Sick of the Pandemic

It used to be that around this time of year, you could score tickets to the annual Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta and then, like, go to it. If you’re not familiar, it’s the beautiful combination of about a bazillion chefs, wine and chile. Yeah, it’s an apt name, but it stands for a lot more than you might think.

Of course there are the obvious notions—chile is amazing and so is wine. When a knowledgable chef or sommelier (or both if you’re nasty) make educated choices for what chile-based dishes will go well with what wines, it’s a match made in heaven. See, what a lot of people outside of New Mexico don’t seem to understand is that the chile is a miracle food. It’s delicious. It’s good for you. It’s spicy. It’s somehow never the same experience twice. Toss in a crisp white or a rich red? Forget it. In fact, wine varieties are almost like chile themselves. The only difference is that we’re pretty selfish about our chile here and tend to not share it with the rest of the world like the wine set does with their vintages. Sorry, Colorado. Go to hell, California. Delaware? More like outta-here (sorry). Point is, it’s distinctly New Mexican and any chef worth their salt knows a thing or two about pairing them.

So where does that leave you, dear reader, during this pandemic? What will you do if the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta isn’t an in-person thing this year? Well, you could start by visiting the festival’s virtual ticket booth, because even though we shan’t gather en masse this year, the organizers have still put together some excellent virtual offerings such as classes with fabulous local chefs, demos with BBQ mavens, virtual tastings, pairing info and more. If the whole COVID-19 thing has taught us anything, it’s that we love restaurants as people and we love food someone else made. But as we learned to cook better due to lost jobs, general lack of funds or even just having something to do, it’s the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves in the way of things that taste good when combined with other things.

And you’ve gotta start somewhere, why not Wine & Chile Fiesta? Oh! And don’t forget there’s all kinds of local wine and liquor stores to patronize if you’re looking to get start pairing. Many of them will gladly chat with you about what you like—even if you don’t know yet—and how to best get the proper experience out of the wine. Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on chile ASAP. Winter is coming.

Also

-If you’ve driven past the former L’Olivier spot on Galisteo Street downtown, you may have seen a sign flapping in the breeze and announcing another location of The Pantry The venerable Midtown-based eatery that sprouted a new location on the Southside not so long ago will soon be Plaza-adjacent. What does this mean for nearby Tia Sophia’s, and will having a patio in the wintertime be cool (like, with heaters and stuff)? Only time will tell, but we do know we like that thing with the potatoes and the chile and the cheese all in a dish together.

-While perusing donuts one recent morning at Whoo’s Donuts, The Fork’s companion asked “How’s biz?” Turns out it’s not amazing. Like a lot of local haunts, the sweetest donut shop in town is feeling the pandemic, too. So consider this a friendly reminder to stop by and get one of those lavender blue corn donuts because we don’t want to live in a world where we can’t just get those.

-Local human being Hannah Day didn’t sit around all like, “Oh, dang, this sucks!” when the pandemic cost her a creative director role at...some place! NO! Instead she got it together and wrote Kitchen Meets Quarantine, a new cookbook inspired by the quarantine with her friends and now it’s out and someone over here is going to call her to ask some questions, but until then you can order it here. Day’s donating all the profits (after recouping costs) to Know Your Rights Camp, an org dedicated to the liberation and well-being of Black and Brown communities.

-Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery is re-opening its patio (with safety in mind) for your sitting, beering, spiriting pleasure. Just be aware.

-Apparently it’s pumpkin spice season, so you might be down with some pumpkin spice cold brew from Caveman Coffee. We like the cans, we really do.

-Lastly in local news, sad tidings from downtown chocolate shop Todos Santos, which will permanently close after the business day on Oct. 10. Seems Ali McGraw is particularly bummed by the news. In case you’ve never ever been—you should; owner Hayward Simoneaux is basically a choco genius.

More Tidbits

-We’ve been known to drink a Topo Chico mineral water now and again, and we might even be tempted to wade into the shallow end of the hard seltzer pool once their new line of canned bevvies becomes available. We’re into it!

-Ruh-roh...the James Beard Award folks said they wouldn’t be announcing any awards this year because “the assignment of Awards will do little to further the industry in its current uphill battle.” Butthen they DID announce some awards after all. We don’t hugely care either way, but at least be consistent, Beardos (which, you might not know, is the title of people on the James Beard Foundation board. Just kidding.).

-Meanwhile, in Guangzhou, China, the Michelin folks have announced the 2020 Stars. Not that it’s Chinese even at all, but y’all should watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi real quick if you never have before. In fact, let’s just check the trailer out real quick:

Yeah, that’s the stuff.

-Oh, dang—then we should probably also mention the film Ramen Heads. Here’s a trailer for that:

Oh yeah, again.

-OK, but since the news item was about the Michelin stars in Guangzhou, let us just bring up the sprawling and fascinating Flavorful Origins, a real stunner on Chinese food. Here’s that trailer:

There are so many cool food documentaries out there!

-Basically, what we’re saying is that while the concept of Asian food brings up a lot of ideas on what’s what in the Asian world, don’t forget they’re wildly different countries and cultures and people and that we want to eat everything from everywhere all the time.

-Looks like some new items are coming to Trader Joe’s, like cookies that are also cinnamon buns somehow. USA, we guess?

-But before you rush over there, maybe read up a little on how the Los Angeles Police Department received donations of food and drink in the neighborhood of $125,000 from the grocery chain, even though that same department shot and killed a Silverlake TJ’s employee in 2018. Seems weird. Also, we realize this is from a few months ago, but we only just heard about it now. The Fork believes the police should stop killing people.

Finally

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

Number of Letters Received
37
*Better than none?

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Once and for all I will present a case for the existence of the true god.”
*Not really what we do here, but right on...

Actually Helpful Tip
“This is already on your radar, maybe, but I just discovered it. The best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had are at Dolina. Absolutely outrageous!!!!”
*So sayeth Fork Champ (TM) Iris M., and now we gotta have 'em!

Pearls before wines,
The Fork