Recent Santa Fe eats, low-frills edition: Joe's Diner, Blue Nile Cafe, Yoberri, Spectrum Cafe
Wanted to post a quick roundup of some lower-frills chow around Santa Fe:
Joe's Diner - I've been driving past this place on Rodeo Rd. since we moved here last summer, and now I'm kicking myself that I didn't visit sooner. It's an upscale faux diner, with checkered floors, vinyl and chrome everywhere. The surprise is that the American short order menu is consistently excellent, with as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible, and homemade everything wherever possible. Excellent baked goods at breakfast (probably my favorite cinnamon roll I've tried in town), very good straight-ahead lunch and dinner (perfect turkey club with homemade chips, both regular and sweet potato), a nice array of homemade desserts (really nicely-done NY-style cheesecake ). Haven't tried the pizza yet, but it looks entirely respectable; add to this a short, but solid list of pitchers of beer, and you've got a winner. My only gripes are the 9 p.m. nightly closing time and the not-dirt-cheap prices (sandwiches in the $10ish range), but it is Santa Fe, and it is locavore, so I can't complain too much.
Blue Nile Cafe - this newish food truck at the NE corner of St. Francis and Cordova may well have the best Mediterranean fast food in the city. All the usual Middle Eastern goodies, I invariably get a gyro (consistently outstanding), with fresh-shaved meat, good fresh veggies, well-done yogurt sauce, and a warm, puffy pita, which runs $5.50. A nice plus, the woman that runs the place is really friendly. You can find the full menu on Facebook.
Yoberri - Santa Fe's Pinkberry knockoff near the Plaza is really quite good, in fact I like it about as well as Pinkberry. The yogurt sports both a nice tang and a surprisingly deep milky flavor, and at just 26 calories an ounce, not a bad afternoon snack. In addition to the Pinkberry-style healthy toppings (granola, fresh fruit), I'm pleased that they have some more classic bad-for-you toppings too (M&Ms, crushed Oreos).
Spectrum Cafe - nice little family-run coffeehouse on St. Michael's. The only thing I've gotten here is their first-rate bubble tea. They brew their various teas fresh every day, they use real milk instead of powdered creamer (not canonical I realize, but I do think it tastes better), and their tapioca is invariably tender and fresh-tasting. Standard array of flavors, I'm an old-school green milk tea kind of guy, and they do it great.
2801 Rodeo Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87507
325 W San Francisco St, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Quick update on Joe's -- skip the pizza.
They used to run Pizza Etc. in the Davargas Center (before selling it to their longtime employees, which is cool), and unfortunately the pizza is similar. Nothing awful, the ingredients are certainly good, but the crust is thick and tough, the sauce is a little flat, and everything is a little bland. The rest of the menu is still fantastic.
151 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501
Had brunch at Joe's Diner today. Sorry fin, my take is MEH. I had Blue Corn Pinon Pancakes. A stack of 5 for $5.99. They were small, 3-4" diameter, thin and were very gummy. Granted, I have never had them before, so maybe that is how they always are, but they sure underwhelmed me.
My son had Huevos and the plate was pretty skimpy portions. He said the green chile had no heat at all. To make matters worse, the salt in the shaker came pouring out [holes were a bit large for the super fine sale] and he got quite a dump of salt on his food. He good 2 sausage patties for and extra $1.50 and they were grey looking.
I had coffee, he had a coke. Tab was $23+ and overall, it was really a major dissappointment.
Yeah, I should have probably sent an update on this. At this point, I've been to Joe's a number of times, and it's more hit or miss than my initial impression suggested.
At breakfast, I still really like their baked goods, but the other kitchen stuff, specifically including those pinon pancakes, has left me pretty cold. I think virtually all their sandwiches with homemade chips are great, a number of their dinner specials are good (the spaghetti bolognese for two isn't the best I've ever had, but it's a great deal with the salads and Chianti). Burgers reliably good, Buffalo wings fantastic.
So yeah, hit or miss. While I respect their ambition, I wish they'd tighten up their menu. (See also: Harry's Roadhouse.)