Danielle Kennedy’s spirit figures blend the commonplace, sacred

dan

Kachinas have been originally used by Native people for religious and ceremonial purposes, but they are also sought after by museums and personal collectors.

Story and pictures originally published in Taos News

They are made to represent spirits of the natural world and can personify animals, plants, and even Nature forces like wind and water. Carved and decorated according to their specific functions, they adopt a myriad of shapes and forms.

“Mine are all about Mother Nature,” said artist Danielle Lawrence Kennedy, “so their faces are archetypical and don’t have human features. They are Spirit Figures that convey my love of nature and offer a healing connection to the world.”

Art, teaching and teaching art

Kennedy’s lifelong passion for the arts was ignited when she was a teenager.

“I was sixteen years old when I took an art class in High School,” she said. “I knew right away that I had discovered my calling. But even before that, I always enjoyed making clothes, drawing and painting.”

She attended the San Francisco Art Institute in the mid seventies to study painting, sculpting, and photography, among other art forms.

“However, I had heard that it was hard to make a living as an artist,” she said. “Now I know that this isn’t necessarily true, but I believed it at that time. After graduating, I became a Montessori teacher.”

Her classroom became her creative outlet. She designed it in a way that motivated her students—ages three to six years old—to come to school every day.

“The kids would come into the classroom running and smiling,” she said. “And they didn’t want to go home at the end of the day. I taught them music, art, practical skills and, above all, how to enjoy the learning process.”

After ten years of teaching Kennedy felt inspired to create her own pieces again.

“My art started coming through,” she said. “I did a show and people asked me if I was from Taos because they ‘saw Taos’ in my work. I had been here only twice to visit, but didn’t know much about it yet.”

The first kachina

The first time Kennedy saw a kachina was in Santa Fe, in 1993, during what she describes as “an inspiring trip.”

“That piece spoke to me,” she said. “I felt I could create one, not just like it, but my very own. It was an instinctual reaction and I paid attention to it. Afterwards, I went home and made a kachina. When my friends saw my personal piece, they wanted one!”

Kennedy did her first kachina show in 1994 and the enthusiasm from the public was so encouraging that she began to create more.

“I blend the simple and the profound; the commonplace and the sacred,” she said. “My intention is to make them both real and magical at once.”

Kennedy has complete over one thousand kachinas to date.

“I am happy to say that I am an ‘eating artist’!” she said. “Over the years I have also supplemented my income with other small jobs to keep the financial pressure to a minimum. But I do live off my work and this is very satisfying.”
The process
It takes from three weeks to three months for Kennedy to complete a kachina—sometimes longer, if they are big pieces.

“The secret is not to rush,” she said. “You need to allow the piece time to create itself and reveal its own voice, its authenticity. I never try to imitate anybody, just let the feelings come through me. Quieting the mind is fundamental so the intuition can be heard.”

One of the most important parts of her creative process is collecting the materials. Kennedy uses antique tapestries, silk, bones, gems, and turtle shells, among other objects.

She finds her inspiration in nature, color, form, texture, and solitude.

“My little Papillon mix, Gracie, is always around me, but she doesn’t interfere with my work,” she said. “Gracie is the perfect companion for an artist!”

Create your own piece

Kachinas can be custom-made to reflect a particular life event.

“They are used to honor major life transitions, from birth to marriage to graduating on any level,” Kennedy said. “My custom pieces range from sixteen inches to four feet tall.”

Wearable art: responding to a need

She is also inspired by the response she gets from the public, which often fires up her creative juices.

“My wearable collection began with my personal wardrobe,” she said. “I had designed a simple poncho from a beautiful batik fabric and I wore it to my art openings and book signings. When women started asking me where they could get them, I began making them for the public.”

Today she sells her wearable art at the Fechin House gift shop and at her studio. They are “one size fits most.”

The author

Kennedy has authored Wisdom Warriors, a book about her life and work that was published in 2007.

“It is about my journey in search of wisdom and inner peace,” she said. “The book includes thirty-eight color photos of my kachinas accompanied by simple words of wisdom…My goal when I wrote it was to inspire others and motivate their creativity.”

Danielle’s advice to young artists:

Do what you love—and keep doing it.

