Saturday, December 23, 2017

Holiday Weekend in Santa Fe

Museum Hill
Inn on the Alameda Casita
One of the best times to go to Santa Fe is in December, the city lights up with Farolitos and every tree in the  Plaza Square are covered with multicolored lights welcoming the Holidays and Christmas.  Also in December unless it has snowed a lot in the mountains Santa Fe becomes quiet and you can fit right in with all the residents.  We reserved a Casita at the Inn on the Alameda a hotel we have been going to since the day it opened in the early 1980's.  We like the Inn because it is very cozy has traditional suites and the breakfast and the happy hour are terrific.
Christmas on the Plaza Square
This was going to be a three night stay and we had a lot of plans to eat, shop, tour and see friends.
We had dinners planned at friends for two nights and the first night we had reservations at Radish and Rye an American comfort food restaurant with some Santa Fe tastes.  The restaurant has options of great small plates or dinner entrees combined with some great Bourbon drinks featuring Buffalo Trace Bourbon.
Santa Fe is at 7000 feet so in the winter it is dry, cold and typically sunny.  This evening was the type of night that you bundle up with your warmest coat, your woolliest scarf and hat.  Radish and Rye is on Agua Fria a little southeast of the square but not more than a mile.  Like many restaurants in OpenTable for 5:45.  when we arrived there were already people waiting for tables and the restaurant was full of folks enjoying themselves.  We were taken to a very nice corner table with a great view of the room .  Many of the restaurants in Santa Fe are lighted with candles so you can see the motion of the flame flicker off the uneven plaster walls.
Santa Fe it is located in an old Adobe residence with lots of small rooms and fireplaces.  This restaurant is very popular so we grabbed the best reservation available with
Our server David had been working with Radish and Rye for a couple of years and was very knowledgeable about the menu and their signature Bourbon drinks.  You have a couple of choices for dinner at R & R, one is to go with a starter and an entree or do what we did and go with five small plates.
Bourbon Drinks
Corn Fritters with some heat
We both ordered one of the eight Bourbon drinks I chose the Russian Mule
because it had notes of spicy Ginger and Mint and JoAnn had the Seasonal Shrub Mash which provided tastes of holiday evergreens and fruits.
Our first dish was Sweet Corn Fritters with Jalapeno and Green Goddess Dip.  You cannot go to New Mexico and not enjoy what the original settlers ate, Corn and what better way to enjoy it but to have it in a fritter with a hot Jalapeno pepper with a great dipping sauce.   These fritter were light with a nice initial crunch and a Jalapeno chile bite. 

Corn Chowder with Bone Marrow
Many restaurants have a signature entree, Radish and Rye has a signature starter of Corn Chowder, Green Chile and Bone Marrow.  Now if you just added bone marrow to corn chowder you would get a messy brown concoction.  But if you put a roasted half bone with marrow still bubbling and the bone still smoking in a bowl of chowder you get a visually spectacular dish.  When it comes to the table you can still smell the smoke of the roasted bone as you scrape the marrow into the soup and stir.  This was a great taste experience it took a very light corn chowder and made it rich and hearty.
We wrapped up the evening with two dishes born in the Carolina's but adapted to New Mexico.   Fried Green Tomatoes with Pimento Cheese and Smoked Ribs with a Carolina Chipotle Sauce and Pickles.  We do not get the option to eat Fried Green Tomatoes often and especially when it is combined with Pimento Cheese, just like we were in Charleston.  The Ribs were indeed moist with a Carolina vinegar based sauce with a little heat from the Chipotle pepper.  Both dishes were great bites and a perfect way to wrap up the meeting.
Charleston Taste Duo
The following day we went to the Railyard to go to the vintage market followed up with a stroll through the Site Santa Fe Art Exhibit.  We had been planning to go to the Site exhibit for the last two years but never made the time.  It is quite the experience with several interactive experiences and some very intriguing sculpture, photographic and paint exhibits.
SITE Santa Fe
We then spent some time on the square to find some additional Christmas gifts, listen to some seasonal music and grab a quick snack of Pumpkin Posole at the Plaza Cafe.  Soon it was time to enjoy the wine happy hour and listen to some music at our hotel.
Our last day we packed in a lot of things including meeting some friends on Museum Hill and going to the International Folk Art Museum and The Museum of  Indian Arts and Culture.  The folk art museum has the largest collection folk art some of which we own and the Indian arts and culture museum had the history of Indian footwear going back 10,000 years.  Many folks do not know that Santa Fe has more than six great museums that house many one of a kind object of art.
Dinner with Kat
La Casa Sena Soup
After the museum we had a very light lunch of soup at La Casa Sena.  La Casa Sena is a few steps from the square and was once the home of one of the many Governors of Santa Fe's 500 year modern history. La Casa Sena was empty so we had our pick of tables we both had soup, I had the Poblano and JoAnn had the Tomato Chipotle.  The only reason I brought up this snack was although my Poblano soup was great, the Tomato Chipotle was outstanding.

Our last evening we had dinner at our friend Kats.  Kat loves to cook great food and serve even better wine.  Kat's house is cozy and she sets a fantastic table.  This night she served her Famous short Ribs, which deserve to be called famous because of their hearty flavor and how rich, moist and tender they are.  We had a great evening of conversation among friends.
We consider Santa Fe a second home, we always enjoy going there and enjoying our friends and taking in the culture of the old west.