Chivalry is alive and well in Santa Fe

Posted in General, Hiking on April 28, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

Imagine my surprise when my girlfriends and I hiked up Atalaya Mountain today, only to find two nice looking young men, dragging what looked like a billboard with them. For those of you who have not hiked Atalaya, it is an approximately 7 mile round-trip hike, gaining 1780 feet in elevation. So, lugging this humongous sign up to the top of the mountain was a real commitment. Since inquiring minds needed to know, we casually asked them, “What in the world are you doing?”

They showed us the sign, shown below. The young man on the left, Patrick Rodriquez, a senior at St. Mike’s high school this year, wanted to ask his girlfriend, Kiara Glover, from Santa Fe Prep, to his prom. So, he talked what must be a very good friend, David Schoelmerich, visiting from Germany, to schlep the sign to the top of Atalaya Mountain, where Patrick told Kiara, look with your binoculars at 5 for a surprise. Thankfully she said yes, she would go his prom.

Nice to know there are young men out there with such a sense of fun, creativity and good manners and at least one very good friend!


What Do Bruce Hornsby and J. Robert Oppenheimer Have in Common?

Posted in Music on April 20, 2011 by Jenny Kimball
Bruce Hornsby

Bruce Hornsby

Bruce Hornsby played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Lensic Theater Monday night. He and his Noisemakers band played two sets for several hours. He played a few new tunes as well as many of his old classics. The second set was totally devoted to requests from the audience. I think the loudest applause he got was when he dedicated his poignant song, The End of the Age of Innocence, to Oppenheimer. Hearing Hornsby sing, “O’beautiful for spacious skies, but now those skies are threatening. They’re beating plowshares into swords,” echoed in time with the oft-quoted line from the Bhagavad Gita  that Oppenheimer claimed came into his head as he watched the explosion of the bomb, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds”.

Time continues to march on with many echoes of the past reaching out to us in the present. My husband, Rob, and I saw Hornsby and his band play several years ago at the Paulo Soleri where the crowd was much more boisterous. As I watched the more “grown-up” version of Hornsby at the Lensic, I recalled the Paulo Soleri performance ending with women climbing on the stage and dancing on top of his piano while he happily banged away on his piano keys. I am sure all agree, that we hope they keep the Paulo Soleri open  – so many great memories have been made there and the venue lends itself to going back to that age of innocence when we all enjoyed going a bit crazy in sync with the beat.

Jenny’s Suggestions on How to Tell a Local From a Visitor

Posted in General on April 13, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

It is always the Plaza, never never the Square

You know how to pronounce the name of the Town of Madrid properly

The Hill means Los Alamos

The Pink means the Pink Adobe

Sam will always be our most beloved mayor

You know where the old hospital was located

You know what the Liar’s Club was

You can name a few of our Living Treasures

You actually know Dale Ball

You snicker when you hear the term Santa Fe River

You do not say The La Fonda

You still call the Convention Center Sweeney

You know VLA is the Very Large Array

You do not say the Rio Grande River

You know the Roundhouse is our state capitol building

When you hear “red or green”, you do not think of Christmas

Chime and share with all, your suggestions, as to other ways to tell a local from a visitor.

The Shaping of Southwest Style

Posted in General, Literature, Santa Fe Non-Profits, Who's Who with tags , , on April 4, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

Arnold Berke, Jenny Kimball, Stephen Fried, Fran Levine

Our Mary Jane Colter weekend in partnership with the New Mexico History Museum was a high-energy event, we had more people than I expected—a perfect example of how history can be brought to life and made relevant to us today. A sold-out crowd of 150 history and culture buffs celebrated the legacy of La Fonda’s feisty architect and designer in a truly interactive weekend of talks, presentations, and socializing. The youngest participant was a 13-year-old “Fred head” who will be giving me a tour at the former Montezuma Hotel in Las Vegas tomorrow! Biographer Arnold Berke, historian Stephen Fried, and architect Barbara Felix, kept us intrigued and amused with the kind of insights that emerge when you do historical research. Barbara even made us metaphorically lift our carpets in the guest rooms to reveal Colter’s original painted concrete floor underneath, awaiting restoration.

Barbara Felix

One theme that emerged over the weekend is the renewed emphasis nowadays on historical preservation, rather than just knocking down the old. Colter herself shows why: Her then-unique taste in local materials, artisanal products, and what we would call ethnic design and recycling suggest how deeply rooted these aesthetic values are, and how we respond to them in buildings like La Fonda without knowing exactly why—or didn’t know, until this weekend.


