Santa Fe Chowhounds
- Lori Midson
Those of you who live in Santa Fe--
A girlfriend and I will be in Santa Fe next weekend for two nights. I go down usually at least once a year from Denver, and I'm wondering if there any terrific New Mexican (only) food meccas that I've missed in trips past. Been to the Shed, Tomasita's, Cafe Sena, Geronamo, Maria's, Pasquale's, Harry's Roadhouse, Dave's Not Here, Guadalupe Cafe, Old Mexico Cafe, Inn at the Anasazi, Coyote Cafe, and Tia Sophia's. What have I missed that you locals love?
Go to El Rito and try almost anything at Farolito. Be prepared for a very small room with 5 picnic style tables and great food. No alcohol is served but you can bring a bottle of wine or some beer. I recommend enchiladas with green chile or chile rellenos. Try dessert too, stuffed sopapilla with chocolate souce. El Rito is north of Santa Fe and Espanola almost to Abiqiu, Georgia O'Keeffe country. Off highway 84 turn east on state highway 554 and travel about 13 miles until you come to a small hamlet. It's on your right across from the general store.
re: Deborah Hunter
Boy were you right about this place !
My wife does volunteer work for the O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe and was recently "sent" to Ghost Ranch to meet/admit a photographer and crew doing a shoot for a future piece in Architectural Digest. Since they were shooting to capture dawn and through dusk her day was to be quite long; I used it as an excuse to explore. Nothing about El Farolito would have made me stop had it not been for your post.
I ate like I was going to the chair ! Green chile enchiladas were as expected, excellent. Salsa with the chips was very nice with lots of different flavors and a nice bit of heat. Better than expected as I was surprised that it was smooth/pureed rather than chunky as in a salsa fresca.
Had an ala carte chile relleno which I often use to measure A new Mexican kitchen's talents. Freshly made (too often they are pre-deep-fried and reheated) and with only a nominal amount of heat in the sauce so the true flavor of the fresh chile could be noted. Nice.
Now, for the surprise. Ordinarily, my least favorite items are tacos. Generally they bore me. Since the El Farolito enchilada plate came with a taco (?), I accepted a chicken one, not expecting to eat more than a cursory bite. Well, it was the best taco I've ever had. Not a soft shell but a crisp one and one that was slightly thicker than I expected. Abundant shredded chicken with a nice sauce (not too much) to which I added a bit of the salsa in order to add a bit of heat. Next visit, will concentrate on tacos; perhaps I'll see what they consider to be a tostada.
While there is considerable variety in New Mexican food (as distinct from the Mexican food presented in either California or Texas), this little place was really good. Foodwise, it reminded me of a favorite Santa Fe restaurant, regrettably now gone, La Tertulia.
Thanks, again for the post that sent me there. Interestingly, as out-of-the-way as it is, based on the clippings on the wall Sunset magazine and Travel & Leisure have included them in write-ups.
Chowhounds...this place is way out of the way. You are in the middle of nowhere !!! But, if you are visiting Santa Fe and northern New Mexico, this is worth a detour for a food-find and to appreciate the extraordinary landscape that Georgia O'Keeffe called home for fifty odd years (the paintings of which are much of her enormous legacy). Should you be combining a trip to Santa Fe with time in Taos, a loop away from the direct road north adds but a few hours and will be something memorable.
If you visit the O'Keeffe Museum when in Santa Fe and see the paintings, you must drive through this land and then visually experience the real thing.
I agree with Chimayo Joe that La Choza is good; in fact, I prefer it to The Shed (more locals). I noted some consistently good places that were absent from your list, so . . .
Whistling Moon (Mediterranean/Middle Eastern/Vegetarian) - 402 N. Guadalupe St., 983-3093
Guadalajara Grill (Mexican, not New Mexican) - 3877 Cerrillos Rd, 424-3544
Wall Street West (great cerebral food - newest place everyone raves about, the digs not quite up to the food) 919 W. Alameda, 988-2933 (call for reservations!)
Paul's (diverse, not too exciting, but solid) 72 W. Marcy St., 982-8738
Santacafe (of course) 231 Washington Ave., 984-1788
Osteria d'Assisi 58 S. Federal Plaza (just off Washington), 986-5858
Pantry (locals know it for breakfast) 1820 Cerrillos Rd, 986-0022
Zia Diner (well-loved) 326 S. Guadalupe St, 988-7008
El Farol (tapas) 808 Canyon Rd, 983-9912
Horseman's Haven (locals' secret, often the hottest green chile around, dumpy locale) 6500 Cerrillos Rd (almost to outlet mall - consider hopping I-25 from St. Francis or Old Pecos Trail down to Cerrillos), 471-5420
Tamale Molly (new place, fancy tamales for charity, fun) 323 Aztec, 989-4500
Okay, my friend, that ought to give you enough to do next weekend! Please feel free to drop me an email if you need any more specific info.