“Well-curated; a breath of fresh air; a unique shop with a marvelous aesthetic.” Head to La Bohème’s Facebook Wall and you’ll see love notes from past shoppers whose words suggest they are both clothes-savvy and worldly. Indeed, La Bohème is a women’s clothing store for those in-the-know: about fabrics, history, cultures and style. More than just a women’s clothing store, this boutique also carries antique silver jewelry; Nigerian indigo-dyed bags; delicate cottons; handmade paper and hats by Albertus Swanepoel –the diverse mix is satisfying for the senses and the sensibilities.
Owner Margaret Beattie takes pride in stocking items that are ethically and sustainably sourced and made by artisans impassioned about their work. Her commitment to excellence and fair-dealing dovetails powerfully with that of her suppliers. Their shared perspective creates mutually supportive bonds and unique opportunities. The tiny shop has hosted trunk shows with the likes of Christina Kim of Dosa and Gasali Onireke Adeyemo, who teaches traditional Yoruba batik and Adire (tie dye) around the country.
Margaret also has an outstanding collection of antique and contemporary Navajo and Pueblo jewelry. Many of the pieces were purchased Margaret’s mother-in-law, the artist Teal McKibben. McKibben originally sold art and jewelry in the same locale, then named La Bodega.
Margaret’s product knowledge is deep and her vision is strong. Perhaps because of this, scouts from other women’s clothing stores have slipped into the store, casually querying about her sources and connections. But true individuality is self-renewing. You might find some of these items elsewhere about town, but you won’t find them all, nor will you have Margaret, guiding you with back stories and a collector’s eye for the exquisite.
Running the show alone means that Margaret is occasionally pulled in two directions. While regular hours are 11:00 -5:30, it’s best to call ahead to ensure the shop is open during scheduled hours.
Awesome sunsets, giant cultural heritage, 300+ days of sunshine and miles of art makes Santa Fe a perennial favorite on lists of Best Places to Live and Retire. The most recent accolades come from CBS MoneyWatch. The Ten Best Places to Retire talks up our abundant and accessible outdoor recreation, the iconic Opera house and the wide-range of outlets to exercise the mind and feed the spirit. No mention of our fabulous food or the myriad of locally grown or flavored creative wonders (Caldera Gallery, Wise Fool, Meow Wolf, Axle Contemporary. Or the tireless, Behind-the-Scenes activists for artistic expansion (The After Hours Alliance, Red Cell, Joseph SantaFe Pulse. But that’s just more for newcomers to discover.
“All those amenities will cost you: $380,000 is the median home price,” concludes
Dining Santa Fe: Andiamo. Authentic in taste, if a bit upscale for the term “Trattoria,” Andiamo reminds me of dining in Italy for its quality of ingredients, smooth composition, and generous hospitality. An intersection of passion, pride, and joyous good humor prevails, whether the restaurant is packed or building steam. Credit the caring staff for upholding the feeling. Credit the cook for putting together knockout culinary combinations.
The acme of appetizers is the Crispy Polenta: a Rumba of taste and texture– at once crispy, creamy, savory and sweet. My ten year old niece ate it with gusto as has every adult I know who’s put a fork into its luscious appeal. The Parma Prosciutto + Belgian Endive is a tastebud-zinging balance of mildly bitter, fruity and salty flavors. For the main course, I love the Penne with House-Made Lamb Sausage, the Chicken Marsala with its earthy porcini side, and the Seafood Linguini. I am less wowed by the Pizzas (for those, I head to Farina, in Albuquerque. More on that in another post).
While I am not much of a dessert fan, I find the pots de crème irresistible, to a giddy, sybaritic, self-embarrassing degree. This Chocolatey Custard is rich enough to split, luxurious enough to make any meal a Valentine. My younger relatives favor the Profiteroles (puff pastries, ice cream AND chocolate sauce.) I hear the Pannacotta is excellent. Skip the unremarkable cookies.
A comparatively low-cost way to check out Andiamo is during its weekday Happy Hour. Select glasses of wine and appetizers are offered at reduced prices. Sip, sample, and you won’t be able to resist returning.
Arguably “Santa Fe’s Best Italian,” Andiamo has snagged 1st place honors for four years running in The Santa Fe Reporter’s Best of Santa Fe annual poll (2008-2011.) Its fans are loyal and happy.
Andatene: Go. Eat. Enjoy.
Located at 322 Garfield Street, in the Railyard District, an easy walk from The Plaza, Andiamo is open for Lunch from 11-2 and from 5:00 PM for Dinner. Some items are available partially-cooked, to be completed and enjoyed at home. Catering is also available. Tel: 505.995.9595
Leave it to Santa Fe to build a recreational center that is an icon to Santa Fe values. The Genoveva Chavez Community Center (GCCC) is at once an art piece of exquisite design, a testament to environmental sensitivity, and a supporter and champion of community. The Center includes an aquatic complex, gymnasium, fitness center, track, skating rink, community, class and conference rooms. The space is vast, clean and slightly awe-inspiring.
The GCCC was designed by Mazria, Inc., an internationally respected leader in the field of environmental design. In keeping with Santa Fe’s commitment to resource conservation, the Mazria team incorporated passive solar heating, passive cooling, water conservation and water harvesting strategies into the building design. Energy use is further reduced through Daylighting: placing windows, clerestories and skylights to make the most effective use of natural light and minimize the amount of artificial lighting needed.
The first time I took my daughter there to swim, some five years ago, I found the pool area dark. Much as I dislike florescent lighting, I’m accustomed to its hard, bright illumination. But over the hour, I came to love the soft ambiance.
The Chavez Center design is a sturdy marriage of form and function, execution and intent. A multi-level atrium visually connect the Center’s major spaces –Aquatic Center, Gym and Ice Arena. The treadmills overlook the 50 meter pool; the elliptical machines are hard by the track, itself situated to capitalize on stunning shots of the Sangres. While other gyms have TVs poised above their machinery, I’ll take the unpredictable and ever-changing vista of real people any day. As I cycle my way up “hills” of resistance, I get sucked into the world on the ice rink: the graceful spins and leaps of figure skaters and the heart-charming earnestness of the Pee Wee Hockey team. Nothing soars my heart and humor like a line of equipment-swathed squirts simultaneously hurling themselves onto the ice for practice falls.
Membership is a steal: $369.00 annually for an individual, $551.00 for a couple –less if you sign up during this month’s 20% off drive. Carpe sanitas!