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maryland crab

Santa Fe Restaurant recs

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We are off to Santa Fe for a week of food and wine. Have reservations at Geronimo's already. Seems people love it or think it overpriced, but we are going to give it a shot. Looking for other ideas in the much less expensive category.

Have heard that Maria's is a good spot as well as Dave's Not Here. Anyone have thoughts on these or any other ideas. Would like to stay away from the plaza if possible.

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"Pasquale's" for dinner, lunch or breakfast. Sit at the communal table if you can. Also, The Shed. Have a wonderful trip!


KathyM

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Both Leona's and Rancho de Chimayo in Chimayo. Although it's expensive, Coyote Cafe.

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My most recent experience at Coyote Cafe in January was absolutely awful. It used to be good. I can't recommend it now.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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My most recent experience at Coyote Cafe in January was absolutely awful. It used to be good. I can't recommend it now.

Oh, sorry to hear that. docsconz's experience is more recent than mine. It's expensive, so I'd listen to docsconz.:shock:

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I'd definately recommend Guadaloupe Cafe for enchiladas with red AND grreen chile sauce that's not been dumbed down for the touristas...


=Mark

Give a man a fish, he eats for a Day.

Teach a man to fish, he eats for Life.

Teach a man to sell fish, he eats Steak

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The Shed definitely qualifies in the lower priced category, as does a "frito pie" meal on the plaza for $1.50. Although the original vendor in front of the Woolworth's has passed on, others offer this regional treat.

One bag of frito corn chips, sliced down the long side. One ladle of hot chili poured in to the cellophane bag. Topped with shredded cheese and onions. Eat it with a spoon before the bag dissolves, dumping the concoction on your shoes.

If you're headed to Chimayo, stop by the Jumbo burger place at the 84/65 split in Espanola. Good, huge burgers, tortillas, onion rings, etc. There are often vendors across the street selling green and red chile by the pound, comino, etc. Once in Chimayo, there are a number of local weavers in the area, also brass and tin sculptors. Good products, well priced. On three visits, I've found the Rancho to be predictable, not especially innovative, but OK.


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Thanks for the suggestions. We are guests of our daughter and her husband who have just moved to Santa Fe, so are somewhat hindered in our choices. They love to dine out, however, so any that we don't hit I will pass along to them. Chamayo looks like the type of place we really want to visit, however.

I will get back to y'all in late June with opinions from East Coast taste buds. Personally I can't wait for some huevos rancheros - now if I can find a truly great craft beer in the area, all will be well with the world.

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Okay, just back from Santa Fe, and what a city it is. Had three long hikes in the mountains, tons of good food and one of the greatest flea markets I have ever seen. It even beats the antique flea markets in Adamstown, PA.

For Father's Day breakfast we went to a little hole in the wall called Cafe Dominick. It is right across the street from the famous Cowgirl Bar and I had to have the huevos rancheros with green chili. It was really good, as was the strong coffee. A really cute little place (you order at the counter and the waitstaff brings the food to you) and well worth a stop. The lunch menu looked good, but oh so many places to choose from.

Our main dinner out had to be at Geronimos. After asking for another table as the legs on ours were most uncomfortable, the service seemed to chill slightly. Nothing too bad. I started with a romaine salad that was really incredible and a perfect way to start a large meal. I then had the elk tenderloin which was served with garlic mashed potatoes and accompanyments. It was amazing. Dessert was a lime tart and also quite good. My three companions all went for the chef's choice. The first course was a sauted softshell, one of the true loves of my wife's. She loved it - this coming from a Marylander, the home of the greatest crabs ever. The main course was a chunk of grilled salmon over mild chilies and was enjoyed by all. The dessert was a trio of fruit tarts - lemon, lime and pear. All seemed to please. What with two bottles of Ferrari Cerano Chard, the bill was not as palatable as the meal, but I didn't regret a dollar of it.

