Mezcal

11.29.2021
Santa Fe. Mezcal.

La Neuva Blessings

I don’t drink much anymore. Even the smallest amount of wine gives me a tremendous headache the following day. No beer. either. But the hard stuff seems to be fine in small amounts. So I focus on only the best in small amounts.

A bit ago I saw a friend on facebook mention to another friend that mezcal would be a good choice. I’ve had some very good tequila margaritas, but never mezcal as such. It seems tequila is a type of mezcal – a distilled liquor made from agave.

We took our long weekend trip to Santa Fe over Thanksgiving, one of our favorite places to be. Especially our Air B&B which is located about twenty minutes outside of Santa Fe on the way to Madrid. It is in a small grouping of a few houses on a dirt road in the middle of the arroyos and pinons and with views of sunrise and sunset not to be matched.Blessings to have found this place several years ago. I’ll write more about this magical place later.

Our regular upscale restaurant visit is to Sazon. In my opinion the best of the best. Another blessing to have found it. It was there I remembered my friend’s conversation about mezcal and my promise to myself to try new things. And so it was.

La Nueva created by Chef Olea would be my drink. My first try of a smoky wondrous mezcal. The ingredients: Madre Espandin Mezcal, Agave, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Twist. I love gin martinis for their “herbyness.” Oh, the blessing of the Earth’s goodness.

This would not be everyone’s cup of tea, er, spirit. But it is mine. Very smoky. Bitter. Herbs. Touch of sweetness, but just a very little bit. When I make this, I will add a bit more agave.

The color was lovely, like a golden glass Christmas ornament glistening on the tree. Ice cubes and the lemon decorating with just enough brightness for the season. There is a musty flavor, a deep richness that goes to the heart of any gardener. The lingering on the tongue and then the herbs rising up into the roof of the mouth to the nose. And oh, my, such a lovely long lasting sip.

As I said, I’m not a big drinker anymore so this lasted me through almost the entire meal. It was the perfect accompaniment to the sweet mole duck breast enchiladas.Trying new foods and drink – only the best – is a celebration of art and love and passion and a true blessing for me. And finding Sazon and Chef Olea is another.

Below is a link to a video about the James Beard semifinalist and honoree of Michelle Obama’s Faces of Diversity Award for working with children. And he is dedicated to intimate seating and slow dining with only two seating times per night – 5:00 and 7:30. Lovely.

I never noticed this prayer at the entrance to Sazon before and didn’t see it until we were leaving that evening. No wonder I am so drawn to this place.

Dear God, I humbly request
Create a sacred space of joy around this kitchen
Help me feel the importance of what I do
Bless me as I prepare this meal
Bless the ingredients I use
May this meal be a reflection and embodiment of your love
And may it bless the body,
Mind, and spirit who partake of it.

Yes. Blessings.

Red. Green. Or Christmas.

Santa Fe. Chili

Red. Green. Or Christmas.

One of the top reasons we go to Santa Fe is for the food.

Everyone has their favorite “hole on the wall” and/or fancy-ancy place. Restaurants are everywhere. And not just those serving New Mexican cuisine.

We have our favorite quick stop. The Plaza Cafe Southside. Easy to get to. We can pick something up on our way out of the city on our way to our Air B&B and eat in the comfort of the surrounding arroyos and ravens and piñons. This restaurant also caters to vegans. And they have a warning on their menu that they are not responsible for your reaction to the heat of the chilis. So choose wisely, my friend. Remember that in Santa Fe, the green chili is not for the faint of heart. Seriously.

Then there is Jambo. African-Caribbean Fusion. Oh, my. And, yet again, know your heat level. The sweet potato lentil stew with coconut rice was incredible. Here, too, vegans are happily and deliciously accommodated. I came home with the curry spices for that soup, plus black bean curry, and some sumac. Oh, the lemony lusciousness of sumac. I should have bought their cookbook.

