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Pls critique our New Mexico dinner plans

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My husband and I and our 11 year old will be in New Mexico for Christmas week. We're looking at mostly casual restaurants, since people seem to think those are the best examples of New Mexican and Mexican food. Here are the plans so far:

ABQ: 3 nights, bookending the trip
Mary & Tito - 1st night in NM
Huong Thao (by the end of a 9 day trip, we're figuring we might want a change and we love Vietnamese)
Mary & Tito again if we really liked it, if not maybe El Pinto

SF: 5 nights, including Christmas
The Shed or La Choza
Casa Chimayo
Plaza Cafe
Christmas Eve - have reservations for La Boca
Christmas - Is SF like NYC, the Asian places are open on Christmas? What's good?

Taos: 1 night
Graham's Grill

What do you think?

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  1. Nice researchin'! Looks like a solid chow trip.

    Know that Mary & Tito's closes at 6, so those dinners will need to be early. Most of the really good NM places in ABQ are more lunch and/or breakfast spots than dinner.

    Huong Thao is really excellent, but be ready for no frills. If you want something a little more midscale, Viet Taste on Menaul is good too, but I think Huong Thao is a significant notch better, especially for pho.

    Re: your Asian/Christmas Day question, honestly there aren't really *any* Asian places in SF in the sense you're thinking. Everything except a few upscale Japanese places are almost completely Americanized, and I'm not actually sure they're open on Christmas anyway. I'm a huge fan of Budai down in ABQ, they're the real deal (the xao long bao are my favorite but everything is reliably delicious), and may well be open on Christmas. You're talking about an easy, no-traffic hour drive each way...not necessarily beyond the pale if you're after a tasty Christmas meal.

    Graham's is fine, IMO nothing super special, but it's family friendly and certainly perfectly decent.

    Just to point it out, Casa Chimayo is in downtown Santa Fe and a lot of people seem to like it (I've only been one time and thought it was good, but not stellar, but I need to get back). The unrelated Rancho de Chimayo is more or less on the way up to Taos and a really distinctive place, the NM-style food is very well done and the setting is amazing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: finlero

      I second Budai! Absolutely the best restaurant in the area. If you go, make sure to ask for the secret menu which has many wonderful dishes not on the regular menu. Besides the xao long bao, try the duck, pork belly, and scallion cakes. You won't be disappointed!

    2. If you haven't totally OD'd on Northern New Mexican food by the time you get to Taos you might consider Orlando's as an alternative to Graham's Grille. It's a charming little place and some of the menu items have a slightly different spin than what you typically see around Santa Fe.