Santa Fe - large group
Family meetup this summer in Santa Fe - everyone is staying at the Inn on Alameda (303 West Alameda). We will have about 20 people, ranging in age from 5 to 90 (the few children are fairly adventurous and do not need a separate kid's menu). I tried a few searches, but didn't come up with much for larger groups. I'm looking for a few types of recommendations:
• lunch destinations within walking distance of Alameda that can handle a party of 10-15 - inexpensive is good (lunch entrees $15 or less)
• takeout or delivery in the Alameda area
• nice dinner restaurant for group of 20, handicap accessible & ok for kids, New Mexican cuisine preferred, entrees $20-40. Doesn't have to be in walking distance; a private dining area would be fantastic.
Thanks in advance!
I would definitely get in touch with Sadie's. Definitely big enough to handle your group. They do have at least 1 private room, and if memory serves it could seat 20. While they may not have the very best NewMexMex, it's pretty damned good and close to the top of the list. Portions are generous, salsa and the chiles are HOT. Their papitas (tiny cubed potatoes) served as a side are unique and delish smothered in red or green. Been eating their chow since they were in the bowling alley next door and I have never been disappointed.
I'd skip Pasqual's, it's way too small. For lunch you might do well with The Shed, about a block east of the Plaza. There is a charming courtyard enterance but in the back are larger rooms that should have no trouble with your group. Great New Mexican food, my last trip I had carne adovada but I love their blue corn enchiladas and the sangria!
Gee, guys. I replied to lotuseedpaste yesterday, and somehow the post got lost in the ether. Maybe the chowhound powers that be didn't like my mentioning my book and my blog.
Before we get into specific places, I'd warn you that Santa Fe in summer is crawling with tourists, and with your group you need to contact the restaurant or make a reservation, no matter what. This goes double for the big weekends of Spanish Market in July and Indian Market in August.
With prior notice, I'd send you to The Plaza for lunch. As its name suggests, it's right on the plaza and a short walk from the Inn on the Alameda. Their menu is eclectic--everything from New Mexican to Greek, and their prices are some of the most reasonable in Santa Fe. The food is good and the desserts outstanding.
For a special dinner, I'd get in touch with La Fonda Hotel, again right on the plaza. This is the classic Santa Fe hosterly and a fabulous place for its history and decor. They might fit you into their lovely La Plazuela restaurant or they could devote a special function room to your party. This also holds true for other large hotels with good kitchens such as The Inn of the Anasazi or El Dorado Hotel.
Can't help you out for take out, but of course there are all the usual chains on Cerillos Road--Pizza Hut, etc. Speaking of Cerillos Road, breakfasts at The Pantry or Tecolote are NM classics. Doubt they could handle the whole group, but some of your party might want to break out a bit.
Reporting back on how things went:
We actually ended up with a group of 24. Breakfasts were free at the hotel, so it was just lunch and dinner. The lunches ended up free-for-all with the group completely split up (second day lunch was at the International Folk Art Market, not a restaurant), two dinners with the whole group, and one split dinner.
Lunch: I had lunch for two at a small cafe, Faith Cafe and Boutique, just around the corner from the hotel. We wanted something that wasn't mexican and the cafe had pasta, sandwiches, and salads. I had spaghettini with red chile sauce, my companion had penne in tomato sauce. The pasta dishes came with a corn chowder to start which was slightly spicy but quite nice. The penne sauce was chunky, more like a salsa, and we thought the red chile spaghettini was slightly better. Bonus chocolate chip cookies were included for dessert. Service was friendly and attentive - this was a very small cafe with maybe a total of five small tables.
Dinner 1: mass delivery to the hotel lobby. We went with Upper Crust pizza, since they had free delivery, although they tacked on a 15% gratuity for the six pizzas which would have been the same as the 15% delivery fee for DashingDelivery. Pizzas were ok, although delivery took considerably longer than we were told to expect when we ordered.
Dinner 2: Even though we made reservations a while ago, we weren't able to get the first choice location (I'm not sure what this even was) and ended up at Los Mayas instead. We were split between four tables on the patio area. Unfortunately, it was raining during much of dinner and cold, plus the patio is very drippy in the rain, especially around the edges where two of our tables were. We were given napkins to put on the damp seats, although some of the seats were much to wet to sit on, and there were big puddles in some areas. So, not an auspicious start to the meal.
I don't think we were given the regular menu, as we had a choice of about half a dozen entrees, and the appetizers were prearranged. The appetizers were jalapeno poppers which were fine, and some kind of very large pepper which had been boiled? with some kind of stuffing in a sugary cream sauce. Only two people at our table of nine liked the big peppers. There were small salads that were very basic. I didn't have an alcoholic beverage, but it was reported that the margaritas were too sweet and not very strong. I had iced tea which was so strong that it was barely drinkable.
On to the entree, or sort of. One of the four tables was served their entrees shortly after the appetizers, the other three tables waited an additional half an hour or more to receive the entrees. Our food did eventually show up. I had the beef enchiladas, which I though were ok, but most everyone else who ordered them thought the green chile sauce was so spicy-hot as to make them nearly inedible. The shrimp diablo dish, which had been described as having a 'creamy chipotle sauce" actually had a peanut butter based sauce (good thing no one in the party had a peanut allergy!). On a positive note, the live music was pleasant and not overly loud, and the restaurant allowed us to bring in two ice cream cakes from Haagen Dazs and store them in the freezer, then served them at the end of the meal.
Dinner 3: Dinner for three at Whole Hog BBQ. They were strangely out of chicken, but the pulled pork and ribs were good, and the selection of seven different sauces was nice. I liked the #4 southern style vinegar sauce.
So, that is about it. I'll be stopping by Trader Joes on my way out tomorrow morning with coolers full of ice for my semi-annual haul of goat cheese and triple ginger snaps.