Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

  Around Town

Multistoried Pueblo villages.

Multi-storied villages were scattered throughout the area.

Native events in August

—Margaret M. Nava, Signpost

August is an active month for Native events in New Mexico. In Gallup, indigenous peoples gather to share the best of their creative talents; in Santa Fe, visitors from around the world converge on the Plaza to shop for Native artwork; and throughout the state, Pueblo members look back on a time that significantly changed their lives.

When Spaniards first set foot on what would later be called New Mexican soil in 1540, there were at least eighty multi-storied villages or pueblos scattered throughout the area. The people who lived in these villages tended corn, bean, and squash gardens; exchanged stories about their origin; and performed ceremonies to honor their spirits and gods. Intent on colonizing the territory and converting its indigenous population to their religion, the Spaniards took advantage of all available resources. Land was claimed, crops were taken as tax, churches were built with forced Indian labor, and ancient beliefs and traditions were suppressed or forbidden. Any defiance on the part of the natives was met with swift, often brutal, punishment.

During the years Spanish colonists occupied Pueblo land, they introduced new crops, horses and sheep, tools made of iron, and a new religion that both fascinated and confused the Puebloans. Fearing death or retribution, many natives embraced the white man’s religion—others did not. The cruciform churches they were forced to build were named in honor of Spanish patron saints, each chosen as a means of replacing a Pueblo deity, because it was the patron of the village priest, or because its feast day was close to some other significant date.

Great celebrations were held to pay respect to the saints. Following an early morning Mass, a statue of the saint was carried to the village plaza and placed in a shrine. Throughout the day, drums were beat, hymns were sung, spirited dances were performed, and guns were shot into the air. At some pueblos, bulls or horses were ridden through the plaza to reenact historic events. Hot pou (oven bread); panocha (a sprouted wheat pudding); and freshly picked corn, beans, and squash were served. Feast day celebrations were as much social as they were spiritual. They were a merging of old and new.

In 1675, forty-seven medicine men were arrested for sorcery. Four were hung in the plazas of their respective pueblos; others, including one named Popé, received public floggings and harsh prison terms. Aware that individual villages were not powerful enough to overcome the oppressors, Popé pulled all the Pueblo people together and executed a series of surprise attacks that killed hundreds of Spanish men, women, and children. The date of the initial encounter was August 10, 1680.

In the days following, churches were burned, priests were killed, and the surviving Spaniards were driven from the territory. Twelve years later, they returned. By the end of 1692, twenty-three of the original eighty pueblos had submitted to Spanish rule—the rest were abandoned or in ruins. Today, there are only nineteen.

Although the anniversary of the Pueblo Revolt is not officially observed, most Pueblos still celebrate their patron saint feast day. In Sandoval County, Jemez Pueblo celebrates La Nuestra Señora de los Angeles Feast Day on August 2; the Santo Domingo Feast Day is on August 4; Cochiti Pueblo honors San Lorenzo on August 10; and Our Lady of Assumption Feast Day is held at Zia Pueblo on August 15. Elsewhere in the state, Zuni, Picuris, Acoma, Laguna, Santa Clara, and Isleta Pueblos also celebrate Feast Days in August. As in centuries past, dances are performed, songs are offered, stories are exchanged, and food is served. Although these sacred events are open to the public, visitors should remain silent during the dances; not enter a private home unless invited; observe all Off Limits signs; not scale walls or climb on top of buildings; and not photograph, sketch, or record any of the ceremonies.

Another important Native event takes place August 12 through 16 as tribes from around the United States, Canada, and Mexico gather to share their creative and performing talents at the annual Intertribal Indian Ceremonial. Set amidst the spectacular red cliffs and canyons of Red Rock Park in Gallup, the festivities at this event include ceremonial dances; a powwow; a world-class juried art show; Indian jewelry and crafts demonstrations and sales; rodeos; and enough fry bread, roasted corn, and Indian tacos to satisfy the hungriest gourmand.

 And, in Santa Fe, gifted artists display and sell handcrafted, traditional, and contemporary arts at the world’s largest Native American arts show on the weekend of August 21 through 23. Sponsored by the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), the Santa Fe Indian Market® takes over the city’s historic plaza and many of the adjoining streets. All artists provide proof of enrollment in a federally recognized tribe and certify that their work meets strict quality and authentic material standards. Started in 1922, this event attracts more than twelve hundred artists from one hundred tribes and as many as one hundred thousand visitors. Aside from the six hundred booths, there are award ceremonies, an auction, a Native American clothing contest, live entertainment, and a variety of Native American food booths.

For a complete list of Native events and celebrations, contact the New Mexico Tourism Department at (505) 827-7400 or log on to www.newmexico.org/native_america.