If other people don’t get what you are doing… ignore them!

Feel free to change, try new techniques, and explore.

To find out more about Kennedy and her work visit her website: www.espiritartgallery.com or call 575-751-0164.

Studio visits welcome by appointment.
Danielle Slide Show

 

 

 

Posted in Business story, Taos News | Tagged , ,

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY US LATIN@PLAYS WRITTEN IN SPANISH

Image result for latino plays theater images

We are inviting previously unpublished contributions for an anthology of Contemporary US Latin@ Plays written in Spanish. This volume seeks to fill the gaps in published resources about US Latin@ plays written and performed in Spanish. US Latin@ theatre in English has received considerable publications in the past decades and is now part of the academic and performance archive. Yet, US theatre written in Spanish remains undervalued despite the fact that there is a large and vibrant corpus of work being produced across the country. Given the lack of published dramatic works in Spanish, the scope of investigations thus far has been limited, as well.

 

This volume intends to continue the dialogue about these writers and launch US Latin@ dramatic literature written in Spanish into the larger conversation of Latin American and US Latin@ literature and cultural studies. We invite plays that have been written in Spanish by Latin@ authors who are writing/working in the U.S.

 

Please send plays, a 1 page synopsis of your play including production history, as well as a brief biographical note and contact information (cell/phone, email, and mailing address), by December 1, 2016 to the editors. Final acceptance is pending approval based on manuscript submission.

 

  • Trevor Boffone, Adjunct Professor of Spanish and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Founding Editor, 50 Playwrights Project; University of Houston, Trevor.Boffone@gmail.com
  • Amrita Das, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of North Carolina   Wilmington, dasa@uncw.edu
  • Kathryn Quinn-Sánchez, Professor of Spanish; Co-editor, Label Me Latina/o; Georgian Court University, ksanchez@georgian.edu
  • Michele Shaul, Professor of Spanish; Co-editor, Label Me Latina/o; Director for Latino Studies; Queens University of Charlotte, shaulm@queens.edu

Please be sure to send contact information, as well as any queries, to all editors.

 

Projected Time Line:

Announcement: August 31, 2016

Play Proposal Submissions due: December 1, 2016

Decision on Proposals: April 1, 2017

Final Play Submissions due: June 1, 2017

Publishing Proposal to Press: June 2017

Trevor Boffone, Ph.D.

Department of Hispanic Studies

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program

University of Houston

www.trevor.boffone.com

Founding Editor: 50 Playwrights Project 

Editorial Board Champion: Café Onda

Find out more about  50 Playwrights Project here 

 

Posted in arts and entertainment | Tagged , ,

The gift of beauty

Nabis Naturals

“If you want to make your family and friends happy this holiday, give them the gift of beauty,” says Montserrat Oyanedel.

Originally published in Taos News

Oyanedel is the creator, with Kristel McKanna, of the first Taos hemp-based skincare company, Nabis Naturals. The two Chilean natives first developed a moisturizing serum and have just added a day cream and a night cream to their line. All the products use hemp seed oil as the main ingredient.

“We chose it because of the many beneficial effects that it has on the skin,” said Oyanedel. “Hemp seed oil reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and fights dryness as well.”

Other active ingredients are hyaluronic acid, Argan oil, vitamins E and B3, and rose hydrosol. The creams and the serum are absorbed fast and can be used under make-up. They are good for all skin types.

Nabis Naturals products are available at Ennui Gallery, Taos Market, KTAOS, Bumps (at Taos Ski Valley) and through the company’s website http://www.nabisnaturals.com.

The Lisset line

Dr. Marshall Reich and his wife Debra Reich are the creators of the Lisset serum and the Lisset moisturizer—both of them are trademarked.

The serum started as a product intended to reduce scarring in wound healing, but later became a powerful moisturizer with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties that only needs to be applied for ten days every month.

The couple operates A Better You, a skin care clinic that offers cosmoceutical procedures like chemical peelings and dermal fillers under Dr. Reich’s direct supervision.

“A good diet, proper hydration and exercise are all very important,” said Debra Reich, “but sometimes you need extra help, particularly in our dry climate.”

