From the highway one can see an enigmatic rabbit sign along Stakeout Drive. If you “follow” the white rabbit it leads you to a pristine white building sitting atop Outlaw Hill known as the Stakeout. From their two-tiered wooden deck one can see for miles and miles, and lose themselves in the panoramic splendor, hence the name. Primarily known as a place to cement one’s everlasting love for their significant other, they also have a running series called the Sunset Supper Club, an immersive shared dining experience as the sun goes down in Ranchos De Taos. It’s an opportunity to showcase the talents of their chef-in-residence.
Formerly it was Mina Seck, a gregarious black queen from New Orleans. Back home she started a pop-up called Beets N Thyme. A place that incorporates gardening, cooking, and art. Now they’ve got Tyrell Brandvold for one of their upcoming events. He’s worked at important establishments in the big easy: a revered bistro named Gris Gris, and a trendy Cajun Vietnamese fusion neighborhood restaurant named Mopho. He’s bringing his talents to the Stakeout for a 5-course New Year’s Eve dinner party.
On Jan. 15, join them for Wintertide feast, a hearty family-style community dinner to warm the soul. On Feb. 12 you can go “Makeout at the Stakeout;” I think they might also have food at this event.
Get on their mailing list by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org to get reservations for these limited seating events.
When a place in Taos has soulful tunes suffusing the air it’s likely LeeCooks Church will be on premise serving up one of her coveted jerk chicken plates. The sight of her at an event, usually at a Revolt shindig or a Seco Live throwdown, is usually a religious revelation. Naturally, there is a congregation, who will look to a certain spot of a venue where she’s known to set up her stand, and they will say with their facial gestures: “Where the hell is Lee?”
With every flock a certain kind of agnosticism kicks in, and the ones of little faith will ask any nearby individual if Lee will really arrive. That is the significance of her Caribbean offerings. The Church menu is divided into liturgies. For instance there is the “Devotion,” a segment devoted to rainbow quesadillas, a technicolor twist on tacos featuring red and blue corn tortillas. Every service must have a sermon, and the sermon is either a “Platter of Pride” consisting of roasted red cabbage and tortillas stuffed with mushrooms and curry carrots, or the traditional barbecue ribs with coleslaw and beans. As with most pop-ups, the menu is subject to change but you can rely on the flavors.
Lee is planning to bring a little bit of New York to Taos. Not so much the trendy spots, but the classic tried and true bodegas, where you find Timberlands and bodega cats, a special group of felines that rid the store of rodents. They expect to open this much needed type of storefront where the Taos Spice Merchants used to be, sometime around Black History Month. It’ll be open to the public five days a week. Text them your email, or slide in their DMs, or better yet send them an email at LeeCooksChurch@gmail.com to receive their monthly newsletter, aptly named The Afternoon Service.
The accomplishments of Johnny Ortiz are as impressive as they are archetypal. Young passionate and driven aspiring chef casts aside everything to be hired at a premier restaurant, in this case the Michelin 3-Star Alinea. The rest is history. Luckily for us, we can partake in the progress of this James Beard award nominated chef over at /Shed, his meditative treatise on endemic plants, raised animals, and New Mexican spaces. Like the best chefs that you see on Netflix’s “Chef’s Table” you’re more likely to see him out in nature than in front of a stove theatrically cooking. The quintessential image of Johnny is with him snipping shoots or of him pestling rose petals. You might think hyper modernist gastronomic manipulations of food, but there’s also elements of simple but meticulous taiseki-type forms of preparing and plating dishes. It’s hard to say what exactly you should expect at one of these small scale dinners. The only guarantee is a special experience and an educational moment.
Shed Project dinners are set to start again in Spring 2022. The new space will be over in Vallecitos and will feature an old wood stove. Reach out to them via email at email@example.com. You can even send them a letter at P.O. Box 631, La Madera, NM, 87539.
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