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maryland crab

Santa Fe Restaurant recs

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you'll love casa in taos...make sure to eat at joseph's now located in the the la fonda hotel and lambert's is perhaps my 2nd choice. even if you don't eat at the

el monte sagrado, make sure to visit ...they will give you a tour of this "eco-resort"

the yak meat burgers at their bar are great!

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Traveling to Santa Fe end of April. Where should we eat on both the lux and the cheap.

Thanks for your ideas.

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My cheap favorites are the International Cowgirl Hall of Fame (as much for the ambiance as for the food); the Zia Diner, and Pranzo's.

Incidently, this topic has been covered a few times in the past year; you might want to check the archives.

Happy travelling!


I'm a canning clean freak because there's no sorry large enough to cover the, "Oops! I gave you botulism" regrets.

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It has been 3 years, since I moved away, but some of my favorites were; 315(French/ New American, great wine bar)Ristra(New Mexican/ French), the owner is from Paris & the Chef worked at Joel Roubchon, Mu Du Noodles (delicious Pan-Asian dishes using really nice, fresh, & organic ingrdients, Pasqual's (New-New Mexican, great breakfast), Counter Culture (sandwiches & breakfast, their French toast is made from their housemade pecan rolls, Harry's Roadhouse (diner food), Andiamo (Italian, quainter & more personal than Pranzo), & Tomasita's (Old school New Mexican). A really cool bar is the Dragon Room attached to the Pink Adobe.

Enjoy


Drew Trautmann

Executive Chef

Mendocino Grille

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Just returned from a week in Santa Fe--stayed at the Inn on the Paseo on account of the recommendation up-thread, and was very happy with it. Comfortable room, walking distance to the Plaza and Canyon Road. I didn't eat breakfast there, since I used to live in SFe and had to check out my old favorite spots.

Cafe Pasqual's was as good as I remembered, although I forgot that when you specified a corn tortilla with your huevos rancheros, that's what comes on the side, not under the eggs. I'd have preferred a wheat tortilla, but ate my mistake. Tia Sophia's, on West San Francisco, was also as remembered, and I thought the green chile was a little hotter (and the plate was half the price of Pasqual's).

In general, I was disappointed not to find the chile as hot as I remembered--even at Tomasita's, even at La Choza. I brought a boatload home (the green stayed frozen in my suitcase), and the red enchiladas I made on Saturday with Hatch medium-hot powder were satisfyingly spicy. So have all the restaurants bowed to Anglo taste? Or have my years scratching the chile itch upped my tolerance more than I thought?


Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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In general, I was disappointed not to find the chile as hot as I remembered--even at Tomasita's, even at La Choza. I brought a boatload home (the green stayed frozen in my suitcase), and the red enchiladas I made on Saturday with Hatch medium-hot powder were satisfyingly spicy. So have all the restaurants bowed to Anglo taste? Or have my years scratching the chile itch upped my tolerance more than I thought?

What an interesting observation you made. I think you are right about the food being less spicy than it used to be. I think the restaurant trade in Santa Fe is aiming its food squarely at tourists and transplants at this point. You also have to factor in the influx of the very rich who have moved to Santa Fe in significant numbers and who tend not eat at New Mexican restaurants. They prefer restaurants that remind them of what they left behind in big cities.

Can you post your recipe for red?


Linda

-------------------

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."

--- Henry David Thoreau

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What night were you there? I just got back myself and dined at Pasqual's Saturday night at the communal table.

Just returned from a week in Santa Fe--stayed at the Inn on the Paseo on account of the recommendation up-thread, and was very happy with it. Comfortable room, walking distance to the Plaza and Canyon Road. I didn't eat breakfast there, since I used to live in SFe and had to check out my old favorite spots.

Cafe Pasqual's was as good as I remembered, although I forgot that when you specified a corn tortilla with your huevos rancheros, that's what comes on the side, not under the eggs. I'd have preferred a wheat tortilla, but ate my mistake. Tia Sophia's, on West San Francisco, was also as remembered, and I thought the green chile was a little hotter (and the plate was half the price of Pasqual's).


peak performance is predicated on proper pan preparation...

-- A.B.

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Al Dente--I was there for breakfast on Wednesday morning. Sorry I missed you!

Petrissage--thanks for confirming my suspicion. I last lived there 15 years ago, and thought it was pretty touristy already.

