Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Weekend Getaway to Silver City, NM


Andrew and I recently took a weekend trip to Silver City in southwestern New Mexico, and it was just the ticket to help me feel refreshed and excited for spring. I wanted a quick trip to relax, spend some time outdoors, escape my spring allergies and really feel like we had gotten away from home. It felt so good to get out of town.

We took the scenic route through the Gila National Forest, which is absolutely stunning. Andrew had never been to Silver City, and I was excited to show him the charming little town.


We arrived late in the afternoon and checked into our room at the Murray Hotel, a recently renovated Art Deco hotel from the 1930s. It is still a little rough around the edges as the renovations continue, but I appreciated the fact that they didn't wait until everything is absolutely perfect before opening. We had a cute little corner room on the 4th floor, with a yellow and black tiled bathroom and a tiny closet. I had read reviews that the rooms were small, but it was the perfect amount of space for us.

I thought people in Santa Fe eat early, and in hindsight, it makes total sense that people in an even smaller town would eat earlier too, but I learned that 8:00 pm dinner reservations in Silver City means that you are shutting down the place. It also means that you'll be rewarded with extra food from the chef because it is the end of the last night of weekend service. We did a tasting menu at the Curious Kumquat. This place was highly rated, and the food was quite good, but it was also kind of odd and incongruous. They served us a vegetable tisane in red wine glasses (hello boiling hot water!) with our first course and that seemed downright weird. It was also so abrasive that it detracted from the other courses. I think if the chef had left that out, it would have been a much more enjoyable menu all around. The courses were small and rich and the entrees were enormous. We had plenty of leftovers and ended up having our desserts packed up, which was such a nice treat the next day after biking. We also ate dinner at Cafe 1Zero6. The chef posts the menu a few days in advance and we emailed in our order. We were there for an Italian night, but I would have like to have tried his Thai food. The food was very good and obviously made with love but very rich, and without realizing it, the two entrees we ordered had the same rich white sauce. The service was excellent, and we had a lot of fun chatting with our waiter about good spots for biking in the area. Other food highlights in Silver City included hoagie sandwiches from Diane's Deli and gelato from Alotta Gelato. I enjoyed peppermint bon bon with thin mint Girl Scout Cookie chunks. Yum!


The main focus of our trip was biking and trying some new trails. We wanted to ride trail networks since it was our first rides of the season, and it didn't seem wise to start out on a 25-mile trail straight away. Andrew found two nice networks for us to ride. The first is called Little Walnut and it is a short ten minute drive from town. The best part about this network is that it connects to the Great Divide Trail. It is a dream of Andrew's to ride the entire trail someday, and it was so fun to check it out. Also, we saw a javelina, which made my day! The CDT in this section is a dream, a well maintained, gorgeous trail. I was hoping we'd run into some bike packers, but we didn't see anyone on the trail at all. Where is everyone in Silver City on a Sunday afternoon?? After riding, we had a picnic of champagne, ancho rabbit, mole negro cauliflower, creamy mashed potatoes and kumquat cake with white chocolate under the large Ponderosa Pines. So perfect.

We also rode the Fort Bayard Trail System. We started from the Dragonfly Trailhead, which starts out easy and rolling and then drops down to single track near Twin Sisters Creek. The maps for the main loops were easy to follow, but we set off to explore and eventually ended up at Fort Bayard. We had a picnic under the trees, although this time it was granola bars and shot bloks. These are easy trails, but we love getting out and exploring and it's nice to ride side by side talking and scheming.

For maps, directions and tips, we found the folks at the Gila Hike & Bike to be very friendly and helpful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spanish Tapas Dinner Party Menu


 
marinated manchego
fennel and winter citrus salad
tapas meatballs


New Year's Eve 2014 

Spanish Tapas Dinner Menu

Empanadas Two Ways
Chicken, Chorizo and Olives
Roasted Sweet Potato, Caramelized Onion & Smoked Gouda

Marinated Manchego with Roasted Peppers

Patatas Bravas

Tapas Meatballs

Tomato Bread

Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Goat Cheese

Artichoke Olive Tapenade

Spanish Cheeses, Charcuterie and Olives

Fennel and Winter Citrus Salad

Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

Cranberry Shrub Cocktails

Sparkling White Wine

...

This is one of my favorite menus and I think one of the best that I've planned and executed. Recipe notes and links after the jump. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

March 2015 // Burning off the Fog


March was pretty wonderful, especially after the heaviness of February.

The month started with spectacular skiing, pushing my personal limits and one last class with my favorite instructor. We took a fun weekend getaway to Silver City, continued Century training class and started doing our after-work mountain bike rides thanks to the extra daylight in the evenings. March felt like a good turning point to get off the cozy couch, out of the house and on the trails in the fresh air.


The only bummer was my seasonal allergies. Everyone in town seems to be suffering, even my poor puppy...
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