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Angel Fire Wine & Wagyu Weekend

We're home from another amazing New Mexico wine festival, the Wine & Wagyu Weekend in picturesque Angel Fire. Here's a taste (hee, hee) of all the fun you missed at the 2018 Wine and Wagyu Weekend. Well, unless you're a Texan, in which case you were surely there. Man, Texans love the New Mexico mountains.

Wine? Check. Hiking? Check. Wildflowers? Check. Wagyu beef?

I think I may have devoured an entire cow.

wine and wagyu angel fire

Below is just a small sample (only 31 photos) of the fun and delicious things you missed if you didn't make it up to Angel Fire, NM this year. I expect to see each and every one of you (yes, you) at Wine & Wagyu, 2019. But first, a little ridiculousness.

When we attended the Taos Summer Wine Festival last weekend, I dragged along an entire suitcase of clothing options. A heavy jacket, light jackets (plural!), hiking boots, sandals, closed-toe shoes, and more. (Much more.) For only one weekend, it was excessive. I will do better in Angel Fire, I vowed. We would be gone one day fewer, so it seemed like an easy goal to achieve.

sad jack russell
 Behold, my "light" packing for the Wine and Wagyu Weekend. My suitcase is expanded! Have I no self-control? And could I not have cleaned it a little before taking this photo?

Also behold Pica, the saddest dog in the world. We left her the previous weekend and she knew we were getting ready to do it again. Pica likes Wagyu too!

Okay. On to the Pica-free fun:

angel fire country club
The Wine & Wagyu Weekend was held at the Angel Fire Country Club. As SN and I are not members of any clubs, country or otherwise, we felt quite prestigious driving up.

angel fire golf course
Not a bad place to spend your Saturday afternoon, eh?

outdoors at the angel fire resort
There were tents and elegantly (and not-so-elegantly) dressed guests.

live music in angel fire nm
There was live country music.

best golf in angel fire
There was golf.

It wasn't quite as good as at Paa-ko Ridge, but acceptable.

wine and wagyu festival review
There was wine.

Now you see what I meant about the golf. Pretty bold (oblivious? obnoxious?) of SN to wear that hat to the Angel Fire Resort golf course, wine or no wine!

Our favorite wine, by the way, was a 2013 red blend from Sonoma called Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut. It was also the favorite of a fellow event attendee/cowboy, who planted himself at that tent and told everyone who came for a taste, in a heavy Texas accent, that it has a beautiful "boo-kay."

angel fire food festival
Best of all, there was food. I'm a bit concerned that my boss may think I've become an alcoholic. You're going to another wine festival, she mentioned on Friday, acting like she was just being casual and making conversation, but not really. It is a wine and food festival. Wine is great, but I will always be in it for the food. SN too.
nm food and wine blogger
Here's me when we arrived at the Wine & Wagyu Weekend.

food and wine blogger albuquerque 
And here's me about 10 minutes in. I'm smiling because of all the food, really.

Don't tell my boss.

Funny enough, on the drive up, SN announced that he was only going to drink beer and not "waste" his calories on wine.

compare calories in wine and beer
Infographic courtesy of

There was lots of beer available (good stuff - made right here in New Mexico), but SN drank only wine. I will never figure that guy out.

a bar n ranch
The main event sponsor was A Bar N Ranch. According to their site, they cross Japanese Wagyu genetics with Texas Black Angus cows, resulting in “American Wagyu" that has optimal marbling, tenderness, flavor and health benefits. Yes, you read that last part right. Health benefits. "Wagyu is intensely marbled with softer fat, it has higher percentages of monounsaturated fats, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and is lower in cholesterol than commodity beef."

I haven't researched their health claims, but I can attest to A Bar N Ranch's beef being especially tender and flavorful. We'd been looking forward to more of their Wagyu sliders since last year's Angel Fire Food & Wine Roundup and were not disappointed.

a bar n ranch burger
Wagyu beef slider with green chile and bacon jam. Bacon jam!

wagyu beef street taco
Wagyu short rib street taco, complete with salsa verde, red cabbage slaw, cotija cheese, and a fresh wedge of lime.

nm food festival review
 Tuna poke with English cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, toasted sesame seeds, and wontons. There's also a seaweed salad, which sounds horrible but was actually delicious. The only seaweed I'd previously had was in the form of those papery, dry sheets of yuckiness.

