A preface to the review of this book: In this 96-book collection, only this textbook gets double treatment, up front from the compiler of this syllabus and an in-depth study as the related restaurant is today. The latter by Carol Kizer, a professional food educator with a national reputation in culinary arts. She was the long time dean of culinary arts, Columbus State Community College.
Restaurante Rancho de Chimayó
On the Scenic High Road to Taos
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Now, here's the report by Ms. Kizer:
Rancho de Chimayó offers wonderful New Mexico cuisine based on old family recipes in a charming Spanish style hacienda made of adobe bricks dating back to around 1890. There are
several dining rooms, each with different colored tablecloths and a large outdoor terrace seating area.
Chimayó is an arts village more than 6,500 feet elevation that specializes in weaving. It is a small isolated town 30 miles north of Santa Fe through an extemely scenic narrow winding route in the midst of red rock country with cattle from the open range along sides of the roadway. Suggested: Make the trip in day light and take a camera.
I thoroughly enjoyed spending time talking with the owner of 37 years, Florence Jaramillo. She and her husband, Arturo, opened the restaurant featuring native cooking of the area in 1965 in Arturo's grandparents's home where he grew up. Florence Jaramillo has been a member of the National Restaurant Association board of directors for several years and was the first director elected from New Mexico. She was named the 1987 Restaurateur of the Year in the state.
In order to taste as many menu items on one visit as possible, I ordered the combinación tradiciónal, a combination plate with a rolled cheese enchilada, pork tamale, shredded beef taco, Spanish rice and beans topped with a choice of red or green chile (or both - called Christmas). While there is nothing unusual about this combination, the platter arrived beautifully presented and absolutely delicious in every way. I especially liked the cheese enchilada and the taco with properly prepared roast beef and warm melted cheese on top. What a value at $8.50, certainly higher today. My husband, Don, ordered the $9 sopaipilla relleno, a sopailla stuffed with beef topped with cheddar and chiles, along with beans, Spanish rice and
guacamole. It was evident that nicely chunked gaucamole was freshly made. Our less adventuresome friend went Americano with the Chimayó steak, a 12-ounce ribeye, which he enjoyed. However, I did sample his house red ranch salad dressing - just the right touch of red chile.
Already on the table, when seated, was a small covered dish of honey which went perfectly with the fluffly sopaipillas served in a napkin-lined basket to all guests shortly after arrival. The cooks prepare as many as 4,000 sopaipillas on a busy day, all produced by hand. The restaurant's signature dish is Carne Adovada, although I didn't have it. It is among the spiciest and most popular items on the menu. A sauce made with whole dried red chile pods is placed over pork cubes, baked at least three hours until tender, and garnished with lettuce and tomato. It is served with posole, a dish created with dried corn kernels treated with lime
(similar to hominy). The lunch and dinner menus are very similar, but with larger portion sizes in the evening.
New Mexico red chile grown in Chimayó is renowned for its balance of sweetness and (Scoville) heat. The native chiles are used in nearly all entrées served at the restaurant, but usually available on the side.
The Rancho de Chimayó cookbook, featuring a fascinating history and culture of the area as well as recipes and cooking tips, is still available on Amazon.com.
— Carol Kizer