I also took six to The Shed, right off the plaza, the next night. Most stuck with traditional Texmex seafood, like mahi mahi tacos. One had a chicken enchilada and I had a cheese and green chili enchilada. My choice was about average, but tastings around the table were much better. Very fun place to eat and quite reasonable - if only the 12 margaritas hadn't padded the bill.

Had lunch at Cafe Pasqual's. The Food Network was filming during lunch, so if you see some bald guy in the background with chili all over his face, that would be me. It was for the show entitled Eat on $40 a day, or something like that. This is really a fun place to eat, but gets horribly crowded. Knowing we were going there for lunch, we had no breakfast, so were ready to eat before the crowds. There were three guys behind us who had to have bought $1000 in Pasqual teeshirts. They got their lunch comped which was kind of cool.

One last note - our last dinner was at a Thai restaurant called Banana Cafe. I would really recommend it - very comfortable and reasonable. The shrimp with red curry was to die for if you like hot and spicy. Crowded early but it really clears out around 8. Thanks to all for your suggestions. We never got near Chimayo, much to my regret. My daughter lives very near Dave's Not Here and they go there for breakfast often, so it must be good. We just ran out of time.

Santa Fe is one fun city! If my family is still there when I retire, we plan to seriously think about living there for half the year. (That will drive my daughter out of there if anything will.)

Now on to some plans for dining in Washington D.C.

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Thanks for the follow-up report ! I wondered if you survived the chiles.

Bob Sherwood


Edited by fyfas (log)

Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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Thanks for the follow-up report !  I wondered if you survived the chiles.

Bob Sherwood

Not only did I survive them, I brought back whole red chiles to grind myself and several packages of ground green chiles we got at an incredible flea market just outside Santa Fe. As luck would have it, my wife does not enjoy spicy food. All the more for me.

Hope the fires south of Santa Fe don't screw up the atmosphere for you Santa Fe dwellers.

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Not only did I survive them, I brought back whole red chiles to grind myself and several packages of ground green chiles we got at an incredible flea market just outside Santa Fe.  As luck would have it, my wife does not enjoy spicy food.  All the more for me.

Hope the fires south of Santa Fe don't screw up the atmosphere for you Santa Fe dwellers.

Glad you enjoyed it. Santa Fe is an incredible place.

I'm not familiar with banana cafe, could you fill in the details? Sounds like an interesting destination...


Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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As to the fires, not a huge problem though they did get a lot of news coverage. Several fires, all human caused, in the "bosque", the heavy growth along the banks of the Rio Grande just west of the heart of Albuquerque. Winds did not help. Fear was that if it really got out of control it would be in the bedroom communities of Rio Rancho right away. No smoke at all here in Santa Fe.

For Rail Paul... Banana Cafe is a new (since March) Thai restaurant downtown very close to the Hilton Hotel, a few doors away from Il Vicino pizza. From the day they opened they have gotten high marks from most everyone. While I personally never get my fill of southwestern chile flavor, when I want far-eastern chile heat, Banana Cafe and Mu Du Noodles satisfy the craving.


Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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Rail Paul;

I'm glad that Fyfas could give you a location for Banana Cafe. I got so screwed up with directions that I have no idea where we were. My son-in-law started work in the area in January, so he knows his was around. I had no clue.

In regard to the restaurant, there were four of us. Not too much exciting in the way of beer or wine. All pretty standard stuff so we just got a bottle of Sauv. Blanc (probably Columbia Crest as my wife and I were being treated).

We started with appetizers of some sort of spring roll, but were vegetarian as my kids are non meat eaters. Sigh! They were large stuffed rolls and we got two servings for the four of us. They were quite good and had several different dipping sauces.

My wife had her old reliable Pad Thai. We hava had this in three or four restaurants in Wash DC and this was probably the best we have tasted. I ordered a chicken dish (can't remember the Thai name), but it was marked as mildly spicy. My wife and I like to share meals and she doesn't do spicy. This was even too much for her so I got to enjoy it myself.