Chemical peelings promote cellular renewal and improve the tone and texture of the skin, while also reactivating the production of collagen. They are effective to treat facial blemishes, wrinkles, and uneven skin pigmentation. During a glycolic peeling, a very small scalpel is used to remove dead cells from the face, just before the acid is applied. Facials, on the other hand, are gentler, but equally effective.

“Our moisturizing facials can bring dry skin to life and leave it fresh and glowing,” Reich said. “The best thing about them is that you can see results immediately afterwards. Perfect procedures when you want to look your best for an upcoming holiday party!”

A Better You is located at Suite 67 B Northstar Plaza, Highway 522

http://abetteryounm.com/

Missy’s Organic Skincare and Spa

Missy Jennings, owner of Missy’s Organic Skincare and Spa, has created a cleanser and a moisturizer, both made by a local certified organic lab.

“The cleanser is unique,” she said. “It cleanses, tones, hydrates, exfoliates and acts as an anti aging product, all in one. Even men like to use it because it softens the skin and hair so much that it makes for a smoother shave. The moisturizer reduces the look of lines, wrinkles, dullness, and dehydration. It also offers UV protection.”

She is also developing other products that will be sold early in 2015, like a lip balm and a hydrating body spray.

Jennings specializes in eyebrow design and shapes them according to people’s facial features. She spends at least a half hour on this service and has developed a method to help re-grow brows.

She offers customized facials as well as massages. Two massage therapists just started working with her.

“We also have clothes and jewelry, and a make-up artist available,” Jennings said. “Missy’s is your one-stop beauty and body shop for the holidays.”

For products and services, contact Jennings at the store, Missy’s Organic Skincare and Spa, located at 121 Camino de la Placita.

 

 

 

Posted in Taos News | Tagged , ,

Quality pet food at an affordable price

Nature's Select of New Mexico

When Diane Dau moved from Minneapolis to Taos 9 years ago she immediately thought about starting her own business.

Originally published in Taos News

“But I waited several years because I needed to know the area first,” she said. “The first rule in business is identifying a need so you can fill it.”

She noticed that something was missing in Taos.

“I felt there was a market for natural, quality pet products delivered to people’s home or business,” she said.

Having used that service before, Dau researched different companies for about 6 months until she found Nature’s Select, a California-based company that sells all-natural, holistic food for pets.

She decided to become a distributor and started the business in September 2008.

“I like Nature’s Select because they only use domestic raised and produced whole meats, whole ground brown rice, and natural preservatives,” said Dau. “No corn, wheat, soy, chemical preservatives, dyes or fillers. They also offered the best product at the best price and good support for their distributors.”

Dau’s company delivers twice a week, free of charge, throughout the enchanted circle, as far south as Dixon and as far north as El Rito.

The driver is Ray Romero, who travels with Cinnamon, his small recue dog.

“My customers already know Cinnamon and most dogs love her,” he said.

Romero takes the food inside and places it where his customers want.

“It’s a great help if you can’t lift a thirty-pound bag,” Dau said.

Food and treats

Dau currently sells dry and canned food for cats and dogs, which constitutes the bulk of her business.

“I also have treats, probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, wild salmon oil, beef gravy for arthritis and a natural product for tooth tartar and bad breath,” she said.
Her most popular product is Nature’s Select chicken and rice with glucosamine dry dog food.

“So many dogs are older and there are large breed dogs that have a propensity to get arthritis,” she said. “The glucosamine helps them regain flexibility.”

She also sells Premium Extruded Horse Feed that can also be used for goats.

The business

There are three things that make her business unique, Dau said.

“First, we are the only business in this area that delivers pet products at no charge —we do not have a retail location. Second, we carry nothing that contains corn, wheat or soy, which are common fillers and allergens. And third, we do not sell any products from China or with made-in-China ingredients that are the cause of many of the recalls in pet products.”

Nature’s Selects receives the FDA recall list.

“That means that we can e-mail that information to our customers when we are advised of something of importance,” she said. “When the FDA sent out a warning several years ago concerning the chicken jerky treats made in China, our customers were aware immediately. Other stores in town continued to sell them until they were finally put on the recall list, since the FDA is slow to move.”

The most challenging part of owning a business like this one is projecting what sales will be.

