Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Antiques+Interiors on Grant

Antiques+Interiors on Grant, located in the historic Hovey House  at 136 Grant Avenue, has gathered together in one spot some of the most popular antiques dealers in Santa Fe and a few new ones who will soon gain that title. As a seasoned antiquer and lover of beautiful objects, I could not be more pleased to find 14 dealers under one roof.

Each of  the 10 rooms and free standing cases reflects the particular passions and discerning eye of  the dealer, yet the rooms somehow manage to flow seamlessly from European antiques to Americana textiles and furniture to eclectic contemporary to industrial to antique Native American jewelry and rugs to antiques of the Americas to cowboy and cowgirl treasures to modern paintings. What Santa Fe has here is a 3,000 square foot house of treasures.

The Hovey House itself is a treasure. The adobe house was built in the 1850′s. At some point in the late 1800′s the house was “Victorianized.” A porch or portal was added and, to reflect the trend  of the day, a brick pattern was painted on the adobe exterior walls. Look closely at this fuzzy photograph I took. You are not looking at a brick house. You are looking at an adobe house painted to look like it is a brick house. Those clever Victorians.

Antiques+Interiors on Grant opened in early June, but the Grand Opening Party will be held this Saturday, August 11, from 4-7pm. They are located next door to the Andrew Smith Gallery and  about 3 or 4 blocks from the Plaza. Normal hours are Monday -Saturday from 10am-5pm. For further information call 983-0075.

We can thank these people for showcasing their collections so that we may bring a bit of the beauty and whimsy of the past home with us: Julie Vaughan – Sparrow Antiques; Jonathan Parks -Homestyle by J P Fabric Man; Gloria List; Omer Claiborne-Claiborne Galleries; Dana Waldon-The Scout Collection; Melissa Delano; items from the Estate of Teal McKibben; Jim Godman and Theresa Bohn-House of Ancestors Antiques; Anna Heiniger-The Standard Art &Antiques Co.; Patricia von Buelow-REZidDENZIA; Anthony Whitman-Provenance; Lana Straight-Lana’s House; Eric Erdoes and Lane Coulter and Jane Brooks.

A Chile Primer

A reader asked where he could purchase Christmas chiles. That was the way he phrased his question. While this person clearly is not from around these parts, he earns high praise for at least instinctively knowing New Mexico is the place to buy his chiles. He even spelled it the New Mexico way, chile not chili. Because he seems like a nice person, I will write my one and only piece on chiles.

First, I need to add the disclaimer that I am not an expert on the topic of chiles. I was raised in the East. I do  know I like them. A lot. I also believe the aroma of roasting chiles at the Farmers’ Market or from the roasting stands along the highways in late summer ranks right up there as one of the most sensuous fragrances known to man. I wish I had a smell-o-meter button to give you a whiff. You  need to come out here in between mid August and early September and inhale.

Christmas, often said in response to would you like red, green or Christmas on your breakfast burrito or enchillada, means a mixture of red chile sauce and green chile sauce. You might find the color of the two mixed together a bit off putting but the taste  is spectacular. Experiment. Ask the server to place some of each on either side of the plate. After you have tried each separately, create your own little Christmas holiday on the plate.

You need to understand that the topic of which is better,  red or green chile, is in and of itself literally a hot button topic for  passionate debate. It would take several books to even scratch the chile surface. While you are deciding red, green or Christmas, try chopped green chile in a grilled cheese sandwich, which is really a quesada if you melt the cheese in a tortilla instead of bread. Add red pepper flakes to stew for a little punch or ground green to sour cream for a dip. Buy whole chiles and make chile relenos. The chile is its own food group.

To finally answer the reader’s question, you can purchase nature’s treat  in many places. As I mentioned, freshly roasted chiles are in abundance at the farmers’ markets and along the roadsides here and there during the season. At least in the past, The Santa Fe School of Cooking has offered to mail out of state the freshly roasted variety. Many places in Hatch, New Mexico, will do so as well. The Santa Fe School of Cooking also has a shop in town and on line with a wide variety of dried and canned chiles. If you are ever near Chimayo, north of Santa Fe, stop by El Portrero Trading Post for their dried red and green Chimayo chiles. They will hand you some recipes with your purchase to get you started. The recipes alone are worth the trip.

Buyer beware, though. Chile is addictive. After awhile, your taste buds acquire a tolerance. More and more is required to get that original hit. But, oh, what a guilty pleasure, and it even comes in two colors.


