“The Farmers’ Market is a real Santa Fe tradition and a great place to get a feel for our food scene. Make sure you go there early Saturday morning …”. One of the very first descriptions I read about the city of Santa Fe is, once again, about food. “Have you put on weight yet, what with all your food tours all the time?!” Mum’s voice on the phone sounds half-serious, half-bemused. I still think I am able to balance, jogging in Central Park & having a rather active traveller’s lifestyle on this #CreativElenaRTW round the world trip of mine. That is, until … “yes Elena, you are confirmed to take part in the Santa Fe School of Cooking walking tour … You can then talk with the local Santa Fe School of Cooking about taking part in a cooking class as well”.
WONDERFUL. 😀 Sounds right up my #foodlover’s alley.!
Santa Fe School of Cooking Restaurant Walking Tours depart each Friday at 2.00 p.m., during the main summer season they add an extra tour every Wednesday at 2.00 p.m. It is a perfect introduction to some of the city’s best restaurants, but not only that: Most of all, it gives you a great overview of the diversity of the local food scene. There are just sooo many influences here: The Spanish restaurant “Taberna”, focusing on traditional Spanish elements in the culinary heritage of Northern New Mexican cuisine. Local places like “The Cowgirl” that pride itself on serving great chile dishes, which I can only confirm. Then, there is the “Inn on the Alameda” that runs apartments as well as an excellent restaurant, whose philosophy I particularly like and which has made me come back for more.
For those wanting to “dig deeper” and really get down to the essentials of New Mexican Cuisine, a cooking demonstration class with passionate & knowledgeable chef Lois Ellen Frank is highly recommended!
“Chile, potatoes, tomatoes, beans, squash, pumpkin … Those were all essentially foods native to the Americas, and brought to Europe by explorers such as Christoph Columbus. Who, as we all know, was set on discovering India, so he sold the chile spice to the Queen as pepper spice, equally suited to make big money back in those days. Spices were prized equal to gold! Imagine Italian cuisine without the tomato! Europe without the potato! No fish’n’chips there in London, back in the days …!” Smiles and laughter ripple through the audience. Altogether, about 20 people have come to join the Santa Fe School of Cooking Demo Class with local chef & cultural (food) anthropologist Lois Ellen Frank, who has “just summed up 11 years of PhD in food anthropology … phew”, she tells us with a bright grin. “Cooking is very zen … a great, hands-on activity that has you focus on the task at hand!” And: “A recipe is just a recipe, basically a list of ingredients that anyone can write. It always depends on who ends up preparing it!”
And whether there is love, and dedication, and care, in treating your ingredients and sourcing only the best of those from the market. “We have a system here called CSA – Community Sourced Agriculture, that works really well. Like a bank, you deposit money into a local farm and get your best eggs and chicken meat back. It really has helped local farmers bounce back in the face of large-scale, industrial farming, which now is the norm here in the United States, unfortunately I must say.”
Lois Ellen Frank is a fountain of knowledge. It is a true delight listening to her while she & her partner prepare a “Contemporary Southwest Tasting Meal” for us. “I have been here for sixteen years”, he smiles in support of the passion that Lois Ellen exudes. “Like her, I just love what I do.”
Looking for further inspiration on what to do & see in & around Santa Fe, New Mexico? Here is my hand-picked selection of creative foodie travel tips, as shown on this Flickr Photo Gallery:
Disclaimer: I have been invited by Santa Fe School of Cooking to join their Restaurant Walking Tour & Cooking Demo Class. All opinions are my own.