Nothing’s Ever Gonna Keep ‘Em Down!

Did y’all miss us? Y’all did. And did y’all pick up yesterday’s 2020 Best of Santa Fe issue? Y’all, don’t even tell us y’all didn’t, because then y’all would just be a bunch of liars. Ok, in reality, maybe you didn’t yet. Maybe you’re waiting. Maybe you’re staying home responsibly? Maybe you’re more of an internet person (it’s on the internet, we’re just saying)? Maybe you’re just here for L’Fork and don’t get wrapped up in competitions, but the point remains the same—the Best of Santa Fe issue is out, and it’s a veritable smorgasbord (boom, food words) of the city’s favorite places, things, concepts, humans, services, pets and, yes, restaurants. 

Here's the cover art from local artist Erin Currier:

Erin Currier

We absolutely LOVE it and can't say enough nice things about Currier. We heard through the grapevine that Currier might just read The Fork, and we're almost as flattered as we are enamored with her work. You can learn more about Currier's thoughts on the piece by clicking riiiiiiight here and you can find more of her art stuff at Blue Rain Gallery if your'e interested.

But we know what you're thinking—who are some of the big food winners? Let's check the highlights:

-Of course The Shed/La Choza snapped up Best Chile and Best New Mexican food. We just can't refute that point if we have tastebuds. Pro tip? Order that pollo adobo with beans and posole, ask for an empty bowl on the side and mix it uuuuuuuup. If you don't eat meat, they've got plenty for you, too. Dang, La Choza is so good.

-Paper Dosa snapped up the Best Asian category with its commitment to BEING FREAKING AMAZING. If you've never had a dosa, the time is now. Trust us. Are you trusting us yet? Good. Pro tip? Order a bunch of stuff. Like, almost too much stuff. You won't regret it.

-El Parasol, one of our very favorite places ever because they do veggie tacos, won the Best Brekkie B category. Pro tip? Get you a handheld bean burrito with red chile inside. It's simple, but it's also an incredible flavor explosion with some of the best chile around.

-Chef Ahmed Obo of Jambo Café picked up top chef honors. As he has every year for a lot of years. Obo is a really awesome dude. Pro tip? The key lime pie over there, while not specifically a hard thing to find anyplace, is heavenly. Also, don't sleep on the soups. Jambo also picked up the Best International Cuisine first place spot.

-El Chile Toreado won the Best Food/Truck spot. Duh. Pro tip? If you're a hot dog fan but didn't know, they've got some of the best-ass hot dogs around.

-Ecco Espresso and Gelato wins the Best Ice Cream/Gelato/Frogurt category because their gelato is, like, so next level. Pro tip? Mix and match flavors for sure, but the cantaloupe one is just something not of this world (in the best way).

Also inside, you'll find beers and spirits and tacos and so much more. This was just a brief whistle whet-er if y'all know what we're talking about. Anyway, we missed you last week, but it was a nice little respite. Let's get into some more stuff, huh?

Raashan Ahmad here won best DJ, and dang-it if we don't LOVE this video.

Also

-First of all, locally, just, like, relax—Café Pasqual’s is not closing. Owner Katharine Kagel chalks it up to social media being an endless hellscape of monstrous bullshit (we’re paraphrasing). Read more here and stop using Facebook as a news source.

-Second, we're not in love with this piece about the New Mexico Restaurant Association's Carol Wight. We think that with countless servers telling The Fork how hard they want to live rather than be forced into serving (including an employee of the Red River Brewery who told SFR a couple weeks ago he was scared—and was subsequently fired for his remarks), it's short-sighted to take on the state to force more people into enclosed spaces. Instead, check out this edition of The Fork wherein a server from a local haunt described an average day working during COVID-19. We get that restaurants are scared, but we think the question should be why billionaires get bailouts and Bezos makes big bucks while small businesses are in the grips of ongoing terror—not whom do we force into scary situations to protect our life's work.