Matachines

Fiestas de San Lorenzo

The Town of Bernalillo has expanded the traditional religious celebration of the Fiestas de San Lorenzo. The Town will feature new and exciting fiesta entertainment, plus food and fun for all ages.

San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence) is Bernalillo’s patron saint and this commemoration is one of the town’s oldest celebrations dating back over three hundred years. In a religious dance-drama, Los Matachines progress through the Town of Bernalillo in prayer, procession, and reenactment of history dating to the 1600s. The danzantes (dancers) span several generations, as elders pass on their heritage and traditions to their descendents.

The town-sponsored activities will be held at Rotary Park (100 Rotary Park Road), beginning Saturday, August 8 and running through Monday, August 10. Call the Community Development office at (505) 771-7114 for a detailed schedule.

Entertainment Schedule

Saturday, August 8

4:00—5:50 p.m. Westwind
6:00—6:50 p.m. Mariachi Bernalillo
7:00—8:50 p.m. Brian Olivas
9:00—11:00 p.m. Fuerza Chicano

Sunday, August 9

1:00—2:50 p.m. Grupo Herencia
3:00—3:50 p.m. Ariel Macias
4:00 – 5:50 p.m. Los Garapatas
6:00—6.50 p.m. Maiya Dominguez
7:00—8:50 p.m. Juntos Unidos
9:00—11:00 p.m. Chicano Grove

Monday, August 10

4:00—5:50 p.m. Jenna
6:00—6:50 p.m. Red Wine
7:00—8:50 p.m. Tierra Mala


Tomato Fiesta

Master Gardeners to host Tomato Fiesta

If you love homegrown tomatoes, don’t miss the 2009 Albuquerque Tomato Fiesta on August 23 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Albuquerque Garden Center at 10120 Lomas Boulevard NE (near Eubank Boulevard) in Albuquerque.

Taste dozens of local Master Gardener-grown heirloom and rare tomato varieties and sample delicious tomato dishes. Cooking demonstrations will feature great home-cooked delicacies with tomatoes as a featured ingredient.

Informational talks about tomatoes will take place throughout the day and fresh produce (including tomatoes, of course!) will be for sale at the farmer’s market and the Garden and Crafts Fair will feature a wide variety of plants, crafts, and other items. Tours of the Albuquerque Garden Center’s display gardens will be led by Master Gardeners, who will also be available to answer any and all gardening questions. Live music will be provided by the Alpha Blue Trio, and kids can participate in fun and free activities at the Kids’ Corner.

Admission is $5 for adults. For kids twelve and under, admission is free. The Tomato Fiesta is sponsored by Montaño Acura, High Country Gardens, Jericho Nursery, Big-I 107.0, Classic Country 104.7, Progressive Talk AM-1350, and Advanced Presentation Systems. For information, call the Albuquerque Area Extension Master Gardeners hotline at 292-7144 or visit abqmastergardeners.org.

FACT: The scientific term for the common tomato is lycopersicon lycopersicum, which mean "wolf peach." It is a cousin of the eggplant, red pepper, ground cherry, potato, and the highly toxic belladonna, also known as the nightshade or solanaccae. There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes.


Placitas Library construction underway

It‘s official—the Placitas Community Library building is now underway. Together we will watch as the pipes are put in place, the structure ascends, and a dream comes true for the people of Placitas.

As the building goes up, we are not sitting still. On August 6 from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m., join us for a celebration of our Summer Reading program with a storyteller and prizes. Additionally, our two book clubs are going strong, with Book Group II still open for new members. Book Group II will meet on Tuesday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m. and will be discussing Matachini’s Dance.

For information on children’s programming, book clubs, and all services offered by the library, please stop by our current location at 1 Tierra Madre. We are open Tuesdays 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Thursdays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For all of you veggie lovers, vegetable sales will be back soon on Wednesday afternoons. Our board member, Nancy Kellum Rose and her husband, Scott Deull will be providing the bounty, so please stop by and pick up a few of our local products.


Casa Rosa Food Bank celebrates first anniversary

—Charlotte Lough, Chair Casa Rosa Food Bank

On Saturday, August 29 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Casa Rosa Food Bank will celebrate its first anniversary. The celebration will include food, music, and presentations of volunteer service awards. The event will be held at the Casa Rosa Food Bank (the pink house east of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church). All those who utilize Casa Rosa or volunteer for Casa Rosa are invited to participate in the celebration and fun. If you are interested in learning more about Casa Rosa, you are invited to come by and take a tour of “the pink house.”

The Food Bank, an outreach of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, has grown steadily since its inception in August 2008. On the first Saturday morning, eight families were served. Currently, Casa Rosa is serving over eighty-five families in the Placitas area. This includes 135 adults and 95 children. We welcome all residents of Placitas who qualify based on need.