I make red chile sauce like this (I'm going to hell because I use powder, but I never got the hang of pods. Maybe someone can enlighten me, new thread?):

1/4 C flour

1/3 C oil

1/2 C NM red chile powder

4 C water

2 or more cloves garlic, minced

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add flour and stir until no longer raw. Add the chile powder and stir until it combines in a paste with the oil and flour. Add the water and stir and whisk vigorously to remove lumps. Add minced garlic, and salt to taste. Turn down heat and simmer for 15 minutes or longer, until flour is no longer raw-tasting and consistency is to your preference. If the flavor seems too bitter or sour, add a drop of honey.


Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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A question we see on this board often, worded in different ways, is "Is Geronimo worth the price?" And I have a very definite reply--"It depends." If you just cannot enjoy a fabulous appetizer of fois gras served with a marvelous port reduction sauce because the portion is tiny and the price is $24 then it isn't worth it. Moreover, if you are one who feels robbed by the price tag of $48 for a perfectly prepared "Maverick Ranch" filet mignon over country ham and reggiano butter gratin with baked provolone potato cake then you should steer clear. You, fine diner, may be the type for whom no level of service (and let there be no doubt--the service at Geronimo is without peer in SF) and no quality of stemware or china or ingredients makes the excellent elk tenderloin worth $30 or the small pours of wine worth their cost. I am not in your camp, however. I only travel to SF once or twice a year and would never consider NOT eating at Geronimo. Go. Go gladly. But know that the prices are higher than anything in the city and the overall experience is tops, too. If nothing else, stop by the bar and have a glass of wine before coffee with the best dessert in Santa Fe--the banana cream pie with french meringue and caramelized bananas served with an orange or other fruit coulis and toasted pine nuts.

Which brings us to one of those places I had not been to in several months--The Compound. There is a theory I heard in SF that Kiffin's Beard award of Best Chef Southwest has taken his cooking to new heights. I don't have an explanation but I do know that the food there is better than it has ever been. For the first time in years Geronimo does have a real rival and it is the Compound. The restaurant is architecturally stunning, of course, and has been since the place opened. Now the food matches the ambiance. The consensus was that the best bite we tasted on the trip was the appetizer of pan seared diver scallops with apple smoked bacon, english peas and fava beans. Unbelievable! The sweetbreads and fois gras was as wonderful as ever and, for those keeping score at home, was $8 less than the fois gras at Geronimo for the same size portion. The "classic" dishes (as described on the menu) are, indeed, classic--the buttermilk roast chicken with fois gras pan gravy and creamed spinach is to die for and the "Harris Ranch" natural beef tenderloin with fois gras hollandaise is every bit its equal. The service is excellent although not quite up to Geronimo heights. The wine list is very good for Santa Fe and, also, priced "reasonably" for the city, a place with generally outrageous wine prices. I recommend The Compound without hesitation. Make a reservation for the patio which is perfect on a summer evening.

Two quick lunch suggestions--the Shed for anything with red chile (I am by no means an expert on red or green chile, but the red at the Shed is very flavorful if not quite as hot as I would like) and the Bumblebee for wonderful fresh grilled mahi mahi fish tacos. The salsa bar at the fast food Bumblebee is alone worth the trip. And the tap beer is cold. Also, the prices at both places will help minimize the American Express headache caused by Geronimo the night before.

We had not been to 315 is a couple of years but a pang for frites done right made a trip necessary. When we arrived the patio was full and we decided to wait in the bar the short time it took for a table to clear. 315 has probably the most diverse and well priced wine list in SF so it is worth a visit for that reason alone. When seated on the comfortable patio we were told that they had already run out of mussels but that was okay because I wanted to try the squash blossom beignets with goat cheese fondue. This is a special that I think appears quite often. If it is on the menu when you go do not pass it up. We also tried an excellent special of roast chicken served with (but without explanation) a potato galette instead of the advertised mashed potatoes. Very good dish as was the special of tenderloin and sweetbreads which the waiter talked me into (no regrets) over the lamb shank. I know from past visits that the pate is fine and the french onion soup is as well. We ended the meal with a good creme brulee--two thumbs up.

Our other dinner was at a place that has very seldom been mentioned on this board--Aqua Santa. The chef once plied his trade at the very fine Escalera in SF. The menu is small, the place is small and informal and every single bite we had was very, very good. We fought over flash fried oysters breaded in breadcrumbs, cooked just so, and served with lemon aioli and organic greens. Another starter was a pizzetta with taleggio cheese, tomato sauce and white truffle oil. Entrees were whole roasted quail with baby wild greens and caper salsa and ragu of chicken served with brown butter noodles. The waiters are friendly and knowledgable about the menu and the wine list. As you may imagine, we had plenty of food left over to take home for breakfast the next morning. Which leads to breakfast....

