Two dining experiences, both alike in dignity, in fair Santa Fe where we lay our scene. From ancient grudge break to new mutiny, Where whiner-diners make civil hands unclean.
In other words, we were recently dining at Palacio Café in downtown Santa Fe (because duh), when we asked owner Damian Muñoz, “Hey, bud, how are you doing? We love you. So, tell us. How are you doing?”
“This is really difficult,” he said, barely slowing to reciprocate our tender words. “I don’t have enough people right now, and we’re busy, so it’s been so hard.”
We’ll point out the food (a good old-fashioned brekkie b, smothered, red) was FLAWLESSLY delicious despite Muñoz’s slammed-ness, and the whole thing took no time at all. But still, we felt for him.
Rewind to a few days before that, at La Choza (near the Santa Fe Railyard for any out of town friends), where a visiting buddy insisted—nay, DEMANDED—on eating twice in one week because he grew up here and can’t get chile wherever the hell he is now. In both dining instances (one lunch and one dinner that we’re ultimately counting as one experience for the sake of our Shakespeare joke earlier) the wait was minimal—but existed nonetheless—in both instances, the waitstaff hurried about dealing with droves and serving with a smile.
But even if we had been forced to wait longer, we reasoned with ourselves, what right did we, citizens of Spaceship Earth, have to make any of the employees feel like they were working poorly? We mention this for two reasons:
1. We’ve overheard a number of diners in recent weeks just straight up DOGGING waitstaff about having to wait extra time for food and bevvies
2. We were watching this old episode of Rick Steves’ Europe, wherein Ricky S. and a buddy were sitting in a Paris café, and Steves remarked something like “Service in France is slow, and that’s OK.” So then his buddy, whose name we can’t recall, said something like “In France, in Paris, it isn’t about how fast you eat, it’s about how well you eat.”
That stuck with us, particularly as a slower-moving member of a family who are always in a rush to get to the next place, thing or meal—but also because we’re sick of the whiners and we want to implore everyone to start treating with kindness whatever waitstaff is even left at their favorite haunts.
Honestly, these people are hanging on by a thread in a lot of cases, and they don’t need your crap. So ask yourself the following before you dine out next...hell, print it out, laminate it and keep it in your pocket as a reminder:
Am I being reasonable? Knowing, as all diners should, that the people behind the service have but one mission (to make and bring me food), am I using productive behaviors and words?
Why do I expect food at restaurants to arrive so quickly? Is it rooted in my spending of money? Do I want to be part of the “money should allow me to act poorly” set?
Is my admonishment of hardworking waitstaff about anything other than some weird attempt to eke out any semblance of power I lose to my horrible job, horrible marriage, horrible life, horrible attitude, or am I really just so important that a few extra minutes waiting is so unthinkable?
Think of these things like a mantra, and remember that complaining does literally nothing (and yes, there are exceptions, like, if you’ve been sitting there for over an hour without so much as a greeting from a staffer) other than make workers hate you (and the food still doesn’t come out quicker).
So. Why do we say this is your responsibility? Well, a lot of reasons. How about community-based civility? The Bible? That thing in Vice-Vera wherein Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage see each other’s perspective for the first time and...wait a second. Is Vice-Versa just Freaky Friday ? That was a test. And you failed. Of course it is. But we digress You live here, they live here. Think about what they’ve faced during the pandemic—be cool.
Perhaps we can convince you with stats? Did you know studies have shown foodservice work can be more stressful than being a freaking neurosurgeon? Mayhap you shout at a waiter, dust off your hands and feel smug, but for them, you’re the 75th person that night to come in during a pandemic and complain like anyone cares who you are.
Maybe it’s about an end goal? Like, in your mind you’re going to get your way in the end? Sorry, Barb, but while we’re out here citing studies, we’d point out that most people are prone to not doing the things demanded of them—sometimes even going so far as to do the opposite...though, with foodservice, we’re not sure what that would be. Maybe it would be like a customer saying “Hurry up with my branzino!” and then the waiter brings the fish back to life, travels to whatever European river and tosses the fish back in? Anyway, you’re not helping.
Where were we? Eh, never mind. But if the whole thing is tl;dr, just know we’re saying you have a responsibility to be nice to workers or you’ll probably be punished in the afterlife. Jay-kay! There’s no afterlife, just blackness and nothingness.
Just loop it and let Calgon take you away.
-Ummm...anyone else hear about what’s going on up at The Compound? Seems everybody’s favorite Canyon Road chef, Mark Kiffin , has welcomed chef Peter O’Brien (formerly of the restaurant at the Rosewood Inn of the Anasazi) onboard for what we’ve heard might just be called a “culinary collaborative.” This is a big deal, folks, especially for food fans (who have the bucks). Just know that it’s happening. KNOW THAT!!!
-Our spies have also told us the parking lot of Bobcat Bite (which, remember, is not the same thing it used to be—but that’s OK because Santa Fe Bite is and still exists) has been jumping lately. Oh, you’ll find burgers there (and a Wagyu hot dog, too), and we also hear they’re hiring .
-Word on the street is that Counter Culture is no longer a cash-only business. Don’t get us wrong, we dig that place, but not being able to pay with a card sometimes had us moving on when we could’ve stayed.
-While we’re talkin’ about street words, another word on the street is that chef James Campbell Caruso at La Boca has been kicking out some totally unbelievably good Iberian ham. We don’t know if we ever mentioned we don’t eat meat, but this is the kinda thing that might make us go back. Know what? Here’s a photo:
-Santa Fe’s Open Kitchen kicks off Let’s Nhậu! on Friday, Aug. 6, a specially curated tapas menu featuring BBQ honey and tamarind grilled pork, Vietnamese pickles, a pineapple salad and lots more. You must order by Wednesday, Aug. 4 for pickup on Aug. 6— here’s the website .
