Santa Fe Food Trip

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


We recently took an edifying food trip to oh-so-edible Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Having always known how seriously food and wine (and tequila) are taken in these parts, we were still surprised how much deliciousness we found around every rounded adobe corner.

Where to start?

How about the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market?

On a brilliant, sunny Saturday morning we had great conversations with many of the vendors there .

A couple worth noting are Tom Delehanty‘s inside scoop on his delicious Pollo Real chickens, his French Label Rouge chicken in particular. Wow, tasty birds.

Another memorable chat we had was with Buckin’ Bee’s beekeeper, Scott Wall. They do bees and honey right. Always raw. Always delicious.

Finding a great meal in a great atmosphere in New Mexico’s capitol city is not a difficult task.

We loved walking through Sante Fe’s market as we bought local Chimayo chile powder, pinto beans and blue corn meal, among other good stuff.

Cheesemongers of Santa Fe kept us supplied with world-class cheese. As a giant bonus they were a quick walk around the corner from our hotel. What a selection they offer. Be sure to check them out.

What’s cheese without great crusty bread to go with it? Pane Paisano from Sage Bakehouse fit the bill nicely. What a flavor powerhouse this bakehouse is. Go there.

Right before leaving to come to Santa Fe we ran out of our favorite smoked paprika. When we walked into The Spanish Table several flavors and levels of spiciness of pimentón called out. We bought. They offer everything from copper cataplanas and paella pans to clay tagine and cazuelas. One of those places where you want one of everything.

Finding a great meal in a great atmosphere in New Mexico’s capitol city is not a difficult task.

Full disclosure: There are many great places to eat here and we didn’t get to visit them all. We apologize for our ‘incomplete’ list and can only say that we’ll be eating at those places the next time we are lucky enough to be in the City Different.

On our first day in town we wanted classic Northern New Mexican plates, so we headed to Casa Chimayo. Sipping our top-shelf margaritas, we ordered the freshest guacamole made table side, red and green salsas with freshly made corn chips and blue corn enchiladas with a sunny-side up huevo. All prepared with fresh local ingredients. After our lunch we realized we had arrived.

Our buddy Joseph Wrede has been wowing folks in Taos and Santa Fe for nearly twenty years. Joseph’s of Santa Fe is his latest and best iteration. Pressed Pork Belly with Preserved Lemon, Pickled Ginger and Brussels Sprout Slaw, Honey and Cardamom Dusted Phyllo Napoleon, and Pan-Seared Sea Bass with Miso Sweet Potato Puree are just three examples of plates that made us very happy.

El Farol is the real thing. Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant continues to be a cultural center for food and music. Polenta a la Mancha–Grilled Manchego Cheese Polenta with Romesco Sauce, Gambas al Ajillo–Sautéed Garlic Shrimp in a Lime-Madeira Sauce, and Salmon al la Plancha–Wild Salmon on Manchego Cheese Polenta with Sautéed Spinach and a Saffron Jus were very impressive. Add classic flamenco dance, a couple of bottles of Tempranillo and well, welcome to Santa Fe.

Another classic Santa Fe restaurant is Santacafé. We shared appetizers like Mexican Braised Beef & Chorizo Quesadilla with Asadero Cheese, Guacamole, Pico de Gallo & Crema Fresca, Shiitake Mushroom & Cactus Spring Rolls with Southwestern Ponzu, and Tequila – Lime Marinated Bay Scallop Ceviche with Avocado Mousse with gusto. I had Grilled Sterling Silver Rib-Eye Steak with Pommes Frites, Glazed Baby Carrots and Chimayo Red Chili Béarnaise, while Staci enjoyed Green Goddess Dressed Maine Lobster Salad On Baby Iceberg Lettuce Wedge. Delicioso.

The Compound has been on Canyon Road for as long as anyone can remember. In 2000 this grande dame was transformed into a landmark of great food and service. Check this out, we enjoyed Organic Iceberg Carpaccio Salad with Blue Cheese, Crispy Pancetta Bacon and Avocado Blue Cheese Dressing. Classic! After that we had Wild Mushrooms and Organic Stone Ground Polenta with Shaved Parmesan & Arugula. Food writers much more skilled than I would have troubled describing just how delicious this meal was.

We had been looking forward to this trip for a long time and as usual Santa Fe did not disappoint.

Have you traveled and eaten in Santa Fe? Tell us about your favorite places.

Photo credit: Craig McCord