We had one breakfast at the venerable Pasqual's which has been discussed here and elsewhere enough. Go realizing it is a little over priced but that is the cost one pays for setting up shop in the high rent district a stone's throw from the Plaza. Further away but absolutely worth the drive is Harry's Roadhouse. I had a special of soft poached eggs in a tomato/fennel broth and served over a grilled polenta cake. We also tried another special--a coconut/macadamia nut waffle served with pure maple syrup (the syrup was $1 extra). This was by far the best breakfast of the trip, including the reasonably priced and expertly done eggs benedict at Sol restaurant on Canyon road. Stop by Sol for an inexpensive and perfectly decent breakfast or lunch while looking at art on Canyon Road.

Well, there you have it. We are home and trying to get over the shock of so much great food in such a short period of time. I encourage you to give Aqua Santa a try--the prices are very reasonable and it certainly deserves more chatter than it is getting on the foodie websites. Also, by the time you read this Senor Lucky's at the Palace will have opened (by the Geronimo folks, or parts of that team anyway) and we will be expecting reports. Let's hope someone has the good sense to keep the killer roasted tomato soup, late of the Palace, on the SL's menu. I also heard a rumor from a very reliable source that the liquor laws in New Mexico have changed or are about to change to allow corkage and, almost as important, to allow patrons to take unfinished bottles of wine with them from the restaurant. Can anyone confirm or deny?


Many speak of my drinking but few think of my thirst.

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Anyone lamenting the touristification ("dumbing down") of chile heat in NM should make a stop at Horseman's Haven for green chile so hot even I can't eat it: the "level 2", which you have to order specially off the menu as a side dish.

Their regular green is almost always flaming hot, enough to give my jaded and fiery palate an endorphin rush as I'm leaving to go home. :-)

For red, its trickier, but I have had really hot red at Chilepeno's, which is in Sandia Park (about 45 min S of Santa Fe, on Highway 14). The heat varies, but they do helpfully post a "chilemeter" graph which shows the relative heat of the current batches of their green, red, and salsa.

Andrea

http://tenacity.net


"You can't taste the beauty and energy of the Earth in a Twinkie." - Astrid Alauda

---------------------------------------------------------------------

Food Lovers' Guide to Santa Fe, Albuquerque & Taos: OMG I wrote a book. Woo!

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A friend is looking for a nice dinner in Santa Fe to have with his parents. They've been to (and enjoyed) Geronimo, Coyote Cafe, Cafe Pasqual.

If they wanted to try something new would you recommend one of the following? Somewhere else? I'm also curious to hear about people's comments on these places before my next visit...

Ristra

La Casa Sena (I've had a nice lunch here, but not been for dinner)

315

The Old House (In the El Dorado Hotel)

Rociada

SantaCafe

The Compound

Has anyone tried Senor Lucky's yet at the Palace? (same owners as Geronimo's)


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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If they wanted to try something new would you recommend one of the following?  Somewhere else?  I'm also curious to hear about people's comments on these places before my next visit...

I would recommend Baleen in the Inn at Loretto, 211 Old Santa Fe Trail. It is open seven days a week. The service I have had at Baleen has been impeccable on every visit and the food has been excellent.

The Compound

My frequent-restaurant-going friends say it is uneven, sometimes very good, sometimes quite indifferent, so you have to take your chances if you go...

Has anyone tried Senor Lucky's yet at the Palace?  (same owners as Geronimo's)

I have heard nothing but bad reviews about this restaurant, from everyone I know who has gone there, even people who are not very picky about restaurants.

I hope this helps and that your friends have a good time here!


Linda

-------------------

"The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it."

--- Henry David Thoreau

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Just two additions to the thread...

- Tofino mentions the Grant Corner Inn B & B downtown as a choice for accomodations. Sorry to note that the business is closing this weekend; owners sold the building which will be come some sort of office building. All of the furnishings will be auctioned off weekend of the 24th. Business was good but the value of the real estate was better and owners have chosen to "move-on".

- As to Linda's (Petrissage) thoughts posted just above on three restaurants, I completely agree with her on all three. my experience at Senor Lucky's was not poor but hardly good; I wouldn't go out of my way to return. I expected much better from the people responsible for Geronimo.


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 petrissage and fyfax (and others upthread).

I've peeked into Baleen at The Inn at Loretto and it was a very beautiful setting--both the indoor and outdoor sections. Thanks for the tip on the food.

The Compound is also a lovely looking place so it is sad to hear the differing opinions on this restaurant. Although it certainly sounds like bhoward had an excellent time there this past summer.

Hopefully Senor Lucky will get on a more even keel. I've had a drink at the renovated "Senor Lucky" bar at the Palace , but that's it, to date.

