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santa fe, parte dos

November 14, 2011

Since all good things must come to an end, we headed back to Houston today.  Whit and I had a great time in Santa Fe — it is really a foodie heaven!

Want to know what happened on day 1 of our trip?  Check it out here.

Day two saw us having breakfast off the beaten path at Tecolote Cafe (hat tip to JJ for the recommendation).  After seeing Carne Adovada on multiple menus since we arrived, I had to try it.  It just so happens that the Carne Adovada at Tecolote Cafe is hands-down the spiciest in town.  Whew.  I think I can still feel the burn in the back of my throat.  Whitney, no surprise, had pancakes again.  The blue corn piñon blueberry pancakes were a hit — especially since I used the extra syrup that came with his plate as a throat salve.  They also had french toast that changed daily based on the fresh baked breads they had — cinnamon raisin, 7 grain, mixed berry bread, orange poppy seed, blue corn honey, etc.  And they served our meals with a house made bread basket that included green chile biscuits!

Thanks to my generous friend Kristin, we got to visit the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum after our late breakfast.  I loved it!!  Who else has always heard that her paintings are of vaginas?  Turns out that was not her intention at all and she was upset that all of the critics thought that.  So after seeing the video at the beginning of the museum about her life, it was interesting to look at all of the paintings in a new light (read: not private parts).  Anyway, I absolutely fell in love with her painting Bleeding Heart.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking up and down Canyon Road.  This is a famous stretch of Santa Fe that has more than one hundred art galleries and studios exhibiting Native American art and antiquities, traditional and modern Hispanic art, regional contemporary art, international folk art and international contemporary art.  We had so much fun laughing about all of the art we’d buy if we had the money.  We were COLD by the time we reached the top of the hill so we stopped in at the Teahouse.  Check out this wall of teas — they had more than 50 different varieties of loose leaf teas.

So I mentioned how cold it was, right?  It never hit 50 while we were there, which was nice since we left Houston in the low 80s, but at night, when it was below 20, I was so glad for the fireplace in our room!!

Anyway, we had dinner Friday night at The Compound, which was lovely.  They gave us a cute table for two by the fire.  We split the caramelized pear salad.  In addition to the caramelized pears, it was served with feta cheese on buttered toast points and apple cider vinaigrette and frisee.  It was just a little sweet, but we really enjoyed it.  Whit thought his meal was just so-so (he had the osso bucco), but I had half a roasted chicken with foie gras pan gravy and was practically licking my plate.  On a typically light(er) dish, roasted chicken, the gravy was just the right rich touch.

The next morning we learned how to make a southwestern brunch at the Santa Fe School of Cooking!

Jeremiah, our instructor, showed us how to make blue corn pancakes with a mixed berry compote (are you noticing that we ate a lot of blue corn pancakes on this trip?), chorizo cottage fried potatoes, adobo goat cheese and spinach quiche, and huevos rancheros with beans and red chile.  I am excited to recreate all of these dishes (if you are in my Sunday school class, you will see these soon) but I am most excited to have learned how to make homemade red chile sauce.  I can’t wait to use it to make my own carne adovada!

After class, we wandered around the Plaza and checked out the miracle staircase at the Loretto Chapel.  After reading about it years ago in a chain email, I have always wanted to see it in person.  The story goes that the chapel was built without a staircase, which was apparently common at the time as choir lofts were accessed by ladders, but that didn’t work for the nuns.  So they prayed to a saint (can’t remember which one) and a carpenter miraculously appeared in town and built a staircase that didn’t have nails or supports.  Then he left town without payment and no one knew how to find him.

Here’s a picture of the beautiful staircase:

I am telling you, this staircase was built by God.  It is so unbelievably pretty in person.

Since this is a blog about eating, I will get back to the main story.  We ate at Terra again Saturday evening.  This was the restaurant in our hotel in which we ate Thursday night.  It was cold outside and we were being lazy.  Whit had the short ribs again and I followed his lead.  YUM!  But let me tell you what I started with — tuna tartare served on blue corn blinis with chipotle infused caviar and grilled scallions.  It was so unusual and I loved it.

Next up, brunch at Tesuque Market and, surprise, we had pancakes again.  This time though, they were “sweet cakes and swine” — pancakes with bacon and chocolate chips in them. They were gluttonous and worth every bite.

Our last dinner was at La Boca, a tapas restaurant.  I would so highly recommend this place.  It was full of locals (good sign in a tourist town) and had unusual menu items.  Most tapas menus are the same, which I generally love, but it was a fun surprise to find lots of new things.  Like the flat iron steak with smoked sea salt caramel drizzled on it.  That doesn’t really sound good, does it?  I didn’t think so either but Whitney ordered it and it was super.  Like, really super.  We also liked the grilled artichokes with mint and goat cheese and fingerlings with lemon aioli.  I ordered the scallops over artichoke puree with jamon serrano but they ran out right before me.  No lie.  I saw a server deliver the dish to a table near us not 30 seconds before our waitress came over to tell us they just served the last scallop in the joint.  Bummer.   So overall, I’m still sad about the scallops but the meal was great.

We couldn’t leave Santa Fe without stopping at the Trader Joe’s I saw as we entered town on Thursday.  I was so excited to see a Trader Joe’s for the first time in years that I thought about it all weekend and begged Whitney to stop with me on the way to the airport.

Here’s the thing with Trader Joe’s — they have Greek marinated racks of lamb that are UNBELIEVABLY delicious.  And TJ won’t ship them.  And so far, I’ve not been able to replicate them.   Anyway, I was secretly thinking I could get a million racks and quickly find a FedEx and overnight them to Houston, but alas, this Trader Joe’s DIDN’T HAVE THEM.  The travesty!

Good news though: they had lots of other stuff we didn’t need but looked too delicious to pass up.  Dark chocolate covered pomegranate seeds, piñon coffee, brown rice and chicken dog jerky (for Emmy Lou), ginger snaps, s’more bites, meyer lemon crisps, chocolate truffle bar, and a couple of seasoning grinders.

So all in all, we loved Santa Fe!  We hope to go back again soon but in the meantime, I have some recipes from the cooking class to make for the blog!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christina permalink
    November 15, 2011 11:15 am

    Katie, LOVE hearing about your trip! it sounds wonderful. So glad you had a good time. Also, wanted to tell you I made the “whole chicken in a crockpot” and loved it! you’re right, it was falling off the bone! I think whatever colin didn’t devour for lunch yesterday is going into a chicken tortilla soup tonight! thanks for the great idea.

  2. Khernau permalink
    March 5, 2012 4:40 pm

    Looks like a fantastic trip! I especially love all of the loose leaf teas, I would be all over that! I just love tea, I drink it nearly everyday! I wouldn’t mind going on vacation there though, it does look like a lot of fun!

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