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Santa Fe

Santa Fe

Hola New Mexico!

Hola New Mexico!

Something miraculous happened last week – 5 days with no performances at the VPAC!  Hence – let’s get out of town.  Last Tuesday  we decided to go on a last minute Valentine’s getaway to Santa Fe!  It’s only about 5 hours south of here.  It’s “warm” (anything in the double digits is considered warm at this point), I’d never been, and it sounded fun.  So we went!  And it was FABULOUS.  We had a ball.  It was just 3 days of eating amazing New Mexican food and tapas, drinking sangria and margaritas, looking at art, shopping for turquoise, visiting museums, and making John take pics of me standing in front on doors.

The drive started in a bit of a blizzard but soon cleared up as we made our way south.  We drove through rural middle of nowhere Colorado until we finally hit New Mexcio.

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Taos was our first stop.  We contemplated skiing and had all of our gear, but decided to forgo a ski afternoon and get to Santa Fe.  We had a lovely lunch at Orlando’s New Mexican Café which was a great intro to the food ahead.  We shared a chile relleno and some guac and salsa.  I even had avocado pie for dessert.  It was like key lime pie but with an avocado-smooth texture.  John was traumatized; I loved it.

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We made it to Santa Fe after cruising past 100000 Indian casinos and found our hotel.  It was by no means the Ritz but it was buy 2 nights get one free and had free wifi.  It was about a 10 minute walk downtown to the Plaza etc.  We headed there and found a wonderful area full of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries, etc.  Loves it.

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It being Valentine’s Day, we were on the hunt for a great dinner spot and we scored the 2 last seats at the bar at El Meson, a tapas restaurant right off the plaza.  I love me some tapas and some Spanish food (excluding anything my host family in Valencia tried to feed us.  That doesn’t count.)  We shared lots of tapas including friend artichoke hearts stuffed with goat cheese, lamb brochettes, scallops, and ate a delicious chocolate dessert.  They even brought us chocolate covered strawberries with our check.  It was a perfect way to start our time in Santa Fe.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

The next day started with high-class motel breakfast.  John loves making hotel waffles.  Then we headed back to plaza to explore some more.  We started at the Georgia O’Keeffe museum which was exhibiting its first day of an Annie Leibowitz traveling show called “Pilgrimage” where she photographed different famous people’s personal items.  Think Freud’s couch, O’Keeffe’s pastels, the other John Muir’s plant collection, etc.  We took the docent tour (so sophisticated) and learned all about O’Keeffe’s life and love of New Mexico.  It made the experience quite profound.  Then it was time to eat again.

O'Keeffe

Georgi O’Keeffe

I got a recommendation to eat at Santa Café and am so glad we did!  It’s a bit hidden but worth the hunt.  I drank a pomegranate marg and ate a plate of tamales, chiles, and enchiladas.  But dessert was the star!  Coffee Ice Cream w/ Piñon Crisp & Cajeta Caramel.  It was so good.  Wow.  I don’t really know what a pinon crisp is but I recommend you find one and try it.

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Pinon Crisp

Santa Cafe

Santa Cafe

Friday evenings in Santa Fe are spent walking Canyon Road, home to 100 art galleries and studios in a mile-long stretch.  Galleries stay open late on Fridays for people to pop in, enjoy a glass of wine, and see what new art has appeared this week.  We were there in somewhat of an off-season, so not too much was going on but we did find a few galleries with open doors and free booze.

Canyon Road

Canyon Road

We also got a recommendation for dinner from some friends.  I’m glad I made the reservation bc this place was JUMPING.  It’s the place to be. Café Pasqual.  No trip to Santa Fe is complete without it.  During the day they serve breakfast til 3 PM and people line up outside to wait for a table in this small, quirky restaurant.  They do accept dinner reservations, but be flexible!  Our 8:30 reservation had us seated closer to 9.  We started with Napo’s Papusa : a Griddled Golden Corn Masa Cake with Zucchini, Corn, Jack and Green Chile with Roasted Tomato-Jalapeño Salsa and an Escabeche of Cabbage, Carrot, and Beets.  We devoured it.  Then we shared the Plato Supremo which had an Anaheim Chile Relleno, and a Mole Enchilada with Organic Chicken and a Tamale.  We were stuffed.  And we missed the last hotel shuttle so we sauntered back to our hotel somehow after many libations and too much food.