The friend's parents did a little of their own investigation and decided they wanted to try SantaCafe this time. I'm interested to hear an update on this Santa Fe institution.

On a recent trip I went to a few new (for me!) places.

Tia Sophia's on San Francisco St for Saturday breakfast. I had an awesome breakfast burritto smothered with red and green and filled with a very good chorizo, eggs and home-fried potatoes. I loved the vibe in there on a Saturday morning as well; seemed like a happy combination of mostly locals and some tourists. (We went early, ~ 8:00).

Another great place was La Plazuela in the La Fonda Hotel for lunch. I've always know it is a beautiful place with the sun trickling down onto the tables and tiled floors in the courtyard and surrounded by the painted glass (see this link), but the food was very good as well! I had a truly revelatory mango gazpacho (no extra sweetner besides the fruit, cucumbers, chile, cilantro) to start. I opted to give their New Mexican platter a whirl (tamale, enchilada and chile relleno--quite good). My dining companion had a nice chicken salad. Tasty dulche de leche cake for dessert.

I've been there before, but will also give a mention to the French Pastry Shop attached to La Fonda on San Francisco. It sure is nice to start the day with an almond pithivier and a good cup of coffee.

The La Fonda Hotel is a great place to stay, by the way. I love the old ambience, the amenities and location. The 'regular' rooms have beautifully painted furniture and tiled bathrooms. The concierge was also extremely helpful with a few different issues.


Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Thanks so much for the recommendations.

We ended up reserving at Casa de Chimeneas in Taos. On a friend's recommendation, we're staying at Adobe Abode in Santa Fe, since we wanted to be close to the Plaza. Is this a decent place to stay, I hope...? Couldn't get much from their web site.

I noticed that your trip was a while back already, swankalicious, but how did your lodgings and food turn out in Santa Fe (and Taos)?


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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and...what should i eat and where should i eat it and where should i stay?

those are the questions.

i searched through the forum here, which was currently untapped by me other than the occasional Vegas discussion, and i'm still wondering on specifics. this santa fe thing is all new to me.

any thoughts on what a guy from NYC might want to look for/avoid? we like spicy and indigenous.

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October is my favorite month to visit New Mexico, but since I usually linger in Taos, I'll let others chime in for Santa Fe, other than to say I've enjoyed Ten Thousand Waves - a wonderful hot tub facility open to the night sky

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It's a great time of year to go; sunny crisp days and fireplaces going at night. Brilliant yellow aspens if you hit that right. You can easily find accomodations with your own kiva fireplace in the room, but if not, many restaurants and hotels have fireplaces going in their public areas. They may be scented with pinon logs which you'll also catch whiffs of as you walk around the city.

Roasting green chiles and burning pinon; it's nice to go Santa Fe in the autumn just for the smells.

I hesitate to be repetitious by posting hotel and restaurant recs because I've done so many times already on previous threads. I may chime in later or would be happy to answer any specific questions you have or to clarify any you might have after reading previous threads.


"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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ludja, thanks for the feedback.

i'll add that it's hard for a poster to be repetitious on a board with 30k users and billions of posts.

what i've done is search thread titles with "santa". there are only a handful (most of which you post on).

feel free to review some of your thoughts here. in my experience, when someone asks for recs on the NY board, for example, and it's met with "search on pre-theater for ideas", for example, it would be much more helpful to the person seeking the info to just post some random thoughts from the top of one's mind, rather than telling them to "search". ya know? maybe it's just me. but please do, if you could, throw out a few random ideas regarding hotels and such. i promise you won't be accused of being repetitive, boring, or unhelpful of you do. :)


Edited by tommy (log)

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Or, do both: a few ideas off the top of your head, and a reminder about searching. Sometimes it's hard to think of what the title of a thread might be.

I didn't start using the search function frequently until I found that the "Search" on the top of the screen is much more useful than the "Site Search" option. Other thoughts: I always choose to have the results by Post, not by Thread--that way, you don't have to scroll through 200 posts to find the one that references your target. Also useful, sometimes, is searching for posts by specific members about their areas of expertise:

+restaurant +"santa fe" and Ludja (in the member box)

Going to Santa Fe for the first time in October myself, for a conference.


Life is short. Eat the roasted cauliflower first.

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A glorious time of year to be there. It does get cold at night, though, so be sure to bring a jacket or sweatshirt. I'm not good on where to stay (I usually stay at my mom's house), but I did spend a very pleasant couple of nights in one of the casitas at 10,000 Waves a year or so ago. If you don't stay there, and you like hot tubs, it's definitely worth having a soak. And a massage.

