Did you know that the MailChimp platform through which we send you these newsletters now has a button to generate AI sections? As the type of writer who has no problem rambling on forever and ever and ever, we can’t tell if we’re insulted by this button or not. Did we try it? Yes. Did the paragraph it spat out suck so huge we almost barfed? Also yes. We’re sure there’s some application for this thing, but the day we start writing things like, “If you’re really lucky, maybe your foodie friends will share their yummy chocolate with you this season!” is the day that you know we’ve been captured by robots. Also, the word “yummy” is fucked and none of us should ever use it ever. Ugggggggh.
Anwyay, let’s move on to the main topic, which is giving the gift of food. The gift-giving holidays are pretty much upon us, and we think it’s time we talked about it. Like, if you search online for “do people like gifts of experiences rather than things,” you’ll find that study after study finds that people would rather have things to do and taste than things to put in their rooms and forget about. So how might we give the gift of food, and how might we make it an experience rather than a two-second hit of dopamine that fades so fast we have no choice but to sink to the bottom of a depression well?
Our mind goes immediately to the Santa Fe School of Cooking, where you can absolutely get signed up for a class for you and a loved one. You’ll find tons of info on the website for things like demo classes, hands-on events or specialty items. Is it a little pricier than a stupid candle? Probably! Will it be worth it to go nuts on some sweet-ass food with a pal or relative? You’ll never forget it, probably. There are other cooking lessons throughout town, too, we just know this one is tried and true.
Maybe your giftee is about having quiet experiences alone, and they count sweets as part of that. Like, maybe they’re fixin’ to send the kids outside so they can hide in the closet and eat their stash of fancy chocolate? We’ve all done it, don’t lie. Kakawa Chocolate House has a whole bunch of gift sets for the discerning chocolate lover, and while they’re not what we’d call cheap, they’re certainly what we’d call special.
The Santa Fe tasting room outpost for world-renowned wine brand Gruet will totally let you book their space for private events, and we think that’d be such a cool gift. “Uhhhh, hey, bud, I rented us out a whole wine room so we can sip wines and talk shit about the friends we didn’t invite,” just feels like such a Christmassy statement, right?
If it’s beer you’re after (Ok, and maybe some cocktails), think about gifting a certificate of some kind for the Tumbleroot Pottery Pub. If you do, you’ll not only be giving the chance to get in on the increasingly popular Tumbleroot booze(s), you’ll be giving someone a license to mess around with the clay and tools available down there. They do music, too, plus there’s all the drinking, so...
Speaking of drinking, Caitlin Richards from Santa Fe Spirits (being our permanent favorite reader) let us in on a fun little thing happening at the distillery—tours. For $25 per person, you can check out everything they do down there on Mallard Way (that’s a street), then you get a guided tasting and 20% off everything in the shop. That would be a really awesome prezzie for the spirits aficionados out there.
Last, but certainly not least, we can’t recommend the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine enough. Is it local or even super-helpful? No. But we had it when we were a kid and were surprised to learn it still exists. You give this to someone, and baby, you’re makin’ sno-cones all year long.
As always, we’re very open to your ideas on the matter. What kind of experiences would you gift this year in the food category? We’ll share some with the class assuming we get good ones. And now we’re going to sign off with a suggestion from the new AI tool:
It’s been a wild ride, but alas, it’s time for us to fork off. Don’t worry, We’ll always be here to lend a helping tine. Keep on dishing out those delicious meals!
We bolded it so you know it wasn’t us, and we hate it. Stupid robots. Anyway, we promise that if we ever use this AI tool again, it’ll be only for jokes, and we’ll ALWAYS point out that we’ve used it. We believe writers should be paid for their time, as should all artists, and that any newsletter written entirely by a robot is one less job for someone who bothered to learn how to write (or talks so much shit that no one notices they only word OK most of the word time).
Speaking of being captured by robots...
