Cafe Pasqual’s whole wheat pancakes
Cafe Pasqual’s Huevos Montulenos

The Chocolate Smith Santa Fe

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce

Chile Relleno Papusa with flank steak

For our breakfast on the way out of Santa Fe we stopped at Cafe Pasqual’s, one of our old favorite places. After a long wait we were seated at the community table, a large table of strangers, basically. That wasn’t bad since most of them were from Texas and very friendly.
I love the Huevos Rancheros and have made Cafe Pasqual’s version many times with great success so I wanted to try something different. I ordered the Huevos Montulenos, a dish from El Salvador consisting of eggs on corn tortillas topped with black beans, feta cheese and green peas, with roasted tomato japapeno salsa, green chile sauce, and served with fried bananas. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? It probably could have been excellent but it was merely OK, and not really a flavor combination I like. Something about the banana eaten alongside spicy food does not do anything for me. As for the dish itself, I believe Cafe Pasqual’s is suffering from being too popular. The attention to detail is missing–not hot enough, a little bland on the sauce, etc.
Past meals there were 10 on a scale of 1-10 but this was not close. Steve’s whole wheat pancakes were very tasty, but then pancakes are hard to mess up. I have also made Pasqual’s recipe for whole wheat pancakes at home and liked them (but the Tecolote Atole Pinon pancakes were better.) I am glad we were able to enjoy Cafe Pasqual’s a few years ago when quality was better and that I purchased both their cookbooks and learned to make my favorite foods.
The evening before, we wanted to have one more New Mexican meal on our last night in Santa Fe although we had lunch at Tecolote Cafe earlier today we figured we would order something different at Tune Up. Steve order the Papusa with flank steak and a chile relleno and I had the enchiladas with chicken and green chile sauce. My enchiladas were good but a little too heavy on the chicken and not enough sauce. The sauce is my favorite part! Steve’s papusa was the best thing we had. A round pocket of masa exterior filled with beef and spices, then browned until crispy on the outside, the papusa was really great. It was crunchy on the outside, savory and flavorful inside and with the roasted tomato sauce had all the elements needed to make it a unique dish.
Steve’s relleno was also tops. We highly recommend the Tune Up Cafe for authentic food in a quirky place and at very reasonable prices (about 1/2 of Pasqual’s).
Tomorrow morning we leave for Fort Worth and will stop at Cafe Pasqual’s for breakfast and our last meal in New Mexico. I will have to face Sandra Kidd, my personal trainer, on Wednesday and this week of eating way more than usual. I will say we walked at least 1 solid hour each day for exercise, not just strolling the plaza, and I brough one 10 pound dumbbell with me. It was a little funny getting through security at the airport when they spotted it in my carryon.
My “two treat meals a week” plan has extended to two treat meals a day plan I’m afraid, but back to the routine tomorrow and I’ll be just fine.
Oops, I forget to mention our stop at Chocolate Smith. Chocolate Smith is a small chocolate boutique in Santa Fe that specializes in gourmet dark chocolate. I fell in love with their red chile chocolate pistachio bark last time we were here so we stopped and sampled some of their chocolates. We picked up some of the red chile bark. Just imagine the taste sensation of the best chocolate combined with a hot red chile surprise. Remember, chiles cause a release of endorphins and chocolate is also associated with positive feelings. A great combination. We also tried some of their dark chocolate bark with toffee and tamari almonds. Yum… They have a website if you’re tempted to order some of their chocolates but I am going to try to make some bark and some scrap cookies like Mouse Chocolates in Ouray for Christmas gifts this year.