For the first few months, Casa Rosa depended solely on congregation and community donations; then it was approved to order low-cost food items from Roadrunner Food Bank, which has been a tremendous help. After an additional five months, Casa Rosa was reviewed and approved in April to order federally-subsidized commodities from Roadrunner as available. In April, Casa Rosa also established a working board, which created policies and procedures, a vision statement and mission, day-to-day operating procedures, a volunteer handbook, and a brochure for distribution.

Casa Rosa has grown steadily, but even with the advantages of low-cost food and commodities, the food bank still must depend on community and congregation donations for items that can seldom be acquired from Roadrunner. Some of the items that are rarely available are peanut butter, jelly, canned fruit and staples such as flour, sugar, pancake mix, and cooking oil. Personal hygiene items such as toilet tissue, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and shampoo are also rarely available.

Another service that Casa Rosa has offered is scheduling Mobile Food Pantries every few months in addition to the regular Saturday morning food bank. These are held in the Fellowship Hall of Las Placitas Presbyterian Church. All those from Sandoval County who qualify are invited to participate. Roadrunner Food Bank provides this service and sends a truck with 2,500 pounds of food for $100. The goods delivered may include canned meats, cereals, crackers, breads, fresh produce, and bottled water.

The three Mobile Food Pantries that Casa Rosa has held—in February, May, and July—have been sponsored by individuals in the Placitas community. The next Food Pantry will be held in late September. If you are interested in sponsoring this September event or one in the future, please contact Charlotte Lough at 867-4878 or Cory, Administrative Assistant at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church, at 867-5718.

Volunteers are a large part of Casa Rosa’s effort. If you are looking for a very worthwhile and rewarding outlet, multiple opportunities are available. Saturday morning at the weekly Casa Rosa Food Bank is busy and fun. Friday morning, the tasks of assisting with off-loading, shelving, and sub-dividing larger bags of the delivered goods offer opportunities for multiple volunteers. Others help by picking up donated goods from local businesses or soliciting goods from businesses with whom we are not already partnered.

Last, but certainly not least, if you would like to make a monetary donation to Casa Rosa, simply make the check out to Las Placitas Presbyterian Church and write Casa Rosa in the memo line. We utilize the donations to Casa Rosa for Roadrunner low-cost food or other supplies like extra shelving to keep Casa Rosa running smoothly as we continue to serve our beautiful Village of Placitas.


Buckhorn Tavern hamburger

New Mexico restaurant owner wins TV cook-off with Bobby Flay

Bobby Olguin, owner of the Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio, New Mexico, was not the only person surprised when Food Network star Bobby Flay showed up at his restaurant on May 14. New Mexico State University chile specialist Stephanie Walker was, too.

Chef Bobby Flay’s show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” pits the star against different regional chefs. In each episode, the cook thinks Food Network is shooting his or her profile for a show. What they don’t know is that Flay is going to drop in for a surprise visit and challenge them to an unexpected cook-off.

Producers of the cable show asked Walker to attend a green chile festival at Bosque del Apache to be interviewed as an expert regarding the vegetable being celebrated. When she arrived, she found herself in the role of judge for the burger cook-off between Flay and Olguin for the best green chile cheeseburger.

“Al Lucero—owner of Maria’s Restaurant in Santa Fe and a recipient of the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences’ Hotel, Tourist, and Restaurant Management Award this year—and I were hidden away and told we’d be judges for the contest,” she said of the unexpected challenge. “It was a real surprise to be in this role on the national television program.”

The Owl Café, located a short distance from the Buckhorn Tavern, was the first to put San Antonio on the culinary map with what was to become a world-famous green chile cheeseburger. The Buckhorn earned its own accolades in recent years, having become rated as the Number Seven burger in America by Gentlemen’s Quarterly in 2005 and the Number Three “Baddest Burger in the Land” on the Marlboro.com Nightlife Flavor Roundup earlier this year.

The show aired Wednesday, July 22 and Olguin’s burger came out on top. One of the secrets to a good burger, Olguin said, is to re-cook the green chile on the grill to bring out more flavor.


Dinner

“The talk of the table at the July dinner was Lescombes’ Petit Verdot, a robust red paired with buffalo rib-eye carpaccio that was itself an eye-opening sensation.”

Drinking life to the lees: Spotlight on local wines

—Keiko Ohnuma

Wine is now produced in all fifty of the United States—and you can bet that a majority of them promote their product as equal to California’s. New Mexico is not among the few states that are widely recognized as the next challengers: Washington, Oregon, New York, and (sob!) Texas. But this is primarily a handicap of scale, according to the state’s largest winemaker.