-It would seem the rebrand to Hidden Mountain Brewing Co. isn’t super working out for the folks formerly known as Blue Corn Brewery (really, it’s Santa Fe Dining, a...group, maybe, that owns a bunch of restaurants like Maria’s and wherever else) as whoever is running their social media posted a burning question on Facebook just the other day: “Testing the waters: How would you feel about Hidden Mountain returning to our roots, and becoming Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery again? Do you miss our old menu/vibe? What do you miss most/least about Blue Corn’s concept? Please don’t hold back. Thank you in advance.” What do all y’all think about that? We maintain that Hidden Mountain reminds us of ranch dressing. Or the ill-fated Sudden Valley community in Arrested Development; as in, why would you claim your business is hidden? Whatever fresh-outta-business-school 22-year-old used words like “demo” and “organic” to convince those people to change their name should be ashamed of themselves. GOD!
-If you hadn’t heard the super-rad news that SFR broke earlier this week, the building that once housed gastropub Fire & Hops (which closed in September) will live on thanks to the folks from REMIX Audio Bar, Justin Ray and Julie Grace. The new biz at 222 Guadalupe St. will be a second location for the coffee shop/DJ school, and Ray told SFR that he and Grace are envisioning a killer menu developed by a chef and everything. They’re in talks with chefs now, but no open date has yet been announced. REMIX’s first location on Marcy Street opened in 2018 and survived the terrible pandemic years by serving up killer coffee from LA’s Cafecito Organico. So good. We can’t wait for the new one, because getting coffee at night is fun.
-As if that’s not enough awesome coffee news, Marcel and Stephanie Remillieux of French restaurant Mille have partnered with former 35 Degrees North Coffee roaster Tom Patton to take over a commercial kitchen space in Midtown. According to Marcel Remillieux, demand for Mille’s pastries and such has grown so much since they opened in late-2021 that they just plain need way more space to keep up. Patton, who left 35 Degrees North last month after five years, tells SFR that he pretty much just wants to roast great coffee and be a cool part of the community. We want that, too, little buddy. Note that while ownership of the building remains a joint affair, Mille and Patton’s forthcoming OddBox Coffee Roasters will be separate businesses.
-Sounds like renovations are complete down at the Dr. Field Foods in DeVargas mall, and you know what that means—the butcher shop is coming back, baby! We hear it opens Tuesday. We’re pretty bummed to learn longtime DFG butcher Gabe Archuletta is no longer involved, but that’s how it goes, we guess. In case you forgot, Dr. Field Goods owner Josh Gerwin took over the old Santa Fe Bar & Grill. SFR’s food reviewer really liked it when he went earlier this year.
-We also hear the CHOMP food hall will reopen this week (Saturday) now that it has a bunch of businesses all up in there, like Wild Leaven Bakery and Oshia’s Pizzeria and Picnic NM and Santa Fe Barbecue and Nath’s Khmer Inspired Cuisine. We’re into it because we like to hang around Ohori’s next door, but we’ll admit there was a moment there when we were kind of like, “What even is the point of CHOMP?” Oura culpa (which is, of course, the legion version of mea culpa if you know your Latin, which you most definitely should because si latine nescis, non cere vivis, vincit. We took Latin instead of a computer class when we were young, and this is literally the first time it ever came up...a time we had to manufacture).
-While we were arguing with coworkers about what to order for lunch the other day, the decision came down that we’d eaten at Fusion Tacos a little too often lately (seriously, it’s so much, but those carnitas tacos? GAH!). Still, while we were arguing, we learned the locally-created taco biz is now up to 12 locations, what with their new one opening later this month in the Cities of Gold Casino in Pojoaque. Even more amazing? The business maintains consistency across all of its locations, and that’s insane and hard and we salute them. Seriously, though, get the crunchy carnitas tacos.
-Ohhhhh, dang, the Zozobra Event Chair himself wrote a public letter about how much he loves SFR. This is not, strictly speaking, food related, but think of Ray Sandoval’s moving words as a good prompt for sending some bread, some dough, some clams, some cheddar our way via the Friends of the Reporter platform. What does this beautiful missive say? Well, you just click right here, little babies, and find out.
-Lastly this week, we wanna wish a happy 12th birthday to restaurant/wine bastion Arroyo Vino. Way to keep it going, buds! If you were a person, you’d maybe be hitting junior high? You’d probably be all into DeGrassi and be really excited to start learning algebra or, like, reading Of Mice and Men or some shit. Anyway, 12 years is nothing to scoff at—so let us say “way to keep it going” again.