The hit of the night was the shrimp in red curry, ordered by my son-in-law. It was quite hot, but was really delicious. It was far and away the best entree we got and that is not to say that the others weren't good. I totally forget what my daughter ordered, but I am sure it was a tofu dish in some sort of curry as she loves that type of thing.

Hope that you get a chance to try Banana Cafe out. I really don't think that you will be disappointed. It has a very comfortable decor, was busy but not packed on a Saturday night at 7:30 (we did get reservations). All in all, most enjoyable. Here is their website. Enjoy!

http://www.guestlife.com/newmexico/dine/ba...bananacafe.html

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K. and I have just returned from our first visit to Sante Fe. We were down for the opera festival. Five operas in five days--wow, but that's another site...

More details later but we ate at El Farol, Banana Cafe, Pasqual's, and twice at the O'keeffe Cafe. We also took a cooking class at the Sante Fe School of Cooking and ate the lunch that we watched being made from scratch. In Taos, we had lunch at Doc Martin's.

Flying out of Denver, we grabbed a dinner at the Fourth Story as well.

That's a lot of eating (and drinking) for us--especially before the opera (they start at 8:30 PM) .

Will give details when we get over jet lag.

Overall, we were impressed with the Sante Fe aesthetic. Man, those portions are huge!

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Here's some of the current menu at cafe Pasqual's

Apps:

alder smoked salmon with scallion Bread and Herbed Cream Cheese

Chilled roasted tomato soup

Pigs & Figs--Grilled mission figs wrapped in applewood smoked bacon on mixed greens with Cabrales and Balsamic vinaigrette

Iroquois corn tamal with roasted chile ancho, zucchini and asadero cheese

Tacos el Presidente--roasted poblano rajas and Niman ranch beef with guacamole

Napo's chitlacoche with roasted chile poblano pususa--griddled corn masa cake with seeet pepper/onion escabeche

flash sauteed spicy vietamese squid salad with Tamarind, garlic and lime on mizuna and arugula leaves

Mains:

Pan seared yellowdin tuna ginger, garlic and Yuzu with mango sambal and banana rice cake

Grilled chipotle shrimp and seared sea scallops with a stack of griddled corn cakes and ancho chile butter with baby watercress

Spaghetti squash tossed with sugar snap peas, shiitakes, cherry tomatoes and sauteed patty pan squash with melted chihuahua cheese on garlic baguette with garlic chives

Free range organic chicken mole enchiladas with calabacitas, fresh corn torte and orange jicama salad

Plato supremo--chile relleno, chicken mole taco, cilantro rice with watercress, jicama and orange salad

Spinach, jack cheese and red onion enchiladas with sauce of guajillo, ancho and arbol chile, cilantro rice and grilled banana

Costillas rojas y verdes with tomatillo and d'arbol salsa served with watermelon salad grilled corn on the cob and ancho chile butter

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I've decided to compile a list of Santa Fe musts. I'm looking for suggestions, of course, because I'm tired of doing all this detective work, delicious as it may be, and I dine solo for the most part so it takes me a while to work my way through a restaurant menu. This list took me two years to compile, and I just keep returning to the same places now, hesitant to try anything new. Has anyone tried Bumble Bee's Baja Grill? How about The Canyon? Or Celebrations, for that matter? Paul's? Tulips?

I can't get enough of:

1) The cinnamon rolls on Saturdays at Counter Culture (they've just begun toying with staying open Sundays).

2) The almond croissants at Sage Bakery.

3) The brussels sprouts at the Whole Foods Prepared Foods deli window- oh my!

4) The chicken Tikka Masala at India Palace downtown. The Chevron one sucks. And this is as close to perfect as TKM gets.

5) The banana walnut pancakes at Chocolate Maven. Not what I'd usually go for; too gimmicky, but I'm a convert.

6) The first ten minutes of any salad at Guadalupe Cafe. I'm sort of a legend there, because I always finish my salads, but I'm not always in good spirits by the time I'm done.

7) The rellenos at Dave's.

