#14 | Autumn, Sorghum, and Agua de Tamarindo

Autumn is here and sorghum, that least mentioned of crops, is the star of the show at next weekend’s Rio Grande Community Farm Maize Maze in Albuquerque, which is, in fact, a sorghum maze. Only the oldest among us might remember firsthand that we once made our own sugar and brooms here in New Mexico from this corn-like grass, which is native to Africa and well adapted to droughty soils and early freezes, until cheaper sugar and plastic brooms took over. 

It took a village. “The old mielero [press] was made of vigas and whole pine trees, and the night for the making of sorghum was the occasion for a party for all the neighbors,” an observer in 1938 remarked, describing the process of making sorghum molasses in northern New Mexico. “The people danced all night, and the women made empanaditas and bischotos, and all stayed until dawn when everyone took a share of the sorghum and returned home.”

There won’t be a sorghum press at the maze, but with live music, food trucks, a beer garden, cider pressing, and lots more, it seems a bit of that spirit will be.  

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Delicious Things

Agua de tamarindo is one of our very favorite aguas frescas. We love the marriage of the tart and the sweet, the earthy color, the sediment that collects in the bottom of the glass. The Sombrero at Dry Point Distillers in Las Cruces is the adult beverage version of this refreshing drink: the lime rounds out the sour, and chile salt evokes the chile tamarind candies we used to buy in Mexico. It was a fitting farewell to summer.

Entrances & Exits

Master distiller Caley Shoemaker, formerly of Hangar 1, is bringing her alchemy to the Santa Fe Railyard; Altar Spirits promises to open its doors this fall, which means soon.

Hot pot is a rare find in New Mexico, so we are excited to check out Zu Hot Pot, which recently opened on Juan Tabo in Albuquerque. 

In case you missed it: Ale Republic Brewery is now Rumor Brewing Company. They’re still in the East Mountains. And they still serve pizza (not to be confused with the pizza at Rumor Pizza down on Mountain) and the rumor around the office is that it’s done quite well. 

It has been nearly a year since Meraki Coffee + Market first opened its large garage doors in northeast Albuquerque, but we finally stopped into the airy bakery and café for a Meraki Burger. They share a kitchen with Mykonos Café, which is hardly new, so you don’t have to travel too far if you need to follow up your burger with some baklava.

The Paleta Bar’s newest store in Española is selling green chile paletas. This growing franchise is headquartered in Albuquerque, with stores across the Southwest (and one in Florida).

We are sad to report that Tio David’s Peruvian Flavor has closed. As we shared in August, the restaurant’s namesake, David Guillermo Diaz Marini, passed away in June. He and his cooking, as well as this Nob Hill restaurant, will be widely missed. 

Pop-Ups & Festivals

Tonight! Celebrate twenty-five years of the Downtown Growers’ Market with farm-focused food by Tuerta and superb brews at Gravity Bound Brewing in Albuquerque. 

Today and tomorrow, from 10 am to 5 pm: Vegan tacos and “New Mexican style BBQ” will be served from trucks in the parking lot of the Galisteo Community Center at the 33rd Annual Galisteo Studio Tour.

Costumes are encouraged at the Halloween Bash edition of the Plant Powered Pop Up Market at the ABQ Collective from 6 to 10 pm on Saturday, October 23. There will be lots of food, including Navajo tacos and dessert fry bread from the REZtaurant. 

And while you’re costumed, there’s a free fashion show at noon on October 23 at Albuquerque’s Tiguex Park. Food trucks and live music, a food drive, and a raffle with 100 percent of proceeds going to Casa Q are also part of the festivities.

Santa Fe film historian Jeff Berg is exploring the history of Native representation in film in two upcoming talks at The Guild in Albuquerque. On October 23, featured film clips will draw from the once-entrenched Hollywood practice of casting non-Natives as Natives; part 2, on October 24, will showcase Native actors and actresses playing Native characters. Clips dating from as far back as 1897—when the very first film made in New Mexico was shot at Isleta Pueblo—will be screened. On the menu: popcorn. 

Friday, November 19, Kin at Castañeda in Las Vegas is hosting A Night of Tapas y Flamenco. Eight courses, from membrillo to chocolate. 

Planning to dine out for Thanksgiving? Sassella in Santa Fe is already accepting reservations, and wherever you’re inclined to dine, now is the time to consider making yours.


“Who Does the Dishes on Top Chef?” As Tarpley Hitt astutely observes for Gawker, a crucial feature of dishes is that after you use them, they are dirty. And another crucial feature is that when food is prepared onscreen, the washing of dishes rarely follows (unless you count the strange dishwasher-loading-contest scene in Rachel Getting Married). As for Top Chef, the more interesting sequel to this question might be Where do Top Chef dishwashers end up? 

“There’s a big difference in feeding people who are hungry versus feeding people who are bored.” So tells an insider to Candolin Cook in our Movie Issue, where she dishes on eating—and cooking—behind the scenes of local film production. 

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