Sunday, September 11, 2016

Santa Fe New Mexico - City Different

Another Fantastic Sunset in Santa Fe
Santa Fe, New Mexico is the oldest Capital city in the USA founded by the Spaniards in 1610.  We have been going to Santa Fe for over 30 years for business and pleasure.  I originally went to Santa Fe to sell computer solutions to Los Alamos National Labs.  We always enjoyed the magical character and started going there on vacation and eventually built a house.  To this day we still own property and visit there at least once a year.  We bought our first piece of original art in Santa Fe in the 1980's and have been adding to our collection over the years.  For the last 100 years Santa Fe has been a place where artists and photographers have been enjoying and capturing the natural beauty of this mountain city at 7000 feet.
Fiesta Mariachi
My favorite reason to go to Santa Fe is that it is very relaxing, the skies are colorful endless, the sunrises and sunsets never disappoint and life seems simple here.
Santa Fe is also the home of some of the most fantastic restaurants in the US.  It is constantly featured in magazines and on the Food Channel and is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 restaurant cities in the US.  Many of the foods are derived from the Spanish, Indian and Mexican heritages and in some cases feature the spicy Chile.  So when you have the opportunity to order a dish that comes with Chile try it with green or red Chile or as they call it when you combine the two Christmas.
The last several times we have been to Santa Fe I have focused on some of the newer restaurants that feature farm to table organic meals.  Our trip in August combined the old with the new including The Compound, Tesuque Village Market, Guadalupe Cafe, Santa Fe Bite (Formerly Bobcat Bite), Jambo Cafe and Paper Dosa.

Alaskan Halibut with Chorizo
Soft Shell Crab
The Compound Restaurant opened in 1967 and was designed by Alexander Girard who had developed the Braniff Terminal, the interior of their jets and was instrumental as a designer for Herman Miller Textiles.  The restaurant closed in the 90's and reopened in 2000 when Executive Chef Mark Kiffin bought it.  The restaurant is located on Canyon Road among art galleries, homes and other restaurants.  The Compound is considered one of the best restaurants in Santa Fe and the Southwest.  The restaurant is elegant and built entirely from adobe which was part of the original house built in the early 1900's.  On this evening we went with our good friends from Texas and enjoyed a great meal with a very nice bottle of wine, Belle Glos from the Clark and Telephone Vineyard.  For starters I had the Tomato Soup poured over creole barbecued shrimp and a buttermilk biscuit.  The presentation was great they poured the hot soup over the shrimp and biscuit which created quite the spectacle.  The soup was creamy with a hint of spice from the creole seasoning on the shrimp, all in all it was quite hardy.  The other terrific looking starter was the Carolina Soft Shelled Crab which was stuffed crab remoulade on a base of sweet corn and tomato and red pepper coulis.
For the main course I had the Halibut presented on portuguese chorizo and potato with saffron aioli.  The Halibut was perfectly cooked and the combination with the chorizo provided a great bite.  Others at the table had the Smoked Berkshire Pork with peaches and sweet potato gratin.  The meal was terrific but the experience of having a meal in this historic building turned restaurant was quite the treat, combine that with good friends, great service you have the perfect meal.

Lamb Curry
One of our new go to places is Paper Dosa which features South Indian Cuisine.   Paper Dosa is outside the main Historic Santa Fe and sits in a small center off of Cordova Avenue.  Dosa is a fermented crepe made of rice batter and black lentils.  The Dosa is served with Sambar (Lentil Based Stew), coconut chutney and tomato chutney.  If you are a vegetarian or vegan Paper Dosa has great dishes for you.  But along with the great choice of Dosa's you can also order Lamb, Prawn or Chicken Curry.  
Watermelon and Tofu Salad
We love Indian food so we sampled the watermelon and tofu sald on sprouts, the Dosa and Lamb curry. A Dosa is served with a potato filling that has different flavor choices like Masala, White Truffle or Spinach and Fennel. The Dosa is kind of a do it yourself burrito where you spoon out the flavored potato filling and add the Chutney's.  I broke pieces off of the Dosa and made it more of a Taco than a Burrito.  The Masala Potato stuffing had great heat and the chutneys provided a great cooling effect.  The Truffle filling was less hot but was filled with great flavor.  The Lamb Curry was tender and was packed with flavor and heat.
Greatest Burger
One of the Top Burger diners in the US is Santa Fe Bite (formerly Bobcat Bite one in a trailer off I-25.)  I had not been there since it was in that little trailer on the feeder road just off the freeway.  It is now on Old Santa Fe Trail near downtown in a sit down diner.  When I first went there 7 years ago I thought the burger was pretty good.  Time and a new location provided me with one of the best burgers I have ever had.  It was a very nice day so we enjoyed our meal outside while people watching in the afternoon breeze. The Burger was a 10 ounce beef patty (there is no shrinkage Mr Costanza) oozing juices topped with Hatch green chiles under melted cheddar cheese served with my favorite sweet potato fries.  This burger is a treat, if you like burgers this is a must.
Coconut an Peanut Chicken Curry

One of the new local places we tried out this time was Jambo Cafe on Cerrillos Road.  Jambo Cafe is very difficult to get into so if you do not have reservations you need to get there before 6pm.  The restaurant fuses African and Caribbean food to produce some of the best curries I have had.  Not all curry is spicy and I had the Coconut and Peanut Chicken Curry which was both very filling and delicious.  Jambo Cafe has a variety of food like goat stew, seafood dishes, jerk chicken and kabobs.  Jambo serves great comfort food nothing fancy but very well prepared.

Breakfast Tacos at TVM
Two great Breakfast recommendations are Tesuque Village Market and Guadalupe Cafe both are long term eating establishments with great history.  Tesuque Village Market is the only Market in the city of Tesuque across from the Santa Fe Opera.  It is an old wood building with seating inside and outside, nothing real formal just a good place to go hang out and get great food.  When in Santa Fe I only get one thing for breakfast and that is the Breakfast Burrito and it is always stuffed with a pork product, chorizo or bacon or carnitas, I then have it smothered in Christmas Chile green on half and red on the other half.  I promise I do not go hungry till dinner.  There are other great dishes at the market but unfortunately when it comes to breakfast I am very stubborn
Chile Relleno
The other great Breakfast Spot is  the Guadalupe Cafe off of Old Santa Fe Trail.  Several years ago they took over the famous Pink Adobe Restaurant which started business in 1944 and now serve Breakfast and Brunch as the Guadalupe Cafe and Dinner as the Pink Adobe.  I will not bore you with my awesome Chorizo Breakfast Burrito but instead tempt you with the Chile Relleno stuffed Poblano with goat cheese and pine nuts combined with the second stuffed with egg and cheese.  I had a bite of both and they were delicious.  I recommend both restaurants for either a great breakfast or dinner.
Santa Fe never disappoints there are over 50 great restaurants and some terrific chefs either started here or have made it their career here.