Don't think A Bar N Ranch forgot all about everyone's favorite food. That crispy ball on the right? It's a fried Wagyu pastrami fritter. I may have eaten 6.

best cookies in angel fire
A nice surprise was that the "Wine Walk" event included New Mexico's state cookie, the biscochito. An even nicer surprise was that the Texans didn't seem interested in sweet treats, so we had them all to ourselves. They may not have known what these are. Tiny frisbees? Fancy coasters?

Poor Texans.  

events in angel fire, new mexico
We'd eaten a lifetime's worth of Wagyu beef and there was an enormous BBQ dinner starting in just a few hours. When it began to rain, we decided to leave the tasting early. We were absurdly full, so we grabbed only a few Wagyu sliders for the road before heading to our hotel in Eagle Nest, NM.

angel fire hippie compound
On the way, we passed the weirdest little multicolor shantytown. Hippie compound, we assume.

Side note: I really did try to figure out what this is. If anyone knows, please send me an email. I Googled "Angel Fire hippie compound" and the results were "Hippy Days - Angelfire," "Christian Hippie OutReach Programs," and "Sex, Drugs, and Soybeans." None seemed to be about this. From a distance, it looked like a carnival.

"It's not a carnival," SN insisted sternly, refusing to turn right.

dining at the angel fire resort
Soon, we waddled back to the Angel Fire Country Club for the Boots, Boogie and BBQ dinner. It was cruel of the Wine & Wagyu organizers to schedule the grand tasting event from 1-4 pm and start the dinner at 6 pm. We were still so stuffed! But there was still so much eating to do! Next year, let's start the tasting at 11 am and the dinner at midnight. Yes, I expect I'd be able to eat again by then, if only a little.

angel fire ballroom
The meal was held in a gorgeous ballroom with a vaulted wood ceiling, grand chandeliers, and sweeping golf course and mountain views. Normally I'm a sucker for anything design-related. All I could think though was I recognize these people. How are they all still eating?! They'd stayed at the Wine Walk even longer than us.

We found seats and a waitress promptly came over. There was a bottle of sweet white wine on our table, which we thought was an unusual pairing decision for a meal focused on red meat. She cheerfully asked if she may open it for us. We said yes, then tried to maintain a serious composure as she unscrewed the twist top.

wine and wagyu dinner menu
The salad was delicious. Still sooo full, that was about all I could eat. Well, except for dessert. You know I would never turn that down. I could eat dessert until I burst, then see a cookie I haven't tried yet and eat that too.

Sadly, this leads me to a Wine & Wagyu grievance. With a smorgasbord of "fruit cobblers and ice cream, assorted pies and bars," there was bound to be some chocolate, right? Right??

i hate pie and fruit is not a dessert
Ack! Nothing but fruit, fruit, and more fruit. Even the bars were lemon. The ice cream? Plain vanilla. (Which I suppose does go best with fruit pie. Fair enough.)

Sitting at our table disappointed, SN motioned to a couple across the room and said, "Look, she has chocolate cake." She did have chocolate cake - a huge slice! I rushed back to the desserts, only to discover that the fruit pies from before had been replaced with...

...more fruit pies.

I trudged back to our table empty handed. Had the woman paid extra to order that chocolate cake? Was it something special for her birthday? (This would actually have been awesome, as it really was SN's birthday. Happy birthday, my love!) I sat down and looked at the woman again, so content with her enormous slice of chocolate cake. Oh, it wasn't cake at all.

It was an enormous slice of Wagyu beef.


hippie compound at night
On our drive back to the hotel, we passed the hippie compound again. Look at it, all lit up and mysterious! The lights are even on the fence post somehow. Is that because I took this photo from the car while driving by? Or is it because of hippie magic?

angel fire farmers market
The next morning, SN and I stopped at the Angel Fire Farmers Market on our way to Wine & Wagyu's Bloody Good Bacon Brunch. It was a great way to start our Sunday. There were locally made goods and a vendor was roasting New Mexico green chile. 

best place to see wildflowers in nm
Across from the farmers' market was the Deer Trailhead. With such a breathtaking setting, we couldn't resist a quick hike.

best nm hiking
Look how happy SN is! He loves to hike. I should have known he would delay my brunch and that he was actually not at all surprised, despite his claims otherwise, when the Deer Trailhead became the Elk Trailhead and so on. A word of warning to my future self: SN's idea of a quick hike is 10 miles.

