The Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta: An Incredible Story To Tell

What an incredible story this festival has to tell. In the very beginning, Al Lucero, past owner of Maria’s Restaurant, had been looking for an idea to keep Santa Fe’s hotels busy after Labor Day—when historically the market just dried up. Full hotels mean full restaurants, Al figured. So the idea of a wine and chili festival was born – a clever name echoing the chili harvests that define New Mexico and a salute to the state’s fine wineries.

The first Festival was held in 1990 at the Sanbusco mall. I remember that event very well, as David Oberstein and I decided it would be a perfect location for the festival and offered it as a contribution to this great effort. There were about 300 attendees. Unbelievably, the admission price was all of $10. For that, attendees received a booklet with eight coupons good for food and four coupons for glasses of wine. Sixteen restaurants participated in the first festival, as did a dozen or more wineries.

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Given that $10 admission price, it was expected that the event would end up in the red that first year. Still, among its participants and hosts, there was the realization of how much potential this wine and chile deal offered. To everyone.

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Today, over 90 wineries and over 70 restaurants participate in the event. Activities are planned for five glorious fall days now, many are designed to help the greater community. The Live Auction for the Santa Fe Wine and Chili Festival (SFWCF) benefits and helps underwrite culinary classes, including restaurant service and wine and cooking classes. The auction helps sponsor other community events involving restaurants and chefs, for example, Santa Fe’s Cooking with Kids program and Santa Fe Restaurant Week.

This year’s six-day fest includes a film festival, wine and food seminars, a wine auction, wine tastings, and a guest chef demonstration. Features include 2019 Winery of the Year, Tablas Creek; 2019 Champagne of the Year, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte; and 2019 Artist of the Year, Ramona Sakiestewa.

The SFWCF has enriched our lives here for locals and visitors alike. It joins other groups like the International Folk Market, the Santa Fe Film Festival, and the Lensic Performing Arts Center; also relatively new “startups” that have reached national recognition.

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As the leaves are getting ready to don their fall attire, our patio is the perfect place to enjoy both dinner, cocktails, and wine.

¡Bienvenidos!

Get Your Kicks – On Route 66

Get Your Kicks – On Route 66

Route 66 actually came through Santa Fe at one time, quite a while back. That was before WW2 when most highways led right into town squares connecting towns across the nation. Now this iconic US Highway runs “2,000 miles all the way” and follows a much straighter shot from Chicago to L.A. with stops along the way to St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Gallup (“New Mexico”) Flagstaff (“Arizona”) Winona (“Don’t forget Winona!”) Kingsman, (“Arizona”), Barstow and San Bernadino. These are the bare bone lyrical highlights of the equally iconic “Route 66” written by Bobby Troup in 1946, just one year after the end of WW2. The year before America launched the most phenomenal boom in her economy, quickly producing jobs, home and automobile ownership, disposable income, natty clothes and “gas money.” This song has to be a part of American history if Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones can all record it.

Deep down in the American psyche, an inherent American mantra of “go West young man” emerged from the dusty times of the 19th century into post-war America. So when legendary Bobby Troup wrote this song in 1946, there were still open spaces, an open road, a sense of freedom from society, and the possible future of some day pulling out of a gas station in your 1960 Corvette with a buddy roaring west out of Gallup, New Mexico. It makes me shiver even still, especially when I get behind the wheel of my Smartcar and head off to Whole Foods!

Songwriter Troup hit the nail on the head in 1946. But more amazingly, his lyrics envisioned the future of our country, our love affair with the automobile and the open road. And he penned this song before television’s 1960 show “Route 66”. It is impossible for me with the inherent limits of a blog to do justice to the imagery and history of this highway; better just try googling up Route 66, where you can see restored gas stations, motels, cafes, souvenir stores, side-road attractions, new and old. I cannot list the hundreds of incredibly interesting historical, architectural, culinary, hospitality, educational and pure visual experiences still awaiting you today on Route 66, established 1926!