“I order the food every two months to keep the shipping costs as low as possible,” Dau said. “I have to pay for all products before I receive them, so don’t want to order too much, but I want to have enough inventory so I don’t run out. It’s a difficult balance.”

However, she has already built a loyal client base of around 200 customers.

The most rewarding part of her business is dealing with her clients and their pets.

“People who take care of and love their pets tend to be pretty cool people,” she said. “I’m an animal lover and my pets are my family, so I enjoy meeting the animals that benefit from the healthy products we provide.”

Dau feeds feral dogs and gives free and discounted food to rescue groups in the area.

“I also keep my prices low for natural products, so more people can afford to give their pets a healthy diet,” she said.

Educating the customer

Dau started her business in order to make it convenient for people to buy quality pet food at an affordable price.

“I didn’t expect to get rich, just make a decent living, which is what has happened,” she said. “A lot of what I do is educating people on the current state of available pet food. Most people don’t realize that many of the major brands of pet food have been bought up by huge corporations and they care only about their bottom line. The food is full of harmful additives, sugar, chemicals and by-products, as well as ingredients from China that they purchase in bulk. They spend a lot of money on advertisements telling you how great the food is and the average person believes it.”

Purchasing a quality food will cost you the same, or even less, in the long run, she said.

“Since there are no fillers, you feed your pets less, your vet bills are lower and your pet’s quality of life increases,” Dau said. “Isn’t that what we all want?”

To order Nature’s Select pet food from Dau or to find out more about the business, call her at 575-751-7374 or e-mail naturesselectofnm@yahoo.com.

Nature's Select of New Mexico

 

 

Posted in Business story, Taos News | Tagged , ,

Chef Horton: Hot food, cold beer, good wine

Horton cuts

It’s Sunday, around 6 p.m. and all hands are busy at Common Fire. People are filling the restaurant, partly because it’s the Fourth of July weekend, but also because Chef Horton’s creations are quickly gaining recognition among Taos foodies.

Originally published in Taos news

Photos: Katharine Egli

Common Fire Chef de Cuisine Andrew Horton grew up outside Boulder, Colorado. His first encounter with the food business took place in a Mexican restaurant, where he began washing dishes when he was fourteen years old. He later became a line cook, and, wanting to advance professionally, he attended the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan from 2008 to 2009.

After graduation, Horton went on to work at a variety of restaurants in New York City. Among the chefs that he considers the most influential of his career are Dennis Spina at the Roebling Tea Room, Homer Murray at River Styx, and Kevin Adey at the Northeast Kingdom and Faro.

“I love New York but I got tired of living in a small apartment that cost two thousand dollars a month,” Horton said. “I longed to return to nature and be close to the mountains. Two years ago, I came to Taos to visit a friend. Well, I ended up falling in love with a girl, getting a puppy and enjoying the place so much that I decided to stay.”

He worked at the Taos Mesa Brewing, Lambert’s and Sabroso’s. It was at Sabroso’s where he met Common Fire owner Andy Lynch, who invited him to become part of the venture.

“I’m very happy I did because I have never worked with a better culinary team in my entire career,” he said. “I am really excited about what we are bringing to the local community and what the local community is bringing to us.”

So what is Common Fire bringing to Taos’ collective table?

Chef Horton thinks for a while before answering, “Hot food, cold beer, good wine.”

The Chef’s favorites

The restaurant menu changes often, depending on what “Above Sea Level” fish is available in Santa Fe and the fresh local produce.

“Our cheese selection comes from Cheesemongers of Santa Fe and it also varies every week or so,” Horton said.

As for regular dishes, he always tries to have the pork and noodle soup, created just for people who crave a light but satisfying meal.

He also likes to cook large pieces of meat, particularly heritage pork from Kyzer Farms.

If he is invited to a party and asked to bring an appetizer, Chef Horton is quite likely to come up with steak tartare.

“That’s finely chopped raw beef, served on bread with some kind of mayonnaise,” he said. “Easy to make and delicious.”

Every chef has a favorite tool. Horton loves his knives, of course, but when I asked him to name something else, he mentioned a cheese cloth.

“It has many more uses, besides straining cheese,” he explained. “You can make butter with it. You can also use it to wrap up sachets of fresh herbs and spices and put them into soups and stocks. It’s one of the most versatile items in my repertoire.”

