Santa Fe Req's for Thanksgiving/Bday Trip?
My BF and I will be heading to Santa Fe for a long Thanksgiving weekend to visit BF's grandparents and we'll also be celebrating my birthday on Fri. the 23rd. As semi-deprived foodies living in LA (Hermosa Beach), we always look forward to the fantastic food and myriad dining options of Santa Fe, among other cultural delights to be found there.
The last three years we've visited we've done Geronimo, the Compound, Casa Sena, and Coyote Cafe....enjoyed them all, but the first three especially. Based on what I've read online, Aqua Santa and La Boca are topping my list of places to try for dinner, most likely the former for my actual bday dinner. (Love locally-sourced, organic ingredients and am obsessed with Spanish food.) I gather these two venues to be more casual and relaxed then either Geronimo and the Compound, so I'm wondering if I should be seeking out a new special occasion place for my bday meal to try out (well, new to us, that is, such as Fuego, Anasazi, etc.).
I'm also thinking about Trattoria Nostrani, but though I'm an avid lover of Italian,.I must admit I'm not overly motivated to seek out Italian-proper cooking when in Santa Fe, so I'd love to know if it's everything I've seen it hyped up to be.
Would like to try Pasqual's for breakfast, The Shed (too touristy?) for chile lunch, and will most likely be taken whether I like it or not to a few of Grandpa's regular haunts (Steak Smith, Pink Adobe, Tecalote, Tomasitas, Bobcat Bite, Tesuque - which I love despite the often slow service). Appreciate any thoughts and recs for my potential dinner candidates listed or others...
Aqua Santa and La Boca ARE very good but would not be "Special Occasion" enough imo/were I responsible for your celebration. Looking over the places you've been to and liked, I'd probably head to the restaurant at the Anasazi Hotel (menu is on line at their website). Excellent food, place feels "special" but be aware, it is NOT inexpensive. Fuego would qualify as well. DO have a meal - another dinner or a lunch - at La Boca since you do like Spanish food. Note, as has been said elsewhere, it is a small restaurant (where Paul's used to be) and can be very noisy when full.
And, as any one who's ever been will surely say, you must get a Green Chile Cheeseburger at Bobcat Bite before you leave.
Service might be a bit better at the Tesuque Village Market since you've been there. Place was sold in the last year and has changed some. (I live about four miles away and am in there daily for newspapers and an occasional pastry.) Most notable change is a wood fired oven for pizzas; only one in the state that is not gas assisted so you get a real wood/smoke flavor to the crust. Not "rave" perfection but pretty darn good.
Re some of your other comments, The Shed is not too touristy; just terrific (possibly the best) New Mexican food in town. Their sister restaurant, La Choza, near the Whole Foods market has less ambience but food that is just as good. Less visitors and more locals at the tables.
I agree with fyfas that for "special occasion" dining, you should seek out Inn of the Anasazi. Fuego is also delicious.
Trattoria Nostrani is as good as everyone says. Let them guide you toward a wine pairing, unless you're well versed in Italian wines. They vvon't lead you astray.
The Shed is not touristy, but it is very popular. Deservingly so. Expect a wait.
Thanks all for the continued input. Right now our schedule is shaking out like this:
Breakfast - Pasqual's
Late lunch/tapas - La Boca
Birthday dinner - Fuego (From the feedback I've gotten, sounds like this is a solid choice, if nothing else, for the cheese cart alone. I heard the chef used to do a lobster tasting menu...anyone aware if they're still offering it?)
Breakfast - Grandpa's choice :)
Lunch - The Shed
Dinner - Aqua Santa
Would love to get to Nostrani or Anasazi but with only two nights for dinner, we'll have to reserve them for our next trip. Appreciate any additional thoughts on the above! =]