Tag Archives: Santa Fe

The Kickin’ Green Pork Chili @ Sam’s No. 3, Denver

I don’t know where you live, but, it was freaking cold here today. I’m talking serious sweater weather in Los Angeles in the middle of July. Insanity!

So, while I was cuddling up under a blanket with Greta this morning, my thoughts turned to my favorite cold weather foods…stews, hearty soups and best of all, chili! And when I think of chili, all I think of now is the sweet, spicy Kickin’ Green Pork Chili we had a few years back at Sam’s No. 3 in Denver.

Located on Curtis street in the heart of the city, Sam’s No. 3 is a classically hip diner that dates back to 1927, when it was part of a small local chain called Coney Islands. Still family-owned and operated all these years later, Sam’s No. 3 was so good that we actually ate their twice during our visit.

The fact that it was walking distance from our hotel — The Curtis, which is still one of the coolest hotels we’ve ever stayed at anywhere! — didn’t hurt, but the thing that brought us back was that magical “gringo hot” Green Pork Chili!

I don’t know for sure what’s in it, aside from tender pork strips and green chile deliciousness, but, I had something very similar in a sauce form at The Shed in Santa Fe, and I swear to God, that taste haunts my dreams, amigos. Amazing!

So, here’s to you, Sam’s No. 3. Many thanks for brightening my cold, dreary day in green chili memories…you guys, rock!

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“The Mentalist” goes mental!

OK, I am so not the “leaker” on this one, but someone leaked this super-cool, super-gory scene from our movie, “Not Forgotten”, to YouTube today and it’s been popping up on cool horror movie sites ever since.

So, seeing as you can already watch the scene in all it’s blood-soaked glory online, I thought I’d post a few of my favorite behind-the-scenes pics from this awesome fight scene exclusively for you.

Oh, and, don’t worry, amigos, nothing you’ll see below is as gory as the clip. The first couple of shots are of mi buen amigo, badass actor Zahn McLarnon (Calvo) rehearsing his fight with an unseen Simon Baker.

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #1

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #2

These pics were taken from my cushy co-writer/associate producer chair behind the monitor in “video village”, so, forgive the quality…

The next couple of pics are of the amazing set designed by our Production Designer Craig Stearns and his top-notch team. We shot this scene in a former high school gym in Santa Fe and as you can see, there is the fake mirror Zahn is so memorably thrown up against before having his head smashed against the filthy toilet pictured below. Cool, huh?

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #3

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #4

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #5

And yes, that is fake grime on that toilet…I checked. The final three shots are of the stuntman who pinch hit for Zahn, complete with his rocking, full-chest Santa Muerte tattoo. Zahn himself in his gore makeup and myself with Zahn just before he left for the night.

If you look real close in the picture with me, Zahn still has fake blood stains around his eyes and oozing from his ear. Now, if that shit doesn’t get people in the theatre, I don’t know what will…

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #6

NOT FORGOTTEN fight scene #7

“Not Forgotten” is now playing in Austin and Phoenix and opens on May 15th-17th in Los Angeles at the Mann’s Chinese in Hollywood and the Mann’s Plant 16 in Van Nuys. Check it out!

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The Oldest House in the U.S.

Located at 215 East De Vargas street, half a block off Old Santa Fe Trail is a beautiful little building that “supposedly” is the Oldest House in the United States. I say supposedly for two reasons. One is that the houses’ official title is: “The Oldest House in the United States…built by a European”. And two, because the house was allegedly built sometime between 1200 and 1646.

Yes, you read that correctly…1200-1646. So this place was either built in 1200 or four-hundred and forty-six years later. You know, give or take a century.

In any case, the house — which currently is home to a crafts store that was NEVER opened when I was awake — is still really cool looking. And unlike the “miraculous” staircase at the Loretto Chapel, you can touch this adobe building all you want…so, touch we did!

Although I must say that all the adobe fondling in the world could not help us pinpoint the exact date the house was built…and even though I was tempted to break a piece of the wall off for some carbon dating of my own, Ginger wisely persuaded me not to. But if you ask me, this is one title just waiting to be scooped up by someone else.

