Another AZ/NM report (long)
A busy 10 day trip in AZ and NM from 10/18-10/27. Here's the PHX report: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/875724. We then headed to Flagstaff first stopping in Jerome. The line was too long at Haunted Hamburger unfortunately, A. just had a beer at the Spirit Room and we watched a couple 70's songs that the cover band was doing. Did a 2 mile walk thru the Red Rocks on an empty stomach then grabbed a late lunch at Open Range in Sedona. It was an unresearched stop but was fine, they have a pretty view, our waitress was nice, the bison burger w/ caramelized onions was very tasty but the Caesar salad was completely overdressed. Our hotel in Flagstaff was a 12 min walk from downtown so we went in and checked out beer at the Beaver St. Brewery then ended up with an off the cuff stop at Aloha for Hawaiian food, certainly not on my long list of places to go. We got a bbq beef bowl and spam musubi (pic). The beef was a little like Steakumms but it had a good amount of veggies in the dish which we desperately needed, and rice of course. The spam rolls had a seaweed wrap and yep, spam and rice. Super cheap, decent snack. Ended with a little music at the bar Mia.
Sunday we wanted to watch football so we ended up at the Cuvee 928 in the little plaza, a pleasant spot with a couple games on the two TVs. They made an excellent Bloody Mary (pic) for only $5 and our eggs benedict with crabcake was pretty good, although the hollandaise was an odd color and not so flavorful. We also had a great salad w/ dried cherries and blue cheese then iced coffee from Macy's cafe. That nite we visited a couple nicer spots, Josephine's for a sangria, beer and app of fried green tomatoes w/ mozzarella and a salad w/ fennel, arugula and pine nuts. Some of the entrees looked really good but we then went to Brix which was fun due to the nice bartender and the older couple also seated at the bar. The short ribs tasted good but were a little fatty and the cauliflower cream wasn't so noticeable, but the wine and beer choices were great. Ended with trivia at the Hotel Montevista.
Now we're off to the Grand Canyon and stopped in Valle for breakfast at the Grand Canyon Inn, had a great side pancake and a tasty "Canyon scrambler" (eggs, bacon, biscuits & gravy, hash browns) for $7.95. Never got to the Flintstones Bedrock diner across the street on our way back but it provides good photo ops. We took a plane ride over the Grand Canyon and that windy day did not sit well with yours truly. After relaxing a bit, I dragged myself out for a walk around the rim then ended up w/ decent choc cream pie from the main cafeteria. Later that nite we got somewhat overpriced but decent food at the Canyon Star - a garden salad, pork skewers and split a cheeseburger w/ onion rings. Service was nice if a little nervous and the entertainment was very Western. Not sure if the altitude was an issue but felt sick Tues. morning so just watched A. get a huge Mexican breakfast back in Flag at MartAnne's. Looked good, I think this was one of the last days before they moved to a bigger space. Got a scone at Late for the Train to hold me over for our walk around the Meteor crater. Stopped in Winslow (how could we not stand on the corner) and had a nice lunch at the Turquoise Room at La Posada Hotel. Excellent cream of corn & black bean soup (pic), a good Caesar, sweet service. Dinner menu looked good, a pretty location by those trains that seem to be everywhere in AZ and NM.
We stayed at the Wig Wam Motel in Holbrook and ended up at the Mesa Grill for a basic Italian dinner. Mixed feelings on this place cuz I ordered a baked eggplant app for $5.95 and we were surprised at how huge it was, and not baked. I split the side salad that came w/ A's lasagna but we ended up getting charged for an eggplant parm dinner and I should have had my own salad (we were trying to get some greens in our diet and I could have used a full salad). On the other hand, when I pointed out the underdone side sausage, they immediately took it off the bill and wanted to give us a free dessert but I was just too full. Whatever, the eggplant parm was tasty, lasagna okay and a good salad. Total old school vibe. Found out about Donuts Plus on Yelp and got an excellent maple frosted cake donut (my fave flavor) and an even better orange frosted one (pic). Good choices, good price. We got on Rt. 66 a few times on our way to Santa Fe and stopped at the Rt. 66 Diner in Gallup, it used to be a drive in restaurant and looked cool but was kind of sketchy. The oil smell permeated the place but we didn't walk out and had an ok burger and tater tots.