-It’s really more of an Albuquerque thing, but the absolutely phenomenally excellent vegetarian eatery The Acre is opening a second location down there. Worth the drive? Oh. Our. God. YES! Try the huevos rancheros or the hot dog (no meat, all taste, baby).
-We also hear Santa Fe might expect the Jean Cocteau Cinema to open a beer garden at an unspecified future date. That’s all the details we have for now, but we’re down. The good ol’ JCC has been hosting a series of panels/community engagement events dubbed Highgarden Hangouts, gathering info and planning, planning, planning for the future.
-The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is making sure any chile products grown and/or processed in New Mexico are capital-V VERIFIED New Mexican, and you can find a list of over 200 products right here .
- National Farmers Market Week runs from Aug.1-7, and you should probably just have the good ol’ Farmers Market in your rotation by now anyway.
-Down in Socorro, folks are gearing up for the third annual Great New Mexico Chile Taste-Off. It’s exactly what it sounds like and is scheduled for in-person tastings-off come Sept.18. If you’d like to plan ahead for this thing, visit the website .
-Lastly, in local-ish news this week, a bunch of Santa Fe restaurants picked up honors from Wine Spectator Magazine for having, like, really good wine selections. Among them are Restaurant Martín, The Compound, Radish & Rye, TerraCotta Wine Bistro and others. Normally, we’d link to all those things, but that’s a lot of typing and we’re done typing now. Figure it out, nerds. Dang, we’re fiery this week. Anyway, here’s a link to all the winners .
¡The Great Fork Recipe-Off Update!
People are already sending us stuff and we’ve been pretty much immediately overwhelmed. We’re working on it. We’re gonna share a lot with everyone. Soon!
-You might be as nonplussed as we are to learn Popeye’s Chicken has debuted its own line of chicken nuggets . We aren’t nonplussed by a chicken place doing chicken so much as we’re kind of like...did they not have those already? We don’t have a Popeye’s in Santa Fe. Is there one in Albuquerque? If so, have you gone and can you tell us why these nuggets are being heralded as so special.
-BREAKING: Clam prices are alllllll high right now, so don’t expect cheap clams anytime soon. We like when people call money clams; as in, like, “I spent 20 lousy clams for a couple lousy clams!” Note, this incredible yuk isn’t an accurate pricing scale for clams, just an incredible yuk.
- Find here an interesting story about a Chicago fine dining chef who created McDonald’s Arch Deluxe, a burger that nobody particularly liked and which became a marketing disaster. Stories like this are fun!
-Oh, good, Disneyland has a new fucking sugary something-or-other made of marshmallows and pineapples or some shit. Somebody alert Tim “Skala Bim” Tracker so his horrible wife can look anywhere but into the phone camera and be all like, “Wow, this pineapple marshmallow thing really tastes like pineapples...but also marshmallows,” like that’s helpful—and then Tim laughs like a doofus and their kid longs for a family who contributes something to the world that isn’t going to Disneyland every other day. Actually, don’t tell Tim Tracker anything. He’d probably be all smug and say something like, “The cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney appeared to me in a vision months ago to tell me that.” We’re nonviolent, but if anything were gonna turn us into some kind of Disney indifferent werewolf with the power to pop heads off like champagne corks, it would be Tim Tracker.
-Michigan Home Depot customers might be bummed to learn stores there will no longer sell hot dogs (if you didn’t know, Home Depot hot dogs is a very real thing). In Santa Fe, the dogs remain sellable (as far as we know). Close call, right? Anyway, we found 16 results for hot dog cooking items on the Home Depot site and, just for fun, two results using the search term " suck .”
-Since the Olympics are in Tokyo right now making things horrible for everyone, especially poor people, Japanese Pizza Huts have introduced a pizza called The Decathlon . There are 10 kinds of meat on it, which is nuts because we pretty much thought there were just three kinds of meat, but whatever. Anyway, we doubt any Olympians are eating the 10 meat pizza, but whatever.
-While we were on the Yahoo-dot-com news site looking for important information about 10 meat pizzas, we came across the following headline: " Jennifer Aniston is eating bread again — and that’s a good thing, say experts. Here’s why. " We just wanted to share that with you because we think it signifies an important moment in human history—the day the stupidest effing headline of all time came to pass. And here we were feeling all bad because The Fork is like “20 Maybe Real Things About Yoghurt,” but this makes us feel like the emmer-effing Walter Cronkite of web-based food newsletters. Good luck, Jen, with all the bread.
-Lastly in not-so-local news this week, we’ve just learned about Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. We’re mystified by her site (basically a Rachel Ray thing with headlines about how this food thing is “a must” or how “we’re doing some thing” as if it weren’t written by some 22-year-old writing major who got paid $30 for their efforts). We miss Bourdain more and more these days. Anyway, go to her site if you want, but remember that Martha Stewart walked so this exhausting example of marketing gone awry could run.
-We love you, Martha Stewart (not a yuk or joke).
Bet you didn’t know this existed—just as Michael Ende always envisioned.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In this week’s print edition of SFR, Best of Santa Fe 2021 has arrived! Find tons of stuff in there (particularly food and drink stuff) and get pumped on that giz-orgeous cover art from New Mexico artist Brandon Maldonado.
Number of Letters Received
*We got at least one good recipe...maybe more.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Should it be LA Forkette, not Le?
* Counterpoint: Who cares?
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
No tips, per se, but jeeze, some of you are nice and fun and we like that you reach out.
Marry us, Martha,