The Twilight Saga: New Moon, teen vampire and werewolf melodrama, rated PG-13, Regal Stadium 14, 1.5 chiles
IOMG, you guys, New Moon is finally here! The sequel to last year’s runaway hit Twilight— and the second in a series of four planned films based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling young-adult books— opened Nov. 20. Fans couldn’t wait for the return of RPattz (Robert Pattinson) and KStew (Kristen Stewart), who play star-crossed lovers Edward Cullen and Bella Swan, in the soggy small town of Forks, Washington. Regal Stadium 14 offered an unprecedented five shows at or around midnight, and several opening-day screenings sold out well in advance.
If you’re one of the “Twi-hards” who bought their tickets weeks before opening day, don’t bother reading any further. Anything I say, any weaknesses I point out in the following paragraphs, won’t matter to you. You’ve already sunk your teeth into New Moon— and probably loved every excruciatingly dull, unintentionally laughable minute of it.
New Moon opens on Bella’s 18th birthday. Her boyfriend, 108-year-old vampire Edward Cullen, and his blood-sucking “family” have planned a celebration for her. They present her with gifts, and everyone’s having a lovely time until Bella gets a cut from some wrapping paper. The blood sends Edward’s brother Jasper ( Jackson Rathbone) into a frenzy. Edward defends Bella, but the incident convinces him that he and his family are dangerous to
Over the years, many historic buildings in the Guadalupe District have been transformed into restaurants, shops, and galleries. Once a school and convent associated with the Santuario de Guadalupe, the building at 416 Agua Fría St. comprises a string of small rooms with the wonky plaster walls and low-slung ceilings characteristic of classic Santa Fe adobes.
Today, the building houses restaurant space operated by Mexico native Fernando Olea, who is renowned for his dedication to his homeland’s traditional cuisines. By day, the northeast wing operates as Bert’s La Taqueria, and by night, the southwest end becomes Epazote, Olea’s new, higher-end affair specializing in “inspired NewWorld cuisine.”
Epazote’s main dining room— an exception to Santa Fe coziness— has a cavernous, cathedral-like quality. The lighting is generally low and warm. Large comfortable chairs and pillowed bancos provide seating. (I was momentarily grossed out by large off-color blotches on some of the pillows. This turned out to be candle wax, but still.) In a restaurant that adheres rather strictly and lovingly to culinary traditions, I was surprised by the overly loud smooth jazz.
Earlier that day, I’d read a New York Times list of “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.” Here’s No. 74, which is more of a “ should do”: “Let the guests know the restaurant is out of something before the guests read the menu and order the missing dish.”
We had been waiting for a while when our server returned with a coworker, who took our order. That’s when we learned that one of the signature appetizers, the taquitos de chapulines (grasshoppers) was not available. I had been especially eager to try them. The dish is seasonal, and November isn’t exactly high time for grasshoppers, but I wish someone had informed us sooner.
Because Epazote’s wine list is limited to three whites and seven reds, I assumed the bottles had been carefully chosen and would all be in stock. Both the white and the red we selected weren’t available, though, and one suggested alternative— the crisp, enjoyable Santa Rita 120 Sauvignon Blanc— wasn’t on the menu at all.
The kitchen teased us with a platter of small flour-tortilla triangles squiggled with delicious mole. Otherwise, no food arrived at our table for nearly an hour. But once the dishes began to arrive, our complaints pretty much ceased.
The Xochimilco, asadero and cuitlacoche (sautéed corn “truffle”) over flour tortillas; hearty charbroiled beef sirloin; tender slow-cooked lamb in banana leaves; pork, fish, and chicken tacos— nearly every plate was lovely, impeccably seasoned, and perfectly cooked. Fights almost broke out over the Coyoacan, a tangy-rich shrimp enchilada. The one exception was the beef tenderloin (Popocateptl). It made a dramatic entrance on a large, searing-hot platter, but the meat was overcooked and almost too tough to cut.
Epazote tacks a 20 percent service charge onto the tab of parties of five or more. The pacing of our meal was off, and servers disappeared for up to 20 minutes at a time. We objected, and the staff was cordial about making an adjustment.
By day, Olea serves tacos and other less-upmarket dishes at Bert’s. Though the décor is warm, cheery, and inviting, on the afternoon I visited, the dining room was chilly, nearly empty, and almost silent (though after the smooth-jazz torture in the Epazote wing, I probably shouldn’t complain). Service was much more attentive and speedy at lunchtime. Everything arrived promptly, including a complimentary basket of chips and an irresistible dip made from jalapeños, onions, and sour cream. A bowl of molten queso asado studded with spicy chorizo, sautéed mushrooms, and pepper strips made me regret the culinary “progress” that created the similar-in-name-only Velveeta-based bar snack.
Soft corn tortillas lay waiting to be folded around gamey, rich, and tender lamb; the deservedly popular pineapple and spicy-pork combo of pastor; salty sautéed mushrooms, peppers, onions, and zucchini; and moist, tender tilapia filets that, with an embellishment of red-cabbage and snow-pea slaw, took my breath away. Lunch can be a bargain, too: only two of the 14 taco selections will set you back more than $6.
On my way out the door, I thought aboutWoody Allen’s film Vicky Cristina Barcelona — in particular, Penélope Cruz’s sexy but unhinged character, Maria Elena. She’s unpredictable and infuriating but also seductive and irresistible. Meals at Epazote/Bert’s La Taqueria have a similarly confusing and exasperating quality to them. But as Gael Greene famously said, “Great food is like great sex. The more you have, the more you want.”
Hungry like the werewolf: from left, Robert Pattinson, Kristin Stewart, and Taylor Lautner