Speaking of…apparently there is another Oldest House in the United States (also built by Europeans, the Spanish) in St. Augustine, Florida. Located on St. Francis street, the Gonzalez-Alvarez House was supposedly built in 1564 and then rebuilt after the English burnt it down in 1702.

Having spent many a summer in beautiful St. Augustine as a kid visiting my Mom and Courtney, I imagine we probably saw that house at some point too. But after visiting the website to refresh my memory of what it looked like, I gotta say that even their claim on the Oldest House title seems a bit shady to me. I mean, that place looks new as shit…

So, until further evidence presents itself to the contrary…I’m gonna stick with the Oldest House in Santa Fe. It didn’t feel like it could topple over at any minute or anything, but at least it looked the part.

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The Loretto Chapel

There are many beautiful, historic churches in Santa Fe, but our favorite was the amazing Loretto Chapel on Old Santa Fe Trail.

Though not nearly as old as the Mission of San Miguel (which happens to be the oldest church in the U.S.) or as imposing as the Saint Francis Cathedral downtown, the Loretto Chapel and its “miraculous” staircase is really something to behold. And the history behind it, wow…

Responding to a plea from Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy to start a school, the Sisters of Loretto sent seven nuns to Santa Fe in 1852. The trip west was brutal and almost immediately, the sisters were beset with a cholera epidemic. Their Mother Superior succumbed to the illness and another sister became too ill to continue the trip and turned back.

The remaining sisters arrived sometime in the fall of 1852 and in 1853 opened the Academy of Our Lady of Light not far from the site of the present day Loretto Chapel. Over time, their school grew and using the tuitions from their students, donations and even money from their own family inheritances, the sisters funded construction of the Loretto Chapel.

Modeled after King Louis IX’s Sainte Chapelle in Paris, the Gothic-revival chapel took ten years to build and was finished — complete with stained glass windows imported from France! — sometime in 1878. The only problem was reaching the choir loft in the back of the chapel.

In similar chapels elsewhere, the choir loft was easily accessed by male clergy and a ladder. But the sisters were hoping for something a little less dangerous, so, they consulted a carpenter. He too told them that a ladder was the best way to go as a traditional staircase wouldn’t fit in the tiny chapel.

Now, here is where the story gets really interesting. Legend has it that the frustrated sisters made a novena (which, for you non-Catholics is sort of a specialized prayer) to Saint Joseph, the Patron Saint of Carpenters. They prayed hard for nine days, and on the ninth and final day of the novena, a man appeared at their door looking for work.

Armed with only a donkey and a toolbox, the man set about building the sisters an elaborate circular staircase with no visible signs of support. Even more impressive is the fact that he built the stairs without nails, using only wooden pegs to hold everything in place.

It took the carpenter six months to fashion the winding staircase and immediately after he’d finished, the man — who never requested or received any payment for his labor — vanished, never to be seen or heard from again. The sisters tried to find him for years, but no trace of the man was ever found. And soon, many locals began to suspect that the mysterious carpenter might be Saint Joseph himself, come to answer the sisters prayers.

Adding credence to that claim is the still-unidentified wood used in several portions of the stairs, not to mention the innovative way the carpenter molded the wood using only the tools he brought with him on his donkey. Now, I don’t know is that dude was really Saint Joseph or not, but trust me, that staircase has some kind of mystical aura.

I was feeling some seriously serene vibes in that place and Ginger was so moved by the whole experience that she actually started crying. Of course, it doesn’t take much to turn on those waterworks (just kidding, Ginger!) but, whoa…even though you can’t walk on them or touch them, there was something really amazing going on with those crazy stairs.

I don’t know why I hadn’t heard of this place before, but apparently the Loretto staircase is so famous that it’s been featured on “Unsolved Mysteries” and was even the subject of a TV movie, “The Staircase”, starring Barbara Hershey, Diane Ladd and CSI’s William Peterson. Who knew?

