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Santa Fe Trip Report

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Mar 12th, 2012, 04:15 PM
  #1
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Santa Fe Trip Report

Driving into Santa Fe from Alberquerque, I was totally surprised by the architecture of the housing. I had expected traditional suburbs but instead found almost everyone has built houses resembling traditional adobe homes. Houses, businesses, government buildings are almost all built in this style or at least the ones I observed. The colors are traditional as well and the houses seem to blend in with the desert. I had not expected that.

El Dorado Hotel is a lovely hotel built in the adobe style. The public areas are warmly decorated and our room was acceptable. Bed was comfortable, room large, decor Santa Fe-ish, and the bathroom not large but acceptable. The ventilation worked very well and wasn't noisy but we had to unplug the refer.

Luminaria Restaurant - Unknown to us it was restaurant week so the full menu was not available. Travels For Business ordered the Ceasar Salad and I ordered the Baby Arugula Salad which were pretty standard fare. For entrees TFB ordered the Braised Short Ribs  —  French Fries, Bordelaise Sauce but asked for mashed potatoes. I ordered the Grilled Free Range Chicken Breast  —  Carrot Puree, Artichokes, Edamame, Pan Jus. The chicken was cooked perfectly, the artichokes were braised with hot peppers, and the edamame were, well, edamame, and the carrot purée was nothing more than a smear on the plate for color. The food was perfectly prepared but just lacked the pizazz we were expecting.

Wine - TFB was ready to order some wines by the glass but I noted a Trefethen 2006 Cab half bottle for $39. Our waitress highly recommended it and said that there have been Trefethen dinners at Luminaria in the past and this wine was excellent. And it was. Desert was included. TFB had the banana cream pie and I had the angel food cake with blood orange sherbet and fresh berries. I enjoyed my desert as it was a nice finish without being rich. We also had a glass of Penfolds Grandfather Port $15 which was delicious. Our dinners were $35 each for the three courses. Service was exceptional. I would like to go again when I can order from the regular menu.
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Mar 12th, 2012, 08:27 PM
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The Loretto Chapel is Just in front of the entrance to Luminaria and was another total surprise. I had read that it is modeled after the Sainte Chapelle in Paris but I was amazed at its beauty at night lit up. We stopped to take a few pictures and returned the next day to see the inside. Just as beautiful inside as it was outside.

Sunday morning we stopped in at El Burro Cafe for breakfast. The place was very busy but we only had to wait a few minutes for a table. The latte and cappuccino were delicious as were the strawberry creapes and French toast. There were many good looking French pastries in the case which we passed up. An accordion player was playing many French tunes which was the cherry on the Sunday.
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Mar 12th, 2012, 08:50 PM
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{FYI - it's Burro Alley Cafe} Sounds like had a good time and ate well.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 02:26 PM
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Thanks Deb. TFB travels on his stomach; I remember all the art we saw and he remembers all the food he ate!

Sunday we walked around old Santa Fe and looked in a few shops. I was most impressed by the Native American vendors displaying their jewelry and goods on one side of the plaza. I would much rather purchase from them directly than a shop and I found a small silver bear necklace I liked.

TFB saw a lovely jacket in a shop window and said I should check it out. WEll, it was lovely alright to the tune of $800. Yes, you can find some mighty nice clothing in Santa Fe without looking too hard.

We walked over to Canyon Road and enjoyed walking around there and browsing through the art galleries.

El Farol Restaurant - This place was very busy on Sunday night. There was a guitarist/vocalist playing, Nacha Mendez, who had a lovely voice although suffering from a sore throat. Our server warned us that we should be ready with our tapas sealections when he returned with our wine because they were very busy. He recommended we select 8 tapas and so with lightening speed, TFB rattled off 8 and they were delicious. It would have been nice if they had brought the salad first so be aware that you might want to tell your waiter in what order you would like your tapas. We enjoyed our experience at El Farol. It was definitely a little more low key but very enjoyable. The decor was rustic and definitely more casual than Luminaria.

Bumble Bee's Baja Grill was just around the corner from the hotel and we stopped in for a bite to eat at noon one day. Definitely low key almost fast food but healthy ingredients and some vegetarian. I had the burrito with brown rice, asparagus, tofu, cheese and salsa wrapped in a paper thin whole wheat tortilla which I really enjoyed. Couldnt eat the entire burrito. TFB had the fish tacos and finished up my burrito.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 02:31 PM
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After I saw all the Native American vendors on the plaza, I searched through the Fodors book on Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque looking for information. Nothing under shopping, but did find a paragraph on it under the New Mexico History Museum on page 38. I think they deserve their own bold heading paragraph. I went back a couple times because I enjoyed looking at the wares and talking with the vendors.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 02:47 PM
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La Boca- Well, while it is fresh in my mind, I better continue. La Boca is a small tapas restaurant with well prepared food and a nice wine list. Here the waiter recommended we order 4 dishes which were plenty. We had the grilled artichokes with mint, smoked salmon wrapped asparagus, butternut squash with sage and pumpkin seeds, and a fish stew (this portion was on the smaller side). For wine TFB ordered a Tempranello which is available by the glass or bottle - A. Fernandez Dehesa La Granja - which went very well with the food. We Enjoyed our experience at La Boca and would definitely return. The tables were a little close and it was a little noisy but not bad.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 03:09 PM
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I'm enjoying your trip report!

Lee Ann
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Mar 16th, 2012, 03:14 PM
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I am too, with fond memories of our trip there a couple years ago and an absolutely delicious dinner at La Boca. Glad I'm not the only one who posts trip reports that sometimes read like a food report ;-)
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Mar 18th, 2012, 01:55 AM
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Really good food descriptions. I am drooling, waiting for more!

A couple of points.

1. I think the architectural styles are mandatory in some areas as they are in Charleston and all over Nantucket, so I would like to be corrected if I am wrong. It is fun to see old pictures of the downtown when it still looked like Peru, Indiana.

2. I never heard an Indian in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico referred to as a Native American, either by himself or by New Mexicans, although they may call themselves Tiwa or something else. It freaks people out who come from other parts of the country. On the other hand, many locals draw a distinction between "Spanish" and "Mexican," especially people whose families have been in New Mexico since before ther was a Mexico.

3. I hope you had some New Mexican food. It isn't very much like TexMex or CaliMex and is delicious.

This is a wonderful part of the world, with beautiful scenery, an incredible history, and a fascinatingly diverse population. If I could be in three places at once, Santa Fe and its environs would be one of them.

Any more Trefethen cabs in our future?
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Mar 18th, 2012, 05:09 AM
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Every time I visit New Mexico, there's something new and wonderful on my to-do list, and something unique to see, from side streets in Santa Fe to Mal Pais to...maybe it's time to schedule a visit!
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