Tidbits: Santa Fe dining, art and more

It’s Tuesday, time for Tidbits. Here’s what’s happening in and around Santa Fe.

Santa Fe Dining news:

If you’re a true foodie, you know how important the James Beard Foundation Awards are. They’re the Oscars of the culinary world. Nominations cover every area of the food business from restaurant designers, to chefs, to servers to food journalists and cookbook authors and everything in between. New Mexico garnered three nominations in the Best Chef Southwest category. Albuquerque’s Jennifer James of Jennifer James 101, Chef Frederick Muller of Taos’ El Meze and Santa Fe’s own Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin. Mark Kiffin’s The Compound was nominated for outstanding service. Kiffin, the Chef/owner of the Canyon road restaurant, was winner of Best Chef Southwest in 2005. He just opened Zacatecas, a casual taqueria and tequila spot in Albuquerque.

Santa Fe dining photo courtesy Restaurant Martin

Chef Martin Rios of Restaurant Martin up for James Beard award, photo/courtesy Restaurant Martin

This is Restaurant Martin’s third nomination in three years of business. In 2010, the restaurant was a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant in the US and in 2011 Rios was a semi-finalist for Best Chef Southwest. “I am thrilled to again be a semi-finalist for the James Beard Best Chef of the Southwest,” says the talented chef. “Win or not, the honor of being named a semi-finalist for me, is huge.” Maybe three’s the charm. Winners will be announced Monday, May 7th at the annual James Beard Foundation Awards Dinner in New York City.

Santa Fe dining: Heat lovers at the National Fiery Food & Barbecue Show Photo courtesy National Fiery Foods and Barbeque Show

People enjoying the Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show, photo/courtesy National Fiery Foods and Barbeque Show

If you like it hot, you’ll love the National Fiery Foods & Barbecue Show. The 24th edition is at the Events Center at Sandia Resort and Casino in Albuquerque Friday, March 2nd through Sunday March 4th.  Fans of hot sauce, hot foods, the things to cook them in and more will love this extravaganza. Santa Fe Traveler’s own Steve Collins was a guest chef when his award-winning cookbook Grilling and Smoking with the Home Chef, now out of print came out. It’s a fun show. If you want a great story, ask Steve about the chocolate-covered pepper he sampled there. Tickets are $15 (children under 18 are $5) at the door or you can buy them in advance at ticketmaster.  Show hours for the public are Friday from 4 to 8pm, Saturday from 11am to 7pm and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. Parking is free.

Take the train:

Santa Fe Southern Railway, a scenic vintage train that goes from Santa Fe to the Galisteo Basin and Lamy, NM, reopens this weekend under new ownership. To celebrate they’re offering half-priced tickets all weekend. On Saturday, March 3rd, they are running a train to historic Lamy from 10:30 to 2:30 and on Sunday March 4th you can ride their Hot Shot Train to the Galisteo Basin. Enjoy the glorious mountain views as you ride through the high desert landscape in train cars dating to the 1920s pulled by a circa 1950 engine. Take advantage of the special pricing and come ride the rails!

Santa Fe things to do: take a ride of the Santa Fe Southern Railway photo Steve Collins

Take a ride on the vintage Santa Fe Southern Railway photo/Steve Collins

Pueblos: An opening and a closing:

Acoma Sky City, the only Pueblo in New Mexico on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, reopened February 16th after closing November 10, 2019. The site, set on a Mesa southwest of Albuquerque, has been home to the Acoma People since 1150AD. Visitors are welcome to tour the historic Pueblo. The Sky City Cultural Center is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Tours start at 9:30 and run every hour. The last tour is at 3:30. Participants are taken to the top of the mesa top in a van for the hour and a half tour. It starts at the San Esteban del Rey Mission, dating to 1629 and then continues around the mesa top. Acoma is famous for their potters and different vendors have tables set up on the mesa for visitor’s shopping enjoyment. There is also a half-hour, condensed tour to the Mission only. At the end of the tour, visitors are given the choice to walk down from the mesa, through a steps carved into the rocks by hundreds of years of use or to ride the van down. The steps are steep, but if you are brave, it’s a memorable experience. Tour frequency is increased in high season.

New Mexico culture: Acoma Sky City photo Steve Collins

Historic Acoma Sky City reopens to visitors, photo/Steve Collins

Every year, at this time, Taos Pueblo closed for about six weeks. This year, they are closing on Monday, March 5th and scheduled reopening is Friday, April 20th.


Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents the Santa Fe premier of Square None, on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17th at 7:30pm. Both performances are at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. The ballet’s choreographer is Norbert De La Cruz III, a recent graduate of the Julliard School of Music’s dance program. Karen Campbell, of the Boston Globe called it “Stark, sleek, and chock-full of moves that skirt the edges of contemporary movement.”


It’s time for photo-eye Gallery’s First Wednesday Salon on Wednesday, March 7th from 6:30 to 9pm. Four BFA candidates from the photography department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design will show and discuss their thesis projects.

Santa Fe art: Helen Maringer will be at the First Wednesday Salon at photo-eye Gallery, Photo Helen Maringer

Helen Maringer's photo part of the First Wednesday Salon at photo-eye Gallery. courtesy Helen Maringer

If you have any hot Santa Fe tidbits to share, let us know.

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