When we asked the AI for a “joke about Kraftwerk hating robots and a pretty OK Christmas jam,” it spat out this (we are uncomfortable with the robot referring to itself as “I” and not just because we never do that):
I’m not sure how to incorporate a joke about Kraftwerk hating robots into your email marketing content, but I can help you write a concise and engaging paragraph about your “pretty OK Christmas jam”. If you’re looking for a festive tune that’s not too overwhelming, this Christmas jam might be just what you need. It’s not trying too hard to be the next “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, but it’s still got a catchy beat and some holiday cheer. Give it a listen and see if it puts you in the mood for some eggnog and mistletoe.
-An Ohio woman who threw her Chipotle burrito bowl at a worker during a fit of rage earlier this year, which resulted in an arrest for assault, took a plea deal for a reduced sentence that will include her working hours in a fast food restaurant. We’re kind of over here like, “the whole system is messed up and private prisons shouldn’t exist!” But we’re also over here all like, “If you mess with a fast food worker who is likely making very little money, you deserve whatever’s coming to you.” Anyway, Chipotle sucks.
-Subway, which is that restaurant that serves long sandwiches and that had that child predator spokesperson for a million years, announced that it will now permanently include a footlong chocolate chip cookie on its menu. At first, we were kind of like, “That’s a lot of cookie. Maybe too much cookie.” But then we remembered that we’ve eaten at least a foot’s worth of cookies at a time before, so we’ll allow it. At this juncture, we’d like to recommend that you remember those immortal words from Cookie Monster himself: “Sometimes me think, what is friend? ...friend something better than chocolate ice cream...maybe friend somebody you give up last cookie for.” Wise. Wise, bro. Our point? Share the long-ass cookie, shit.
-If you’re still looking for a gift despite our totally bitchin’ list from above, Eater-dot-com has a handy little guide to little cocktail glasses. They’re cute, they’re fun, they’re an adorable tool on the road to cirrhosis! Naw, just kidding...they’re not that adorable. NAW JUST KIDDING, WE AREN’T GONNA TELL ANYONE HOW TO LIVE! We will, however, point out that the AI writing robot couldn’t come up with a funny joke about alcoholism no matter how many times we asked it.
-As we were out perusing the internet recently for things about which we think you’d like to know, we stumbled upon a rather interesting page/project. Dubbed Every Vegan Recipe (dot-com), the site is trying to compile a user/writer-based community of vegan recipes people actually want to eat. It’s a hard sell for a lot of folks, but we think that’s because they just don’t know any recipes and picture fistfuls of kale (why isn’t it fistsful?) and being too hungry or whatever. We’re just saying, some of the recipes look amazing.
-Lastly in not-just-local info this week, we’re smitten with the food blog Smitten Kitchen, wherein an adorable home chef named Deb Perelman knocks out fly recipes from her apartment in NYC. At the top of the homepage this week, we found a recipe for olive oil brownies that look so nice we might make them twice. Actually, if we make them even once we’ll be shocked, but if someone makes them, tell us if they were good. Anyway, we love Deb’s site and we think you should check it out for recipe ideas and nice photos. Better watch your back, Claire Saffitz (actually, Claire, if you’re reading this, we’re in love with you, so if you ever need anything, just let us know).
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In this week’s print edition of SFR you’ll find all kinds of food coverage, from the lowdown on Santa Fe’s only hot sauce brand, Apicklelypse, to info on a new cookbook (with a reading on the way) and a resounding “Holy shit, that burger was good!” for Nuckolls Brewing Co.
Number of Letters Received
*Someone said they’re gonna bring us cookies, too!
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
Believe it or not, no one was mean to us this week.
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“If ya really want that Christmas goose you can order an 8-10 lb. one on-line from D’Artagan for a mere $250.00. And since you’re going to splurge you might as well order a suckling pig to round out your Xmas feast. They don’t sell crackers though. At the price of the goose they really should include some that are stuffed with foie gras!”
*Reader Pamela S. coming in clutch with the goose tip, and from a company named after the fourth musketeer himself!
Captured by robots,