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Trip Report: New Mexico Loop (ABQ, Carlsbad, Alamagordo, Grants, Santa Fe)

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We just returned from a fantastic week-long trip around New Mexico. Thanks to CH recommendations and the awesome book _Moon New Mexico_ (by Zora O'Neill), we ate really well. Hopefully our experience can be helpful to future visitors.

Day 1:
Lunch: Vinaigrette near Albuquerque's old town. Super delicious fresh entree salads and warm bread. We also loved the homemade pie, bursting with tart flavor and juiciness.
http://www.vinaigretteonline.com/loca...

Dinner: Light fare at Flying Star Cafe in the university area. Great selection of light options and heartier comfort-foods, in a student-y artsy atmosphere. There is a second location in Santa Fe.
http://www.flyingstarcafe.com

Day 2:
Long drive from ABQ to Carlsbad Caverns.
Stopped at the remarkable Paleteria Yoli in Roswell. Fantastic variety of homemade frozen desserts and agua frescas, with charming bilingual menu and a spotless, bright interior. We had two paletas: the strawberries and cream (delicious, not too sweet) and cucumber/lime/chile (very lively mix of flavors). Wish we could have tried more flavors! This place is definitely worth a stop.

Paleteria Yoli
510 W. 2nd St., Roswell, NM 88201

Dinner at Danny's BBQ in Carlsbad: awesome fresh, meticulously prepared BBQ and sides in a decidedly non-touristy atmosphere.
Address: 902 S Canal St, Carlsbad, NM 88220
Phone:(575) 885-8739

Day 3:
Carlsbad to White Sands National Monument with stops at the Valley of Fires Recreation Area in Carrizozo, and the Very Large Array in Socorro.

Unremarkable ice cream at Kaleidescoop in Carlsbad (425 N Canal St, Carlsbad, NM

)

Tried to get pie at the Pie-o-neer in Pietown, but it was closed:
Pie-O-Neer Pies, P.O. Box 656, U.S. Highway 60 Pie Town, NM 87827
Phone: 575.772.2711

Very decent coffee break at M Mountain Coffee in Socorro. We just had drinks, but looked like they had tasty gelato and sandwiches also.
110 Manzanares Ave W Socorro, New Mexico
(575) 838-0809

Dinner at the fantastic, highly recommended Rockin' BZ Burgers in Alamogordo: their green chile cheeseburgers placed in a state-wide contest and were the best we had on the trip. We had really great service in this bare-bones space (a former daycare). Buns were soft and buttery, toppings generous and flavorful, and we loved the fried green beans on the side. Highly, highly recommended (we went back the next day for lunch).
3005 N White Sands Blvd, Alamogordo, NM 88310
(575) 434-2375

Days 4-5:
Malpais National Monument and other Grants-area attractions (Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and Mining Museum)
We tried to get tortas in Grants but the place (Badlands Burgers & Tortas) was closed, so ended up with hearty, decent, food at First St. Cafe - it's a locally owned diner with a friendly staff. Sandwiches were tasty but unremarkable, but the pies were all homemade and the coconut cream was excellent.

Address for the diner (breakfast and lunch only): 1600 W Santa Fe Ave, Grants, NM 87020
Phone:(505) 287-7111

Final Days in Santa Fe (where we hiked part of the Aspen Vista trail, hung out in the plaza, soaked at the 10,000 Waves Spa, and visited Tent Rocks and Bandolier National Monuments)
- We went back to Vinaigrette (Santa Fe location) for another great meal (great to have salads to offset all the burgers and rich cheesy SW-style food).
- Disappointing and overpriced pizza on the plaza at Rooftop Pizzeria.
- Tamales at the Farmer's market (sadly we could only attend the small Tuesday market, so offerings were much more limited than if we'd gone on a weekend)
- Amazing, delicious breakfast burritos, cinnamon buns, and cinnamon bun-French toast at Counter Culture - we had several leisurely breakfasts here, and enjoyed the patio and the magazines that are available for browsing: 930 Baca St #1, Santa Fe, NM 87505, (505) 995-1105
- Tasty and hearty Southwestern food at Atrisco Cafe in the deVargas Center. We enjoyed the sopaipillas and "combo platters" that allow you to taste multiple dishes.
193 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501,(505) 983-7401
- Great green chile cheeseburgers at Santa Fe Bite, though I think the ones in Alamogordo were better. These were enormous, and served with chips only (no fries). Service was very slow, but we did come at an odd time of day. The space is bright, with a modern diner vibe. 311 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, (505) 982-0544

Overall we had SUCH an amazing trip - and were pleased to have entirely avoided chain restaurants. We loved NM and strongly recommend a visit!

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  1. Great report back and glad you loved our fine state! I would have recommended Guadalupe Cafe in Santa Fe for salads (Vinaigrette is great, but trips are all about exploring more!). Great and huge salads there for cheap ($12.50 for a tureen sized bowl of delicious salad ).

    1. Thanks, dori_pm.

      We are planning a trip to Santa Fe and your detailed post will be very helpful. Just started researching restaurants on this Board. We will be in Santa Fe, Abiquiu (Georgia O'Keefe home and studio) and probably Taos. It will be our first visit to NM.