Chefs work long hours and don’t have much free time. Horton is no exception, but when he has a chance to watch TV, he tunes in to Chef’s Table.

“It’s a very intimate look into a chef’s life and work,” he said. “Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann is one of the best!”

No smoke and mirrors

Common Fire has an open kitchen with a hearth—and that’s pretty much it.

“We don’t have a sauté station or a deep fryer,” Horton said. “Everything that is cooked here comes out of our hearth. People can see exactly what the chef is doing. No smoke and mirrors—what you see is what you get.”

The hearth itself is reminiscent of an horno, a traditional way of cooking in this area. Chef Horton loves it, and also the fact that his hands are always “close to the flames.”  That goes along well with his cooking philosophy, which is based on simplicity, quality ingredients and seasonality.

“I believe that simple dishes are the best,” he said. “I like rustic cooking and food that looks as if it had fallen from a tree and into a plate.”

Like most chefs, Horton enjoys making people happy with food.

“Everybody has to eat, right?” he said. “But if we can add a bit of excitement to that daily process, that makes a great difference in the way we approach eating. When I see a sparkle in people’s eyes after they finished a dish that I have prepared thoughtfully, that’s as good as it gets for me.”

What patrons are saying

“The food here is excellent and the hospitality is equally impressive,” said Chris Mixson. “A wood burning oven is always great in the hands of a proper chef.”

“And Horton is a wonderful one,” said Gerry Katz. “Everything was delicious, from the broccolini croissant to the wine.”

Common Fire Scallion Ginger Sauce

Ingredients:

2 and ½ cups of thinly sliced scallions

1 ½ cup of finely minced fresh ginger

¼ cup of grapeseed oil or any neutral oil

1 ½ teaspoon of light soy sauce

¾ tablespoon of cherry vinegar

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Whisk everything together.

Chef Horton uses this very versatile rustic vinaigrette in the bo’ssam but it is also a great salad dressing and finishing sauce.

Common Fire's hearth

 

 

Posted in culinary arts, Taos News | Tagged , , ,

A second chance at romance

Where there was fire, ashes remain, an old Spanish saying goes. Sandra “Zandi” Richardson and Runno Sarv proved that rekindling the flame isn’t that difficult, after all.

Originally published by Taos News (Taos Wedding Guide)

Photos courtesy of Zandi Richardson

Richardson and Sarv met at a Christmas party in 1980 in Sydney, Australia.

“When I looked across the room and saw this handsome guy, I asked a friend to introduce him to me,” Richardson said. “But my friend didn’t think we would fit together. He was ‘the capitalist who owned the hotel we were in’ and I was a spirited free-lance filmmaker. I had a red afro and wore hippie clothes while he looked like a businessman, so we did look like an unlikely couple.”

However, they got married a year later at the same place where they had met.

“I then inherited two girls, his daughters, who were 14 and 16,” Richardson said. “Though it was challenging at first, with time and love they became my family too.”

After nearly 10 years, the marriage didn’t work out. Despite some common interests and the fun they had traveling together to places like Bhutan, Thailand, Africa and India, the couple split up in 1991.

Long distance reconnection

Twenty-two years later, they reconnected through a mutual friend. Sarv was still living in Sydney, while Richardson was happily settled in Taos. The first time we got on the phone, after so many years, they talked for three hours.

They carried on an over-the-phone relationship for several months and eventually skyped, too. But personal contact was the next step.

He invited her to visit him again in Australia. She accepted. A couple of months later, they went traveling together again, to Jordan and Ethiopia.

“We both realized that traveling was one thing we had always enjoyed together,” he said.

In 2012 Sarv came over for Christmas and fell in love with Taos. He also found out that he was very much in love with Richardson— again.

The right place to propose

A few months later Sarv invited Richardson to go to India with the intention of proposing to her at The Taj Mahal

“What’s more romantic than asking the woman of your dreams to marry you at The Taj Mahal?” he asked.

However, the day before, in Jaipur, they went into a jewelry shop and he realized that this was a very appropriate place to pop the question.

