New Mexico At 100: Centennial Fare
Two Santa Fe chefs get into the statehood spirit.
Photography: Douglas Merriam
Centennial festivities commemorating New Mexico’s 100 years of statehood are taking place throughout 2012, including a 14-day Pony Express ride from Hobbs to Santa Fe with actual mail and a commemorative cattle drive from Lea to Eddy counties with 100 head of longhorn cattle. But what better way to celebrate a birthday than with food? Because Santa Fe is the state’s capital, we figured we’d ask two of the town’s leading restaurateurs about their favorite foods, getaways, and memories in the Land of Enchantment.
Joseph Wrede of The Palace Restaurant & Saloon
It was in Taos that Joseph Wrede got famous, as chef-owner of Joseph’s Table, at one time considered the best restaurant in all of New Mexico. Wrede — who was schooled at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York — moved to Santa Fe in 2011 to take over as chef-partner at The Palace Restaurant & Saloon, a legendary historic restaurant known for its 1850s Western décor featuring Victorian red-velvet flocked wallpaper, wainscoting, chandeliers, and striped brocade seating. Besides restoring The Palace to its original grandeur, Wrede is serving up world-influenced New Mexico fare, like a bolete mushroom soup and stacked green chile enchiladas.
Your cuisine: Milan-style cuisine with northern New Mexico overtones.
Five most-used ingredients: Onions, garlic, celery, carrots, and thyme.
Most popular dish: Lamb tagine.
VIP diners: Artist Tony Abeyta, Wes Studi, and Shirley MacLaine.
What you love most about New Mexico: The open-mindedness of the people, the climate, and the age integration — you can have friends older and younger.
Most enchanted spot in the Land of Enchantment: The top of the Divisadero Trail in Taos. That’s a spiritual spot.
Perfect New Mexico getaway: Taos — it either hits you or doesn’t. It’s a subtle little piece of medicine for those who are longing. Alcohol, sex, and drugs can do it too, but Taos is a special place.
Favorite New Mexico memory: The day my kid was born on my birthday and I had to drive down the canyon out of Taos, get to the airport, and get out to L.A. for a benefit — May 17, 2001.
Favorite season in Santa Fe: Fall.
Favorite Santa Fe event: The Christmas Eve Farolito Walk on Canyon Road.
Favorite Santa Fe restaurant besides your own: 315 Restaurant & Wine Bar — great chef.
What makes you happiest about Santa Fe life: Knowing that other people are trying to make a living from artistic endeavors.