Regularly among the gold-prize winners at the New Mexico State Fair, Southwest Wines—the parent company for eight different wine labels—brought home impressive national honors this year at the world’s largest competition of American wines. Out of 4,675 entries from twenty-six states, a New Mexico wine tied with a California wine for the prestigious Sweepstakes Award for Best Red: D.H. Lescombes’ 2007 Cabernet Franc.

In all, Southwest Wines won seventeen awards at the show, including two golds and three silvers for its St. Clair and D.H. Lescombes labels. At the end of the day, top honors went to just three states: California, New York, and New Mexico. (Take that, Texas!)

Surprised?

“New Mexico wines do win awards—you just don’t hear about it,” said Kevin Jakel, who introduced the wines at a dinner last month at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya to showcase St. Clair Winery (as Southwest Wines is more commonly known).

The wines served at the dinner proved his point: a white, two reds, and a port, paired with four courses prepared by Chef Bruno Gras of the resort’s Corn Maiden Restaurant. Pairing wines with food truly sets off their unique characteristics, but New Mexicans have few opportunities to taste wine in this context, said Tamaya Resort representative Jena Marquez. The Corn Maiden is hosting monthly wine dinners this summer to showcase award-winning New Mexico wines; Casa Rondeña was featured in June, and Gruet Winery will be poured on August 18.

The talk of the table at the July dinner was Lescombes’ Petit Verdot, a robust red paired with buffalo rib-eye carpaccio that was itself an eye-opening sensation. Jakel explained that the Petit Verdot grape is usually added to blended wines in very small proportions, for character. Perhaps because of favorable growing conditions in southern New Mexico, where the winery’s vineyards are located, or its French winemaking techniques, this Petit Verdot was both hugely flavorful and versatile, not a bit tannic—and a Silver Medal winner in San Francisco.

Another pleasing pairing was the Lescombes 2007 Fume Blanc, somewhat tart on its own but perfectly balanced against the sweet mango ginger glaze and peach relish on a meaty seared scallop.

Next up, the Petite Sirah served with an entrée of stuffed quail and mushroom risotto suffered only in comparison with the exclamatory red preceding. And the finish, an intriguing dessert of nougat glacee, came with a port that was not at all cloying, like the tawny ports I am used to. Wine lovers would undoubtedly have been surprised by what they tasted at the dinner—bearing in mind that these Gold Label bottles, in the $40 range, are a rare treat for most of us.

The D.H. Lescombes label is found primarily at wine specialty stores, and represents varietal wines made in the French style. They are named for winery president Hervé Lescombes, a fifth-generation winemaker from the Bourgogne region. In the early 1980s, Lescombe, acting on the growing prominence of California wines, decided to move his operation across the Atlantic. Parting from the crowd for reasons of cost and temperament, he chose Lordsburg, New Mexico, near the Mexican border, for its sandy soils, ideal 4,500-foot elevation, and hot days paired with cool nights.

Today the winery west of Deming includes nearly two hundred acres planted with thirty-two varietals, from the popular Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel, to lesser known varietals such as Petit Verdot and Mourvèdre. Along with its four main labels—Blue Teal, St. Clair, St. Felipe, and D.H. Lescombes—Southwest Wines makes novelty wines such as Plum Loco and Wine-a-Rita and operates popular bistros in Las Cruces and Albuquerque’s Old Town.

Southern New Mexico has been growing grape vines, as most people know, for over four hundred years, but viticulture suffered numerous setbacks through the 1800s because of Pueblo revolts, flooding on the Rio Grande, and Prohibition. It is only since 1920 that efforts have been made to revive the industry, with agricultural assistance from New Mexico State University. Another boost came in the early 1980s, when European investors started snapping up cheap vineyard land around Las Cruces.

New Mexico now boasts thirty-eight wineries, including a familiar name that surprises many first-time visitors: Gruet Winery, a well-established maker of sparkling wines right off I-25 in Albuquerque. Gilbert Gruet was among the European winemakers who decided to try their hand at transplanting Old World techniques to New Mexico, planting his vineyards near Truth or Consequences in the early 1980s.

His son Laurent began making sparkling wines according to traditional methods in the late 1980s. Wines produced outside the Champagne region of France cannot legally be labeled champagne, but that is precisely what Gruet is known for across America. Reasonably priced and authentic, Gruet sparkling wines have earned praise from food and wine publications for decades.

A special selection from their eight sparkling wines, two Chardonnays, and two Pinot Noirs will be offered at the next Corn Maiden Wine Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya on August 18. The four-course meal and wine pairing costs $65. For reservations, call (505) 771-6037.

 

     

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