Inspired by the chili beef stew we had on a whim in Taos and the Plaza Cafe’s flat enchiladas, we picked up some ground chili at the farmers market from the sweetest abuela ever. We are excited to use these and play around. One hot hot – she said it depends on your ability to withstand heat as to whether or not you will like it. And a bag of medium. We’ll let you know. We’re going to use a recipe from Rancho Gordo.
Then there is Sazon. Be still my heart. A lovely intimate restaurant where you are surrounded by huge paintings – many of them of Frida. You’re treated like royalty, even if you are in jeans.

We haven’t really eaten at very many high end restaurants in Santa Fe, except for Sazon. Chef Olea is genius. Solidly New Mexican, but with a contemporary update.

I only used my camera for the flashlight to read the menu. Yes, I’m at that age. 🙄 So I don’t have any photos.

Think about this – four exquisite mole sauces as an amuse bouche – starting with the sweetest deep chocolate to a sweet apricot to a green chili to the smokey red chili with three mini flour tortillas to scoop up all that deliciousness while you sip your cocktail and decide on what will grace your plate. I’ll be writing a post about the cocktail. My introduction to mezcal. Oh. My.

Sopa de Amour…chef Olea’s gift of love. A silky creamy poblano chili soup with a touch of sweetness, topped with crab meat, topped with a cream foam (a thick one and, I know, I’m not a fan of foam but this one…oh, this one) and then brushing of cinnamon. The server tells you not to mix it up but spoon a bit of everything in each bite. I wanted to lick the bowl, but the young French couple next to us were the mentors that kept me in line.

My entree. Not only was it delicious, but the plating itself was gorgeous mahogany and bright green with touch of white – it did look like Christmas. Raising the humble enchilada to this level takes a deft hand that understands flavors and textures. Corn tortillas run quickly through hot oil, layered with sweet potato cream, topped with luscious duck breast perfectly cooked and then topped with the deepest, richest, sweetest of Chef Olea’s moles. Two thin rings of fresh white sweet onion on top and sides of quick pickled spiraled baby beets and a jasmine rice with baby, baby cilantro. If you don’t like cilantro, you just might like the baby ones. It was incredible.


Dulce Sinfonia for dessert. A “savory” dessert that was not savory but extremely rich. A creamy lovely pale green avocado ice cream topped with a white ginger sauce. It sat in a sweet deep pink beet sauce with jalapeños and roasted piñons.
Christmas.

In New Mexico when you order your chili Christmas, you get both red and green chili side by side on your burrito. At Sazon Christmas has an entirely different appearance.


Well, off to make dinner. Bubble and squeak out of the last of the leftovers. Turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, green beans with an egg and some gravy coated in panko bread crumbs and baked – not fried in oil as the British do.


It may not be Santa Fe cuisine, but a person cannot live by chili alone…..

Ledge

Ledge. Lex Leonard. Acrylic on Watercolor paper.19’X24″

Sleep the ledge where line meets touch
don’t roll 
one side or other 
lest balance lost

Doctor, hold hands 
fill with marigold petals 
color of forest fire sunset

Caramel sky, saucers fly
do you belong
if, so, welcome

Smooth skin spirals
stem of possibility 
little mouse where are you

Walking the door
opening roar 
blackholes
silence sitting 

Corpse seed cleared 
E=empty bowl
gurgling pool 

Syndrome of afterlife
nothing certain
no need

You ride voices

Do the math

Look beyond

Beautiful hands

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Author’s Note.

Another visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens for our writing group to write.

During our community time before putting down our thoughts, I gathered words from our conversation. These became our prompts and opening line:

Sleep. Doctor. Caramel. Smooth. Walking Corpse Syndrome.

You do look beautiful.

