Under Santa Fe Skies

by Susan Tungate

Chicken Paws and Pig Feet

Talin Market World Food Fair, which as the name implies features foods from around the world, opened Saturday in Santa Fe. They also have a store in Albuquerque. For some of my friends in Santa Fe, there are only two reasons to drive the hour to Albuquerque, Talin Market and the airport. So this is a big deal.

The small space is packed with intriguing cans, bottles, boxes and bags of food labeled in foreign languages. I first spotted a huge bag with a lovely design that did not give me a clue as to the contents. A man working for the store was standing nearby, so I told him I was writing a blog post on the Market, he said great, I asked if I could take photos, he said yes and explained the bag was full of premium rice. He  then proceeded to hold the bag for the photo below. (See his fingers.)

He explained several other items and watched as I took these photos: 

Then I hear a woman say, “The Market’s policy does not permit photos.” Just as I turned to look at the man who had given me permission to take photos, he made a fast pivot and took his brisk walk of shame down the Indian spice aisle. I gave the woman my card and told her the photos were for a blog. Then she asked  three times whether the photos were for the blog, I said  yes twice, then finally decided I would take my leave in peace. I will chalk that up to opening day nerves. The last photo I took was of this package, marked “chicken paws”: 

My first thought was ah, gees, gross. My second thought was why do they call them chicken paws not chicken feet? That’s when I remembered my pig feet story. My parents were born, raised and educated in Columbus, Ohio. Dad moved his family to Macon, GA when I was a baby. Whether we lived in Macon or Cincinnati or Chicago, we drove to Columbus at least once a year to visit relatives. Right up there as the number two reason for the trip was our annual pilgrimage to Thurn’s Specialty Meats. By specialty meats we are talking graphic foods like smoked tongue, thuringer, salami and Dad’s food of the Gods…..pig feet. I did not partake for years, but I finally got curious.

We were sitting around the kitchen table, my family inhaling the foods from our pilgrimage, when I asked my older brother for a taste of his pig foot. He cut off a piece and handed it to me. I almost had it in my mouth when I saw he had just handed me fat with little white wirey hairs on it. I surrendered the pig and began my journey toward vegetarianism. 


Santa Fe Events: Restaurant Week and ArtFeast

We have reached the end of February. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, that means it is time for Santa Fe Restaurant Week and ArtFeast.

During Santa Fe Restaurant Week from February 24 to March 3, you can enjoy a three course meal at discounted prices. The prices range from dinner for 2 for $25 to meals ranging from $25-$40 per person. A slew of restaurants sign up to participate. I have heard La Boca, Bistrro, Coyote Cafe, Jinja Bar and Restaurant Martin, to name a few, are on board. You can find the complete list at santafe.nmrestaurantweek.com.

You can also indulge in a feast for both your eyes and your stomach while supporting art programs for the youth of Santa Fe during ArtFeast weekend February 22-24. As they say on their website: ” Now in its 16th season, ArtFeast is heralded as one of the most inspired reasons for a getaway. The weekend of festivities celebrates the City Different’s world-class chefs and restaurants, an international array of vintners, original designer fashions and unique homes, along with nationally and regionally prominent artists represented by Santa Fe galleries. All of this fun and food helps young people develop the skills needed to creatively respond to life.” For information, contact info@artfeast.com or call 505.603.4643.

So come on out and support our local restaurants and a good cause.


Your Good Luck Guide for 2013!

Last week three of my friends announced that without exaggeration 2012 was the most miserable year of their lives. I have to say, it ranks in my top three most challenging years. These challenging times must end with December 31. So what to do? After extensive research, I have a one word solution: EAT!

To improve your odds for good fortune in 2013, I suggest we follow the tried and true traditions of people all over the world. Stock up now.

1. NOODLES: In many Asian countries, long buckwheat noodles eaten on New Year’s day is the key to long life. The only caveat is that you cannot break the noodle before it is all in your mouth. Seems like a lot of pressure to me. Perhaps increase your odds by using a very large spoon.

2. GRAPES: The tradition in Spain is to eat 12 grapes before the clock strikes midnight. Each grape represents a month. Here’s the rub on this one: If, say, the third grape is sour, then the third month March will be problematic. There is a solution to this, people. Stack the deck. Buy only sweet grapes! I found nothing in my research indicating this will nullify your good luck.

3. FISH: Some say the silver skin of the fish is a sign of good fortune…except if you are the fish. Fish swim in schools which is all about abundance. The Danish eat boiled cod on New Year’s day. Those in Poland and Germany consume herring at midnight, but of course they have really scary dreams so I hope the herring is worth it. Folks in Asian countries may have some fish with their long, unbroken noodles.

4. POMEGRANATES: Pomegranates are associated with abundance. In the spirit of Zorba the Greek, Greeks smash open a pomegranate on the floor near a door. (I suspect the location was dictated by the woman of the house who had to clean up the mess.) The more seeds, the more good fortune.

5. CAKES: A less messy Greek tradition is to bake a coin in a cake. Whoever gets the piece with the coin will reap an abundance of money…or a broken tooth for which the abundance of money will come in handy.

