Food Poisoning & Road Trip to Taos, New Mexico

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I don’t have much patience as a Chef especially when it comes to food poisoning. Getting it in this country really upsets me because there simply isn’t a good reason for it even though it happens often.

I was really looking forward to a “girls” road trip recently.  I have had very few vacations in the past 10 years and I was feeling “fooded out” and needed a break from cooking.

Both Taos and Santa Fe are great culinary towns and I love green chili!  Jocelyne, my culinary partner for 2chefsandawineguy was one of the girls going on the trip.

Jocelyne has never been to Taos or Santa Fe and I was looking forward to showing her around.  We had scheduled a day trip to Ojo Caliente to spend at the spa.  There are several mineral pools, an outdoor mud pool, and numerous spa services and I was feeling tired and more than a little “beat-up” from working so hard this past year.

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Mel, one of my creative antique dealer friends was going along as well.  Mel is a Master Gardener, great cook, and road trip junkie.  She loves to get in the car and drive to far-flung places on a moments notice.

I started out on this road trip feeling sick and stayed that way for 4 out or the 5 days we were gone. Total bummer.  However, Mel and Jocelyne had a great time! They went shopping, gallery hopping, and spent time wandering the street of Santa Fe discovering a fabulous chocolate shop, buying trinkets for family and friends, and shooting photos of the architecture, shop windows, and silly photos of each other.

They ate Avocado Risotto with Calabasita, Chili Relleno’s , Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes, Bowls of Hot and Spicy New Mexico Green Chili, Indian Fry Bread Tacos, Street Tacos with Lamb, Chicken, and Smokey Shredded Beef and tossed down a few glasses of wine!

I became great friends with the bathroom in our time-share, and ate a lot of brown rice and decided to try improve my situation by eating banana’s and a slice’s of cheese.  It seems no matter where I travel I end up having food related issues. Just ask my husband Claude about our trip to Egypt!

On the fourth day we went to a winery in Albuquerque, NM called Gruet Winery.  This is a fabulous winery that makes both still and sparkling wines.  The three of each picked a different flight of wines to try so we could taste through their entire portfolio.

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I have to say, Kendra (our tasting room Sommelier) was one of the best tasting room staff I have had the pleasure of meeting.  She is young, has studied wine overseas, and makes wine super fun and approachable.  She made us feel right at home and had lots of interesting tales about the winery, production techniques and nuances of each wine.

After spending a couple of hours at Gruet, Mel joined the Gruet Wine Club.  Jocelyne bought several bottles of wine, cheese and crackers.  I purchased the 2013 Pinot Noir, the Savauge, and a few other wines that do not come into Colorado for the Wine Guy to try. I am looking forward to tasting these with him and finding out his thoughts about them.

On our way home we stopped by one of our wine students who owns a winery called Vivac in Dixon, NM.  Jesse & Chris Padberg (2 brothers) are the wine makers. Jesse took classes at our wine school several years ago and I wanted to catch up with these guys and see what they were producing.  They each have very interesting wives.  One is a sommelier/artist and one is a pastry chef/chocolatier .

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Jocelyne and I shared a Chocolate Chili Truffle that Chris’s wife had just made that  made me want to eat a dozen. (can you tell I am feeling better?).  Mel, Jocelyne and I tried several wines out of their portfolio and came out of the winery with half a case of new vintages to snuggle down with on a cool fall night.

One of the more interesting things I found out while we were at Vivac Winery is that Jesse’s son, Denim, who is 9 years old has written his third book (all published)!!! I was amazed because this book is on Quantum Physics.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that Amazon carries this little gem!!!

Denim was preparing for a book signing party and I regretfully am not going to be able to attend.  So, the minute I got home I ordered his new book, “How Relative is Relativity”.  It is being shipped as we speak.

I have lots of regrets about this trip.  Being sick, not getting to eat much, and missing out on the shopping and exploring.  However, the trip did feed my soul.  I loved the scenery on this road trip.  The leaves were turning, the desert is beautiful with all the flowering plants and the weather was perfect with 30-40 degree temperature swings between night and day.

I had a lot of laughs with my girlfriends and came back fired  up to try some new native american and new mexican recipes. I would like to work more with some red chilies,pinon nuts and the wines we purchased from Gruet and Vivac.

I would like to go back to New Mexico and do a serious road trip to meet the farmers and artisans of that region who are making cheese and pantry items.  I also want to spend more time exploring the grape growing areas.  So there is still lots to look forward to. I’d like to make Navajo bread in an outdoor oven. I met an Indian woman who has been doing it for years for her family on this trip.  She was very interesting and had lots of stories about how to make the bread and tending the oven.  All I need is a Horno Oven in the backyard and be willing to spend a day preparing the fire, making the dough and cooking it. It would be “zen-full”.

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