8) The raspberry pie at Steaksmith. Forgo the dining room, the revolting appetizer menu, the mind-numbing decor, the fistlike and mediocre steaks and the absurdly slow service. Just order a whole pie and bring it home.

9) Bobcat Bite burgers.

10) The Caesar salad at Il Vicino; they leave me no choice! Where can you get a better one, anyway? The Palace is overrated, and they guy who makes them there is such an ass. Three bites in you're ready to throw in the towel from fat exhaustion. Excess oil, cheese and anchovies, if such a thing is possible. Its richness should not be all that makes it delicious.

11) Ohhhh..... the halibut at Julian's.

12) Elk at Ristra. The elk at Geronimo is much more direct if you ask them to minus the bacon, but in general I find the food there to be very inconsistent. I've had some exceptional meals there, and some that I have found totally unremarkable; mostly lunches, dinner specials, and desserts. The seeded rolls are the best part of any meal at G, I think.

13) The best steak in town is at Bistro 315, hands down.

14) The best foie gras is at Rociada. It's Hudson Valley foie gras, so much more velvety than what they serve elsewhere, and without all of the bells and whistles.

15) The Hungarian mushroom soup at Back Street Bistro.

16) The coffee at Ohori's- good, chewy stuff. The best I've found in any American city. Integrity coffee.

17) Mm, the ice cream at Aztec Cafe is the best in town: try the Mint Chocolate Chip made with fresh crushed mint leaves, or, even better, the GC Pistachio.

18) The creme brulee at Pranzo- what a surprise this came as. It's a knockout.

19) The barbacoa at Bert's La Tacqueria. Don't knock it 'til you try it.

20) The guacamole at Gabriel's, though the rest of the food there does next to nothing for me.

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if your up to a road trip go to espanola and get a breakfast burrito if early

or a regular if it's afternoon...i don't like the santa fe outlet nearly as well.

it's located just east of rt.68 at the long john silver restaurant corner.

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Some one needs to fix the title to this thread ...it should read Santa Fe not Fanta Se


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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For the most part I agree with you but a couple of things I'd take exception to (just opinions, no big deal)...

1. Everything to me at Il Vicino is tasteless. Only thing good about the place is the thin-ness of their pizza crust. Caesar salad at the very ordinary Osteria is better (and, of course, more expensive). Is it "worthy" ? Not really. (Osteria is owned by The Palace which I agree is bad.)

2. I LOVE the "idea" of Dave's Not Here, the overall funkiness. The rellenos are terrible (to me and I know they are often written up for them). Even the hamburgers are no big deal in a town loaded with 8, 9 and 10 oz burgers. Plus the place is plain, dirty. Best relleno I've had lately was out at a place on Rodeo Road called Castro's. My favorite used to be at the much-missed La Tertulia (and it probably was not as good as my memory wants it to have been).

3. Guacamole at Gabriel's... what's so special ? That it's fresh-made, tableside ? O.K. It would help if they had someone who speaks english come tableside so when you tell him "Hot" he might do it. I always have to grab the Tabasco and add it and add it some more no matter what I tell him. And, at $10+ ?!? Please !

All minor points... love everything at Bert's La Taqueria; love Posa's on Alameda too. Like the pizza at Pranzo, owners of Il Vicino but better pizza. Love everything at Rociada (except the wine prices) and Ristra but go nuts with happiness whenever either of them do something with scallops. Memorable stuff, all.


Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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I'm glad this thread has been revived, since my husband and I just made plans to go to Santa Fe for four nights next month. We were supposed to go last November but had to cancel due to an illness in the family.

We're staying at Rancho de San Juan, which is about 30 minutes from downtown. The November special rates are too good to pass up and we're in desperate need for R&R. We'll be dining on-site Friday and maybe Saturday nights but will need to find excellent restaurants for Sunday and Monday. Ristra looks good, but what about the other familiar suspects : Old House, Geronimo, Santacafe, Coyote Cafe, Anasazi?

