Laura Crucet Cooks Up Elevated Cuisine On “The Hill”

Travelers often trek to Los Alamos to explore Bandelier National Monument or to tour the Manhattan Project, especially of late if they’re fans of the movie Oppenheimer. But there’s another reason to head to “The Hill” and that’s to savor fantastic fare at a trio of restaurants owned by Chef Laura Crucet with a passion for pastry and gourmet comfort food.

Laura Crucet already had a flourishing culinary career when she moved to Los Alamos in 2009 with a degree from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and experience at Houston’s acclaimed Rainbow Lodge. At first, she took a break to spend time with her two young children, but the heat of the kitchen lured her back. “I started working with a friend who had a little coffee shop in White Rock,” Crucet says. “She found out she was pregnant with baby number five, so she sold me the coffee shop and I expanded it into Pig + Fig, which opened in 2016.”

A tortilla is stuffed with grilled and seasoned shredded chicken spilling out on to a white plate.

A Pork Paradise 

Thanks to winning dishes like shrimp po’boy, a Cuban sandwich piled with pork and honey-cured ham, and a luscious lemon tart, Pig + Fig is a hot spot. Crucet’s favorite dish is a bestseller: Panko-crusted Pork Schnitzel topped with arugula and a caper-white-wine butter sauce. “It was only supposed to be served in the winter but it kind of ran away and developed a cult following,” she says.

Sweet and Energizing

In December, Crucet opened Sugar & Cream Cafe in Los Alamos, serving croissants, quiche, and tantalizing treats like dulce de leche tarts, along with premium coffee. “The pastries are just flying off the shelves,” she says.

Three croissants with a nut topping sit on a white square plate.

The Latest in Fine Dining

This spring, Crucet opened Beef & Leaf in Los Alamos, offering seasonal fine-dining with an elegant ambiance. “One of the dishes I’m most excited about for our first menu is Spanish mussels, featuring black mussels sautéed with Spanish chorizo, in a white-wine-saffron-garlic butter,” says Crucet. She’s excited to expand not only her business, but the joy she finds in sharing good food with others. “I hope that after a visit, more than a guest’s belly is full. I hope that they’ve tried something new or felt something new that was inspired by their meal or by the experience.”

Story by Lynn Cline / Photos Courtesy of Laura Crucet

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