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Fun fact: In New Mexico, they cover just about everything with red or green chile.  Or you can get both by saying you want “Christmas”!

Saturday morning we went to the Farmer’s Market in the up and coming Railyard area.  We perused the vendors, bought some tamales, and went outside to watch local musicians.  We had a late lunch at La Boca, a hot tapas place that’s won a handful of James Beard Awards.  It, like most restaurants in Santa Fe, is tiny – only seating maybe 50 guests.  We shared great tapas – grilled artichokes with mint, truffle fries, a mushroom bruschetta with cream sauce and a poached egg on top.  And the best part may have been the blood orange sangria.  Divine.

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We did our final lap around the plaza.  I caved and bought a vest made of a Pendleton blanket.  And a turquoise ring and some earrings.  I look like such a blonde New Mexican! (Prime example of photos I made John take of myself).

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For our last evening in Santa Fe, we were a bit overfed by tamales, etc. so John granted me the pleasure of accompanying me to a salad restaurant called Vinaigrette.  I think this was my favorite.  It’s in a a small, modern house near our hotel. The menu is about 20 different salads that you can man-up with duck confit, steak, chicken, etc.  I had a pear salad with duck and John a grilled Cesar with steak.  It was so refreshing!  They grow all their own produce in Nambe outside of town.  After 3 days of fried chile rellenos, it may have been the best salad ever.  And they serve drinks in Mason jars.  Sold.

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There was a Whole Foods next to our hotel.  We had resisted it this whole time, but finally caved and went and bought lots of little desserts to take back to our hotel.  Sometimes, you just can’t beat the Whole Foods.

Something special about John/Char road trips is that the best parts are usually the drives there and back.  We’ve done some major driving in our time together to the South and back from Vail.  The drive home, we took a different route to go up through western New Mexico and it was so worth the extra 2 hours.  I felt like I was in Northern Argentina!  Beautiful red rock cliffs, blue skies, sparse green.  We stopped to take pics like a 100 times.  And John figured out the camera timer so we got some couple’s pics!  We walked around Ghost Ranch and just pulled over anytime we saw a good view.

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Now we’re back!  It’s President’s Day week here which is a major week for vacationers, so we’ve got 6 shows at the VPAC to entertain the resort guests.  I’ll be thinking about Santa Fe as I sit in the box office selling tickets to “Dogs Gone Wild”….

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John’s favorite bumper sticker.

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Manly Musicals and a NOLA Reunion

The past 2 weeks have been insane in the best way possible. I overcame the stomach bug that John so graciously gave me.  I lost like 6 pounds in a day.  Take that new year’s resolution!   Once I could function again,  I finally went to see Les Mis.  We have one of those fabulous movie theaters where you sit in big comfy chairs and can order booze.  I love it.  It makes going to normal movie theater seem so taxing.  (Cinebistro Vail – check it out if you are ever in town).  John accompanied me because I bribed him with dinner at Montauk before.   It was delicious as always.  The movie was great.  I loved it.  He liked it.  Success.  It was kind of long but you can’t really rush the French Revolution.   I had previously seen Les Miz on our tour de Europe collge trip with an EF Tours backpack.  We all enjoyed the 18 drinking age before the show that none of really paid any attention until we realized at intermission that a guy from S Club 7 was in the show.  Then we were enraptured by it.

This guy played Marius.  Could you blame us?  He really got our attention.

The next day John and I went to Denver to see War Horse.  He gave me a gift certif to the Denver Center and I thought this would be a good manly war musical he might enjoy (although he had no complaints about Wicked either…).  It was amazing.  They have these life size horse “puppets” on stage that are so life-like you think they’re real!  The story was a bit depressing but it’s easy to overlook because the horses are so cool!  John approved, but I think he’s hit his musical allotment for the year and it’s only January.

3 people operate one horse.  It even breathes!

I dropped John off at the airport for him to fly south for a manly hunting expedition to wipe out the artsy culture I had bestowed upon him and came back to Vail for one of the most high profile VPAC shows we’re ever done – Sit Down Comedy with Robin Williams and David Steinberg.  Tickets were a whopping $225 bucks but we sold it out!  I’m not familiar with Robin Williams beyond classics like Jumanji, Aladdin, and Mrs. Doubtfire, but apparently his stand up is notoriously inappropriate.  And omg yes it is.  It was like watching the Genie talk about Porn and boobs.  Kind of disturbing.  Like, realllllly disturbing.