Other people will have their must eats, but our first stop is always Pascual's for breakfast. Other excellent food can be had at The Shed (lunch, New Mexican food), Mission Cafe and Sweet Shop (lunch, New Mexican food, near the capital building), Sage Bakehouse (sandwiches, cookies, bread), 315 (market-driven food, which makes fall a great time to eat there), Aqua Santa (also market driven), Kasasoba (dinner, Japanese, excellent), Harry's Roadhouse (breakfast, a bit out of town). I like Tomasita's but that might be in part because the food tastes the same as it did when I first went there 35 years ago. It may not be special, but I never find it disappointing. On the high end, I had an incredible meal at Trattoria Nostrani last time I was there. If you can find it, and it's open, try the tamales at Johnnie's Cash Store. Oh, and Roque's carnitas, on the plaza. You can get addresses and phone numbers for most if not all of these places in THE magazine (free, on just about every street corner). If I think of any others I'll come back.

The other usual piece of advice for flatlanders, of which I am now one, is to take it easy on the booze until you're acclimated to the altitude.

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Several years ago we sent a long weekend in Santa Fe in November and it was really beautiful. We had sunny days that were great for hiking and cool nights good for sleeping. It was extremely quiet in town, though, and the restaurants were so empty it was a little weird.

We stayed about 45 minutes north of Santa Fe, in Espanola at a beautiful property, Rancho de San Juan, that has some attractive fall rates. In retrospect, even though it was a drive in to downtown, we're glad we were in a more rustic setting.

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If your dates aren't already locked in, consider attending the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta at the end of September:

www.santafewineandchile.org

We go every year - it's a great time to visit, and the Big Event at the Santa Fe Opera that caps off the Fiesta is a model of it's type.

As a New Yorker currently in the process of moving to Santa Fe, here are some suggestions:

*This is one of the great breakfast cities in the entire world. Guadalupe Cafe, Tia Sophia's, and Cafe Pasqual's are all "can't miss" places. Tecolote Cafe is less good than it used to be but a good spot for a gringo breakfast if you OD on chiles.

*There are few places on the planet I would rather be than the rooftop cantina at Coyote Cafe for margaritas and guacamole. Rumors that the restaurant itself has gone downhill should be heeded.

*I absolutely would not recommend Geronimo even though everyone else will - there are a few hundred better places in New York, so why bother - the place absolutely reeks of pretention. If you want a non-Southwestern fine dining experience the Compound is a much better option - lovely atmosphere, gracious service.

*Tulips is a quirky little place with some nice creative cooking - our first two meals there were great but the last was a bit of a disappointment.

*La Casa Sena is an old standby that slipped off the radar but may be making a rebound, and it's in an ancient courtyard that is one of the most romantic spots in Santa Fe.

*For an "out of town" experience head to the Tesuque Village Market (and drive up Bishop's Lodge road - don't take the highway). Buy a bottle of wine in the market, get a steak smothered with green chile, sit outside and suck it all in.

*Speaking of steak smothered with green chile, the Pink Adobe is one of those old institutions that never changes and shouldn't - order the steak Dunnigan and enjoy the setting (and get there early enough for a drink at the Dragon Room across the alley).

*Blue corn enchiladas with red chile at the Shed is a must for lunch.

*Go to Maria's. Call in advance and reserve one of the booths across from the bar. Plan on drinking more margaritas than you probably should. Order a bowl of green chile to keep things in balance.

*For real Santa Fe color, hit the bar at El Farol during happy hour, and say hi to the guy who looks just like Willie Nelson.

*We always stay at the Inn on the Alameda - moderately priced, centrally located, nice amenities.


Edited by Robin Meredith (log)

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I'm a sucker for history and tradition, I know, but I love staying at La Fonda. It just is Santa Fe to me, and you can't beat the location right on the plaza. Get one of the rooms with a fireplace.


Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Or, do both:  a few ideas off the top of your head, and a reminder about searching.  Sometimes it's hard to think of what the title of a thread might be.

I didn't start using the search function frequently until I found that the "Search" on the top of the screen is much more useful than the "Site Search" option.  Other thoughts:  I always choose to have the results by Post, not by Thread--that way, you don't have to scroll through 200 posts to find the one that references your target.  Also useful, sometimes, is searching for posts by specific members about their areas of expertise:

+restaurant +"santa fe"                    and                    Ludja (in the member box)

Going to Santa Fe for the first time in October myself, for a conference.

Thanks for the tip. I never search on the site because the "Site Search" is so inaffective. Now I can try another way of searching.

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