-As it so happens, we also received an email from the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions about unemployment telling us that workers who wind up quitting out of fear for their safety can indeed file for unemployment. We're not saying it'll be easy (they system is scary and tough to navigate), but if you've been sticking to a job that makes you scared, know that this is a thing and you can learn more here. Please note as well that we're NOT anti-biz or anti-restaurant. We just don't want people to die because the system sucks. We look forward to your conspiracy theory letters on the matter and whomsoever decides to tell us we're dumb. Bad news on that front, dorks—our mom already tells us that all the time.

-In more upbeat news, after the last edition's word about a new yet mysterious Thai place possibly opening on Canyon Road in ye olde Milad Persian Bistro space, word is that the owners of Madame Matisse (known for some of the best pastries and brekkie in all the land) are moving into the zone with that sweet Thai goodness. 

-In more pretty good news, the state has applied for federal approval which would expand SNAP benefits to include certain to-go items from participating restaurants. "The Restaurant Meals Plan is an addition to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and would grant New Mexico families and individuals who qualify for SNAP greater access to meals by allowing them to purchase prepared meals from participating New Mexico restaurants," reads a press release from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's team. Is that quote pretty much exactly what we described before the quote? You bet it is, but you'll remember it better now, probably. Anyway, here's who it would benefit most: 

  • Disabled: the person is receiving Social Security benefits; Railroad Retirement benefits Annuities; or other disability payments.
  • Elderly: the person is 60 years of age or older.
  • Homeless: the person does not have a fixed or regular nighttime residence.

-Lastly in the local section, we wanted to address a previous edition of The Fork wherein we queried, how do we solve a problem like pandemic. We received many an interesting missive on the matter (including some rather angry retorts to things we never said), but we wanted to share some responses from readers and ask—nay, implore—people to think about how badly they NEED to fight things like outdoor dining, masks, et al.

So sayeth Rick A.

“So I work in healthcare and this is a no-brainer. Look at the timeline and the huge uptick in cases as a result of opening too soon. The virus really likes closed indoor spaces—really easy for it to transmit. Bottom line. dead people can’t eat. Yes it’s hurting but we have to stay safe, and that means not going into a closed indoor space with people you don’t know and taking off your mask to eat.”

So sayeth Linda K.

”It needs to be said that everyone loves eating out and no one, least of all [Gov.] MLG who has a pretty big stake in the economy, wants to see restaurants go out of business. It hurts, for sure. But MLG isn’t punishing anyone. She’s being a responsible leader.”

So sayeth Deborah C.

”I am troubled by local restaurant owners who defy health orders. It makes me not want to eat there ever again! Restaurant cleanliness and all. Which is sad because the place I am thinking of has some of the best customer service in town, and the workers are going to suffer. And how much do they value the lives of the workers they are putting in harm’s way?”

So sayeth The Fork

Again, we’re not anti restaurants, we just don’t think everyone understands that when the poor fight the poor over who gets to die fastest, the people in charge keep on keeping on while we drop dead over silly face cloth ethics and so on. Do what’s right for you, but don’t be angry at people who don’t wish to die.

Oh, actually, this'll be the "lastly in the local thing," and we wanted to mention it before we forget: Here's a special message for reader Leisa F., who thinks it's cool to send transphobic hate speech to us—don't send transphobic hate speech to us. This goes for everyone. You've got the wrong newsletter, and we think you'd feel more comfortable elsewhere. We've also blocked you from emailing us, Leisa, so you can save whatever vitriolic nonsense you'd saved up for your no doubt stunning rejoinder. And as for the rest of you? You're great, mean it, we don't want any transphobia. Thank you. 

¡EMMER-EFFING G-ING EFFING APRICOT ALERRRRRRRRRRT!!!!

We told you there'd be apricots, and by golly, there's gonna be apricots—behold, a totally historically and scientifically accurate history/fact lesson on the noble fuzzy bastard itself—THE APRICOT!!!!!!!

-Did you know that while closely related to the peach, the apricot is in the rose family? So what's the conversion chart here? Red for love, yellow for friendship, apricots for fuzzy face appreciation? 

