wasn’t there that night and one of the waiters delivered the somewhat hokey shtick about O’Keeffe. It involved flipping through a little picture book and smelling various things. But the food was quite good. Let’s hope that stays constant.

Blue Corn Café is having a 20th anniversary matanza Feb. 23. They’re turning an entire pig into chicharrones, tamales, carnitas and more. That’s $30 per person, or $35 with beer pairings.

That sounds fantastic. Although I did just stuff myself with chicharrones at the World’s Largest Matanza in Belen last Saturday. I kept saying "No, no, I’ve had enough," but they’re sooooo gooooood. Will you look at these glorious pork nuggets?

Speaking of true love: Are you thinking about Valentine’s Day yet? You better get on that. When I cooked in restaurants I loved creating special Valentine’s meals. People are so cute on their special dates. And of course it’s busy as hell, which makes the shift go more quickly. Some people like the crackling energy of eating in a restaurant when it’s packed to the gills. If that’s you, by all means, make a reservation for Feb. 14. It’s a Tuesday, which kind of stinks for a date night. But that also means people spread their celebrations out over the weekends that bookend Valentine’s Day. That can be good.

Terra Restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado is doing a five-course lovers’ menu and it looks quite good: Kumamoto oysters, Niçoise salad and duck confit, truffle sweet pea panna cotta and a surf ‘n’ turf of bison short rib and Chilean sea bass. It’s $110 per person.

Need more ideas for a special night out? See our fine dining guide here.

If you can wait until Sunday Feb. 19, you can hit Restaurant Week. Check out the special menus on offer here

I loved all of your responses to the chile-peeling topic from last week. Reader John Ojinaga says he freezes his green chile and then lets it defrost before peeling. I do that, too. It’s much easier to peel then. Plus, then you’re only peeling one bag at a time, not 35 pounds at once. Ojinaga also says he throws out his red chile soaking water because it’s dirty. I can dig that.

Debbie Curnutt says she uses her red chile soaking water, but only after straining it to remove any dirt. She dilutes it before adding it to recipes, to which she says it adds a special flavor.

Dorothy Winkler says she dribbles water from the faucet to help peel green chiles but doesn’t dunk. She agrees with me that it removes the “good, smoky flavor.” Save that chile water in the bottom of the bag after you defrost chile, though! Winkler puts that in her green chile stew. Great idea!


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