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It marked one of the bigger losses to our food community last year when Chef Arthur Gonzalez, the man behind Panxa, The Hideaway, Roe, and more, died in his second home of Castle Rock, Colorado.

And with the strength of a true badass, his wife Vanessa has taken over operations.

“There is no question that every corner and inch of this space has Art’s touch—and the family he has built here at Panxa has, in extension, become my family which is why we are so honored to remember his spirit,” Vanessa said. “It is also a reminder that Panxa is alive and thriving thanks to the amazing community that has continually supported it.”

Vanessa’s ability to hold onto and manage the space is something not only worth acknowledging but outright praising: She is protecting the way in which Gonzalez blended his own heritages—half German, half Oaxacan—into his New Mexican experiences of cooking under Chef Eric DiStefano’s touted restaurant Geronimo. And it is nothing short of great if you take the time to understand what it is they're doing at Panxa.

There are words there you’ll likely have a conception of—enchiladas, ceviche, albondingas—but they come from Gonzalez in a way that is distinctly New Mexican and distinctly not the Mexican so many Southern Californians are used to.

Photos and written by Brian Addison