Anyway, if you get a chance to visit only one church in Santa Fe, I say check this joint out. If the miraculous story behind the stairs doesn’t move you, the super cool 3-D prayer cards in the gift shop surely will!

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Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe

Lest you think all we did was gorge ourselves on green chiles, Christine and I did find time one night to visit one of the coolest spots in Santa Fe…the Ten Thousand Waves spa and resort. A Japanese spa with communal, private, premium private and super premium private baths and an array of fancy, awesome-smelling spa services, this place rocked!
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Ten Thousand Waves, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)
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And getting there is half the fun. Driving through the winding, snow-capped mountains to the spa is an experience in itself…and then once you get there, wow…you feel like you’re in fuedal Japan or something. The entire walkway to the main spa — which is a bit steep in parts, so leave time if you need to take it slow — is lined with delicate Japanese lanterns that give the snowy path a dreamlike quality. Really beautiful.

Reaching the main spa, you check in and are each given a warm cotton kimono and some f-ing amazing cucumber water and are shown to the locker room. Showering off the impurities of the outside world with some of the best smelling hippie soap and shampoo I’ve ever encountered — seriously, it smelled so good, I kinda wanted to eat it — you dump your clothes in your locker, wrap yourself in that snuggly kimono and make your way to the baths for a soak.

The door on our Kabuta private bath! (Feb. 2008)
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The view from our private bath! (Feb. 2008)
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We reserved a private bath (a steal at $25 per person for an hour!) called Kabuta, which means “Piglet” in Japanese. I later learned that the reason for the name was that when the spa was built in 1981, the neighbor next door was so upset at the prospect of a spa in his midst that he built a pigpen six feet from this bath and stocked it with a dozen baby pigs. Ha!

The Kabuta name remains, but luckily for us, the piglets are long gone. All you see from the bath now is an amazing view of the snow-covered hillside and the stars above. This place was gorgeous…we could have stayed all night.

When your hour is up, a soothing gong sounds over the speaker near the tub and a dreamy, disembodied voice tells you that you have five minutes remaining. That’s right…a soothing gong! There’s no rude-ass knocking on your door to shoo you out at this joint.

Totally relaxed at Ten Thousand Waves! (Feb. 2008)
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So, with a light snow beginning to fall in the distance, we reluctantly wrapped ourselves up in our kimonos and made our way back down the path to the showers. Driving home, totally relaxed and smelling of yummy mint and lavender, we hit the bed hard and slept like babies till morning…

Domo arigato, Ten Thousand Waves. Domo arigato mucho!

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The French Pastry Shop, Santa Fe

OK, I know it sounds like all we did in Santa Fe was eat and that’s probably because, well, aside from drinking — gotta love that high altitude buzz! — that is all we did. Literally.

The French Pastry Shop, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

At one point Christine and I were plotting out our day and realized that everything we wanted to do involved food. Of course, we eventually found plenty of other some awesome things to do and see, but, wow, with all that good food they got cooking, why not eat your way through Santa Fe?

And a great place to start your culinary day off right is at the rocking French Pastry Shop located inside the historic La Fonda Hotel downtown. Now, I should mention that my first visit here — yes, I went just about everywhere more than once…but, hey, I was in town for six weeks, what do you expect? — with Ginger was not that great.

Inside The French Pastry Shop, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

I ordered a dry-ass crepe with ham and gruyere cheese that was way overpriced and, like I said, dry as, well…ass. Not my favorite breakfast. But when Christine and I went again a week later, things were much more to my liking.

To start with, they have no menus, so you have to stare at this chalk board hanging up by the register and pick out what you like then sit down and order. I didn’t do this the first time and simply ordered what the skinny waitress suggested…not a wise move at this place, as what I got was, no offense, skinny waitress food.

Another view of The French Pastry Shop, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

So this time, I studied that menu board HARD and, man alive, what a difference! Christine and I shared the tasty looking quiche-type deal with ham, cheese and spinach and wow…just wow. I think the picture below says it all.

For “desert” we ordered a fresh blueberry and raspberry crepe with whipped cream and here again, we ordered correctly. I kind of wanted to marry that thing…you know, if I wasn’t already married.