They’re not the same.

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John in the Delta while I’m in NOLA drinking martinis. If it flies, it dies.  He brought back a cooler of dead animals.  I brought back a new wardrobe from J Crew.

 

The next morning I boarded the 7 am flight from Eagle County Airport.  I was parked, through security, and at my gate in 7 minutes.  It’s the best airport in the world!  Free parking too.

I flew to New Orleans via DWF and was picked up by Will.  I was his hot date for Maggie’s wedding.  She lived with Will in Charleston in college and a bit after.  She’s from BR and is fabulous and this wedding was SUPER fabulous!  I got see to see lots of Will’s Charleston friends whom I’ve gotten to know through the years.  The wedding was at The Elms on St. Charles.  We had a blast.  We stayed in the Quarter in an apartment above the Napoleon House (Thanks to Mary T!).

The Elms

Photo: Happy happy

Photo: Hand grenades!!!!!

Jess’s and Chip’s first hand grenade

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They had a guy painting the reception.  How great woudl it be to have this in your house?

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Then Brucie came down on Sunday.  We checked into the Windsor Court and spent 3 days shopping, ordering room service, going to the spa, and eating.  It was paradise.   And it was so warm!!!!!!!!  More to come on Char/Brucie Nola Paradise.  Until then, enjoy the day!  It’s snow like woah here.

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Last Night’s Showdown

And no, I do not mean that pitiful excuse for a National Championship football game.  I know just about nothing when it comes to football (other than what I learned from Coach Taylor on Friday Night Lights), and even I can say – something is clearly not working with this whole BCS stuff.  Boring.  But it did allow us to switch to much more exciting TV at halftime!

I’m talking about the real competition and battle of the best – the Bachelor.  That’s right we are back with season 17.  17!  (Can you believe it?  It feels like just yesterday Brucie and I were watching ole Alex Michelle pick that younger tramp over Trista!)  The past few seasons have been a bit bleh for my taste.  Pretty much all quality has vanished since Andrew Firestone’s season.   (He didn’t find love then, but I think he married some Yugoslavian model, so he’s probably feeling ok.)

This year we are continuing the horrid tradition of picking one of last season’s rejects to serve as the Bachelor.  Are there seriously no other single people in America?  His name is Sean.  He’s from Dallas (I predict some sort of suburb).  He clearly lifts weights/sells insurance for a living.  His buzz factor is that he’s very “family oriented”.  Yeah, we’ll see about that come fantasy suite time.  I’m sure mom and dad will be thrilled with the hot tub situations that we know ABC will stage to show of Abs.  (That’s what I’m calling Sean from now on.)

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So Abs is back and still kind of sad that Emily picked Skinny Tie (Jef one F).  I would too… That has to be a confidence blow.  Abs must have been so confused bc obviously, he has WAY better abs than Skinny Tie.  Abs must at least like Skinny Tie’s style though because he is full on rocking the v neck t, skinny, tie look.  He looked like the Hulk in that green shirt.

The 25 girls were pretty par for the course.  I remember watching this back in my youth and aspiring to be like these girls!  They had cool obscure job titles like Administrative Coordinator and Marketing Assistant.  Now it’s all Jumbo-tron Operator and Professional Organizer.  They wore lots of sparkles.  Like Taylor Swift had a garage sale and all the new contestants went.

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There were some major fails in the intro.  I for one can’t imagine what I would do if I had to get out of that limo, get in line, and then dazzle Abs with some witty yet sweet one liner.  (All those girls should have just covered themselves in healing crystals though, bc he was all about some “good energy”).  One girl tried to tumble.  She succeeded about like I did at cheerleader tryouts freshman year.  (Poor Brucie and Steve spent like 10,000 dollars at River City gymnastics on ULM cheerleaders trying to teach me to tumble – it was never going to happen).  She face planted.  I know the feeling.  But Robyn (Age: 24
Occupation: Oilfield Account Manager Hometown: Houston, TX) got right on up, dusted off her sequins and totally got a rose later!  You go girl.

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One of my favorite parts of every Bachelor  season premier is how at a certain part in the show, most every girl goes from excited and nervous to straight up HAMMERED.  I understand – I read the blogs.  The opening night party lasts like 10 hours.  Even if you have one drink an hour, you’re done.   And think how much champagne you’d drink while getting ready for your big reality TV debut!  Just listen to the way they start melting down in their one on ones.  They literally sound like drunk 18 year olds home from their first swap and the C Store is closed.  It’s awesome.