“When I looked at him, he was on his knee asking, ‘Will you marry me–again?” Richardson recalls with an impish smile. “After I said ‘yes,’ all our fellow travelers began to applaud. It was quite a scene.”

He bought her a traditional Indian engagement ring right there. When they returned to Australia, he had another ring custom-made for her.

“So now I have two engagement rings from him…perfect for the second time around!” she said.

Marriage and maturity

They both agree that it is fun and energizing to be with someone “who is on the same wavelength and who really knows you.”

In the end, they decided that they belonged together. That was why they remarried in Taos on September 22nd, 2013.

“A marriage needs to be based on acceptance,” Sarv said. “Sandi and I are very different persons. She is very spiritual. I am not. We used to debate that a lot. Now she has a personal altar and her prayer flags …and I am happy for her. I don’t try to change her and she doesn’t try to change me.”

“That’s maturity,” Richardson says. “And maturity comes with age. We have learned to accept and appreciate, even love, our differences.”

Of course, they need to have some things in common too.

“For example, it was important for me that he liked Taos,” said Richardson. “And essential that he got along with my five cats.”

“I am a dog person,” he said. “But I enjoy cats too. I am adaptable.”

The best part of round two

“When people are dating, they don’t get to know the real person,” said Sarv. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are pretending to be nicer or smarter, but they are showing only their best face. Living together is the only way to really get to know someone. Well, Sandi and I had already done that so there were no nasty surprises.”

Another plus: living with someone you already know is comfortable, Richardson added.

“It’s like wearing a good pair of slippers…they are so cozy and nice,” she said. “The second time around, there is never that kind of awkwardness that you often experience with the ‘new person’ in your life.”

Love in two continents

Richardson and Sarv look forward to traveling together more. But they don’t plan to spend every minute together. Not yet, at least.

“I wouldn’t like to live full-time in the United States just yet,” he said. “I have my family and my business in Australia. I just can’t drop everything and move here.”

“And I wouldn’t like to live full-time in Sydney,” Richardson said. “I am happy to go back for a while and spend time with his daughters and his ninety-nine year-old mother, who are still very much my family. But I also love my life and friends and home here in Taos.”

That means spending lots of money on plane tickets.

“Our love is worth it,” Sarv said.

Do they have any advice to couples who have found out, like them, that the grass isn’t greener on the other side?

“Practice unconditional love, instead of trying to change the other person,” Richardson said. “Don’t hold onto old grievances. Let them go and accept the other person for whom he or she is. Enjoy the differences and enjoy life.”

 

Posted in Taos News | Tagged , , ,

Cooking with your hands, your mind and your heart at Ranchos Plaza Grill

Adam Medina

Taos-born and raised Adam Medina grew up in a family that loved to cook.

“My father was a chef and had a catering business for many years,” he said. “I often helped him so my culinary training started early.”

Story and pictures originally published in Taos News. Photos: Katharine Egli

Medina was originally interested in medicine and did several internships with Dr. Cetrulo and Dr. Vigil at Holy Cross Hospital while he was in high school.

He started UNM in 1991 and thought of attending pre-med school later on.

“But after three semesters, I found out I wasn’t all that interested in medicine,” he said. “I realized cooking was my calling, so I moved to California to attend Los Angeles Culinary Institute.”

He graduated in 1994 and came back to Taos.

“I wanted to research New Mexican culinary traditions before accepting any long-term jobs elsewhere,” he said.

Medina went to work with his father as a sous chef at the Holiday Inn. As part of his research project on Southwest cooking, he interviewed many community elders like Corina Santistevan.

“I learned so much from them,” he said. “That was a great experience and I still remember and apply their teachings.”

The restaurant

Ever since Medina was a child, his parents talked about opening their own restaurant.

“It was always there as a possibility,” he said. “One day we noticed that the equipment of a restaurant was for sale and decided to give it a try. We bought it and opened the restaurant, which was the Ranchos Plaza Grill, in July 2000.”

Soon, the gallery next to it closed and the Medina family also got that space.

“We tripled the size of the restaurant!” Medina said. “It was a risky move, because, without a beer and wine license, we didn’t have a lot of business at first. There were nights when we served only one or two tables.”

The first two years, he admits, were the most difficult.

