Santa Fe, New Mexico is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway this summer. There is so much to explore from great shopping and museums to galleries and restaurants. Just be prepared, The Plaza and Canyon Road can be very crowded during the high season. I found on my last visit in March, that there are more and more great things to do a part from the tourist areas.
Santa Fe has a great food scene with many choices from casual to fine dining. My recent finds by neighborhood include:
Sazon: My brother and his wife recently tried Sazon, by their recommendation I also gave Sazon a try. It was a great experience. Opened in 2015, it is located at 221 Shelby St. and features an upscale Latin American Cuisine and specialty cocktails. The atmosphere is warm with wonderful murals in the main dining room featuring fruits, vegetables, nuts, cheese and more. I really enjoyed my duck entree with a tasty mole sauce. Make sure to add it to your list.
Kakawa Chocolate: Featured in the NY Times, this fun, casual spot at 1050 Paseo de Peralta has chocolate drinks, chocolate brownies, chocolate candy and truffles plus great ice cream. I chose the chocolate and it was worth every calorie. It is the perfect spot for an afternoon snack after sightseeing and shopping.
Guadalupe St./Railyard District
I recently read about Santa Fe Spirits which is a local distillery and tasting room which features its Expedition vodka, its Silver Coyote white whiskey, their Wheeler’s gin, a Colkegan single malt whiskey, The Slow Burn whiskey made with a smoked gin liqueur plus hickory and apple wood smoke, an apple brandy made from northern New Mexico apples and the Atapino single malt white whiskey made with pinion nuts and the resin from the ponderosa pine tree. I just visited the tasting room downtown at 303 Read St. on my recent trip and enjoyed the atmosphere and loved the Colkegan single malt whiskey. They also feature tours and a tasting room at 7505 Mallard Way.
Whole Hog Cafe: With two locations in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe, this is a fun, casual BBQ spot featuring meats dry rubbed with spices and smoked with pecan wood. They feature pulled pork, beef brisket, pulled chicken, pork loin and sausage. They also have ribs and chicken. They have sandwiches, wraps and plates with a number of sides. I enjoy the pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and baked beans. You can find Whole Hog Cafe at 320 S. Guadalupe.
Bouche Bistro: This is a cozy French bistro featuring French specialties and wine. I enjoyed dinner with local friends. Enjoy their wine at 451 W. Alameda.
After reading great reviews, I enjoyed lunch at Vinaigrette. Located at 709 Don Cubero Alley right off Cerrillos Rd., they are known for their amazing salads. The atmosphere is contemporary and colorful and the service, excellent. They also offer a number of sandwiches, soups, starters and sides. I really enjoyed the cherry tart salad made with dried cherries, mild feta cheese, peppery baby arugula and toasted pecans with a champagne vinaigrette. I also added grilled shrimp. They have two other locations, one in Austin, TX and the other in Albuquerque, NM.
Next door, under the same ownership, is Modern General at 637 Cerrillos Rd. This is a sleek, contemporary space with a restaurant featuring toasts, bowls, sandwiches, salads and modcakes — their version of flapjacks or pancakes in several flavors. They also feature some fun housewares throughout the store/restaurant.
Cerrillos Road and South
Counter Culture at 930 Baca St. is a local’s favorite for coffee, baked goods, soups, sandwiches and salads. I went for coffee and loved the artsy atmosphere and industrial feel.
San Marcos Feed Store and Cafe: A short drive from Santa Fe on the Turquoise Trail is the highly recommended San Marcos Cafe. It is next to a feed store and grounds where you can see peacocks, turkeys and hens. The cafe is one of my favorite new finds. It is cozy and charming with great Southwestern breakfasts. There is a bright enclosed porch with a kiva fireplace. It is popular on weekends so reservations are recommended. They also offer live music which really enhances the experience. Found at 3877 State Road 14, they are open for breakfast and lunch from 8 am to 2 pm and for Sunday brunch from 8 am to 2 pm.
One of my favorite new coffee spots is Iconik Coffee. This is a fun locals spot in a large, hip and eclectic space. They roast their own coffee on site, make their own great pastries and cookies and have a number of food items including fritattas, soups, sandwiches and salads. Their coffee is organic and Direct Trade, taste test at 1600 Lena Street.
Across the street, at 1710 Lena St., is Green River Pottery which has some great pieces of contemporary stoneware ceramics. Next to Green River Pottery is La Lecheria, a New Mexico craft ice cream store. They feature a number of unique flavors from Iconik Coffee, to Chocolate Sea Salt and Green Chile. I highly recommend it, check it out at 1708 Lena St. Suite #1.
Tecolote Cafe: I enjoyed my first visit to the Tecolote Cafe when they were on Cerrillos Rd. I was disappointed to hear that they closed, but hopeful that they would find another location. I was pleased to find that they opened in a much larger space at 1616 St. Michael’s Drive. It is a perfect spot for breakfast or lunch, but be prepared for a wait as it is very popular with the locals. The menu features New Mexican cuisine.