Road trips. When I was growing up in the very early 1950’s, some of my most vivid memories are of my family’s road trips in a Woody all over the country. I swear it was a Woody and have pictures to prove it… but we were not surfers in Dallas… it was just the first “station wagon” made, and my Dad knew they were cool, with or without surfboards sticking out the back. As we traveled though each state, and most were along Route 66, we would buy a glue-on souvenir of that state, and glue them right on the rear windows. They were so colorful, probably full of lead, and you could see through them from the inside. You often saw folks driving by with their back two side-windows covered in these multicolored mementos, eyeing your collection with keen interest.

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So, today if you ever plan to motor west, swing up from Route 66 to Santa Fe, our home, and visit one of the most unique and beautiful towns in the US, established 1607, your first stop has to be the Inn on the Alameda. It is a beautiful oasis of comfort where once the old west stopped at the end of the Old Santa Fe Trail. Even if you are still traveling west on that day and just passing through, stop and have a toast to America’s “Mother Road” at our fabulous Agoyo Lounge. Open for dinner and cocktails 5p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

We hope you book your next stay with us soon!

Stop and have a toast to America’s “Mother Road” at our fabulous Agoyo Lounge. Open for dinner and cocktails 5p.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily.

My First Opera

My First Opera

It was in the early 1980’s when I first attended the Santa Fe Opera, one of the most beautiful and most unique opera houses in the world. It is, perhaps, a side effect of coming of age during the 1960s that I can no longer remember exactly which opera I first saw, but the setting itself has always made an impression on me.

John Crosby, a musical genius from Manhattan (recently biographized by Santa Fe writer Craig Smith in A Vision of Voices: John Crosby and the Santa Fe Opera), had a dream of an outdoor summer opera company that would take advantage of the countless performers, musicians, conductors, and technicians who were annually idle when the Metropolitan Opera in New York City closed for the summer. He found the San Juan Ranch outside of Santa Fe and with his family was able to purchase what would become the location. He found the perfect acoustical setting and the rest is history.

 

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What I remember most from my first opera was the setting.

The house is designed so the brilliantly dying light of the setting sun comes straight through the open but covered stage, a stunning backdrop for any opera.

Photo credit wikimedia commons

To the East, each evening, the image of the reddening Sangre de Cristo mountains attests to the appropriateness of their name. The otherworldly red of the foothills struck the Spanish settlers as evidence of the divine, the blood of Christ made manifest. It is these features that shelter the bowl of the opera house providing an appropriately awe-inspiring landscape upon which the fine arts of mankind can play themselves out. But I digress.

Book your room for any Opera showing now ~ receive a Split of Champagne & 2 slices of Opera cake to enjoy!

Since that first production, I try to see at least one opera per season, always the one recommended by Nancy Zeckendorf, my close friend and co-founding director of the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Nancy’s influence on me cannot be described. It was she who brought me onto the board of the opera in 1986, first to run the business fund drive, later as treasurer and chairman of the facilities committee.

Even still, I cannot remember my first opera’s name! It was a board-known fact that I never developed the deep understanding and knowledge of opera. Nevertheless, it was just as board-known that my enthusiasm and drive more than made up for my other shortcomings.

Besides, I was surrounded by people who knew everything about opera. My speech and drama background from college drove my interests more to the physical plant side of the performing arts, and therein lay the key to my interest in helping create Santa Fe’s finest and most versatile venue: the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Along with Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf, Patricia McFate, and Alexis Girard, the dream came true, a dream that is much more fitting to my strengths as a builder and developer (like Bill).

The Lensic offers such a variety of programming. To name a few: the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the Lannan and Santa Fe Institute lecture series, the New Mexico Jazz Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Met Live, and Performance Santa Fe. All valuable cultural institutions, all as worthwhile as the opera, and all of which I’ve attended.

As for opera, I have seen dozens since that first one now forgotten, and I’ve always been impressed and had a wonderful evening. And what it’s taught me is how communal and convivial an outing it is—before, during, and after. Operagoers—regulars and first-timers—typically turn a night at the opera into a nightlong experience, with drinks or dinner beforehand (the opening night tailgate at the Santa Fe Opera is legendary), food and libations at intermission (though moderately), or dinner and/or drinks afterward.

