Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lucky Streaks

by Wolf Schneider

A patch of wildflowers in Santa Fe today

Here in Santa Fe, birds are chirping, cottonwoods and elms are leafing out, wildflowers are blooming, and it’s light until almost 9 PM. Everybody seems to have a Santa Fe connection, come summer. Did you see jockey Mike Smith win the Belmont Stakes on Palace Malice this weekend? Smith is related to gallery owner Nedra Matteucci, whose lush, green sculpture garden is looking like an elegant little Central Park right around now.

Patio dining is in full swing at Charles Dale’s Bouche French bistro, where gourmands are flocking. At just 6pm all tables were taken during my most recent visit. This week, Panera debuts its new Santa Fe location, while last week Bobcat Bite shut down on Old Las Vegas Highway but is soon to re-open downtown at Garrett’s Desert Inn. Santa Fe’s hottest months are June and July, and heck, this week is looking like a scorcher with temperatures soaring into the 90s for the next few days. We’re hoping we’ll get lucky with some rain to help contain the fires in the Pecos Wilderness and Jemez Mountains.

Travelers are flocking into town now, either on daily flights into Santa Fe from Los Angeles, Dallas, and Denver, or the new JetBlue service from New York to Albuquerque. Among the swanky hotel deals is one at the Fairmont Heritage Place El Corazon de Santa Fe, with its viga fireplaces, clay plaster walls, and luxurious monthly stays at fairly reasonable rates, according to a friend who’s booked herself in for the summer. She was lucky to find it, and I’ve been lucky to be working hard on a movie these last few months. “Successful people recognize their luck,” Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes just commented in AwardsLine. “Anyone who is perceived as very successful who says luck played no part in it is lying.” I think he’s right.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, and consulting editor of Southwest Art.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Winter Respite

The spa at Rancho Encantado yesterday

Winter in Santa Fe is all about staying warm despite the snow and ice glistening on adobe walls, the temperatures dipping down to six and seven degrees. Souper Bowl XIX, where chefs compete for best soup awards, is gearing up for January 26. The usual suspects should get ready this year for some steep competition from two awesome new chefs in town: executive chef Andrew Cooper and sous chef Keith Smutny at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (try their chile rellenos).

I’ve loved Rancho Encantado since I first came to Santa Fe to work on the Filmmaking in New Mexico special issue for The Hollywood Reporter as a cub reporter years ago. The dude ranch’s founder and then owner Betty Egan reminded us of Barbara Stanwyck in "The Big Valley"– – a commanding cowgirl in jeans and Western boots who was just as at ease on horseback as at an entertainment business reception. She encouraged me to move here. I bought my horse Ryo from a wrangler at Rancho Encantado, and boarded him at Rancho Encantado for years, embarking on exhilarating rides into the Sangre de Cristos. He was a tough little Mustang, and made me braver. And then there were the tranquil hours in the barn spent grooming him as the ravens cawed outside.

Yesterday I was back at Rancho Encantado, which is now the posh Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado ( It's as gorgeous as ever – – 57 acres of pristine mountain foothills dotted with piƱon pine and juniper trees, casitas sprinkled between the trees. Even though the architecture is now more hard-edged contemporary than Western dude ranch, the ravens still fly through and the resort still exudes serenity, especially in the fabulous spa, where I had a Sacred Stone massage that sent me over the moon – – grounding, soothing, and healing. In the locker room afterwards, I chatted with a local who has a spa membership. "I come here almost every day. I work out in the fitness room, take a sauna or steam, have some apricots and pecans in the warming room, and meet the nicest people. It's a special place," she said. So true.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva
Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and also blogs at