Chocolate Maven: Chocolate Maven was recommended by my neighbors in Santa Fe for delicious baked goods. They also have a cafe for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner and high tea. I went for a latte and a great cookie. The downstairs overlooks the bakery in the rear of the property. Lounge at Chocolate Maven at 821 San Mateo. I will definitely be back for the afternoon tea!
Nearby is Second Street Brewery at 1814 Second Street. They feature their own brews along with comfort food. They produce a large number of ales, porters, stouts, IPAs, pilsners and other seasonal offerings. I enjoyed tasting the Jordy’s Irish Red and the Belgian Witbier or Wheat Beer. They have a second location in the Santa Fe Railyard.
Sage Bakehouse: Found at 535 Cerrillos Rd, this is a great industrial-chic space featuring really excellent breads, cookies, croissants, pastries and open-faced sandwiches. I loved stopping in for an almond tart and a latte. I will definitely be back!
El Nido Restaurant: Located north of Santa Fe in Tesuque at 1577 Bishops Lodge Road, this was a local institution that closed a few years ago and sat empty. It was reopened in November, 2016 under new management. I had been in the past and so was pleased to see that it was back. The restaurant has a cozy bar in the back and a sleek new dining room in front looking into the open kitchen. It has a large menu featuring starters, salads, pizzas, pastas and grilled entrees. I had a really outstanding salmon dish with polenta, sauteed spinach, a tomato relish and a balsamic reduction drizzled on the side of the plate. I’m glad it is a quarter block from my house!
Santa Fe is one of the best cultural destinations in the country. You will find a number of festivals, museums, hundreds of galleries and performances in classical music, dance and opera. Here are some of the many offerings that you might want to experience while there this summer:
Santa Fe Opera: Located in a wonderful venue, north of Santa Fe near Tesuque, The Santa Fe Opera has grown to become recognized as one of the world’s leading cultural festivals. They usually produce five operas in the summer months. I have seen Carmen and La Boheme and enjoyed both.
Indian Market: This is one of the annual summer highlights in August. There is a week of festivities culminating with the market in and around the Plaza. There are more than 1100 artists from 100 tribes and it is the largest cultural event in New Mexico. There is also a winter market in November. In addition to art there is film, music, lectures, museum events and a benefit auction.
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet: A great contemporary dance troupe that splits its time between Aspen and Santa Fe and other venues across the United States and the world. They are a world class company, with great reviews, so if they are in town at the Lensic Performing Art Center, don’t miss them. I have seen them in both Aspen and Santa Fe.
Georgia O’Keefe Museum, 217 Johnson St.: A wonderful small museum that is a must see. You can also make a reservation through the museum to tour her home in Abiquiu, north of Santa Fe.
Museum Hill: Off of Old Santa Fe Trail, this museum campus has four great museums. There is a nice café on the plaza outside the museums which is quite good. Museum of International Folk Art: This is one of my favorite museums anywhere, as I collect Mexican folk art. Here, you can view folk art from around the world. You have to see the huge room housing the Girard Foundation Collection which is wonderful and overwhelming at the same time! There is also the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art.
Spanish Market: Occurring in July, this is one of the highlights of the summer in Santa Fe. It celebrates the rich Hispanic culture of Northern New Mexico. While this market has focused on the traditional arts for 60 years, the Contemporary Hispanic Market during the same week features contemporary works by Hispanic artists.
Museum of Contemporary Native Arts at The Institute of American Indian Arts, 108 Cathedral Place: Well worth a visit, they have a nice museum shop as well.
International Folk Art Market: This is one of my favorite summer events. There are normally 132 artists from 50 different countries around the world selling their handicrafts or folk art. I like buying a patron ticket which allows you to preview the pieces on Friday evening and gives you early admission on Saturday morning. You must also take a shuttle from a lot downtown as no parking is permitted at Museum Hill.
Railyard Arts District: This was a large tract of land along Guadalupe Street that has been redeveloped into nine galleries and Site Santa Fe. There is also the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market on Saturdays and Tuesdays and a monthly art walk on the last Friday.
Off the beaten path is the Baca St. Art District. Located on Baca St. at Cerillos Road, this is a fun neighborhood featuring cafes, artist studios, galleries and more. Start off at Counter Culture, 930 Baca St. This is a local’s favorite for coffee, baked goods, soups, sandwiches and salads. I went for coffee and loved the artsy atmosphere and industrial feel. I also enjoyed Caveman Coffee Cave at 1221 Flagman Way.
Don’t miss walking Canyon Road and visiting the Canyon Road Galleries. Here you will find excellent galleries with a focus of everything from contemporary, Native American, landscapes and traditional art in all mediums. There are over 100 galleries, boutiques and restaurants along the one-half mile street.
For more travel destinations and recommendations, visit globalphile.com.