Which is why I heartily recommend our own Agoyo Lounge as the perfect complement—to the opera or any of the many other cultural events going on throughout Santa Fe. Come in for an early dinner (starting at 5:30–please call for reservations) or an aperitif beforehand, or if it’s a shorter performance, come by for a late dinner or digestif.

Whatever your taste in the arts, the tastes at the Agoyo are unsurpassed and you will always be pleased, just as I have at the many operas I have attended. I just wish I could remember that first one. No matter. What I do remember vividly is the first time I watched lightning and giant black rainstorms rolling into town past the SFO stage, which now, like the entire audience, is fortunately covered from the elements.

Book your room for any Opera showing now ~ receive a Split of Champagne & 2 slices of Opera cake to enjoy!

Thanksgiving at Inn on the Alameda

Thanksgiving at Inn on the Alameda

Come join us for Thanksgiving at Inn on the Alameda! This savory feast includes your choice of delicious traditional favorites, including perfectly-roasted turkey with gravy, golden whipped potatoes and other side dishes, as well as assorted holiday pies. See our menu:

A printable version of the menu is also available.

Cornbread, Honey Butter, Cranberry Salsa

 

FIRST COURSE (choice of one)

Butternut Squash with Orange and Ginger Garnished with Pumpkin Seeds Or Northern New Mexico Red Chile Pork Posole

 

SECOND COURSE (choice of one)

Wedge Salad with Bleu Cheese Crumbles Served with Bleu Cheese Dre

ssing or Pear and Gorgonzola Salad Topped with Pecans and Cranberry Served with Balsamic Vinaigrette

THIRD COURSE (choice of one)

Traditional Roasted Turkey Breast with Turkey Gravy or Short Ribs

 

SIDES

Golden Whipped Potatoes, Whipped Sweet Potato Puree Honey Glazed Baby Carrots, Green Beans with Almonds, Stuffing with Zucchini and Cranberry Sauce

 

Assorted Holiday Pies

$42.00 Per Person / $19.00 Children 12 and Under Plus Tax and Gratuity

 

Serving 4:00-8:00p.m.

For reservations and information, please call (505) 984-2121.

New Mexico History – Palace of the Governors

New Mexico History – Palace of the Governors

No trip to Santa Fe would be complete without a visit to the city’s famed historic Plaza, and we highly recommend making the historic Palace of the Governors part of your visit. The Spanish government built the Palace of the Governors in 1610 as the main government building for the territory, which included most of the Southwestern United States at that time. This coincided with the founding of Santa Fe, which makes it the oldest capital city in the country.

The Palace of the Governors has been used by various governments for hundreds of years, and is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the country. Today, the building is a National Historic Landmark and a designated national treasure. It houses the New Mexico History Museum and sits at the hub of modern Santa Fe life.

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On any given day, visitors may find cultural events, live music and art shows in the Santa Fe Plaza. One of the plaza’s greatest attractions is the Native American artisans who sell jewelry in the colonnade out in front of the Palace of the Governors daily. 

This is widely considered one of the best places to purchase Native American jewelry because you can find a genuine piece at a fair price.

Once inside the Palace of the Governors, you’ll find objects and artifacts of New Mexico and Santa Fe’s history. As you explore the museum’s collection, you will see ancient arrowheads, the armor of colonial soldiers and family artifacts from the earliest Spanish settlers. The museum offers free self-guided and docent-led tours as well as seasonal walking tours of the area for $10.

If you’re exploring the area on your own, you’ll find many boutiques, restaurants, art galleries and even more history to explore. Santa Fe’s Plaza and the Palace of the Governors are a short walk from the Inn on the Alameda, and the Palace itself is a great way to spend part of a day in Santa Fe.

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We hope this has piqued your interest in Santa Fe’s colorful history.

To learn more about all that Santa Fe has to offer, or for help planning your trip to Santa Fe

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