When recalling how his Yiayia—or grandmother—taught him to make baklava, the eldest brother of the Nicolopoulos family remembers the way she would painstakingly roll out homemade sheets of phyllo dough onto a clean white sheet. Rolling it thinner and thinner, she would drizzle it with melted butter to keep it soft and moist until finally the delicate dough was so thin her grandson could see right through it to read the words "one hundred percent cotton" on the sheet label beneath. "I didn't realize it then," he says, "but Yiayia was teaching me patience, about quality, and about our heritage."
Fifty years later, that same dedication to quality and heritage permeates the Nicolopoulos' pastry shop, which owes its name to the family's patient matriarch. Each of the shop's dulcet Greek desserts is whipped up using all-natural ingredients—including eggs from free-roaming hens that are cage- and antibiotic-free––and generations-old recipes. To craft rectangles of baklava in true Yiayia Maria style, pastry architects scrupulously hand assemble 30 layers of paper-thin organic phyllo dough, keeping careful eyes out for gusts of wind as they spread a butter-and-nut mixture between each tier. Sweet honey soaks through the pastry structure, seeping into each phyllo wall before the family's signature clove is placed on each piece. Honey also plays a starring role in Yiayia's finikia cookies—which feature hints of cinnamon, clove, and orange in the subtly sweet morsels dusted with walnuts—and tart-like pasta flora butter cookies take a dip in the sweet stuff after being filled with apricot, strawberry, or raspberry preserves.
Almost 30 years ago— well before the trend caught mainstream attention—Beulah Moses seized upon the idea of a health-food store. She populated the aisles of Moses Kountry Health Food Store with holistic medicines, minerals, and healthy foods, a pattern that continues in the 5,000-square-foot shop today. Beulah and her staff address everyday health concerns such as colds, headaches, and joint pain, as well as more specific issues including diabetes and depression, with a range of vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies. Nutrient-rich groceries fill out the shelves with such wholesome edibles as raw nuts and seeds, Amy’s-brand frozen meals, and gluten-free baking supplies.
Back in the '80s, winemaking was just a hobby for artist and wine enthusiast Jim Fish. Today, some of his original hobby casks still serve as a reminder of how far he's come, as they stand surrounded by hundreds of gallons of newer wines. At Anasazi Fields Winery, Fish focuses on table wines made from locally-sourced fruits and berries such as plum, apricot, blackberry, and peach. And despite being fruit wines, they're dry and multi-faceted, a far cry from the sweet varietals some might imagine when they hear fruit wine.
The winery is open throughout the year, beckoning visitors inside for tastes and tours, events, or to buy a bottle, sold on the premises. Orchards and vineyards surround the property, all watered by a spring-fed irrigation system that dates back more 1000 years when Anasazi people farmed the valley.
Anna and Sancho Soeiro operate their Canyon Road café five days a week, serving organic fare largely sourced from local farmers’ markets. Dish n' Spoon Cafe's menu spans soups, salads, and sandwiches (made with chicken-curry salad, for example, or roast beef and horseradish), and caters to the noncarnivorous with veggie burgers and veggie lasagna. The café itself is housed in what was a one-room grocery store for 70 years; after moving in, the Soeiros decided to reflect the welcoming environment and community loyalty it represented in the repurposed space.
Cubbies of knickknacks, sculptures, and other gewgaws and gifts line the walls, creating an atmosphere of cozy, quaint chaos. The faces of frequent customers smile from a Star Wall of pictures, and kids chomp organic PB&J or grilled-cheese sandwiches before running off to play in the restaurant’s special kids’ corner. A Santa Fe Reporter write-up notes some of the café's Santa Fean charms—"quirkily mismatched" plates and silverware, and a patio where patrons can sprinkle sunshine and shredded clouds on their meals.
New Mexican correspondent Rob De Walt describes how, in 2009, Mayor David Coss declared August 14 Dish n’ Spoon Day in honor of the Soeiros’ consistent dedication to volunteer work and community service—they've been involved in historic preservation, the Buckaroo Ball, and a court-appointed advocate program for survivors of juvenile abuse or neglect. Every Monday, Dish n’ Spoon runs on a pay-what-you-can price structure, allowing patrons to live within their means or finally use that stash of leprechaun gold that banks refuse to convert to U.S. dollars.
Pecos Flavors Winery opened fairly recently—in 2004, originally just as a Roswell-based tasting room—but it brims with New Mexico history. The facility's current tasting room, for instance, takes on the identity of a southern New Mexico ranch. Its bar is a century old, plucked from Hondo Valley. Nearby, a statue of Billy the Kid keeps watch, staring grudgingly at anyone who spills their glass.
Befitting its state pride, Pecos has an extensive selection of New Mexican wines. More than 80 different blends of regional wine populate the Pecos collection, including the winery's own varietals grown at a pair of Chaves County vineyards. Pecos offers a number of other New Mexico products, too, such as coffee, sauces, and chocolates, as well as beers gathered from in-state breweries.
Peek across the counter at the shop's resident chocolatiers, who massage creamy loafs of chocolate on sturdy marble slabs daily. For additional culinary theatrics, feel free to cheer on the expert orchard orderlies as they kettle-dip Granny Smiths into caramel-coated creations. Caramel apples range from the classically simple (starting at $5.25) to The Monster Apple, which is rolled in mixed nuts, layered lovingly in milk or dark chocolate, and drizzled in rich white confection with liberal discretion. For additional brain pampering, strip away the core and go straight for the score with freshly fangled fudges ($13.25 per pound).