It was already easy to love Café Mimosa, what with its dedication to brunch, sparkling wine and providing a safe and open space for LGBTQIA+ Santa Feans at its Pan@Mimosa series of events (RIP). But, like a lot of restaurants, when COVID-19 hit, the eatery had to make adjustments. As such, the brainchild of chef Alex Hadidi has rebranded to become Marquez Deli (513C Camino de los Marquez, 365-2112), a counter service spot with a few tables for dine-in. Frankly, it looks amazing.
"Respecting the need to be aware, for masks, for social distancing—it seemed like a good time to pivot," says Lisa Dion, part owner and part-time Santa Fean. Dion splits her days between San Francisco and Santa Fe, where she works alongside Hadidi. "Alex has been wanting to do this for a long time."
Sandwiches have become the star of the show with Hadidi sourcing most everything locally and spending long hours brining, spicing, rubbing and smoking the meats. Dion says he uses 16 spices, and the process takes roughly 8 to 10 days to complete, but the final product is so worth it. He taught the techniques, as well as BBQ and charcuterie, at Le Cordon Bleu, according to Dion, so you can assume great things.
Additionally, the customer's firmly in the driver's seat when it comes to selection. You can build any sandwich you might want, so long as it's made with the ingredients on hand. You'll also find offerings like classic pastrami (house-smoked meat on toasted rye; $9) and the Santa Fe beef au jus (roast beef, onion and Swiss with a roasted green chile au jus; $10). There's lots of vegetarian options, too, such as the Beatnik (beets, red peppers and Portabella mushrooms with a pesto spread; $10) and a cheddar or gruyere grilled cheese ($7), plus chips, potato salad or house salad on the side. That's not even getting into the house made soups like mushroom bisque and roasted tomato ($5-$7), the
salads ($6-$8) and personal-sized pizzas with gluten-free or gluten-full house made crust ($6.50-$8.50)—or the same weekend brunches for which Café Mimosa was known.
"This just made more sense," Dion says, adding that the switch to sandwiches makes it easy for Marquez Deli to do more catering. "[Hadidi] has this passion for meat and a lot of experience under his belt—he wanted to bring that passion to Santa Fe."
After time spent in Montauk, New York, Germany and her native Wisconsin, on-again/off-again Santa Fean Caitlin Olsen has returned with an exciting cake-filled vision and a new bakery on the verge of great things.
Olsen's Coquette (372-8957) began in Montauk about a year ago, but relocated to Santa Fe in February. Yes, that's terrible timing with the pandemic but, according to Olsen, "It's helped me examine my priorities and motivated me to dedicate myself to making this a successful business—and to have a little more control over my destiny."
You can't just walk into Coquette (Olsen does everything in a commercial kitchen located inside the Santa Fe Community Convention Center), but you can order one of her nine cakes (lemon-glazed angelfood with raspberry Bavarian cream; coconut tres leches with mango; tiramisu and more, all $15) and have them delivered. For free. But why's that so special in a world full of cakes (and in a city with some amazing bakeries)? Easy—the presentation. Olsen layers her cakes into Mason jars, an element that came to pass in Montauk when she realized she could sell baked goods on the beach, but needed a sturdy way to transport them.
Additionally, she says, several recipes are her grandmother's, and her dedication to sourcing everything locally is borderline intense.
"I use Navajo Pride flour, which is grown on the Navajo Nation and milled in Farmington; I use Bosque Farms dairy; Iconik Coffee Roasters coffee for my tiramisu; the Santa Fe Farmers Market for berries and carrots," she explains. "I believe in sustainability. I believe in supporting local businesses. It's good for our economy, it's a higher-quality product, I actually think it tastes better—and it becomes a product of the place."
This is a far cry from her days in the tiny town of Meinerzhagen, Germany, where she'd sell brownies, cookies and apple pie from a small booth but, with more consumer-level customers onboard daily and some reported interest from regional Whole Foods stores, the future looks expansive for Olsen. Oh, and she'll make traditional cakes, too, if you like.
"I'm exploring a couple options," she says. "I'd love to have a brick and mortar and be able to serve some espresso, maybe."