Holiday Like A Local: Nessa’s Café

December 6, 2016 raguirre

Nessa’s Café

For nearly 10 years, Vanessa Smith and her fiancée, James Floyd, dreamed of opening a restaurant where they would sell breakfast and lunch items along with Vanessa’s baked goods. They envisioned their restaurant as a hub for customers of all ages, from college students preparing for exams to older folks enjoying retirement. This past February, the couple’s dream became a reality when they opened Nessa’s Café.

“I come from parents who loved cooking and I always loved baking,” says Vanessa. “I worked at The Bean for eight years and fell in love with the coffeehouse/community spot feel. James and I had been planning this for years. We were just waiting for the perfect little charming location. It was meant to be.”

Most days the restaurant opens at 6:30 am, with featured breakfast and lunch specials that change weekly. (One recent special: a pepper flower, made with a fried egg cooked inside a bell pepper ring.) The regular menu includes an assortment of quiches, soups, sandwiches, specialty beverages, baked goods, and of course, fresh brewed coffee.

“It’s fun; people have been enjoying it,” Vanessa notes. “I basically play around with recipes all the time, use fresh ingredients, and try to come up with different ideas you’re not going to find anywhere else. We want to keep it unique and fresh.”

4 Nessa’s Cafe
901 W. Picacho Ave.


Red Chile Cinnamon Pecan Scone

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar, plus a pinch more to coat with
6 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
1 cup chopped pecans or pecan halves
4 Tbsp. red chile powder (hot)
2 Tbsp. cinnamon, plus a pinch more to coat with
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs

2 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/3 cup sugar, plus a pinch more to coat with
6 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
1 cup chopped pecans or pecan halves
4 Tbsp. red chile powder (hot)
2 Tbsp. cinnamon, plus a pinch more to coat with
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 eggs

Apple of Joy

LuAnne Burke’s family has been growing apples for decades. In the late 70s, her father and a few other north valley farmers started Mesilla Valley Apples, selling their harvest to local grocery stores for 10 years before competition from Washington forced them out of business. Thanks to a little TLC from LuAnne’s mom, and years of help from local farmers the Arnold Brothers, the family was able to keep the orchard alive.

Today, LuAnne operates her company, Apple of Joy, selling several sizes of fresh apple pies along with chocolate and caramel covered apples. She has a booth at the Saturday farmers’ market downtown, sells at the orchard, and does deliveries. The family farm is now U-Pick Mesilla Valley Orchard, the only self-pick apple orchard in the valley. From August to September, families from all over the region come to fill their baskets with fresh from the tree Johnathan and Red Delicious Apples.

“Over the years, some new apple tree shoots have started to grow at the base of the trees. They’re so small that even babies can hand pick their own apples,” LuAnne explains. “Plus, we have baskets on poles that go really high up, so it becomes a challenge for our older pickers to see who can get the highest apple.”

LuAnne is working hard to keep this family favorite activity going in the years to come. She’s starting an adopt-a-tree program and accepting donations towards the care and maintenance of one tree. This spring she also hopes to have an apple blossom festival with a fundraising fun run/walk with prizes hidden in the trees and opportunities for volunteers to help “paint” the new blossoms with pollen to ensure a fruitful harvest.

4 Apple of Joy


Pecan Pie with Pecan Apple Rose Tarts

Buy this beautifully inventive pecan pie from Apple of Joy or really impress your guests with your food presentation skills by making it yourself. It’s easier than it looks!

1½ cups Las Cruces grown pecans
Homemade dough for two pies
2 Tbsp. butter
2/3 cup raw sugar
Pinch of Salt
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dark Karo Syrup

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Prepare pie dough and chill in refrigerator
in Ziploc bag.
2. Toast pecans in oven until brown, about 8-10 minutes. Remove
and let cool.
3. Melt butter for pecan pie filling. In a large bowl, mix sugar,
salt, and butter. Add eggs and mix well. Add vanilla extract and
Karo syrup. Mix well.
4. Roll out one of the pie doughs and place in 9-inch pie tin. Place
pecans on top of the dough. Pour pie filling over the pecans.
They will float to the top.
5. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes
out clean. Remove and cool for one hour on a cooling rack.
Pecan Apple Rose Tarts
Leftover pie dough from Pecan Pie
2-3 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans
1-2 apples