-No one knows where these li'l fruits popped up—though there are apparently histories dating back to more than 4,000 years ago—but it's believed that they may have originated in Armenia. 

-You'll find apricots growing everywhere, from The Fork's house to Timbuktu—but you won't find them on Antarctica. Sorry, giant ice zone.

-It's pronounced "ape-ricot." Don't be a jerk.

-An apricot tree will reportedly live 15-20 years. We think that's interesting because we assumed all trees live forever. Jay-kay, but that's still kind of interesting to know, and we kind of formed this mental picture about apricot scientists knowing exactly when to plant new ones to have the best possible production.

-Did you know the Latin/science-y term for apricot is Prunus armeniaca, which roughly translates to Armenian plum? Boom--------------------------->just another little Armenia nod there for y'all.

-Lastly, apricots are CRAMMED with vitamins C, A, K and E, and we just think that its vitaminuative content (a perfectly cromulent word) spelling CAKE is adorable. Anyway, those fuzzy little bastards are full of great health benefits, from the reduction of cholesterol, respiratory aid and skin care. In fact, who among us hasn't used that grainy, sandy face lotion stuff at one point or another?

This has been another edition of The Fork—your guide to the world of facts.

More Tidbits

-McDonald’s is gearing up to close about 200 locations across the country, most of which are in Wal-Marts. According to restaurantbusinessonline.com, the closure of lower-volume eateries was sped up by the pandemic. We don’t eat there because we don’t eat meat (have we ever mentioned that before?), but we don’t look down on anyone who does—cheap food is cheap food sometimes (and don’t be all rich-bitch about it).

-Have sheet cakes returned to Costco, you're probably not thinking? Hard to say, but over on the USA Today site, they say some locations may have stocked up on them cakes once again. Like everything these days, ask yourself how badly you need it, then call first.

-Interesting news out of the James Beard Foundation this week as employees of the highly respected food industry org penned and sent a letter to leadership demanding more equity and diversity as well as better salary transparency. Do not send us hateful letters about this—we think it's awesome. 

-Bon Appetit says there's a new wine on the streets that oughta wow White Claw fans. The Fork says it's weird when people have to defend a love of a drink or have to drink wine that resembles another thing.

-Apropos of that last item, find here a list of canned wines to perfectly suit your summertime pandemic-propelled subterranean opposite-of-homesick blues. 

-Coming in hot as a nominee in The Fork's second annual Who Careseies Awards, Kylie Jenner reportedly shared how she makes avocado toast online, and we can't believe it's someone's job to report that. Or that it's ours to report on THAT. Anyway, we guess there's honey in it...who gives a shit?

-Lastly in this section, we've just learned about bessara (give us a break, we haven't heard of EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD!!!), and as dips go, it looks incredible. Actually, it looks more than incredible...its looks fava-tastic. Find a recipe on HuffPost and learn why some folks prefer it to hummus. 

¡CROWDSOURCE ALERT!

We’ve had a number of readers reach out about putting together a list of places that are offering patio service, and we’re kinda hoping y’all might drop us a line and help out. We simply don’t have the time or wherewithal to call every restaurant in town, so hit us up with your favorites. Oh, and it should go without saying (but we’re GONNA say it) that if you’re going to these place and sitting on their patios, y’all best be masking and tipping a minimum of 25% No, that’s not a joke—consider it hazard pay.

Finally

In the print edition of SFR, it’s Best of Santa Fe time as we said before, and you can find a whole category about food and drink. Get ready to write us about how you think that OTHER place is better than the winner and we’ll get ready to reply “Get real, bruschetta breath!”

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence 

Number of Letters Received 62 *But that’s two weeks, so shame on you.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader) “Up yours!” Naw.

Actually Helpful Tip The many folks who pointed out Madame Matisse was behind the new Thai joint that will purportedly open soon on Canyon Road. *We got the beeeeeest reeeeaaaaaders arrrrrrouuuunnnnd!

Found the rain, The Fork

¡Post-script alert!

Dang. We don’t want to toot our own horn, but this was a pretty jam-packed edition of The Fork. We do it because we love you.