But the topper was a cold coffee drink made with two shots of espresso poured over homemade vanilla ice cream and lots of ice. I am not kidding…that just might have been the best cold coffee drink I ever consumed…and this from a former Peet’s barista!

Tasty breakfast quiche @ The French Pastry Shop, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

All I can say is thanks again to “Santa Fe Sarah” for insisting that Christine try The French Pastry Shop when she came out, because had she not, I would not have gone back. Muchas gracias, Sarah…you were right, I was wrong.

Oh yeah, and one last thing, The French Pastry is a strictly cash-only enterprise, so bring some green, and don’t forget to study that chalk menu board up front, HARD. You won’t regret it…

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Cafe Pasqual’s & The Shed

While we tried tons of super cool restaurants in Santa Fe, these two were, hands down, our favorites of the bunch. And, trust me, with the caliber of kick-ass food being what it is in Santa Fe, that is really saying something.

Cafe Pasqual’s, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

Probably best known for their spectacular mole sauce, Cafe Pasqual’s has been one of the premiere destinations for gourmet Old Mexican and New Mexican dishes alike for the past 28 years. And while the prices are a bit higher than some of the other places in town and the lines are known to stretch down Don Gasper Avenue at all hours, once you’ve eaten at Cafe Pasqual’s, it all makes sense.

Ginger and I had an early lunch there one day where I sampled that legendary mole sauce on some of the finest chicken enchiladas I have ever tasted anywhere…including Mexico. The mole was dark as night, awesomely spicy and best of all, not too chocolate-y. I was in heaven…

Cafe Pasqual’s @ lunch time! (Feb. 2008)

The next time I went was with Christine for dinner and once again, the food was downright dazzling. I had some of the tastiest skewered filet mignon I’ve ever had and the bright green cilantro rice on the side was crazy good. In fact, we were so impressed with the food that we actually bought the newest of the two Cafe Pasqual Cookbooks they had for sale up front.

I should also note that I learned later from our friends James and Amy that if you ask nicely, the chef will add a fried egg on top of any of the dishes on the menu for the low, low price of $1.00. I don’t know that I necessarily needed the egg, but hey, I’ve done stranger things for a dollar…so, maybe next time!

Mole chicken enchiladas @ Cafe Pasqual’s! (Feb. 2008)

But while we both loved Cafe Pasqual’s, The Shed is the place we’ll dream about in the years to come…huge thanks to Christine’s co-worker, “Santa Fe Sarah” for recommending it to us, you rock! Located in a cool little hacienda dating to 1692, The Shed has been serving some of the finest, Spanish, Pueblo, and New Mexican food known to man since 1953.

Housed inside the thick adobe walls of the hacienda, the dining area is spread out across a series of small, brightly colored rooms linked by narrow doorways and halls adorned with some of the coolest art in town. The place actually felt more like someone’s house than a restaurant, and with little round fire places up front and an intimate, low-ceilinged feel throughout, you could have sworn you were eating in Yoda’s pad on Degobah. And yes, that is a good thing.

The Shed, Santa Fe (Feb. 2008)

And the food…my God. Amazing! Christine ordered the Chicken Enchilada Verde which is made with traditional New Mexican blue corn tortillas and bathed in a roasted green chile sauce that will leave you begging for more. Literally! I went back two days after she left and ordered the exact same thing…and it was even better the second time.

The other thing we really dug about The Shed was the garlic bread. Instead of chips and salsa — which you can still order separately if you like — every entree is served with this amazing, piping-hot basket of French Garlic Bread. I know it sounds kinda weird, but when you’re sopping up that spicy green chile sauce, that bread is exactly what you wanna have on hand. Whew…awesome!

And for desert, you gotta try the mocha cake. I’m not kidding, I actually woke up a couple of times craving that thing. Probably one of the best coffee-infused, chocolate mouse cakes I’ve ever had. If you like chocolate…you will die!

Anyway, like I said before, there were plenty of killer dining spots in town, but these two…wow…if you ever find yourself in Santa Fe, don’t miss them.

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