Thursday, April 30, 2009

santa fe, nm

welcome to pasquals

I recently took a long weekend trip to Santa Fe with some friends. We arrived in snow and left to the most perfect blue skies. While this phenomenon is somewhat of a regular occurrence in the west, it still has this Southern girl in awe when there are 12 inches of snow to drive through in the middle of April. Either way, it didn't hold us back. We had one goal in mind once we reached Santa Fe; to eat and drink our weight in green chile and tequila.

the shop of the rainbow man

paper flowers - the shop of the rainbow man

catrina dolls - the shop of the rainbow man

Santa Fe has a tri-cultural feel. Blending traditions, styles, colors and menus of Native Americans, Hispanics and Caucasians. This melting pot makes for the best New Mexican style food and art. Even a new way to order green chile. Christmas style. Yeah that's right, you get both green and red chile on the plate. Perfect for reaching the green chile goal.

Centered around the main plaza are small streets full of restaurants and shops. Some touristy, others unique. Here are some of the ones we checked out:

The Shed: 1131/2 East Palace Ave P. 505.982.9030; classic New Mexico food-historical building. Try the green chile stew.
The Shop of the Rainbow Man: 107 East Palace Road; Santa Fe, NM; P. 505.982.8706. Here you'll find vintage clothing, jewelry and artifacts all mixed with Native American style Pendleton wool blankets, Catrina dolls, iguanas and a large collection of Native American art.
Pasquals: 121 Don Gaspar, Santa Fe, NM; P. 505.983.9340. This is a Santa Fe landmark and place not to miss. Be prepared to wait but it's well worth it. They even have their own cook book and art gallery.

At the center of the plaza underneath the overhang vendors line up daily to sell authentic handmade Native American jewelry and small crafts. If you are looking for turquoise this is your spot. Be prepared to bargain.

Just a short drive from the main plaza you'll find:

Maria's: 555 West Cordova Road; Santa Fe, NM; P. 505.983.7929. A modest and unassuming white building from the outside. Something one would easily drive past without a second glance. Fortunately the food is so good we heard the rumors and made the trek. The service is straight forward, meaning someone will tell you which tequila to order for the tasting flight, trago anejo and two reposados that I can't seem to remember the names. Yes, I blame the tequila. Also served, are warm sopapillas with honey. Oh and I almost forgot, the menu boasts over 100 kinds of margaritas.

Another great place to check out is Ten Thousand Waves, a unique mountain spa resort near Santa Fe, New Mexico that feels like a Japanese onsen. For less than $20 you can soak in the communal bath for as long as you like. Clothing is optional during the day but after 8:15PM bathing suits are required. A rule I don't completely understand.

Tesuque Village Market is located at the junction of Bishops Lodge Road and NM 591. P. 505.988.8848. Go on a sunny day and sit on the patio. Then be sure to work off some of the green chile you just consumed with a walk through the Shidoni Sculpture Garden: 1508 Bishops Lodge Road. P. 505.988.8001. Located 5 miles north of Santa Fe and worth the drive winding drive past rural adobes.

mustang at the shidoni sculpture garden

This by no means is a comprehensive list. Just a few highlights from a recent trip.

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