6. PORK: Pigs are fat and fat symbolizes prosperity, again except for the pig. People in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary and Austria are big on roasting a suckling pig on New Year’s. Swedes aims for the pig’s feet. Germans are all about roast pork and sausages. At this point, this vegetarian is getting a little nauseous, but I will persevere.

7. GREEN VEGETABLES: Now we are in my territory. Since green leaves resemble folded money, greens like cabbage, collards, kale and chard are good luck foods. The Danish eat stewed kale with sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. Got to love those Danes. The Germans add some sauerkraut (cabbage) to their sausage and double their chances for good luck. Southerners love their collards. The Irish eat cabbage.

8. LEGUMES AND LENTILS: Lentils look like coins, so they are another key to wealth in 2013. You’ve got your lentil soup in Spain, sausages in green lentils in Italy and various lentil dishes in Japan. Of course Southerners eat their black-eyed peas (food group not band). If they add rice, it’s called hoppin’ john. For the 20 years I lived in Georgia, most people I knew ate black-eyed peas and hog jowls with collard greens. I favored the Southern adage, “Black-eyed peas for pennies, collard greens for dollars and cornbread for gold.”

Now, a word of caution on what NOT to eat. Don’t eat lobsters because they walk backward, and you know you don’t want to go there. Swear off all winged fowls because your good luck might just fly away.

I have done my part. The rest is up to you. I will add this one last wish: May your 2013 be filled with laughter, love, good health and abundance. Happy New Year!

A Time Out of Time Weekend to Rejuvenate and Revitalize in Timeless Santa Fe

(My friend and Southwest tour guide extraordinaire Patrizia Antonicelli, who owns Seven Directions Tours, is offering this Santa Fe experience in December. Please consider making this peaceful retreat a gift to yourself or a special friend. Patrizia will not disappoint, and I would love to see you in December. Locals are welcome to join in, too.)

The end of another hectic year is near. The New Year is soon upon us. What better time and what better place to nurture, center, and revitalize body, mind and spirit, than a weekend in December immersed in the inspirational beauty of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Offered the weekends of  December 15-16 and 29-30, the Seven Directions Tours experience begins on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. with the class “Writing Your Memoir: One Vivid Story at a Time” taught by Susan Tungate. Susan is an author, teacher, an inspirational Guide for “Architects of Change” on mariashriver.com, and former attorney with CNN.

Memoir writing offers you the opportunity to observe the past with fresh eyes, reflect on your life purpose, clarify your future path and preserve your unique stories. Always with humor, Susan will demystify the process of memoir writing and provide the simple tools the client needs to begin. The class will end at noon.

From 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., you will be immersed in Native American culture by spending this afternoon with a Native American healer who will offer a blessing and healing ceremony which is sure to nourish and renew the spirit.

Saturday dinner, held from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., will be a memorable experience. A premiere Native American chef will prepare centuries old traditional dishes for you in her home using organic ingredients. The history of each dish will be explained. To end the evening, her Navajo sous chef will drum and sing for you.

Sunday morning from 10:00 a.m. to noon will be spent writing with Susan. The experience will end Sunday afternoon with an herbal massage and flower and mineral essences with the Native American healer. Massage sessions will begin at 2:00 p.m. You will return home with flower and mineral essences as a remembrance of this special weekend.

What better gift to give yourself or a special friend  than the gift of a peaceful retreat, a moment out of time in timeless Santa Fe, to renew the spirit and meet the New Year refreshed and enlivened.

You will stay in town at a typical southwestern accommodation. Upon request, for this weekend, Seven Directions Tours will provide ideas and itineraries for anyone wanting also to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the art and culture for which Santa Fe is famous.

For further information and media inquiries call Patrizia Antonicelli at 505.820.3305 or visit www.sevendirections.net.

8 Things to Do in Santa Fe and One to Do Regardless

Here we are at Thanksgiving week. I offer 8 things you might want to do if you find yourself in Santa Fe this week and one suggestion for where ever you may find yourself.

1. Hate to bake? Stop by Sage Bakehouse, just north of the intersection of Cerrillos and Paseo de Peralta across from the Hotel Santa Fe,  for your Thanksgiving pies and the best bread in town. While you are at it, pick up croissants for breakfast or to use for the late night turkey sandwich. Your left overs will be elevated to fine dining.

2. Hate to cook? Make a reservation for Thanksgiving dinner at tomme (820-2253) at the corner of Galesteo and Alameda or go historic and feast at the La Fonda buffet (995-2334).

3. How long has it been since you full time residents have played tourist and strolled around the Plaza? For 400 years people have walked around that Plaza. Feel the history. The Christmas lights are up!  Stop for a snack at the historic Plaza Restaurant which reopened this year. Start a tradition.

4. The weather will be perfect this week, sunny with highs in the 50s. Take a nice walk on one of the trails around the ski basin. Take a city walk down Canyon Road. Veer off onto Garcia Street and peruse the shelves of Garcia Street Books, a well curated delight for book lovers.

