ARTsmart’s Edible Art Tour is upon us, an event that pairs two of Santa Fe’s most beloved and plentiful institutions — galleries and restaurants — in a two-day extravaganza of gazing and grazing. The tour support’s ARTsmart’s inspired agenda of making sure the children of New Mexico have a fighting chance to learn to express themselves through the visual arts. The downtown galleries play host on Friday, June 12, and it’s the turn of the Canyon Road spaces on Saturday, June 13. On the cover is Heidi Loewen’s painted porcelain piece Soft Boiled (2014); image courtesy the artist.
ART smart’s Edible Art Tour (EAT) is upon us, an event that pairs two of Santa Fe’s most plentiful and beloved institutions — galleries and restaurants — in a two-night extravaganza of gazing and grazing. The tour is a charity do built on personal relationships, a gathering that comes together organically, like a potluck. Galleries approach restaurants of their choice and essentially ask them to dance, à la junior prom — and in many cases the teams work together year after year.
Some people go to the event for the art, in which case having snacks at all the galleries provides some much-needed fuel for the long hike around the downtown area or up and down Canyon Road. Others are mostly in it for the food, only incidentally glancing up at the paintings on the walls over their napkins of nibbles. This town has more restaurants per capita than it knows what to do with, and so many of them are great that it’s hard to choose, on a given evening, where to go for dinner. During EAT, you can try many of them in one weekend, like little cultured piggies, and all for a good cause — supporting ARTsmart’s inspired agenda of making sure the children of New Mexico have a fighting chance to learn to express themselves through the visual arts.
This year’s tour is a very different experience from those of years past. For one thing, it will be in the summer instead of in frigid February — you can expect more of a block-party vibe and rejoice that you don’t have to bring a parka. And because the event now has more than 40 participating pairings of restaurants and galleries, it is split it into two nights, Friday, June 12, and Saturday, June 13, so you’ll need two outfits. “We found the Edible Art Tour is our most popular fundraising event and got feedback that it was impossible to do everything in one night,” said Kira Randolph, development and communications director for ARTsmart.
The Edible Art Tour doesn’t require you to make any decisions, because, in many cases, you get to try each restaurant’s best dish. “We ask the restaurants to provide a signature bite so you get an assortment of food.” There are at least two gazpachos to sample. Osteria d’Assisi at Meyer Gallery is serving smokedsalmon mousse tarts and tomato-gazpacho shooters drizzled with executive chef Christian Pontiggia’s favorite new olive oil, Una Vita, a fancy oil that retails for $69 a bottle. La Casa Sena is offering a second gazpacho at Nüart Gallery, a to-be-determined chilled-fruit gazpacho (possibly melon, honeydew, or cantaloupe), one of its more popular summer menu items. “We always have a cold soup during summer,” said La Casa Sena chef Patrick Gharrity. “We change it sometimes every day.”
At Tresa Vorenberg Goldsmiths, Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen is serving a mini banh mi, a Franco-Vietnamese sandwich with chicken on multigrain baguette toast with marinated pickles, carrots, daikon, and housemade aioli. “It’s one of our most popular dishes,” said Sweetwater co-owner Fiona Wong. Amaya (Hotel Santa Fe’s restaurant) is serving a citrus habañero tostada with gravlax (raw salmon cured in salt, sugar, and spices) with citrus aioli, pickled cucumber, and an onion frisée salad at Winterowd Fine Art. It is, according to restaurant manager Sophie Palm, one of the most popular appetizers on Amaya’s menu.
Matthews Gallery is pairing with Museum Hill Café, serving a savory sweet-corn custard with poblano cream sauce. “People went nuts last year over it,” said café owner Weldon Fulton. “It’s really a very simple dish, but when you bite into it, you have the sweetness of the corn and the earthiness of poblano cream sauce.” If you like it, you can find it as part of the café’s wine bar and small plates menu offered Wednesday through Friday afternoons.
Buffalo Thunder’s upscale eatery, Red Sage, is one of the restaurants participating both nights, dishing up an appetizer and dessert (because who needs dinner?). On Friday, at Blue Rain Gallery, it is offering fresh red-snapper ceviche with mango salsa and caramelized banana tres leches cake. On Saturday, at GF Contemporary, there is braised buffalo short ribs with a red chile demi-glace and apple fritters with salted caramel sauce. EAT is an opportunity to get a nibble of restaurants that you may reserve for special occasions, like Christmas and proposing marriage. The Gallery Collection at La Posada is catered by the hotel’s new celebrity chef, Todd Hall, so if you haven’t yet tried the food at Julia, now’s your chance while perusing the hotel’s own artwork. There are also old reliables, like Tomasita’s, which pairs with True West Gallery. Tomasita’s is offering an assortment of its signature chicken wings, flautas, cocktail-sized tamales, jalapeño poppers, and salsa and guacamole. The Plaza Café, everyone’s favorite Plaza brunch spot, is participating for the first time this year, serving, according to owner Daniel Razatos, “two Greek things and two American things” at Sage Creek Gallery.
Gallery 901 is hosting Executive Chef Catering, a company whose name may not ring any bells, though it’s been feeding the city for a decade. “We’re the catering company that nobody’s ever heard of,” said Bruce Bliss. Helmed by Bliss and owner Harold Orner, Executive Chef Catering is serving an amusebouche made of globe grapes tossed with whipped bleu cheese and crispy prosciutto, compiled into, as Bliss put it, “a kind of salty, sweet, crunchy thing going all in one bite.”
Some galleries just want to have fun, like GiacobbeFritz Fine Art, which, like a pro party host, always takes the trouble to come up with a theme. Attendees