Leftover pie dough from Pecan Pie
2-3 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/3 cup pecans
1-2 applesNessa’s Café
1. While pie is baking, slice apples very thinly with peel until
almost translucent. Place on microwave safe dish and microwave
for 1-2 minutes until slices are pliable.
2. Remove remaining dough from refrigerator and roll out. Cut out a
circle and place in a small tart pan or inside a muffin pan.
3. Cover dough with the butter. On top of the butter, spoon a layer of
brown sugar. On top of the brown sugar, add a tsp. of pecans.
4. When apple slices are cool to touch, roll the first apple slice
tightly like a burrito. Take the next slice and wrap around the
burrito shaped slice. Continue to do this until it looks like a
rose. Place on top of the butter-sugar mixture in the middle of
the tart. Add more slices to look like rose petals.
5. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar and a smudge of butter.
Bake at 325° degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and place on top
of cooled apple pie.

Coffeen’s cookbooks

Las Crucen Kelley Coffeen grew up on the southern border of the United States, instilling in her a passion for Mexican cooking and culture. She self-published her first cookbook, Great College Cookbook of the Southwest, in 1993 and landed a guest appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. For 10 years, she hosted a cooking television show in El Paso, which led to the publication of four more cookbooks: Fiesta Mexicali (Northland Publishing, 2002), Simply 7 (Northland Publishing, 2003), 300 Best Taco Recipes (Robert Rose Publishing, 2011), and 200 Easy Mexican Favorites (Robert Rose Publishing, 2013).

Kelley has been under contract with Lisa Ekus, of The Lisa Ekus Group, LLC, since 2001. She is currently working on a Tex-Mex cookbook for the American Diabetic Association. She has collaborated with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, and NMSU to create diabetic-friendly recipes for rural, multi-cultural communities in New Mexico. In 2014, Kelley obtained her Ph.D. from NMSU in educational leadership and administration with a focus in Latino studies.

My Merry Crantini

“This is a slow-sipping cocktail I serve from Thanksgiving to New Year’s,” Kelley explains. “Cranberry and orange flavors, blended with a quality tequila, capture the essence of the season along the border. A splash of fresh citrus adds a zesty finish to this beautiful holiday cocktail.”

Nessa’s Café

2 lime wedges
Superfine Sugar
Cracked ice
1 oz. silver tequila
1 oz. orange-flavored liqueur
(Triple Sec, Cointreau, or
Grand Marnier)
2 oz. diet or low calorie
cranberry juice
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime
1 orange peel twist
1. Rub rim of glass
with a lime wedge.
Dust with sugar.
Shake off
any excess sugar.
2. Fill a shaker half
full with cracked
ice. Pour in tequila,
liqueur, cranberry
juice, and lime
juice. Shake well
and strain into
martini glass and
garnish with
remaining lime
wedge and an
orange peel twist.

Tis The Season

When Laura Romero, owner of Mesilla’s holiday shop Tis the Season, needs a quick holiday dish, she whips up this super simple red and green cake from Kraft Foods. Turn to page 32 to find out how she can help you with all the decorations to match.

Holiday Poke Cake

Nessa’s Café

Fun to make with the whole family
2 baked, 9-inch round white cake layers, cooled (any boxed white cake mix will do)
2 cups boiling water, divided
1 pkg (3 oz.) JELL-O Gelatin, any red flavor
1 pkg (3 oz.) JELL-O Gelatin, lime flavor
1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
¼ cup fresh raspberries
1. Place cakes, top sides up, in clean, 9-inch
round pans. Pierce with large fork at ½-inch
2. Add 1 cup boiling water to each flavor dry
gelatin mix in separate small bowls. Stir 2
minutes until completely dissolved. Pour red
gelatin over 1 cake and lime gelatin over
remaining cake. Refrigerate 3 hours.
3. Dip bottoms of cake pans in arm water for 10
sec. Unmold. Fill and frost cake layers with
COOL WHIP. Refrigerate 1 hour. Top with

The post Holiday Like A Local: Nessa’s Café appeared first on Las Cruces Magazine.

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