#32 | The Worm Moon, Tuna Sandwiches, and Occasions
Yesterday was the worm moon, as the full moon of March is known. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this last full moon of winter gets its name either from earthworms coming to life in the warming soils or beetle larvae doing the same in the bark of trees. Point being: it’s a harbinger of spring, and planting season, and good things to come out of gardens. Which may or may not be why, when we found ourselves contemplating its light winking through the clouds, our mind turned to earthly matters. Not war, but dirt.
Dirt in New Mexico, as you know if you read Susan DeFreitas’s love letter to soil in edible New Mexico’s Landscape issue—or have ever tried to grow vegetables in the high-desert ground—is not always the most luscious and lively. So we’re excited about the new Middle Rio Grande Community Soil Health Lab, opening March 26 at the Agri-Nature Center in Los Ranchos, across from Los Poblanos. The grand opening will begin with a soil blessing from South Valley farmer and seed saver Lorenzo Candelaria; there will be food, dancing, and learning, and the lab will from then on be open to the public for soil, water, and compost testing, along with monthly grower workshops. Maybe this will finally help us get the right calibration of calcium in our tomato beds!
Other cool events on our planting calendar for March: On March 22, Home Grown New Mexico is hosting a Seed Exchange at the Railyard Park in Santa Fe, and on March 26, Food is free Albuquerque is hosting a Seed Share at the Wheels Museum at Albuquerque’s Rail Yards. Browse seeds, share seeds, meet people who grow things, get advice, and indulge in a little springtime hope.
Looking for The Bite in print? You can pick it up wherever edible New Mexico is found (and a few new places, too). Live out of state or just want to make sure you get every issue? Consider a subscription.
Who would order a tuna sandwich at a café serving such rarified specialties as paprikash and kapustnica, strudel and makos dios? Not us—unless we witnessed a magical-looking sandwich float by on the tray of one of Dolina’s kind servers, and asked after it, and were legitimately shocked to learn that such a visually appealing object could share a name with all the perfectly decent (and, yes, the more than a few frankly quite awful) canned-tuna sandwiches we have been served over the years. And we know that looks can be deceiving, but we ordered it exactly as that other customer had done, which for the record meant subbing whole grain bread for ciabatta, and it was, without exception, the best tuna sandwich we have ever eaten.
Entrances & Exits
Blood Sausage—a self-described “’80s horror restaurant”—opened this week in Albuquerque’s University Heights. As we’ve mentioned before, the couple behind Santa Fe’s still pretty new Liu Liu Liu are also behind this venture.
Downtown Albuquerque’s much-loved Espresso Fino, near Third Street and Gold, has not yet reopened. But down the street, Buds & Beans ABQ has just opened—serving coffee and food during daytime hours while awaiting their license for beer and wine. Among other things, they are promising a future filled with stand-up, drag brunches, and karaoke.
Slate Street Cafe reopened their café at the Albuquerque Museum a couple weeks back—they’re now open till 2:30 pm, Thursdays thru Sundays, which gives us another reason to stop by to check out Indelible Blue, an exhibit on indigo, and Facing the Rising Sun, an exhibit on African American homesteaders in New Mexico.
Those who go to Albuquerque’s Sawmill Market for the chocolate will be sad to learn that Eldora Chocolate’s booth at the market has closed. But their flagship store at 8114 Edith NE remains open—while it might be more out of the way for some, it’s a trip that we recommend.
In Santa Fe, Paddy Rawal of Raaga is now serving fast-casual Indian fare at Zaika, located at CHOMP.
And: DJ Sugar and Scott Blevins, formerly of Arable, opened The Brunch Box Blue this past Thursday, having taken up shop in the stationary food truck at Eldorado’s La Tienda. Thursday thru Sunday, during breakfast and lunch hours, they will be bringing much-needed biscuit sandwiches into the world, along with burritos and breakfast bowls featuring grilled nopalitos or beer-braised beef.
“Baffled by the parameters of poke, I make my way down Water Street from the plaza in Santa Fe in search of Chef Dakota Weiss. Back in 2015, Weiss started a chain of chef-driven poke restaurants in Los Angeles, and has recently returned to New Mexico to helm Coyote Cafe. Luckily, she’s offered to make me a poke bowl and explain a bit about what poke means.” So begins Clarke Condé’s exploration of “The Rise of Poke” for our latest issue, which, in case you missed it, is all about fish.
Fish, of course, is not a vegetable—but as Susan DeFreitas noted in a profile of Khalsa Farms for our sister mag last fall, it is often involved in the growing of veggies! “Khalsa Farms is an organic operation run on an ethos of ecological stewardship, so it relies on fish fertilizer, compost, and compost tea rather than chemical fertilizers—and one of the big projects currently underway at the farm is to further cut the carbon footprint of transporting fertilizer by fertilizing with the nutrient-dense water from their fish ponds.”