I love a good hike as much as anyone, but let me have something to eat first. And maybe give me a heads up so I'm not wearing my fancy country club sandals.

angel fire hiking
It was cool to see a deer on the Deer Trailhead.

deer trailhead angel fire
Perhaps she's thinking how cool it is that she saw a person on the Person Trailhead today.

golf in the nm mountains
We eventually made our way back to the Angel Fire Golf Course for brunch.

wine and wagyu brunch menu
Everyone enjoyed the food options, with the exception of the Cauliflower Egg White Bake. It seems Texans don't do egg whites and cauliflower, as I repeatedly saw people pick up the serving spoon, read what they were about to scoop onto their plate, and visibly recoil in horror. I thought the Cauliflower Egg White Bake was tasty, just like when I make it at home. It could have used a little Wagyu beef. I was also looking forward to trying my first-ever Bloody Mary, complete with Angel Fire vodka and Wagyu beef bacon.

Mmmm, Wagyu beef bacon. All my life, I'd thought bacon only came from pigs.

angel fire, nm decor
I filled up a plate with Wagyu roast, a breakfast burrito, green chile cheese grits, and a danish that looked like it contained chocolate but was actually filled with - you guessed it - fruit (aargh!), and had the bartender mix me my very first-ever Bloody Mary.

Oh, it was awful! So salty and tomatoey. Who drinks Bloody Marys? 

Side note: I absolutely love the light fixtures in the photo above. When SN saw them, he loved them too, but said they look like they fell off the back of a landscaping truck. We might love them in different ways.

angel fire bloody mary
The Bloody Mary garnishes were more my thing. See that strip of bacon? It's 100% Wagyu beef. (And 110% delicious!) I changed my drink order to "a mimosa without orange juice." The bartender was a good sport.

In the dining room, we were dismayed to discover that all of the tables at the back were taken and all of the tables at the front were empty due to their proximity to the live music. The performer was fine, but it was insanely loud. Who doesn't love screaming over wall-shaking country music while they enjoy their brunch at the country club? Me, that's who. We went rogue and sat outside on the balcony, where there was a little table with two chairs, as well as a couch.

That's when the trouble started.

outdoor dining in angel fire
You can tell where we were sitting by the abandoned Bloody Mary.

Having set the precedent that we are allowed outside, an older couple (to be fair, everyone at Wine & Wagyu was older) soon joined us. They sat on the couch, which was the only option, and soon began to complain that they were cold. It didn't seem cold to me, but they kept going on and on to each other (or so I thought) about being cold. After a few minutes, they picked up their plates and left in a huff. "They wanted our seats at the fire pit," SN said. "Or at least for you to turn the fire pit on." It had never occurred to me that I could turn the fire pit on. It was just a little table!

The trouble continued. A group of golfers took the exterior steps up to the balcony and tried to casually make their way inside for some free brunch. They were caught and kicked out. I told this to my mom, who has worked at a golf course for many years, and she was not at all surprised. Apparently, golfers are a very sneaky bunch.

Another couple came outside and sat down on the couch. They were friendly and told us they recently moved to Angel Fire from Texas. Things were going well for a few minutes, then the original couple from the couch came back outside. The wife glared at us and at the new couple, clearly upset that SN and I were still there and that her couch, which I guess was not too cold anymore, had been taken. She dragged her husband back inside. Then, she pulled the glass door shut behind her, locking the four of us out.


outdoor activities in the sangre de cristo mountains
Despite a few hiccups, we greatly enjoyed all of the events of the Wine & Wagyu Weekend. Who knew I have a favorite breed of cow? With the Taos Wine Festival the week before and Labor Day the week after, Wine & Wagyu makes for a fun end to our summer adventures. I hope we can make this an annual tradition, even though SN and I did not make any new friends. Our theory is that every guest paid for their ticket with oil money...and here we came in our Chevy Volt.

That and, you know, hogging the fire pit. Oh, and social anxiety! That's a big one.

texans are taking over new mexico
 You thought I was exaggerating when I said it was all Texans, didn't you?