“We even put the restaurant up for sale once, because we didn’t know if we would be able to keep it,” he said. “It was tough.”

A family-friendly space

People kept telling them that they needed to apply for a beer and wine license if they wanted to make it in the business. Because of their proximity to the Saint Francis Church, there was a legal process they had to follow in order to get the license.

“We could have gotten it; the priest would have agreed to give us a waiver,” Medina said. “But in the end we preferred to keep it family-friendly. We wanted to be known for the quality of our food, which, in my opinion, is very high. Time proved us right. Fifteen years later, we are doing better than ever and we still don’t have a beer and wine license.”

A Southwestern-style menu

Medina describes the restaurant’s menu as southwestern style focusing on native New Mexican ingredients and cooking methods.

“Our chile, red and green, is the staple that encompasses our cuisine,” he said. “We also have salads, sandwiches, and our famous sopapillas.”

Another popular item is the carne adovada. Traditionally, it is made with marinated cube pork with chile caribe that is cooked in the oven for three or four hours. But Medina slices the pork into medallions, marinates them and grills them.

“It is healthier this way, and tastes much better,” he said.

Keeping up the tradition

Medina’s son, Adam Medina Jr., was just accepted into the Culinary Institute of America.

“He knows firsthand what the life of a chef is like, and he is ready for it,” Medina said. “I always tell him, as well as my students and other people I work with, that as a chef you need your hands, your mind and your heart.”

Medina remembers that when he taught cooking classes he gave everybody the exact same recipe, and the result was different in each case.

“It depends on the energy and the love you put into it,” he said. “That reflects on the food—and the business. When patrons come back because they want exactly what you served them last time, prepared just the same way, then you know you are doing something right.”

He has some words of advice for people who like cooking at home.

“Cook what you like and the way you like to eat it,” he said. “And then enjoy it!”

A busy chef

Besides working at his restaurant, Medina collaborates with the High School Culinary Arts Program and teaches Culinary Business at UNM-Taos.

“I explain to my students what it takes to open a business and dealing with the insurance and all the policies that you have to follow,” he said. “Many times, after the class is over, they realize that they don’t want to open a business after all. This is hard work.”

He credits his wife of twenty-five years, Raelynn Medina, for the success he has experienced in business and in life.

“She is the restaurant manager and also supervises the front of the house, and makes sure the bills are paid on time,” he said. “And then she cooks at home.”

Medina also wants to thank the local patrons who have supported him throughout these fifteen years.

“Without them we wouldn’t be where we are now,” he said.

 

VENISON CHILE

 

2 lbs. venison meat, cut into 1 inch cubes

4 tbsp. flour

4 tbsp. lard

1 large onion

2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

½ cup ground red chile (hot)

2 cups venison or veal stock

¾ tsp. salt

 

Dust venison meat in 2 tablespoon flour and brown all sides in 2 tbsp. lard.  Add onion and garlic and sauté lightly.  Add 2 tablespoon lard, 2 tablespoon flour and chile powder, combine and brown lightly.  Add stock, simmer for 45 minutes, adjust seasonings.

 

 

 

 

SOPAIPILLAS

 

2 cups flour

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking powder

¾ cups water

1 tbsp. oil

 

 

Combine flour, salt, and baking powder.  Add oil and combine well, add water to make a soft dough.  Kneed briefly, rest dough for about 20-30 minutes.

 

Separate dough into 1 – ½ inch balls, roll on floured surface.  Cut into 4 pieces each.

 

Fry in hot oil (350°- 400°) until lightly browned on each side.  Place on paper towel to drain.

 

GREEN CHILE STEW

 

1 lb. diced pork

4 small potatoes, peeled and diced

2 ears roasted corn (preferably white) removed from cob

2 cups green chile – roasted, peeled, and diced

1 cup stewed tomatoes chopped

4-5 cloves of garlic minced

3 cups pork stock

Salt and pepper

 

Brown pork in oil, then add potatoes and cook lightly, add onion and garlic, stir constantly to prevent sticking.  Drain excess fat, add 1-2 tablespoons flour to absorb remaining oil.  Add green chile, corn, tomatoes, and water.  Bring to a boil and simmer 30 minutes.  Season accordingly.

Adam Medina

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