Valentine’s Newsletter 2018


Happy New Year from all of us at The Turquoise Room.

With this New Year comes hope for rain and snow as we are spoiled by above normal warm and dry weather.

Yesterday I drove up to Durango to pick up the latest harvest of Churro lamb raised by Irene Bannally of Two Grey Hills.

As beautiful a day as it was I could only lament as to how brown everything was all the way into Colorado. Some snow on the lower Rockies but brown on brown was surrounding me at every turn as I crossed the Animas River heading up to Sunnyside.

With Valentines around the corner it’s time to set up some new offerings for that special day and those that follow.

We will run our regular menu on Wednesday February 14th through Sunday the 19th.
So if you cannot drop by during the week there will still be specials available over the weekend. All menus are a la carte so the choices are all yours to enjoy.

Some examples are –

My Sweet Valentine Tamale

Red chile Masa around black beans and corn topped with a sweet shrimp sautéed in a pink chile cream with hearts of palm

Elk Empanada with Quince marmalade

Bison Osso Bucco braised in a Blackberry Barbeque sauce

Lobster filled Ravioli swimming in lobster sauce with shrimp, scallops, crab meat, lobster meat, asparagus and tarragon

Churro Lamb Casablanca Style -simmered in a fragrant broth over Cous Cous with Harissa

Roasted Filet Mignon with a 4 oz. Maine Lobster Tail and Chipotle Béarnaise Sauce

Individual Chocolate cake filled with strawberry mousse and wrapped in ganache. Sitting in a pool of wild strawberry liqueur cream

Creamy New York Cheesecake with raspberry chocolate delight

Coconut Tapioca pudding with Passionfruit Sorbet

Johnny’s cocktail specials are – Chocolate Martini – My Classic Valentine – Strawberry Blonde and The Passion Cocktail.

And lots more of our regular menu dishes to round out the selection.

Looking back at 2017 and reading my last letter leaves me with many mixed feelings and thoughts. So taking up the end of the last letter I hope we all are blessed with good health and that a positive and happy year awaits us as we make our way through life day by day.

Looking ahead I can say this that there are going to be quite a few changes for you to see over your next visit. The transformation of the “Railway Station” is well under way. I have been told the build out should be complete by the end of February. As to when the museum and galleries open, well that you will have to ask Allan.

As to our plans in the restaurant. I cannot say that life here goes on as before because even after 17 years no two years are ever alike.
As a chef one is always faced with the perpetual dilemma of what stays on the menu and what to do that is new and exciting.

Over my many years in the business I find this one of the most challenging aspects of planning menus. I know that many of us, me included will go back to a restaurant thinking about enjoying the same dish as last time!

On the other side of that is when returning and looking forward to experiencing something new only to find – same old same old. Well I certainly hope I can find the balance as that is what I feel it comes down to. Making the tried and true work with the yet to be proven new!

I tend to go with the flow as to what our growers and nature provides us with. Like this past year, when we were gifted with hundreds of pounds of Quince from our three trees to the west of the front door. A brief history of these trees tells us that it is native not to the Southwest but to Southwest Asia. Most notably Armenia, Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.

So how did it end up in Winslow? The popularity of this often misunderstood fruit grew during the middle ages. The Spanish and Portuguese become very fond of it and started to grow them at home as well as transporting them to the conquered lands that we now know as America. We surmise that Mary Colter had these trees planted as they would have been by her fictitious “Don” who lived at La Posada.
Once of the most cherished dishes made by the Spanish and Portuguese is Membrillo. Also referred to as quince cheese or quince paste.

Well after all the years here I finally decided to make some last year and it is now on the menu. I should have enough to last a few months so make sure you sample it. It is truly wonderful served with Manchego cheese. This is Spanish cheese made from sheep’s milk usually from the La Mancha region of Spain. Sadly cheese making with sheep’s milk never did carry through to the Navajos when the Churro showed up here hundreds of years ago. Still come in and enjoy our home grown Quince paste with Manchego cheese. I am sure you will love the combination.

I have also made Quince and Apple pie filling. Quince, raisin and onion chutney as well as a sweet and savory marmalade of Quince, onion and spices. All of these will be on the menus in the coming months.
The supply of lambs is now consistent and dependable. This was not the case a few years ago. So we have made progress. Heritage Foods USA continues to distribute Churro Lamb to the public and commercial outlets across America.

The year ahead is full of promise and I am sure it holds many surprises in store for us. I look forward to what awaits. As we say up here in the high desert. Bring it on we can handle it! We all dance for more rain and snow.

Safe travels, may one of your many journeys bring you to our door where we will greet you and treat you to a memorable experience.

From the front of the house team led by Johnny, Dennis, Tanita and at times Jerod. From the back of the house team Jesus and me we all wish you the very best for 2018.

Thank you again for your continued support. We are so grateful for all we have achieved knowing full well that we could never have arrived here without you!

Well like I say, “Just another day in Paradise”. News from the high desert; living life on the edge and grateful for it at that.

John, Patricia and all of our staff.