22 November 2014

Santa Fe, Day 1 and 2

Ever since DM's family moved to Colorado, we've talked about incorporating a trip to Santa Fe into one of our visits. We'd planned for last June, but CA's knee replacement was coming up and he really was in pain. So, we're here. Yep. And, guess what? You can revisit old favorite vacation spots and find them as good or better than you remember. We're here for four nights and that seems to be perfect, as we don't intend to venture to Taos or Albuquerque this trip.

We rented a casita this time through Home Away, and it's been a good choice. Modest, but well appointed. Totally Santa Fe in vibe. Our bed is comfortable, there's plenty of space for two, and the historic plaza is a short drive away.

We freely admit that our visits to Santa Fe are all about the food. Southwestern. Chiles. Fresh ingredients; freshly prepared. I'd expected we'd chose upscale dinners each night, but so far we've enjoyed mid-range. Really enjoyed.

We arrived late Thursday afternoon, and after settling in we headed to Tomasita's. Nothing fancy, but a popular destination for locals as well as tourists. We chose standard entrees--CA had Chalupas and I had a combination of Enchilladas and a Tamale. Excellent. But, the best part were excellent Sopapillas with honey butter. Perfection.

We decided on the Plaza Cafe (right on the historic plaza) for Friday's breakfast. This is a perfect diner. The coffee is excellent. Since we'd a leisurely wake-up, it was almost lunchtime when we arrived and we were offered the luncheon menu. Fortunately there are 4 breakfast entrees included.
I scared CA by ordering the Huevos Divorciadas (a Gluten-Free option; nothing to do with an actual divorce):
Two eggs on corn tortillas topped with chipotle and tomatillo salsa. Served with guacamole, sour cream, pinto beans, hash browns, and a flour tortilla.
CA had the Huevos Rancheros:
Two fried eggs on yellow or blue corn tortillas. Smothered red or green chile and topped with cheese. Served with pinto beans and hash browns.

We were soon wandering the streets surrounding the plaza, not shopping just people watching. Did I say Santa Fe has worldclass shopping? Oh, yes. And, worldclass people watching so we made sure to stop, sit in the sun, and do some serious observing. I'm guessing that any day, any time in Santa Fe you can see some real local characters, tour bus and/or convention groups, and day-trippers. We did. The local characters are the best.

On past trips I've shopped rigorously. This time I'm content to walk and observe, taking it all in. Santa Fe has a definite feel to it. Some consider this a spiritual place. We're at something over 6,000 feet, so altitude might impact attitude.

After a bit of time relaxing in our casita, we have dinner at Maria's. Apparently, Robert Redford has also dined at Maria's. Maria's is another local-favored restaurant, and this is our first visit. I need a bit of a break tortillas, etc., so I choose a grilled New York Strip Steak. It is excellent beef, perfectly cooked, garnished with just the right amount of lettuce-tomatoes-guacamole and two huge sweet onion rings. CA is attracted by the Green Chile Stew, but knows he'll never handle that and an entree, so he orders the appetizer portion of BBQ riblets--a very generous portion. We both are quite pleased with the taste and quality of our selections.

At each of these three restaurants we sampled the Sopapillas with honey or honey-butter. Our official winner is Tomasita's. Theirs are huge, light and tasty. And, only Tomasita's served the Sopapillas with honey-butter.

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