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.

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…..

In Thanksgiving


She shines her  full round upon us
                                                           in reminder of Light
who glows from within

Even in our darkest days when we forget
                                                                who we are
                                                                               who we are
                                                                                              who are we

Who walk on feet blessing Earth

Who sing with bird in gratitude

                        dance and play
                                                                  in childhood dream

Who wash in ocean’s tide

Who look in each other’s eyes
                                              each other’s eyes
                                                                     each other’s eyes
Then see ourselves,
our Light

Look to her
            her glorious round
                                   and give her thanks
                                                          for her reminder



Author’s Note:

May this day be a day of gratitude for all good.
And may the pain be healed.

Amen. Aho. Blessed be.

I am thankful for…


My feet
to step on Mother Earth
connecting me to her
and all that grows beneath
and rises above to meet the breath of day.

My lungs to breathe in Life.
My eyes to watch Moon
cycle in remembrance of
my fragility and fiercness.

My skin
to touch the Sun’s warmth in my heart
and know his fire burn to ash
when I must begin anew.

My nose to smell lilac and rose, pine and rain, and doggie breath.
My ears to hear crow and whispered wind, roaring waves,
the deep stillness of You within.

Lips and arms to hug and kiss you…
my love, my Bean, my dear sweet friends,
the children of this Earth,
each and every one of you.



Happy day of gratitude and joy.

May compassion be the way for this day
with gentleness and love for all – even the hard ones.

Munay. Aho. Amen.




Dear friends,

This year has brought much sorrow, release, and loss. When one enters darkness, there, too is gift. One must let go and trust that Spirit is there. In darkness one can rest setting fear aside and settle in to listen. One learns much, if one simply allows the ego to sleep. This has been my year.

As I emerge into Light, I find myself standing on what is an open field. I see crumbled at my feet that box that has surrounded me most of my life. It was a protection, a safe place, a home where I didn’t have to do anything but follow the rules. As I stand here with the clouds, ocean, plaines, forests, mountains and sky as my box, I now understand that this is our gift, everyone’s. It is not just for those who follow one path. There are so many paths here, the abundance is staggering. I stand with all seeing how much our Beloved truly loves us.

Our centerpiece this year for our meal of thankfulness is an altar of gratitude. All the elements are represented.
A candle for fire.
Seashells for water.
Feather for air.
Seven rocks in the chakra colors for pachamama – the earth  – and our connection to her.
Flowers for the sweetness that bloom in the gardens we tend.
A dried leaf for death that even though our end day here will arrive, we will leave behind beauty as we lived our life to the fullest.
A sprig from olive trees in the open space brining peace to our table.
Beans in the candle holder for the abundance we are caretakers of here on earth. Hazelnuts to remind us, in the words of Julian of Norwich,
“All will be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
And the communal herb bundle into which our global and universal intentions will be blown into to be burned in our fire ceremony and sent heavenward.

May you all ring in peace today. Whether you are sitting around a table or standing on a field protecting our water. I give thanks to you all, for my life is better because of your love.



In Thanksgiving

DSCN3871In the hush of early morning light,
step into this new day with a grateful heart.

Remember you are our Beloved’s gift to the world.
Don’t be afraid to share you.

There is a smile or helping hand, laughter or a wink,
a word of encouragement or a hug not released
too soon, that is needed today.

You are what love is. Release your glorious self
into this broken world to heal, even if what you tender
seems so small so as to not make a difference.

It does.

In the rush of this day, amidst piles of food, in games
won and lost, emotions bumping into attitudes,
reach inside to your gentling, where sweetness
and gratefulness are paired.

Be thankful for you, see the gift you are, only then
can we be fully grateful for one another.




Whenever he mentioned flying, Candy would immediately find herself in a daydream. She was glad they made a pit stop when they did. She had to pee and she was hungry. And she wanted to fly.

They had driven many nights and passed through numerous towns with the State Patrol sitting at the edges of some and the local sheriff taking a catnap in a patrol car in others. Apparently, Candy and Dick weren’t fugitives. Maybe the foul-mouthed antique dealer was more a pain in the ass to everyone than an upstanding businessman pretending to bring goodwill to Lamar.

