By: judithdisalvo | September 12, 2019

This is an excerpt from an article published in the 2019 Dine+Unwind, the Official Restaaurant Guide for Santa Fe (link below to the full article.) After establishing my relationship with tequila, I tell how the article came about:


Incredibly, it wasn’t until my recent visit to Santa Fe that I stumbled upon what I consider a gastronomical life-changing event. On my first night in town, having just finished a lovely meal at one of my favorite downtown haunts, I was pretty satiated when the dessert menu was placed in front of us.


“I have no room,” I said, feeling a little sleepy. The day of travel and change of altitude was catching up with me. My friend leaned back and rolled her eyes.


The dessert menu sat there, taunting me until my eyes locked on ”cherry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.” I think I swooned. A tart cherry crisp is definitely my favorite and I had not seen or tasted one for an eternity. My friend and I agreed that we had to at least taste it.

“Well, it is my first night back in Santa Fe. I should have a tequila.” I waved down our waitress who quickly suggested a small-batch Mexican blanco. I sipped it, noticing the mineral flavor undertones and a little too much bite at the finish.

When the deep red cherry goodness arrived, I scooped up a big spoonful along with a tiny scoop of melting vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect combination of tart and sweet, warm and cold. I grabbed my snifter and took a sip of tequila and to my complete and utter amazement, everything changed. The spirit tasted totally different, much smoother, and the bite had disappeared. I took another taste of the cobbler. The sweetness was there but it was less tart. I looked at my friend, wide-eyed. She nodded knowingly. We had accidently tripped on something we had never considered before: tequila was really good paired with dessert.

A few days passed when my husband arrived and we decided to attend the “Chile Amor” class at The Santa Fe School of Cooking. Chef Allen Smith was entertaining and knew his way around the kitchen, especially the peppers. Well traveled and trained, he was a walking book of culinary knowledge. As he spoke about cooking with chiles and how to adjust the heat, I was even more fascinated. He explained to us that adding more or fewer peppers wouldn’t control the spiciness but that sugar (brown, honey, agave) and salt could. My brain started clicking and as I stirred my red chile sauce, that creative light bulb went off in my head.

I called my friend and said, “If you can adjust heat from a chile with salt and sugar, why not apply those same principles to tequila and pair them with desserts?”

In the name of culinary science she offered to help my husband and I do more research. We visited several local eateries, talked to numerous enthusi-astic bartenders as we tasted, sipped, and experimented with multiple combinations of tequilas and sweets. We even held our own tasting at home. It was a tough mission but someone had to do it. I went back to Chef Smith’s premise in our cooking class, that if salt and sugar could cool a chile sauce, then maybe the level of sugar in a dessert could balance a tequila and vice versa....

READ FULL ARTICLE in DINE+UNWIND

By: judithdisalvo | March 14, 2017

The latest issue of Virtuoso Life Magazine (March/April 2017) featured me in their “Why I Travel” article. I’m quoted as saying, “It (traveling) teaches me about who I am. Sometimes you need to get a little lost to find yourself.”

Since this is a blog about my writing adventures, I venture to say the quote also applies to the characters I write about. Getting a little lost, then finding their way with help from friends, is a good template for a compelling story. Could the quest to find our way lie in our DNA or maybe our primal brain?

Santa Fe's Baldy Mountain
View of Santa Fe's Baldy Mountain

My last post was about the passing of my mother. For the last half year, she lived here on our farm with Tim and me. Upon her passing, home for me became a sad place and so, for a month or so, I took off on a retreat to a favorite destination, Santa Fe. Returning home recently, it was time to clean mom’s little house and go through her things. Yes, still hard, but the treasures were worth it.

One such treasure is the discovery that she had noted one of my favorite quotes years before I came across it. It’s the most famous from writer Simone de Beauvoir, the opening line in Book II of The Second Sex: “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” So thank you again, June Bug, for raising me in an atmosphere of “becoming” and also inspiring me, and hence my characters, to risk being a little lost.

Springtime is about to bloom on the farm and I am home.

Judith Hennessey, March 2017