Abs spiced it up by giving out roses throughout the evening.  It was like – “hey girl in sequins – come sit on this outdoor furniture.  I’m going to interview you.  If you win, you get a rose!”  And if you don’t, NBD, we still have some leftovers for round 2 later.

Abs chose a sparkly bunch.  Can’t wait for next week.  Apparently Tierra who got the first rose due to her “great energy” turns into a major crazy.  Bad energy!  Oh no!

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  Things have been very busy here in Beaver Creek.  One of the drawbacks of working in a resort community is that holidays are your busiest times of year.  Imagine a good time for you to go on vacation.  That’s when we’re slammed.  Hence, one must work on Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Labor Day, etc.  This was my second Christmas away from home and I must say, it went much better than last year.  We’ve had great shows at the VPAC including Michael Bolton (cheesy), Clay Aiken (cheesier), acrobats, animal tricks, Linda Eder, Beach Boys, Beatles tribute band, and a Michael Jackson cover band.  I think the best part was when the Beach Boys (minus Brian Wilson) came out on stage and said, “Hey Beaver Creek!  We’re still alive!!!!”  It was awesome.

Christmas was also fun because dear Brucie bought out every online site she could and sent me tons of gifts.  The UPS guy who delivers to the VPAC came in every day and would declare “More for Ms. Mintz!”  My co-workers who all are older than me and less into the holidays think we’re insane and probably that I still believe in Santa (I pick Brucie over Santa any day).

We continued the tradition of our Best Friend Christmas gift exchange.  While we’re all not in Funroe, we did a Google hangout chat with Jan in Cali, Will and MKB in Funroe, and me here in Vail.

My old side kick Katie also came out for Christmas which made things much less lonely, especially since John went home to be with his fam in ATL for a week.  Katie skied for the first time and did fabulous!  It was so good to see her and Tyler.

The only Christmas meltdown I had this year (huge improvement over last year…) was at church on Christmas Eve.  Growing up we always went to church at Grace on Christmas Eve and sat with the Breards and told Graves to go forward for this children’s’ sermon, etc.  A great tradition!  I’ve found  a church here in Vail that we frequent (powder days sometimes get in the way).  It’s lots of young families and second home owners, etc.  On Christmas Eve they do like 10 services all over town for all the tourists.  They do one service for the locals early afternoon with a kid Christmas Pageant etc.  I had to work that night so I could only make the afternoon service.  It was dumping snow, I was running late, and I couldn’t find a parking space anywhere!  I eventually had to park a mile down the road and hitch a ride in.  Of course, all I’m thinking is “John could have fixed this!!!! He would have created some fake but acceptable parking place for us or dropped me off!!!” And the melt down begins.

I pull it together (kind of) and go into the church which I swear had 500 people in it.  I’ve never seen such a crowd.  They set up chairs in the lobby with a live stream TV feed so you could watch.  Hell no I wasn’t watching church on tv.  This is when I would have peaced out, but remember – my car is a mile down the highway and I have to wait on my shuttle til after church.   So I go in and stand in the corner in front of the kids dressed as sheep and wise men, and try to be as out-of-the-way as possible.  I was so invisible that no one even talked to me during the Peace!  The kids were precious.  The wise men did a rap song.  It was great, expect it was all families and I was like a creepy predator in the corner all by myself.  After church, one of our VPAC volunteers spotted me and came up to say hi.  He was definitely going in for a hand shake or a shoulder pat and I was so starved for a human Christmas connection that I hugged him.  Full on hug.  To this 70-year-old man I barely know.  It was a low point.  Things rebounded with a great late night Christmas dinner with my roommates (they all had to work too).  Then Christmas morning, Brucie and I facetimed before I went off to work.  We had 2 shows of the Golden Dragon Acrobats.  Nothing says “Merry Christmas!’ like a bunch of tiny Asians climbing on top of each other.

So that’s what Christmas was like here in Colorado!  We had a fun work party, went to the hospital fundraiser, and skied a bit.  I also watched the entire first season of Newsroom.  Amazing.