Candy left Dick to his own as she grabbed a quick cup of coffee and a bag of salted peanuts once she took care of her own business.

“I’ll be across the street in the park.”

She didn’t look at Dick or wait for a reply. She was the driver in this relationship. He would have to learn to live with. Dick didn’t mind.

Candy always found a park with benches and tall trees. At this park she found the perfect bench farthest away from the playground. She didn’t want to engage any moms in small talk about their pathetic lives or their darling children. And she definitely didn’t want to hear the screaming voices climbing all over a metal giraffe painted purple with pink spots or the incessant clacking of the metal blocks on a giant abacus that was supposed to be a “Learning Tool for the Active Child.”

Candy ate her peanuts and drank the coffee as she made her way to her perfect bench. There was even a trashcan nearby to deposit the paper wrapper and styrofoam cup. She was glad she chose this day to wear the cargo pants and white shirt, ala Indiana Jones. She felt like an adventure was brewing.

One day she would have enough bills to buy a leather jacket, whip, and her favorite piece of Indiana Jones equipment, the fedora. Right now she had to settle for a perfectly constructed pair of pants and shirt. She spent hours watching and re-watching all five IJ movies to be sure she had all the details just right. She came up with the final design, a grand mix of all five movies and built her pieces with love. The pant fit was perfect. The shirt was right on, too.

Candy felt confident and relaxed and ready for anything that came her way.

By the time she planted herself on the bench, her stomach stopped growling and the coffee gave her just the right buzz. Stretching out on the bench, Candy placed her arms behind her head cradling it so she could see the clearing between the trees. The sky was the perfect blue for a daydream.

When Candy hit the Ladies’ Room, Dick picked up a bag of marshmallows and a can of yams along with a package of small aluminum containers inside the convenience store. It turned out Dick loved Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. Since he’d been on the street, he could only celebrate the holiday in whatever food line he was near. Sometimes they served his favorite dish. Most times they didn’t. It was baked yams with crusty marshmallows on top. Today was the day.

To celebrate his new friendship with the crazy girl who wore hand made movie clothes and said she was a performance artist, what ever that meant, Dick decided to make his favorite recipe. He also grabbed a small container of cinnamon and a brick of real butter. Not margarine, he knew that stuff would kill you. And he planned to surprise Candy.

Dick paid for the bounty and quickly made his way back to the Airstream. They had been on the road for several weeks now and she had a pattern. She would get up while it was still dark.

Candy allowed Dick to sleep on the floor as long as he was a gentleman. He saw what she had done to the antique dealer in Lamar even though he pretended to be asleep on the park bench. She was strong, fast, and smart. He knew right then he would never cross her.

He also knew she would be there for him if he ever needed her. It was funny how quick those things happen sometimes. You just feel it between some people. Right when you meet them and look into their eyes, you just know it. They’d give their life for you. He would give his for Candy. He had a feeling she would do the same for him.

In the early morning dark Candy would swing some kind of crazy pendulum above a map and soon they would be on their way. She knew exactly where they were going.

Dick marveled at Candy’s knack for finding parks in small towns. When they entered a new town Candy would know just by the feel of it if there was a good park planted in the town. Then there would be a rest stop and time for a daydream. If there wasn’t a park worth a pause, she’d drive right on through.

Only once did they have to drive through the night. They did a pit stop for convenience and there were leftovers to be had in the small fridge in the back of the Airstream to eat. And they kept going. They drove for almost two days straight and when they got to Carson, Candy somehow knew there was a perfectly planted park for a daydream or two.

Inside the Airstream, Dick felt like he was back at home. He thought he could smell turkey roasting in the oven. He could remember cans of corn, cranberry jelly, and green beans lined up on the counter waiting for a can opener to crank open each one and plop them into an appropriate container or pot. He could almost reach out and poke the fluffy buns tied tightly inside the plastic bag, brown and a little shiny on top from the egg white that was brushed on the dough right before they were popped into the oven. And the baked canned yams with marshmallow topping. It was his creation he learned from the neighbor lady.