Jenny Kimball, Daggett Harvey

I was especially pleased to see a large number of Harvey family members come and share their insights. Daggett Harvey closed the weekend with an affectionate portrait of a woman who was assertive before her time: Mary Jane Colter was decisive, visionary, and intimidating at a time when women were not even allowed to vote! I think he spoke for all of us in saying that he had a new appreciation of what she did for the Fred Harvey Company—and for its legacy at La Fonda and throughout the Southwest.


Green Drinks

Posted in General, Santa Fe Non-Profits on March 31, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

In New Mexico we tend to think of ourselves as pretty environmentally conscious and “green.” But a group of us who are interested in sustainability learned earlier this week how the state’s hottest new industry might be a lot more green.

La Fonda was the host for the March meeting of Green Drinks, a nationwide project that brings people together over food and drink to talk about how to “green” our local economies. Green Drinks in Santa Fe is organized by the Santa Fe Alliance, and they brought Holly Roach as guest speaker. Holly and her Green Productions Resource helped “green” productions that have filmed here, such as True Grit, Cowboys & Aliens, Paul, and Have You Heard About the Morgans?

She mentioned a lot of ways that film productions can be more sustainable, such as using recycled or re-purposed materials in food service, costuming, and especially set design; using power-saving lights and centralized water stations instead of bottled water (imagine how much of that a film shoot goes through!), along with more energy-efficient vehicles. Holly suggested that film productions might aim to be “carbon neutral,” like the Academy Award-winning Syriana. She even mentioned a production office that kept goats in back to eat leftover food, with bins around the office labeled “For the Goats”!

Our food and beverage manager Shawn Murphy talked about some of our sustainability initiatives here at La Fonda, which got a terrific round of applause from the crowd. Since we are always looking for ways to make our hotel and restaurant business more green, we were really honored to have the Green Drinks crowd here—over 100 people strong!

La Fonda Staff Give Back

Posted in General on March 25, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

Adrian Montoya, Director of Guest Services, La Fonda on the Plaza

One of my favorite things about the family atmosphere at La Fonda is seeing how the spirit of cooperation reaches far beyond the job, to helping people throughout the community. I was reminded of this by a meeting of the Red Cross here recently. Our Director of Guest Services, Adrian Montoya, is a board advisor for the New Mexico Red Cross, which steps in whenever New Mexicans are forced from their homes by fire, flood, a hard freeze (like we just had) or other disaster to offer shelter, food, and supplies. A Red Cross fundraiser we had here at La Fonda last week raised more than $500 just from our hourly workers, who don’t have a lot of extra money to spend. These types of fundraisers help the organization prepare for when disaster strikes.

Altogether, our employees are on the boards of 20 organizations, and volunteer at 13 others. Our staff gives generously to United Way all year round. And La Fonda supports nonprofits our employees are involved in whenever we can. During the January cold snap, for example, when people lost power and Red Cross shelters were packed, La Fonda rushed over supplies like cups, bottled water, and toilet paper. Adrian tells me the Red Cross has seen a lot of companies pull back on donations during the recession—but not at La Fonda. “That reflects on us because we’re a giving company,” he says. It shows our employees really take the idea of hospitality to heart! Thanks to people like our own Adrian Montoya, who so unselfishly are giving back to our community, Santa Fe is a more just, kind and supportive place to live.

Are You Hungry for a Good Meal at a Great Value?

Posted in Santa Fe Dining on March 9, 2011 by Jenny Kimball

Then look no further than participating in Santa Fe’s Restaurant Week going on in Santa Fe through March 13. Fifty four restaurants are participating, including La Fonda’s own La Plazuela. Follow this link for the menu but since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve given you six thousand words to consider.

I dined with La Fonda’s good friend and supporter, Brooke Dulaney. The entire menu looked fantastic but I chose the spinach salad, the carne asada and enchilada and the Mexican chocolate streusel cake.All were delicious! I know I am biased but I think our enchiladas are the best in town.  My wine choice was a great tasting glass of bubbly made locally by New Mexico’s own Gruet winery.  Brooke had the Caesar salad, the pork shank and the cheesecake. She loved every bite of each dish.

Our server was Stormi, who consistently gets rave reviews by our guests.   I can’t tell you how many emails I get telling me she is one of the best waitresses of all time.  You may remember that I profiled her in my blog on January 18th.  During dinner she gave me an update on her progress in La Fonda’s Biggest Loser contest.  Twenty Pounds!  Very impressive!

Albuquerque is also celebrating its own Restaurant Week March 13-20.  So, call or get on Open Table and make your reservation to check out Santa Fe’s restaurant week. It is a great opportunity to sample various courses at extremely reasonable prices.