A proper food journalist would no doubt offer up a Thanksgiving-related article at this time of year. A fond reminiscence of the traditional holiday or a contemporary twist on a classic recipe are good bets. Non-traditional celebrations, wholly unconventional Thanksgiving meals, or the number of different types and sizes of birds that can be stuffed into each other like Russian nesting dolls and still baked in a single afternoon are also acceptable holiday food dreck. Additionally, a turkey killing and plucking tutorial would be appropriate.
But it’s hard to focus on those things when a bunch of foreign-born chefs—who don’t know Thanksgiving from a prepositional verb—and a former professional food critic have opened a new food cart in a vintage 1967 Airstream just a few blocks from the SFR offices. I’d like to write the definitive essay on why Thanksgiving—despite all its colonialist baggage—is the only holiday really worth celebrating in the US, but what I really want is another Spanish-style tortilla from Slurp.
Slurp is a collaboration between Jean-Luc Salles, a classically-trained French chef; Frances Salles, a stress-management consultant who decided the best way to help people always on the go is to provide them with wholesome food; Rebecca Chastenet, a food critic and cookbook author; and Carlos Briceno, a graphic designer and innovative cook from Venezuela.
The first part of the group’s collaboration was renovating its big silver tube into a legitimate, inspection-worthy commercial kitchen. The second part was bouncing the unconventional idea through the city’s permitting process.
Fortunately for all of us, Slurp is now in its third phase: serving fresh, made-from-scratch soups and breakfasts out the window of one of the most memorable American icons of the 20th century.
The “Airstream eatery” opened on Nov. 17 at its perch across the street from the State Capitol parking garage entrance. These are early days in the sense that we don’t yet know how many of the speculative specials—think wild boar posole—will make it to the menu or how soon. We do know that three soups are offered daily, which include meat, vegetarian and vegan options.
We also know that the local, organic tortilla Española—the classic pie-shaped wedge of egg, potato and onion that is Spain’s secret culinary weapon—is going to make it hard for some of us to watch our cholesterol. I’ve already subtly adjusted my planned route between my house and the ski area in anticipation of making Slurp my go-to stop on the way to a day of snowboarding.
Even if it never snows again, it’s going to be hard to avoid Slurp. The prospect of daily-made fresh soups—transitioning from hearty and warming to cool and refreshing (Slurp promises cold cucumber cream and sweet potato lime concoctions come the spring) as the seasons (or the Earth’s climate) change—is worth some love. We can also thank Slurp for pushing Santa Fe out of the past and toward the culinary present.
All the cities with which Santa Fe competes (Austin, Texas and Portland, Ore., for example) for the attention of young creatives, innovative entrepreneurs and small business start-ups have booming food cart scenes. There, a mind-boggling array of foodstuffs is served from an equally diverse selection of creative carts and other kitchen contraptions.
So thanks, Slurp. And don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope you have some heavy competition soon.
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