The Fork

The Fork: Winner, Winner—Chicken...Breakfast

Announcing the winner of that Tia Sophia’s gift certificate

Why do we give, y’all? Like, why do we give money away that we worked hard to earn? Why do we donate food when we could horde it? Why do we like to make sure others are OK? Before you write us about how not everyone does that, we already know, and before you prove to us you don’t know what “rhetorical” means, just keep reading.

We’re about to give away that gift certificate to Tia Sophia’s in this week’s Fork. If you don’t know or recall, we wound up with a $50 cert for Tia Sophia’s a couple weeks ago, so we decided to give it away to folks who were willing to donate to food causes and/or tell us a story about why they deserved it. In an act of super-cool-ness, Tia’s owner Nick Maryol called up to say he saw the giveaway and wanted to match it for a cool $100.

Even better? We found out some amazing things from the people in our community. You want some unofficial stats? You got it! So a hefty number of people donated to the causes we chose (they’ll be listed one last time below all of this), which is so cool. We even saw on Instagram that one of those places, Reunity Resources (it’s a farm) heard about us telling folks to give ‘em money, and they sounded really thankful and that felt good.

According to the receipts we saw, Fork readers donated somewhere between a couple hundred and a couple million dollars (we didn’t count it all), and that’s not nothing!

A large number of readers reached out to say that if they won, they’d give the gift certificate away to a friend or loved one. Some said they’d use it reconnect in their marriages (one reader even said he met his wife at Tia’s); some said they wanted to share chile with their kids now that they’re old enough; some said they wanted to go in memory of their parents or long-lost friends. We also loved people who wrote literal fiction about their would-be trips to Tia’s. Honestly? We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again—The Fork has the best readers ever.

Of course, some people were jus like, “Give me it!” and some people were like, “You’re an asshole, Fork!” and while we don’t agree with the content of these messages, we’ll defend to the death their right to say these things. Anyway, the point is that this was a small number, and we raised money for some local places. Oh, before we forget, here’s the places we highlighted:

The Food Depot (it’s a food bank and so much more)

Cooking With Kids (it’s about teaching kids to cook, not literally cooking dishes that feature children)

Reunity Resources (it’s a local farm that does all kinds of cool stuff with kids and adults and also has a free food pantry for needy folks)

Kitchen Angels (it’s about bringing food to homebound folks who need it and we’re not sure why we didn’t just remember it in the first place and we’re sorry for that, truly)

We want to remind folks that it wasn’t until nice readers suggested we add Kitchen Angles during the second week of the contest that that actually happened. Thanks for that, y’all! Point is, though, these are all very cool places making sure people who don’t always get enough to eat might get at least a little something. Bless la désee de toutes les fouchettes bless them forever and ever and ever!!

Oh, but we had an original question: Why do we give, even when there’s not a gift cert around? Because it feels nice. The end. And will we ever get back to actually writing about food? Only time will tell, but as we assume we’ll be fired (out of a cannon into the sun) if we do not, you can pretty much count on it soon.

You right now, probably.

So Who’s the Winner?

This wasn’t an easy one, and we waffled back and forth because there were so many entries. In the end, though, we’ve chosen Santa Fe’s Lauren LaVail. Now listen, Lauren works for Kitchen Angels, which is on the list we made, true—but not only does that have literally nothing to do with this (none of these places asked us to do this thing, we just think they’re cool and thought we could help), other readers wrote suggesting we give it to Lauren for her tireless efforts in the community. No joke. Like, we got other emails all like, “Look, I love Tia’s, but you should give it to this lady Lauren, who is soooooooo great.”

We’ve never met Lauren, we’d like to, but this is purely about how much OTHER PEOPLE wanted her to win. Lauren, we’ll be in touch with you soon if we haven’t already done that. Everyone else? This is not our final giveaway, and we thank you all for all you do.


-The New Mexico Restaurant Association announced the winners of its 2023 Hospitality Industry Awards on Monday, and there are some Santa Fe names all up in the mix. Christian Pontiggia of that fine dining joint Sassella walked away with Chef of the Year, while Jarrod Taylor of Jinja Bar and Bistro was recognized as a top-notch manager. There were some other winners, too, but they can either move to Santa Fe with their skills or they can go to hell! See the whole list here alongside photos of grown men who look like they’re headed to the weirdest prom ever.

-Consider this your last reminder that Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta is coming up from Sept. 27-Oct. 1, and if you haven’t made plans, you should hurry the hell up. What’s it all about? Wine and chile, bro, c’mon!!! There’s food and wine, and one time we were there and saw a boomer barf, which was really funny. YAY!

-You know how we’ve mentioned chef Dakota Weiss’ plan to open up a concept-based foodhall in the old Zia Diner/Café Sonder spot (depending on how old you are)? And she’s callin’ it Capital Coal Neighborhood Eatery? You know how we told you about that?! Well, it looks like they’re gonna do a little preview on Oct. 5 and 6 with a little pop-up dubbed Kimchi’s Korean BBQ. We’ve wanted Korean BBQ here FOREVER, so this is quite exciting. Follow the Instagram to stay up-to-date.

-It seems that the building in which Santa Fe’s Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge dwells, as well as those adjacent to/beside/behind it are up for sale. According to Santa Fe realtor Tai Bixby, the estate of former owner Jagdish Bhakta has put up the Tiny’s building as well as the nearby condos for sale alongside development rights for future projects. The asking price is $3.3 million, according to Bixby.

-Cheers to Club at Las Campanas executive pastry chef Rebecca Freeman for bringing home the win at this year’s Pastry Chef of the Year Award from the American Culinary Federation. Freeman entered with pumpkin pie custard, salted white chocolate ice cream, cranberry gelée, coffee caramel and candied walnuts and let us just say we wanna eat that stuff. Freeman was recognized in the Western category.

Hahahaha! Woah.

More Tidbits

-Pineapple and pickle pizza? Yup. And it’s not delivery—it’s disgusting. Also, it’s DiGiorno, the oven pizza conglomerate that does...oven...pizzas. Anyway, we’ll defend pineapple on pizza FOREVER, but pickles on there? Eff outta here, bro. Food-and-Wine-dot-com seems to think it’s about pissing people off. Maybe it is?

-According to Nosh-dot-com, rising food costs are majorly altering our shopping habits. We might file this under “duh,” but it’s important to get these things out there in the public record so later we can look back and be like, “Remember in 2023 when everything was a goddamn nightmare and Kellogg’s thought we couldn’t tell there were fewer Frosted Flakes in the box despite that bad boy running, like, $35?” Anyway, according to this piece, food prices have gone up roughly 5% like clockwork each year since 2020, but maybe we can expect some sort of leveling-off soon. Fingers crossed.

-Lastly this week, as it is fall and comedians everywhere stop evolving around this time to make way for exhausting pumpkin spice jokes that were already played out years ago, Food Business News-dot-net points out that we’re gonna see more kinds of products with that pumpkin spice stuff all up in walnuts and bread (does pumpkin bread not already exist?!). Anyway, know that.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence

There’s still a bit of a food coverage hiatus going down with the main paper, so you’ll have to just re-read old Forks or something.

Number of Letters Received


*Fewer than last week, but still a lot of cool emails!

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)

“Can we enter for a gift card for a different restaurant?”


Actually Helpful Tip(s)

“Did you drink enough water?”

*Oh, God, probably not.

Prized in certain circles,

The Fork

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