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You'll like Rancho de San Juan but know you are REALLY a long way away from Santa Fe. Thirty minutes that will seem like an hour and VERY remote. Sometimes I like remote so I'm not trying to be negative but you should know.

In town, all of the places you mention are excellent; Geronimo is probably the very best, SantaCafe is my personal favorite with Ristra right behind it (especially if you want something like elk or venison). Wine prices in Santa Fe are across-the-board OUTRAGEOUS. Nothing you can do about it; corkage is not legal. Old House in the Eldorado Hotel gets lots of attention - and it IS good - it's just not a personal favorite because it "feels" too much like a hotel restaurant which, of course it is. The restaurant at The Anasazi is very good but not what it once was. It is perfectly located right off the Plaza; possibly a lunch possibility

Before you head up to Rancho de San Juan, stop at Whole Foods for cheeses, salami etc for watching the sunsets. Stop, too, at Kokoman Liquors in Pojaque (just before the Los Alamos cut-off on the right and south of Espanola) for the best wine selection anywhere around Santa Fe. Place looks like a dive but the back room has lots of good stuff, all at full price however.

Just a cautionary note about the drive back to Rancho de San Juan after a night out in Santa Fe... the highway going all the way to Espanola from just north of Santa Fe is under construction and is very heavily patrolled by all sorts of Police - State Troopers, County Sheriffs (two counties) and Native American Tribal Police (you'll go through two Pueblos); probably seven different jurisdictions, driving Crown Royals to Mustangs and Trans Ams. Speed limit is 45 mph and enforced. New Mexico has a TERRIBLE problem with drunk drivers, too, so be very careful unless you don't mind a State-of-New-Mexico-Savings-Bond.


Edited by fyfas (log)

Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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Hello from Tofino BC, Canada. My wife and I used to be the in house managers at Rancho de San Juan several years ago. Yes Rancho is a bit out of the way, but nothing is better than a busy day in Santa Fe, or hiking at Ghost Ranch then to listen to the 'sounds of silence' at night there. A couple of local favorites we used to frequent in the area (remember, haven't been there in a few years), were El Paragua in Espanola, maybe not the best food in Northern New Mexico, but very good, with fun local flavour and great sopapillas. Also the Trading Post Cafe in Ranchos de Taos was always very good, and for a great snack after a nice hike around Taos, I would recommend Eskes Brew Pub, and if they still have it try a 'Fatty' with one of their house beers.

Just a couple of suggestions, love to hear your report on Rancho - used to vacation their all the time before we became the managers.

Until next time....

W

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Note for Tofino...

Eskes Brew Pub just got a big write-up in the Santa Fe New Mexican yesterday. While I don't usually put much stock in their restaurant criticism, it was a rave.

I wasn't trying to in any way diminish the "experience" at Rancho de San Juan; owners are friends and my wife and I go there for a weeknight dinner probably five or six nights a year. The solitude offered by a place like Rancho de San Juan is exactly what kept me visiting New Mexico years ago and is why I suggested the stop for some good "provisions" before they arrived on-site. Not knowing where the visitors who posted earlier were coming from or what "sense" they might have of New Mexico roads and distances (and police) prompted my comments. Though your thoughts of the Trading Post in Taos are good, I'd be just as cautious negotiating the road back from Taos after a bottle of wine or a bunch of margaritas, too.

Another place they might want to find is the tiny, storefront Mexican place in El Rito. (If anyone is interested, I'll try to post usable driving instructions.) I went searching for it a couple of years ago after someone wrote it up in the New York Times; it has since been in Gourmet (the Sterns Roadfood page). I wouldn't say it was "spectacular" or "worthy of a detour" to paraphrase the Michelin guides, but it was quite good New Mexican in a very "funky" setting. And, the drive there was amazing since it IS O'Keeffe Country.


Bob Sherwood

____________

“When the wolf is at the door, one should invite him in and have him for dinner.”

- M.F.K. Fisher

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