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The Dream of Icarus
John McAfee creates a posh HQ for "Sky Gypsies" in Rodeo, NM.

No Room at the Inn
Who closed the park gate on the Radium Springs Inn?

Love Potion #9
Meet 5 everyday folks making Las Crucens' lives easier.

Becoming a Legend
Learning to be a ranch woman.

Confessions of a Kayak Virgin
Getting your feet wet in the Gila River.

Gila Coptering
Following the Gila River by helicopter.

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Table Talk

Now Serving

Yankie Creek Coffeehouse, the long-storied java joint at the corner of Yankie and Texas Streets, has re-opened under its new name and the new ownership of Greg Bonds and Maryann Marlar, owners of Vicki's Eatery across the street. The enterprising pair are baking treats at their restaurant and shuttling them to the coffeehouse, a "landmark" business of sorts in Silver City's downtown arts district.

Risotto's Bistro Market and Wine Bar has just opened at the fully remodeled site that used to house Johnny Carino's restaurant near the Mesilla Valley Mall in Las Cruces. The sizeable Mediterranean menu features Italian, French, Spanish, Middle Eastern cuisine dishes and more. Like so many restaurants in New Mexico, it seems, the eatery is waiting on its full liquor license to come through and is functioning with a limited picnic/special events license for now. Once the full license is official, the restaurant will also have an extensive wine list. 521-4619.

 

Kudos!

Alotta Gelato, 619 N. Bullard St. in Silver City, got a mention in the latest Fodor's Guide to New Mexico, guiding customers from throughout this great land to the first (and still best in our book!) gelato shop in the Land of Enchantment. 534-4995.

It's been a banner year for The Curious Kumquat, 111 E. College Ave. in Silver City. The international and gourmet grocery store has just been named 2007 Client of the Year by the Southwest Small Business Development Center, following on the heels of the Silver City MainStreet Project naming it Business of the Year. 534-0337, (866) KUMQUAT (586-7828), info@curiouskumquat.com, www.curiouskumquat.com.

 

New in Town

Melissa Amaris Pearson has opened Addi's Food Supply, offering cooking instruction and catering. Pearson, aka "Chef Mel," teaches special classes at the Curious Kumquat, where she also cooks up special themed dinners monthly for the Silver City International Film Society. She also offers special events and on-site catering from her Silver City base of operations. 313-9232, addisfoodsupply@yahoo.com.

Grab some sweet-and-spicy to go from Terry's Original Barbeque in Silver City. Proprietor Terry Willis, a local for nearly 30 years, says he's always had a small barbeque biz on the side and is pleased to have the time and opportunity — and a well-established following of customers! — to dish it up from his new location at the intersection of Hwy. 180 and Ranch Club Road. Tues-Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Xoom Juice has opened at 115 Roadrunner Parkway, serving Las Crucens sport- and health-oriented smoothies. It's the first location beyond Tucson, where the company operates three stores. The company Web site says its drinks contain no sherbet, sorbet, ice cream, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial flavorings. The bill of fare should certainly appeal to patrons of the Anytime Fitness and Forever Sun Tanning Salon, in the same plaza. Xoom Juice is right next door to where Fox's Pizza soon will open. 532-1200, www.xoomjuice.com.

Pueblo Viejo, a Mexican eatery on the east-bound side of Picacho Ave., just west of the Picacho and Valley Dr. intersection, has recently opened. Rigoberto Cazares manages the restaurant, which is owned by his brothers Pedro and Gabriel. Mon.-Sat. 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. 525-9590.

 

Ch-ch-changes

Adobe Springs in Silver City has started serving dinner, Thursday through Sunday nights, 5:30-9 p.m. 1617 Silver Heights Blvd., 538-3665.

As the saying goes, "what's old is new again." After some changes in his personal life and having sold his Golden Dragon Chinese Restaurant, in Silver City, Eric Wong is back at the helm of the Chinese eatery at 914 N. Pope St. 388-9101.

Back on track! Delicias Chihuahua Cafe at 1413 E. Amador in Las Cruces has been upgraded from its recent "unsatisfactory" status to "approved," after a re-inspection by the New Mexico Environment Department. The eatery received its black eye early last month, but was found to have corrected the deficiencies in just one week, entitling it to once again post the state agency's green emblem of approval.

Tony Vito is the new owner of Paisano Cafe 1740 Calle de Mercado (just off Avenida de Mesilla) in Mesilla. 524-0211.

TJ Paul's, a lunch and dinner eatery offering American steakhouse-style cuisine, is slated to open in the spot where the Pepper Mill restaurant recently closed in the Bank of the West Plaza on Roadrunner Parkway. Proprietors of the new restaurant are Larry Echeverria and Cliff Herring, who confirm that they'll serve a variety of wines and beer.

 

Holiday Flavor

Chef Shevek Barnhart says his Silver City eatery Shevek & Mi is ready for the Beaujolais Nouveau season. "We always order the most cases of Beaujolais Nouveau of any restaurant or liquor store in the state of New Mexico, and we always sell out," Barnhart says. Le Beaujolais arrives the third Thursday every November — just in time to serve with Thanksgiving dinner! — and the restaurant will celebrate the wine's arrival by throwing its annual Beaujolais Nouveau parties Nov. 16 and 17. And speaking of Thanksgiving, Shevek's will once again serve up a traditional holiday feast, sit-down family-style or take-out. 602 N. Bullard St., 534-9168.

The sweet holiday smell of cornmeal will waft through the air at La Cocina Restaurant this month when the eatery plays host to the 3rd Annual Tamalada, a collaboration of the Cultural Center de Mesilla and the Border Book Festival, Nov. 10, 1:30-4:30 p.m. In addition to hands-on instruction in the fine art of making meat, vegetarian and dessert tamales — a tasty local holiday tradition! — workshop participants get a whole heap o' freebies, including a handbook with information, recipes and tips, tamales to take home, and a coupon for discounted masa/corn dough. Wear comfortable clothing and bring an apron and towel. Families and all ages welcome. Space is limited. 204 E. Conway, Mesilla. Las Cruces Foods, 526-2352. Border Book Festival, 523-3988, bbf@zianet.com, www.borderbookfestival.org. $50.

 

Going, going, gone...

Two Las Cruces Mexican eateries have bitten the dust. Phones have been disconnected at Casa de Menudo at 1103 S. Solano Dr., and La Morenita at 300 N. Downtown Mall.

And a journey into the red caused a Las Cruces restaurant to close out of the blue last month. It was a rude awakening for Gardu_o's Vaqueros Steakhouse employees when management announced to the 60 or so staff assembled at a mandatory meeting that the restaurant was closing, effective immediately. A statement from the company's corporate office called the decision "difficult but necessary," and said that in spite of high hopes for the restaurant's success adjacent to the Mesilla Valley Mall, various factors — including the structure of the operation's lease agreement — prevented the business from turning an operating profit. Managers at the closed location, according to the statement, would be offered positions in Albuquerque. As often happens in such scenarios, waitstaff, dishwashers and cooks are on their own. One employee noted that at least Gardu_o's employees got more than those who lost jobs at the nearby Johnny Carino's restaurant that suddenly closed its doors in October 2006. Employees at Carino's showed up for their shift to find a note on the door announcing the restaurant's closure.

— Donna Clayton Lawder

 

We're always looking for news on the food scene! Email donna@desertexposure.com.