Dr. Field Goods, Santa Fe: excellent, inexpensive locavore chow and they even have wood-fired pizza!
If there's one thing I've long wished for in Santa Fe, it's for more midscale deliciousness that's aimed more at the locals than the tourists. And I have to say, 2013 has been a fantastic year on this front. From Iconik Coffee's outstanding short food menu, to the made-to-order chopped salad bar at Kaune's, to Duel Brewery's no-fuss Belgian and German fare, the city has really been fortunate to get some more arrows in its midscale quiver. That said, Dr. Field Goods may well be the pick of the 2013 litter: a delicious, unpretentious, locavore storefront on the South Side whose most expensive entree clocks in at just 16 bucks.
Let's get my little quibbles out of the way first: DFG's pizza margherita came so, tantalizingly close to perfect Neapolitan authenticity, then fell a little flat by using sliced tomatoes instead of a puree. But everything else about it was outstanding, especially the pitch-perfect crust and the creamy, sweet housemade mozzarella, cooked in their custom-made, wood-burning oven. And although I don't recall for sure, I may have seen a tomato puree or sauce available as an option for other pizzas. My other quibble is that although Chef Josh Gerwin knows how to pack a wallop of flavor into his dishes, he does it with a consistently heavy hand. Yes, it's a farm-to-table restaurant, and heavens yes the food is delicious, but the overwhelming majority of the menu is pretty darn bad for you. The menu still sports the obselescently-named "lighter fare" options, which tend to strike me as a tacit apology they may not be quite as tasty as other choices.
So OK, enough whiny quibbling, let's talk about the good news: pretty much everything else at Dr. Field Goods is pretty freakin' phenomenal. They have a terrific rotating selection of local beers (loved my draft La Cumbre Elevated IPA), as well as a really lovely set of nonalcoholic concoctions (housemade lemonade, limeade, ginger ale...). Given DFG's emphasis on fresh, local ingredients, it's no surprise that there are a number of traditional(ish) NM-style items on the menu, like green chile stew, enchiladas, and breakfast burritos, but they also take the cuisine to new places: we loved our carne adovada egg roll (huge -- one was plenty for two of us for a starter), spicy, earthy, floral and delicious. Also wonderful was their daily special, a housemade green chile pork sausage. And again, sliced tomatoes aside, their pizza margherita was EASILY the closest thing I've found in the state (ahem, outside my house) to Neapolitan authenticity. Didn't try their desserts, but the bread pudding we saw at a neighboring table looked in keeping with the rest of the menu, huge, heavy, and no doubt bursting with deliciousness.
As appealing as the chow is here, the friendly, casual vibe of the place is a really welcome element as well. A casual storefront out near Jackalope, well lit, with hightop tables and a long bar surrounding a semi-open kitchen, and a few wall-mounted TVs tuned to the Food Network. Staff are relaxed and unpretentious, mirroring everything else here. And they even have takeout menus; this would be a great place to swing by on the way home if you're too busy to cook. It may not be super healthy, but it's certainly fresh, homey, and delicious. Great addition to Santa Fe all around, I can't wait to get back.