Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Santa Fe Winter Light

It was cold and stormy here in the Bay Area this past weekend, so I did what I could do to counteract the lingering winter weather at least on a small scale: cook posole. Posole, whether you spell it with an 's' or a 'z', or even if you call it hominy stew, is a warming hearty meal, and for me the ultimate comfort food in cold weather.

I decided to make my favorite variation, posole rojo made with red New Mexico chiles, hominy, and pork shoulder. Not to overly pat myself on the back, but I really nailed it this time and eating it made my mind drift back to winter in Santa Fe, crackling fires, icy clear air, the smell of corn, chiles and desert piƱon. Like I said, it was good posole.

Chile ristras: decorative and delicious

We hit Santa Fe in early December, which turned out to be an excellent time to go. It's cold enough that visitors drop off steeply from the warmer months and lodging rates are low, it's too early for ski season, and it was before the popular Christmas and New Year holidays, so even the ever-bustling area around the plaza was calm. If you can stand a little cold, this is a great time to see Santa Fe.

The spicy New Mexican food suits the cold weather (I would also argue that it suits hot weather and everything in between), and a big bowl of posole rojo or green chile stew sets you up perfectly for walks in the cold, and believe me, if you're one of those crazy people that enjoys stunning gorgeous things, you'll want to take walks in the cold as the winter light in Santa Fe is something to behold. The crystalline clarity of the air, the long shadows of winter light cast from the soft-edged adobe buildings, the deep blue sky and hanging chile ristras set against bright patches snow create an effect that you won't find elsewhere. Every morning I would get up at sunrise to take a walk crunching along the icy streets and I would have the town entirely to myself.

Palace Ave. in the early morning

First Presbyterian Church

Cathedral in the morning light

Shadows on the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Alone in the Plaza

A warm glow from the porch light

The New Mexico Museum of Art is a work of art itself

Georgia O'Keeffe has plaque

Morning on Canyon Road

Magpie on Canyon Road


Steve said...

I just don't get hominy and it gets in the way of me loving pozole. I love everything else about pozole.

Andy Murdock said...

It's all about the hominy, so if you aren't a hominy fan that kinda kills it. What's not to like about hominy? It's like a happy marriage of chickpeas and corn.