Petite gems Santa Fe – Art, Fashion & Fine Dining

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”


For many reasons, one of my favorite long weekend escapes is Santa Fe: dear friends who love to cook and sip bubbly, big open sky vistas (like Africa, but not so far!), museums, opera, marvelous indigenous art, excellent restaurants, first class hotels…the list is long and varied.
ART – A recent escape yielded several unique excursions. Santa Fe abounds with art, and I organized a few private excursions with my local friends. We began with a visit with a fashion artist who has become a friend Ewa (Ava), Kielczewska, her design label is sold under Ewka. I met Ewa at a juried art exhibit in San Francisco, before I escaped to Argentina last year; not only is she a uniquely talented fashion artist, she is a Tango dancer extraordinaire! We bonded and have remained in touch. Her beautiful hand painted suede and silk garments combine fine craftsmanship and styling with a unique subtle play of color and form, she sells in the US and Europe. We enjoyed ginger tea while she explained the process of her intricate textile designs: she hand carves linoleum blocks and then transfers the ink designs to suede, silk and velvet, she also hand paints delicate long lines on the jackets- her process as she described it, is brush – breathe- brush…when you see her work you will wonder how she achieves this perfect balance. Her jackets and scarves are elegant, yet casual and perfect travel garments, the suede and silk are delicate and light, yet very durable.

 DINING – Santa Fe has numerous excellent restaurants, when one closes, another marvelous restaurant opens…I have many favorites which have endured, but a bright spot is Restaurant Martin on Galisteo Street. Chef Martin Rios, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, grew up in Santa Fe and started in the restaurant business as a 17-year-old dishwasher, eventually working his way to executive chef at several restaurants and hotels. Chef Rios received his formal training at the Culinary Institute of America and supplemented that with experience and training in some of the worlds most honored restaurants and with well-known culinary masters. His passion for food has taken him around the world in pursuit of culinary innovation, creativity and cooking experience.
RECOMMENDATIONS – Begin in the bar and chat up the staff, who will monitor your progress toward a table…great wine list and a few samplings of appetizers to try:
Ahi Tuna Tartare Avocado, Fresh Wasabi, Smoked Sesame Seeds, yummy little Jalapeno Blinis, Citrus Soy Air. So delicious, I was tempted to reorder it for my entrée!
Maple Cured Quail- Sweet Potato Sable, Prosciutto, Spicy Herb Purée, Shallot Aigre-Doux
Entrees – Maine Diver Sea Scallops Potato-Shallot Puree, Mushroom Duxelle, Chorizo and Tarragon
Prime Beef Tenderloin- Crushed Fingerling Potatoes, Garlic Transparency, Carrots, Gorgonzola Cromesquis- Very Argentinean!
Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast Leg Confit, Smoked Bacon Polenta, Marcona Almonds, Brandied Blackberry Gastrique.  
Maple Leaf Farms is the rage for divine duck; Martin’s preparation was OTT- slices of tender duck breast and  leg, thus a combination of textures, delectable and divine…the blackberry reduction sauce was perfection!
Chef Rios has been repeatedly honored for his innovative and pleasing combinations of flavors, colors and presentation. His unique style emphasizes fresh, local produce and organic meats and poultry, and reflects not only Southwestern and Asian influences but also his classical training in French technique. Featured in the 2008 season of Iron Chef America, Rios is the only New Mexico chef to have won the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award of Excellence.
ART – Galleries are abundant in Santa Fe; the prime corridor is Canyon Road. Art galleries feature contemporary art and traditional fine art, Southwest art, Native American art, Indian art and pottery, glass art, prints, sculpture, fine art photography and other types of visual art.
The Gerald Peters Gallery has long been recognized as one the world’s most respected dealers of American art of nineteenth and twentieth-centuries. GP is on Paseo de Peralta, and in reality, is more like a small museum. A respected gallery, GP also has a sister gallery in New York. Ansel Adams Landscape and Light reception filled the gallery with art devotees on Friday night.
The landmark exhibition of historic black‐and‐ photographs includes many of Adams’ best‐ loved images taken during the 1920s through the 1960s, such as Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941, and Aspens, as well as a selection of monumental and oversized prints. All of the more than 25 works in the show highlight Adams’ remarkable acumen for blending magnificent landscape subjects with a mastery of light and his genius in the darkroom.
As much as I admire Ansel, we were on a mission to view the work of local (Santa Cruz) artist, Tim Craighead. We enjoyed a private tour and discussion of Tim’s abstract work. From Tim: “ My influences range from second-generation abstract expressionism to forms found in nature to structural drawings by Frei Otto and Buckminster Fuller.” His organic shapes, bright colors and symbols emerge and produce magic in his paintings. Lines and cropped shapes appear abstract,  I see boat shapes and adventure, pine cones, icons of nature, a visual vocabulary and structural forms which mimic nature, charming and stimulating allusions. We all agree: Bravo Tim!
Private tours can be arranged at Gerald Peters Gallery with advance notice.
Santa Fe – always something new, always something interesting and stimulating.