Stayed at the Lodge at Santa Fe and it was about a 20 min walk into town. The first nite was dinner at Tomasita's where we split a green chili beef bowl w/ sopapilla plus got an order of chips and salsa w/ a side of good guac. They gave us this big spiel about how hot the red chili is and we better wait for our water and drinks to arrive but it wasn't that spicy. With a margarita and beer, tax & tip it was $32. Had a nice time at the bar The Matador talking to the bartender and a customer and listening to good music. Next morning was a stop at Whoo's donuts on Cerillo where I had an amazing pumpkin frosted cake donut and thought their lemon pistachio was okay. A. had a maple bar and the 3 donuts cost $6, yikes. Didn't eat much then cuz we were on the way to the Pantry for a really good breakfast burrito and meh side pancake. Checked Yelp again for where to get coffee and ended up at High Spirits on San Francisco, tiny and excellent. Best iced coffee of the trip. Drove up to the Hyde Park but never found a good place for the view we were told about and after more wandering around, ended up at the Agave Lounge for happy hour and had a margarita, beer and great Kobe sliders w/ green chili and horseradish pickles. The bartender didn't have much personality but it was a nice space. Dinner was at Harry's Roadhouse, kind of in the boonies. Most everything is <$14, we had a good but dry trout stuffed w/ cornbread and shrimp, excellent side of garlic green beans, and green chili soup. Some people had raved about their coconut cream pie (being better than Dahlia Lounge in Seattle, it's not) but the crust was too thick and it was just okay. Fun place tho.
Friday lunch I ended up in the La Fonda hotel for a delicious pork carnitas torta, with some cheese I don't remember and sautéed onions, and avocado, my other favorite meal served w/ warm chips and salsa. The side salad was a disappointment but for just $10 w/ nice service, I was happy. One of the few things that I ate all on my own. That evening was my "travel agent dinner" and we started w/ nice drinks at Secreto (a ginger pear-adise), enjoyed our barmates and John at the bar was a good guy. We decided on 315 Bistro for dinner (helped by the fact that John also works there and had them save us a seat in the bar area). We'd checked out a bunch of menus earlier and that along with Martin and Ristra were our faves. Unfortunately, my stomach was being weird and eating didn't help. Started with fried green tomatoes but they were more deep fried than I'm used to, served w/ a good sauce, the bread and wine were good. I got a larger serving than usual of decent duck and passed much of it on to A. whose venison was excellent. Entrees in the $22-29 range. Dessert of peach crisp w/ cinnamon ice cream, not so crisp but the peaches were good and A's coffee ice cream was tasty.
We took the scenic route to ABQ and stopped in Madrid for coffee at Java Junction, not so friendly there and A. didn't think the coffee was great. Checked into the Hampton Inn by the airport and took the short drive to the Nob Hill area. Split a GCCB at Frontier (pic), the place was packed. I think there was a football game later. Burger was good, glad we got to that institution. Then after wandering around, we split the pork and pineapple tacos at Zacatecas. The place was much nicer than I'd envisioned. Took a ride to Old Town and noticed a place called Dog House on the way so had to stop on the way back for a foot long which was fine but it wasn't grilled enough. Then a stop at Banh Mi Coda for a grilled pork sandwich, I saved my half for the next day so can't really judge and since this was A's first banh mi, I can only say that it seemed good. Dinner was at Blackbird Buvette downtown where we again split an excellent GCCB w/ a side of fries and sweet potato chips. The chips were amazing, wolfed those down along with a cup of green chili soup. Happened to be there during an early comedy show, unfortunately no one was too funny. We ended w/ pool at Anodyne which had great music and literally 100's of beers.
So that's a lot of stuff for 10 nites (including the 2 in PHX). Everyone told me to spend more time in Santa Fe than ABQ but I wish we'd split it up to 2 nites each since ABQ is more of a real city. Not to diss the SF folks, but it just felt like one turquoise shop after another and it wasn't for me. Enjoyed Flagstaff too although arriving on "Tequila Sunrise" day when the kids had been up since 6AM drinking all day was a little iffy. Thanks to those who gave their thoughts on SF and ABQ.