Celebrating Friendmas

Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m not much of a holiday-season guy. I get a bit overwhelmed by all the obligations and all the stuff. As a small business owner, I’ve had years where I’ve felt obliged to go to dozens of parties at peak season: – clients, friends, client-friends. It all blurs together. Don’t get me wrong: I love my clients and friends, and I love a good party.! I even love some of the stuff. Who doesn’t take some joy from the lights brightening up the short days and a sweet, well-conceived gift (given or received). But by the end of a busy year, I’m mostly looking for downtime. I know some of my friends feel the same way.

Nothing’s More Relaxing Than Friendship

So, imagine a doctor, a retail store manager, a non-profit guru, and me all looking for a quiet (and maybe fun) evening to release the year-end stresses. Enter our dear friend Molly, – the gorgeous tennis-playing, interior-designing, dog-loving friend with the most welcoming sanctuary of a house.

Molly is the super-mom empty-nester who now adopts rescue dogs and has an open-door policy for all her friends. She’s got a wonderfully eclectic chosen family that we’re thrilled to be a part. Out of the blue one day, she telephones: Come escape to my place for a bit. Have a drink, relax. Our friends at Tesuque Village Market just down the street can help us out.

Forming the Table

The good folks at TVM know how to make a killer drink. Mike and Reeve (who doubles as an accountant at Ten Thousand Waves spa) arrive with all the fixings for an amazing prickly pear margarita, the color luscious, and the tequila out of this world. Let’s just say after one of those and some crazy-good guacamole, any and all holiday blues quickly turned a bright shade of pink.

With the help of Kitty Solon and Foraged Santa Fe, Molly has turned her cozy Tuscan cocoon of a dining room into a fine spot for a winter party. Mike’s young Spanish wizard of a chef, David Martinez, begins to fill the air with scents of his excellent food. Molly ferrets out some good reds in the wine cellar. All at once– because this the kind of party that is a refuge from all other parties, and everything else as well, we only have eyes and ears for each other. Which is the best feeling ever.

We all sit down to Chef David’s gorgeous dinner of lamb chops smothered in a rich, spicy New Mexico red chile sauce. One of my favorite Mexican/New Mexican dishes accompanies the lamb: traditional calabacitas, a lively medley of the best cold-weather veggies.

Easy Talking

The conversation runs the gamut from a quick burst of work talk that we needed to get out of our systems, to a strangely nostalgic recollection of the worst days of the pandemic. Because this house also served us in those years as a refuge for our pod of folks, I celebrated my 50th birthday here. We moved on to joyous updates about families and friends and dream vacations. And, naturally, we talk about food, especially the spicy food in front of us.

We cool off our palates with a sumptuous tres leches cake for dessert. The TVM crew went out of their way to make it jaw-dropping as well as delicious, and we all feeling rather, shall we say festive, as we contemplated retiring to the living room for a bit more tequila, – this time without the pink stuff. The conversation is a bit of a haze from here on out and some of it might not be fit for sharing. But the glorious and relaxing year-end celebration lingers on in the mind, making sometimes- Grinch-like me wonder if I might not, after all, be a holiday season guy.

Story by Alex Hanna / Photography by Tira Howard / Styling by Kitty Solon / Food by Tesuque Village Market / “Sacred Bird” Dinnerware courtesy of Mottahedeh

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