5. Support local artists and buy special one of a kind gifts at “A Gift Fair” held at the Santa Fe Woman’s Club (1616 Old Santa Fe Trail between San Mateo and St. Michaels) November 23-25 from 10am-5pm. Be sure to stop by the table of Catherine Trapani’s Beloved. Her jewelry incorporates rare and beautiful stones from all over the world at affordable prices ranging from $8-$300.

©Catherine Trapani

6. Attend the 10th Annual Thanksgiving Tradition of Wise Fool’s circus-arts troupe  at the Lensic Theatre (988-1234)  November 23-25.

7. Stop by the Santa Fe Animal Shelter (983-4309) on Saturday or Sunday (closed Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday) and find your new buddy just waiting for you. The beautiful and talented little Georgia is a rescue dog. I rescued her. She rescued me.

8. Sign up for my workshop Writing Your Memoir: One Vivid Story at a Time. The 4 class series meets on Wednesdays from 5:30-7 pm beginning November 28. For details, see my post dated November 18 or contact me at the email address listed under Contact Susan.

9. If you are with your family or will be chatting with them on the phone, gather a few family stories. Assuming you did not order in your dinner from Pizza Hut, start with a discussion of why you have the foods you do at your Thanksgiving table. Are the creamed pearl onions or lima beans from your great great Aunt Ruth’s recipe? Did your great grandfather originally make that oyster dressing? Do you have slimy green jello because that’s what your father and his sister requested as kids? Do you have pecan pie because your grandmother simply makes the best pecan pie anywhere? Ask the little kids their favorite thing to eat on the table. Ask the adults to tell about a favorite Thanksgiving or the most challenging one. Share your stories. Share yourselves.

Max and Ben

Happy Thanksgiving!

Escargot to Go!

Two seemingly unrelated obsessions: Since I was a kid I have loved Airstream trailers. The sleek lines and shining silver just spark my imagination. In fact, a dream I am fairly certain I will never realize is renovating a small circa 1960′s Airstream, furnishing it like a gypsy wagon, and traveling all over the US with friends, Georgia the Dog and Harry the Cat. I am also a devoted lover of all things French.

So imagine my great joy when one day those two obsessions collided in the most delightful way. I turned off Paseo de Peralta onto Old Santa Fe Trail and spied what could only be a mirage in an otherwise empty gravel parking lot: a renovated 1960′s Airstream wearing a sign proclaiming Le Pod “curbside cuisine.” Quelle merveilleuse idée! C’est magnifique!

In that small perfect space, Chef Jean-Luc Salles creates French delights from escargot to Frog Dogs (hot dogs on a baguette) to scalloped potatoes oozing with cheese to crepes. He makes a luscious vegetarian sandwich of flavorful goat cheese, grilled mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and sautéed spinach on a crunchy baguette.

Not only has Chef Salles enriched our lives with his food, but he is also generous with his time in supporting local nonprofits. Bordeaux’s loss is Santa Fe’s gain.

If you are on overload with burritos, go cleanse your pallet at Le Pod. Go in any event.

Open Monday-Friday from 11a-4p. Check out the Le Pod website for photos that do the place justice and further information.

A Harvest Celebration at Tiwa Kitchen

Po’Pay Society Directors

Fall in New Mexico is my favorite season. The aspen trees burst with yellow leaves along the highway to the north. The air is crisp and chilled in the morning. The chile roasters run overtime. Fall is also the season of special regional festivals and art tours which foster community and camaraderie. This Saturday, September 29, from 3pm to 5pm, you have the chance to combine the beautiful drive to Taos with one such event, The Harvest Celebration sponsored by the Po’Pay Society. What is the Po’Pay Society and why should you support their efforts? I will tell you.

In 2009, musician Robert Mirabal and Nelson Zink founded Tiwa Farms, an organization promoting agriculture at Taos Pueblo. In 2012, Tiwa Farms morphed into a new nonprofit organization, the Po’Pay Society. The Society is dedicated to the memory of Po’Pay, who was the leader of the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680 and champion of the Pueblo way of life.

The focus of the Society is on Pueblo agriculture. This year it plowed and planted 25 corn fields at Taos Pueblo with heritage seeds. The Society also aims to engage the youth of the Taos Pueblo in traditional farming practices.

You, dear readers, are invited to join the Po’Pay Society at Tiwa Kitchen, located on 328 Veteran’s Highway which is the road out to the Taos Pueblo, for traditional food, a report on Po’Pay Society activities, and the release of Po’Pay Speaks, a CD recording of Robert Mirabal’s dramatic monologue.

This is a special event supporting an important purpose. Now you know what I will be doing this Saturday afternoon. Hope to see you there.

Directors appearing in the photograph: Nelson Zink ,Henry Lujan, Chelona Edgerly, and Stephen Parks.

Fiesta Food Trucks


Once a year at Fiesta I go for it. I look carefully at each food truck on the Plaza to make my choice. Will it be quesadillas from Quesada’s? Or roasted corn?

Or a Navajo taco?

Ah, here it is! A chile relleno burrito! Life is good!