Epazote Restaurant – Santa Fe – Fine Cuisine & Fine ART!

May 20, 2011

Art and art…food and paintings…a very nice pairing. Tuesday night, at Las Companas in Santa Fe, the Country Club held one of a series of guest chef’s events – this time featuring celebrity chef Fernando Olea from his sensationally intimate Santa Fe restaurant Epazote. If you have not been there, you are missing an extraordinary culinary treat!
This night, a private seating offered the rare opportunity for 40 guess to experience a multi-course meal of beautifully artful presentations and startling flavor bursts of fine subtleties that tantalized the palette. Beginning with a very convivial cocktail hour where guests stood among the tables and shared familiar conversations and new introductions while well-coached wait staff pleasantly presented “hors unique d’ouvres”, the enchanting evening began.
At his restaurant, Epazote chef/owner Fernando Olea offers a relaxed environment where he creates “inspired world cuisine” influenced by the Aztecs. Bringing sensational combinations of flavors and specializing in the unique flavors of the mole sauces of Mexico, Olea continues to surprise.
Each taste is a lovely flavor experience. Each taste is savored for the incredibly imaginative and surprising and pleasing combination that it is. Even if you have experienced savory moles south of our border, the creations that Olea combines are deliciously exquisite. And with that in mind, he has created a very unique mole especially for New Mexico which includes indigenous ingredients including pine nuts, pecans, red chile, apricots, and from Mexico, rich, white chocolate. If you visit his restaurant – he will share this delectable and complex recipe with you!
This signature recipe is depicted in a grand fashion on the primary focal wall of Epazote in the manner of a great oil painting on canvas – by prominent Mexican artist Federico Leon de la Vega. This richly detailed mural – stretching the length of the main dining room, nearly 20 feet in length – re-creates the scene of these marvelous ingredients gathered in preparation for the making of Olea’s own New Mexican mole. As Olea states, “nothing evokes the mystery of fine Mexican cuisine more than mole, a regional dish from the heart of the country.” This “thick sauce of complex flavors” defies one’s understanding of the individual ingredients. The festive spices and remarkable combinations result in astonishing flavors beyond accustomed characterizations.
Paired with his artful cuisine, Olea partners with Michael, a very talented art curator whose last name escapes me (lo siento), to present a gallery of fine-art speaking volumes of various styles and media, from the white-washed plaster walls of this historic convent – now a prestigious exhibition space for well-known New Mexican artists.
It is a must-see to experience an evening of fine dining and fine art in this quiet little structure across from the historic Our lady of Guadalupe church on Agua Fria in Santa Fe. Tell chef Olea that “Patti Says” and you agree that this is an exceptional multi-sensory experience!

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