Illustrations of the past few weeks:

Michael BoltonThat’s Michael Bolton singing “When a Man Loves a Woman” in the aisle.  Women 50+ swooned.

image_1Tickets weren’t selling well so we had to do some creative marketing.  This life-size cut out was on the mountain all day for skiers to pose with.

image_2I bought these plaid holiday pants on a whim at j crew.  And I wore them 3 times in the past 2 weeks.  Validated!

imageUncle John at home in Atlanta.  He must have had his mother following him around to take pictures of him reading to the kids because he sent me tons of these.

image_3Krazy Katie the KD skis!

image_4Katie and Tyler at Bol Christmas night.  Bowling with martinis is how I like to spend my Christmas for sure.

image_5BFF Christmas via Google.

image_6John, so excited to be in a tux.

image_7Vail Valley Medical Center’s Holiday Dinner and Dance.

image_8New Year’s Eve at about 10:30.  John’s asleep.  I woke him up at midnight.  We went to dinner at Up the Creek and then came home.  We’re so edgy.

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I’m back!

I certainly cannot give up my reign as the best Mintz blogger!  While Ben may preach about Widespread Panic and running, I can give you tid bits about life in the mountains and working in the performing arts.  Hard to believe when last I updated this thing, I was living in New Orleans, below sea level, and studying Arts Admin.  Now I live in the mountains (8100 feet above sea level) and have an almost real job (benefits please) in one of the best venues in the USA. 

I came here in January of 2011 to do an internship that turned into a job.  I work at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.  We are located right under the ice skating rink and 3 escalators away from the base of the mountain.  The theater is small, holding about 530 people seated.  We get huge fabulous names though, despite being so small.  The tickets will set you back a pretty penny, but it’s so worth it to see a great artist in such an intimate space.  If you do the math, it makes sense.  You can go to the Pepsi Center with thousands of other people and pay $50 to see a band or pay $150 and see them in a small venue.  It’s a whole other experience!  Since I’ve been here we’ve had 6 Broadway touring shows, Sheryl Crow, Randy Travis, Pilobolus, magicians, jam bands, cirque shows, and much more including Puppet Pet Comedy.  This summer we even have a Beatle!  Ringo Starr will be here July 10.  Doesn’t get much better than that ) I’ve given up on thinking Britney Spears or anything like her will ever darken the door). 

You can check out VilarPAC.org to see what’s going on here. 

I work in the box office and as the assistant to the theater director.  It’s lots of time on the computer, marketing projects, rental invoices, and mainly managing our ticketing system.  Everyday’s a little different which is wonderful.  We’re also part of a bigger non-profit, the Vail Valley Foundation, which does so many tings including ski races, concerts, education, and awesome events like the Teva games.  Being a VVF employee has great perks as now I’ve gotten toe experience so much more than just the Vilar by working for them.  I still know close to nothing about ski racing, but it’s fun to watch!  We’ll even be hosting the 2015 world championship races.

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Glee Back When

Read my latest post on nola.com!

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What I Did on My Summer Vacay

Summer 2010 was pretty phenom.  New Orleans is hot in the summer.  Go figure.  But I didn’t melt or anything.  I ate tons of sno-balls and tried out nearly every sno-ball stand in New Orleans (My fav is sno wizard on Magazine.  Best pink lemonade sno-ball for sure).

It was a bit odd being here during summer without Caroline (studying in China), Ben (Vegas vacation), and Jim (back home for the summer) but I still managed to have a fab time.  I took a class during June that was actually really hard and I spent lots of time studying.  Then I worked all of July at the Contemporary Arts Center’s Summer Arts Camp.  It was no Camp DeSoto, but I really enjoyed it.  I was the behind the scenes paperwork girl.  Lots of book keeping, phoning parents, ordering supplies, and hanging out with kids who threw up or had an accident.  I got to carry around a walkie talkie.  I basically lived at the CAC for 4 weeks, but I made some nice money which was a fun change.

Intermixed through the summer were many a trip.  I went to Colorado twice and am now basically a pro fly fisher girl.  I went to 3 weddings (1 Monroe, 2 Oxford).  I spent Memorial Day (Oh the goat roast), the 4th, and Labor Day at Lake Washington.  I also trekked across the southeast with Mari Kath to Charleston to see Will for a while.  Basically, I lived in the front seat of Mari Kath’s Tahoe (aka the Polar Bear) for many hours.  I also learned to drive the boat!

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