Santa Fe tidbits: spring happenings, Santa Fe dining news and more

For the last week the weather in Santa Fe screamed summer. Shorts, tank tops and sandals have come out of storage. Yesterday, it snowed and it’s a bit chilly today, but the warm weather is expected back tomorrow. That, pretty well characterizes spring in Santa Fe. Warm one day and snowy the next and we can still get snow into May. But, it’s a wonderful time to visit. There’s plenty to do both in town and out and mostly temperate to warm weather to do it in.

Another honor for The City Different, Travel + Leisure Magazine named it the 10th Greenest City in the US. It’s one of the things we really love about Santa Fe. Coincidently, our Food Thoughts this week is on the Santa Fe Farmers Market, one of the reasons we think it’s so green. But there are a slew of other reasons. What’s yours?

National Parks Bandelier National Monument

Hiking at Bandelier, photo/Joy C. Frank-Collins

One of the great things about the southwest, especially for outdoors types, is the abundance of public lands here. These offer hiking, camping, climbing and more. You can take advantage of this bounty for free during National Parks Week, Saturday, April 21st through Sunday, April 29th. In the Santa Fe area, you can enjoy Bandelier National Monument, Pecos National Historical Park and Kasha Katuwi (Tent Rocks) for free. Further afield, but still a manageable day trip, you can explore Fort Union National Monument. Even farther afield, there are more parks and monuments in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and Utah waiting for you.

Santa Fe dining news:

317 Aztec (at 317 Aztec Street, 505-820-0150, opened on March 17th, when the rest of us were celebrating St. Patrick. For the cafe’s owners, Alisa Davis, Tony Weiss and Marie Bartels the date was good luck. After all, it’s in their name. The three have taken over the space formerly occupied by Aztec Street Café. Davis, a raw chef and cooking instructor, met Bartels owner of Crystal Mesa Farm Bed and Breakfast when she rented kitchen space at the B & B for her classes. Weiss, a screenwriter, is an old friend of Bartels.

Santa Fe dining 317 Aztec

Santa Fe's newest cafe, 317 Aztec opened in March, photo/Steve Collins

In a phone interview, Davis described the new café’s food as “healthy, organic and delicious.” While there are some meat (all free range and hormone and antibiotic free) and dairy options (organic or pesticide and chemical free) on the menu, the focus is on vegetarian, vegan and raw. Davis and Bartels both eat about 80% raw and they plan to expand the café’s live food offerings. They shop locally, supporting local farmers and producers, whenever they can. According to Davis,  two of the house specialties, power juices and super-smoothies made from green and other plant-based super foods have received an enthusiastic reception.

Some of the menu favorites from Aztec Street Café including vegan and vegetarian burritos and the hummus have been retained, but the recipes are all from the new owners’ repertoire. They are known for their salads. According to Davis, two of the stars are: kale salad with cashew dressing and the sushi salad with avocado, cucumbers, carrots sprouts, nori strips and brown rice. According to Davis, the ginger-tamari dressing sends the sushi salad over the top. The Painted Fruit Salad, featuring seasonal fruits is topped by a spirulina dressing, an original recipe from actor Woody Harrelson. The recipe came to the café via the actor’s former personal chef.

They currently serve breakfast and lunch daily, dinner is in wings. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 7am to 5pm and Sunday from 7 to 2:30. The three owners take turns running the front of the house. If you want to learn more about raw foods and perhaps take a raw “cooking” class from Davis, she teaches them through Raw Woman  out at Crystal Mesa.

On Wednesday, April 11th, Blue Corn Brewery celebrates their 15th anniversary. To commemorate this milestone, the Kitty Jo Creek Band is at the café’s Southside location from 6:30 to 9:30pm. Executive Chef, David Sundberg has “a very fun Spring-inspired menu” including Mango & Black Bean Empanadas, Green Chile Posole Bowl and a lamb sandwich, will be served all day. The other news from Sundberg is the café is hosting another of their popular Beer Socials on Tuesday, April 17th. For information and reservations call (505) 438-1800.

We don’t usually cover the Albuquerque dining scene, but couldn’t resist this due to the strong Santa Fe connection. James Beard award-winning chef Mark Kiffin of The Compound opened his trendy taqueria, Zacatecas, in the space formerly occupied by Santa Fe favorite, Bumble Bee’s Baja Grill in the Nob Hill area. On a sojourn to the Duke City last week we stopped in for a late lunch and we’re glad we did. We loved it. The house-made chips (there’s a charge) accompanied by Fire Roasted Guajillo and Tomatillo-Avocado Salsas (also house-made) were fab, and we couldn’t resist adding the guacamole option. The Cochinita de Pibil (slow cooked pork tacos) was succulent. The Chicken Tinga, another taco option, was delicious but a bit dry. The other house specialty is tequila, by the glass or the flight. With a recipe like this, can success be far behind?

Music and Dance:

Santa Fe dance ARCOS dance comany

ARCOS Dance company photo/courtesy ARCOS Dance

The cutting-edge ARCOS Dance’s Spring Repertory Concert will be this month. Performances are April 6th and 7th and April 13th through 15th. Evening performances at the MPD Performance Space at 1583 Pacheco Street are on Fridays and Saturdays are at 7:30pm. Sunday matinees are at 2:00pm. The 90-minute program includes two world-premiere dances, choreographed by Curtis Uhlemann, the groups’ artistic director and Erica Gionfriddo their Associate Artistic Director. The third work is a re-staging of one of Uhlemann’s works that ARCOS calls a favorite. The group’s focus is to encourage dancers in their teens and early twenties. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. Reservations can be made by calling (505) 473 7434 or emailing

Santa Fe dance Aspen Santa Fe Ballet photo Rosalie O'Connor

Seth Del Grasso in Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's "Square None" photo Rosalie O'Connor

On Tuesday, April 17th Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents a reprise of their March performances including Square None which had its Santa Fe premier on March 16th. Again, the show is at the Lensic Performing Arts Center at 7:30pm. The ballet’s choreographer, is Norbert De La Cruz III, is a recent graduate of the Juilliard School of Music’s dance program. Karen Campbell of the Boston Globe called the ballet “Stark, sleek, and chock-full of moves that skirt the edges of contemporary movement.” The evening also includes performances of Over Glow and the company’s “enduring favorite” Left Unsaid which features live accompaniment by violinist Ari Isaacman-Beck. Tickets are available at the Lensic Box office of from Tickets Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe Performance Exchange presents the bluegrass band, Chatham County Line. The group, hailing from North Carolina, will be at Santa Fe Sol at the Santa Fe Brewing Company on Friday, April 20th at 7:30 pm. The venue is at 37 Fire Place off Rte 14 south of town. Buy advance tickets ($15) online or you can buy tickets at the door ($18).

Santa Fe music photo/courtesy Santa Fe Performance Exchange

Chatham County Line coming to Santa Fe Sol,photo/courtesy Santa Fe Performance Exchange

Nothing stays the same. Locals and visitors alike have been coming to the piano bar at Vanessie Santa Fe for years. With the departure of pianist Charles Tichenor for the Starlight Lounge at Rainbow Vision and Doug Montgomery’s annual winter departure from town, they have come up with a new formula to attract a new demographic. They’re offering a nightly schedule that encompasses a variety of genres. Piano bar fans can heave a sigh of relief. Doug will be back around Memorial Day and will be here through February (with a brief hiatus in June). He’ll be tickling the ivories all evening Sundays through Tuesdays and from 6 to 8pm on Saturdays.

If you have any local happenings to share, contact Santa Fe Travelers.



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