My Santa Fe Birthday & Other Foods

The last time I was in Santa Fe was 1993 I think. My mother lived there at the time, and I went down to stay after completing my BA. I applied to graduate schools and took the GREs. And I fell in like with the city. Even though I'm not a big fan of constant sunshine (it turns out), there was something winsome about the low adobe buildings, the ubiquitous kiva fireplaces, the smell of piñon smoke in the air, the low riders, the cultural tapestry that is Indian and Spanish and Tibetan and hippie and whoever else, the delightful New Mexican food featuring tamales and chiles and lots and lots of cheese. Santa Fe is a great place to visit. With amazing family support, that's just what I planned to do for my birthday this year when my mom would be there once again for a short time. I would visit, and we would connect for an action-packed celebratory weekend! We stayed at the Hotel Santa Fe, which I highly recommend. It's in a great location with a fitness room and spa and lovely staff and more.

This post is going to be about my birthday (yay!) and other lovely things that we ate and drank in Santa Fe.

My Birthday YAY

First thing on my birthday, I did a 41-item bootcamp workout in the hotel fitness room. The 41st item was 41 sit-ups. For each sit-up starting at about 28 I thought about what had happened to me that year while I did the sit-up. On my way back to the room I discovered the hotel served free coffee in the elevator area of every floor. YES.

Birthday breakfast was veggie omelette with hash browns and coffee at the Zia Diner.
This was a great spacious diner and our home away from home for 2 mornings.

After breakfast we headed to the Ark bookstore to look at New Age and Hindu and Buddhist and Celtic and all manner of wise and thoughtful books and items. Then we went to a bead store where I purchased a super-cool batiked banner from Bali for my kids.

Next we went to Downtown Subscription, a café and magazine shop.
I had this mochaccino and discovered the kickass magazine Meatpaper.
Garcia Street Books next door is also a treasure. I wish it was my living room.
After coffee and books, we wandered around Canyon Road for a bit, which is a crazy art-centric part of town full of galleries and their eager owners. I had vowed to have a salad each day for lunch, so we were thrilled to find Cafe des Artistes with bright French colours and a chalkboard sign boasting "Fresh Salads."

My excellent salad, see top left for hunks of brie.

I saw a book about Hemingway at the bookstore earlier, which reminded me that
it's OK to have rosé with lunch. Note wine map of France in background.
Ganesh at Project Tibet, also on Canyon Road.
I love Ganesha.
Outside of Project Tibet lives this goddess and chorten.
Check out that intense blue sky!

After lunch we went to more galleries as well as to Nathalie, which was some kind of cowgirl boutique full of sequins and leather. Then I insisted we visit a local running store at a local mini mall so I could find out if they carry the Brooks Pure family. While browsing flimsy running shorts, my family called to sing my happy birthday. So glad to hear from them! Then I dragged my mom to various boutiques such as J. Crew and Lululemon.

Sparkling wine and chocolate strawberries that I ordered on a whim back in Sept.
We consumed them while watching the Full Monty (again), which was somehow perfect.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was our Friday night visit to the New Mexico Museum of Art. It was "Free Friday," with lovely Celtic harpists. What truly thrilled me was the current exhibition of 14,000 years of New Mexican art. Man, what a fabulous way to get a basic grounding in the scene. I feel extremely lucky just to have stumbled upon this exhibition. I think it was my birthday present from New Mexico.

A big birthday present from my mother was a much-anticipated dinner date at Geronimo, one of my favorite restaurants in the world. Yes, I only ate there once before in 1993... and I think they've changed chefs since then. But it really was phenomenal. I'm not a high-end person, but Geronimo lets you feel as fancy as you want to be with zero awkwardness. Plus the food is amazing. The wine is amazing too! I had some kinda Pinot Noir and we shared the crabcakes appetizer. Then I got one of the house specialties, a fabulous elk tenderloin. (THANK YOU MOM!)

This elk tenderloin from Geronimo was really, really, really, really good.

I took this picture to show how close the little fireplace was to my left elbow.
The edge of the table is touching the edge of the fireplace... you can see my plate there.
Yes it was a gas fireplace, but also damn cozy.

Other things we ate/drank in Santa Fe

Santa Fe brewery IPA at the La Fonda hotel
I had this beer with a Cobb salad as my first meal in SF

Combo plate at Tomasita's. I have been looking forward to this for years.
I ordered one of the largest plates to get both the tamale and the relleño. Holla.

La Posada hotel has some seriously delicious margaritas.

La Cumbre IPA at Cowgirl BBQ. They carded me, bless them.

Still at the Cowgirl BBQ, this was a local yak burger with sweet potato fries.
Kind of paleo!

One of the best breakfasts of my life at Cafe Pasqual's: a potato-gruyère galette
topped with hunks of smoked trout, two eggs, and green tomatillo salsa.

This is the Cafe Pasqual's ceiling with long ristras of red chiles. GO there!

Chicken involtini over a bed of greens at Il Piatto, part of a 3-part prix fixe menu.
Lots of veggies under there.

Last breakfast: fruit cup from Whole Foods. Getting ready to return to my
usual strange diet of fruits, veggies & meats.


Wendy said...

Ah, yes, a fabulous day, a great visit, splendid eats. Delighted to be a part of it!!

Anonymous said...

What a nice way to celebrate your birthday! My brother (one of them) and my sister have lived in Santa Fe and I've never been there. I'll have to go with the wife and kid sometime soon. It looks REALLY cool. Thanks for sharing the details.