The neighbor lady promised that this dish would sing gratefulness to even the most hard-hearted or sour soul. And she was right. No matter who Dick served it to, a smile rolled across their face and they were grateful to know Dick Harding that moment in their lives.

That was what Thanksgiving was all about, planning a beautiful meal to share with those you love showing them how grateful you were to have them in your life.

But life doesn’t always work out that way. Families aren’t always grateful and sometimes you’re just in the way. So Dick made himself and his yam and marshmallow dish scarce and no one ever tried to find out why.

So now Dick could be grateful once again. This time for the girl with the movie star clothes and her performance art, whatever that was. He had to somehow find out what that meant. Dick was patient. He knew the time would be right some day. Today it was grateful yam day.

At one point when Dick still had some cash in his belt, he had a Ford pick-up that he traveled in. He didn’t have a kitchen to cook in so he had to figure out a way to do it while he drove. Once he was listening to a talk show in a bar as he was having a few and a lady swore that she and her husband always cooked while they traveled across the country. It was exactly the way Dick was looking for to make his dish.

First he layered the canned yams into one of the small aluminum containers. Next he sprinkled it with some cinnamon. He didn’t buy sugar. He used the odd sweet stuff Candy had. She called it stevie or something like that. He thought she would appreciate the nod to her taste buds. Then he put chunks of butter on top of that. Finally, he poured the little marshmallows to cover it all up making it look like a summer sky blooming with clouds. He fastened another aluminum tin on top with some paper clips he found in Candy’s junk drawer. Then he looked out to make sure Candy wasn’t watching.

He could see her stretched out on a bench in the middle of the park. He smiled. She was doing what she seemed to love most, daydreaming. He wondered if she was flying.

Dick left the Airstream and quickly moved to the front of the Nova lifting the hood. He snuggly fit the tin near the motor. Once they started back on their travels, the heat would not only make a delicious meal for them, but the car would smell like Thanksgiving. Dick hadn’t been grateful in a while. Today was the start of new wave of gratefulness. He could just feel it.

The sun was warm on Candy’s face. It was the beginning of November in the southwest. Days were deliciously warm and nights were a time to snuggle yourself under fluffy warm blankets with the window cracked open just so you could hear the coyotes or at least the dry leaves dancing down the street. And the crisp cold night brushing across your face. He would be there next to her, not touching her, but present, safe and sure.

She stared straight up into the amazing blue sky. It reminded her of the blue of his eyes when her wore her favorite navy blue sweater. Every time he mentioned flying…Candy was flying.

She didn’t know if it was the memory of him or the stories they would make up together about flying without a plane, or even without wings. Jumping off the edge of the Grand Canyon and twirling through the valleys. Or stepping off a high snowy peak and free falling into a glide through the Rocky Mountains. Once they even told the story of being inside a hot bubbly volcano and in the eruption burst into the sky like fiery phoenixes rising from the burn.

When she really felt it, wanted it, and the place was just right – a bench in a perfect park under a warm late afternoon sun – she could feel as though she was rising into the air and she could fly.

Candy felt something grab her ankles and she tumbled back to earth.

“Hey, watcha ya doin’ there, girlie?”

Within seconds Candy was on her feet. He didn’t have a chance.




Author’s Note:

National Novel Writing Month started a few days ago. I won two years in a row but couldn’t do it last year because of my work schedule.

This year I started a day late. And I have a different kind of plan.

I am going to write from a prompt each day. I have nothing in mind. I’m going to be brave and just post my work.

I’ll see what happens. Day 1 and 2 are two different stories. However, today’s prompt led me to connect it to yesterday’s story.

Quite a challenge. I’ll see how long I can keep going.

Here’s today’s prompt from Bonnie Newbauer’s website Story Spinner:

in a daydream

Whenever he mentions flying…


Here are links to my past NaNoWriMo 2104 daily entries:

November 3: Airstream
ovember 2: Tea and Rosemary