Best Drive Thru Window For Dog Biscuits

Georgia the dog here with my first tip for you. Every year the Santa Fe Reporter publishes a Best of Santa Fe addition  highlighting the places, restaurants, service providers and stores that locals rate as the best in Santa Fe. You should pick up a copy or check out their website. However, truth be told,  I always find it lacking for one reason. Year after year they fail to include a category for  Best Drive Thru Window For Dog Biscuits. I intend to petition them next year to include the locals’ favorites, but  in the event you live in Santa Fe or will be bringing one of my colleagues with you on your visit, I offer my own picks now as a courtesy. Without further ado,  I present Georgia’s Picks for Best Drive Thru Window For Dog Biscuits.

Third Place Winner is a tie with Walgreens and  the First National Bank of Santa Fe: They are both on the list because they are nice enough to think of us and go to the effort to buy the dog biscuits and hand them out. Truly, I give them big points for trying. But the truth is, these people hand out huge, very hard and very dry dog biscuits that wouldn’t soften if I dunked them for 30 minutes in my water dish. These things are bricks. Door stoppers.  I see the container coming down the shoot and I hear the thunk  as it takes a hard landing and my heart sinks. Because my person is great about taking me for a car ride now and again, and I want to encourage her to do so,  I try not to show my disappointment. I give a little half hearted wag. My person first uses her hands to try to  break off a piece for me. Then she slams the thing against the steering wheel and, as if encased in steel, that biscuit will not break. Since my person is thoughtful, she often has a little stash in the coffee holder of the good ones you will read about later. She usually places the big dry one on the floor of the car and hands me one of the little tasty ones. I wag my tail like crazy.

Second Place Winner goes to the Los Alamos National Bank: Now this bank has nice treats, not exceptional, but quite tasty.  The woman places a nice little Georgia size biscuit in the tray for me, very civilized. It appears to be the Milk Bone variety. I can chew it easily, it has a nice texture and pleasant aroma. I give them two little paws up.

First Place Winner goes paws down to Ohori’s, a great coffee place: They gently place in my person’s hand an exquisite organic morsel made by Paul Newman. Just melts in my mouth. The best part is they all find me adorable. Lots of praise for the beautifulness of myself, especially my smile. I am always sure to give them my famous 360 degrees tail wag in appreciation. As we leave Ohori’s drive thru window, I snuggle down in my chair, content.

In the Beginning

Santa Fe SkyOn my first trip to Santa Fe from my home in Atlanta, I rediscovered stars. Walking around the Plaza that first night, I looked up and was flabbergasted to see all the constellations of my childhood: the Big Dipper, the Little Dipper, a million stars sparkling against a navy sky. They had been hiding behind city lights and pollution all along.

My second trip two years later was prompted by a chance encounter in a local book store with Stanley Crawford’s book  A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small New Mexico Farm. Since at least half the people in Santa Fe believe little is by chance, I will amend that to say as if led by a divining rod, I was pulled to Stan’s book during one particularly frenetic Saturday. In the late 1960s, Stan and wife Rose Mary traded city  life for two acres off a dirt road in Dixon, 50 miles north of Santa Fe. The book is about growing garlic and building a meaningful life founded on community.

You  won’t see trendy SUVs or a Whole Foods parking lot packed with women in yoga pants in Dixon, but there is an abandoned gas station on the right which manages to look charming rather than frightening, a gallery, and a community library next to the  grocery co-op. If you meander long enough, you will find Stanley and Rose Mary’s El Bosque Garlic Farm as I did that second trip.

Like a stalker I sat in my rental car and looked at every visible inch of their  property:  their home built with handmade adobe bricks, flourishing vegetables, and rows of garlic. The place existed so I had hope the way of life might as well.

The next day under an impossibly blue sky,  I headed for the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.  Half way down the aisle I spotted the face on the book jacket standing behind bins of garlic. We chatted  long enough for me to purchase three heads of garlic for less than a dollar. I took the garlic home, roasted two of the heads and set the other one on a small plate for inspiration. It’s a wonder I didn’t  light a candle next to it.

Six years later I moved to Santa Fe for a one year telecommute to my job with CNN in Atlanta. Almost 15 years later now I never left, although I did leave CNN.  Most Saturdays  I walk the four blocks to the Farmers’ Market now housed in its own building in the Railyard District. I walk down the first crowded aisle with farmers selling greens, flowers, cheese and jars of jelly, stopping to say hello and buying what captures my imagination. Stan and Rose Mary’s stand is half way down on the left.  Each time Stan hands me my three heads of garlic and I hand Stan my change, the moment is never lost on me. Stan, he has no idea.