Skiff

Skiff. Lex Leonard. Denver Botanic Gardens. 07.18.2021

A pink umbrella floats across water upside down right side up reflection a masked woman her partner saunter lotus floats edges ripple into shapes unknown just reflections Emma’s shoes drop bag opens an escape of used tissue tumbles with breeze no longer confined finally free Emma lowers bottom placed on cemented edge toes submerge into cold no excuse from early morning rain door opens through threshold a pink umbrella upside down floats a skiff holding promises forgotten floats away Emma wiggles her toes through the door a threshold a marigold sea of petals remembers golden sun and sweet scent of bloom a pink umbrella carries away excuses pain rememberings upside down filling too full Emma watches sinks below waterline under lotus pad into murky substance a place to break down become that which feeds new growth from murky substance repaired Emma’s toes curl stretch sprout vines reaches into murk feeds from what she once knew now reconstructs releases lets go gives in grows new bud precious bloom turns to sun’s face warmth color bright graceful 

Emma transformed

May First

I always do too much
Expect too much of myself
Try too hard
It always leads to not doing enough
Ever
Goals never reached
Tasks left undone


Incomplete
Everything, including me


Today you greeted me
With your purple velvet

A bit of water here and there
Is all I have given
times of bone dry winter
When I didn’t come to see you 


You didn’t complain
No special fertilizer, pruning


Here you are
Glorious in being you
Sharing who you are
Not too much

And more than enough


I will think of you today
In simplicity
Kindness to myself

And I will smile

Today In the US…

Today In The US…

They turned in their guns…finally listened….a sigh of relief….a deep breath….we could all breathe…they were broken and needed mending, not the guns, the users…they released their hunger for power, their bully moves, their anger…they saw their connection to us, to all…they finally listened, saw how we are all one…no longer a need to tell us what to do…they took a chance to trust…this is the way we heal…restore justice, without guns….restore trust, without guns….restore dignity without guns…restore compassion, without guns…no guns needed for this work…just taking a chance..fixing the broken mind that feeds on power and greed and fear…demilitarize it…allow it to rest, too…they turned in their guns today in the US…the world took a deep breath and trusted love.

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Author’s Note:

Day 13 of Na/GloPoWritMo and we were asked to write a news article, a daily prompt from the Instagram account of Sundress Publications, which posts a writing prompt every day, all year long.

Alpha Centauri

Hope. Acrylic on watercolor paper. Lex Leonard.

Holding the jar up to sun’s light,
a thick golden syrup, 
product of thousands 
of tiny winged creatures,
in there
suspended,
some other kind of beast.

From a distance,
it looked as one.

As the people of Thessaly,
having tamed them, noted,
man and horse melded into
centaur’s celebration.

Embalmed in honey.

At closer observation,
a bit of fluff decoded.

An oddment of dandelion
caught unknowingly
by the beekeeper’s centrifuge, 
completing its interstellar journey,
a Centaurian life,
leaving most observations
to its descendants.

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Author’s Note.

Oh, what a fun prompt today from Na/GloPoWriMo. We were introduced to two specialty dictionaries: Lempriere’s Classical Dictionary and the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction. We were asked to to write a poem using at least one word/concept/idea from each of the two specialty dictionaries.

My words were centaur from Lempriere and Centaurian from the science fiction dictionary.

Dear You

Dear You,
You’ve gone ahead and taken over
as you should,
wrapping your arms around my rubbish.
Verdant flourish over my decay.
Filling air with sweetness 
for which only you have the prescription.
Teach me one more time to play.

Your Foundling

Dear One,
We are a braided ribbon.
One, yet separate,
of hues unique.
Not in isolation, but communion.
I am always there for you, 
will you be for me?

Your Loving Mother

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Author’s Note:

Na/GloPoWriMo Day 11. Write a letter to and from.

Dear You. Watercolor, pencil, computer. Lex Leonard

Junk Drawer

I rattle the box.

An Altoids tin.
A jangle collection of screw heads
I didn’t know was there.

Birthday candles.

So many shapes and colors
to light celebrations
I no longer have.
And when I do,
I forget,
and buy more.

Much like the years that pass each May.
Collections I forget were there.

But I can’t buy more years
when I can’t find the memories,

lost possibilities.

I can’t keep them in an Altoids tin.

And even if I did,
would I remember?

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Author’s Note.

Day 10 of Na/GloPoWriMo and an interesting exercise.