We decided to take a few days of vacation in Santa Fe, one of our favorite places, especially in July when Texas is hot and humid. On the way in we stopped at Sage Bake House for a light lunch.  They are known for having really great bread and we had taken some of their green chile cheese bread home on a previous trip.  I had the daily soup, a farmhouse vegetable soup with parsnips, potatoes, and kale and the Avocado and Serrano Ham Tartine, an open faced creation with avocado and ham, broiled on top to crisp the ham.  It was in need of something, but after a light sprinkling of salt, I loved it.  Steve’s ham and fontina Panini was rather bland and unappealing.  The pain au chocolat was crispy and addictive.
Chicken enchiladas
Our friends, Grady and Lisa Wright, drove from Fort Worth to meet us at the hotel.  The small hotel, Chimayo De Santa Fe, has a local feel to it, nice courtyards, lots of ristras, view of the mountains from the upper level and the best part–close to the plaza.  We enjoyed walking around in the afternoon, sitting in the plaza listening to someone playing the violin and appreciating the cool weather.  When Grady and Lisa arrived we had time for a drink at the hotel porch, then it was off to the Tune Up Café for dinner. We’ve been there several times and enjoy the chef’s El Salvardoran influence on New Mexican classics.  He makes papusas, light an fluffy pockets of corn pastry filled with meat or vegetables and homemade corn tortillas for his tacos.  After sampling two types of papusas and the special salad of jicama, grapefruit, avocado and blue cheese with citrus dressing, I was happy to also have a tasty entrée of grilled salmon tacos with a  yogurt herb sauce with sautéed zucchini and rice.  Steve’s chicken enchiladas with green chile were also quite good.  Grady had mole enchiladas which he enjoyed but Lisa’s chile relleno was not right.  It tasted like it was pickled, maybe old and weird flavored.  She sent it back and had no appetite for another dish.  Sorry Lisa!  I never had a bad experience at Tune Up.  And it is a DDD favorite!
Grilled salmon tacos
We got up early Thursday morning for a nice long exercise-type walk and put in three miles.  Got to burn some calories with all this eating!  We met Lisa and Grady and walked over to the Guadalupe Café.
Guadalupe Café
We love the Guadalupe Café, especially since they moved to the Pink Adobe by day.  They have a serene patio, where we were able to dine with the boxers last year.  We like their green chile sauce and for breakfast it’s hard to beat their Huevos Rancheros.  Three out of four of us ordered it and Grady ordered something very similar but rolled enchiladas with scrambled instead of fried eggs.  The plates were hot, the food was spicy and freshly prepared and although I didn’t eat all of it, I enjoyed what I had.  We plan to return on our final day and try some other dishes.
Huevos Rancheros
We definitely needed to do some walking after that breakfast so we set off for some shopping and sightseeing. One of my favorite stores in Santa Fe is Sign of the Pampered Maiden and I have a favorite top I got here a few years ago that I still wear.  It’s black and lacy and perfect for many occasions. I love it!  This time I picked up a top and dress I plan to wear on this trip. Both were made by a Santa Fe designer, Bucko.  I was also able to find a nice dress for my daughter, Alexandra, at another little boutique.  Let’s hope she likes it.
Sign of the Pampered Maiden top in 2011
After a little break we decided to drive up to Chimayo to buy some Chimayo chile and show Lisa and Grady around that area.  We enjoyed the drive and the old Ortega gift shopped filled with their handmade wool items.  The Chimayo chile was at the little shop next door, sold by the same woman we always see.  It’s very scarce and pricey.  A few ounces sells for $15.00 but it is the real Chimayo chile and has a unique smell and taste.  Lisa and I are thinking of making chocolate cake with Chimayo chile and adding a little to the ganache as well.
We stopped at the famous Sancturario de Chimayo, a frequently visited chapel known for the curative power of a certain section’s dirt.  It is also known for Leona’s Restaurant, home of the “best tamale in New Mexico”.  Of course we had to try a couple, so we shared a chicken and a pork tamale.  They were awesome!  Should have taken a photo….
We also stopped by the Sacred Heart Church in Nambe.  Beautiful!
The last stop on our way back to the hotel was Kakawa.  I can’t leave Santa Fe without drinking a cup of spicy, pure chocolate.  There is something soothing about the tiny cup of Atole with 100% chocolate, Chimayo chile, blue corn, and vanilla.  We also crave the red chile caramel with chocolate and have to bring some back to Texas.
Dinner reservations were at the Terra Cotta Wine Bistro.  We stumbled on this restaurant last year when we were walking to the Santa Fe Cooking School.  As we passed the bistro the owner, Catherine O’Brien, came out and commented on how much she liked our dogs.  She invited us in and gave them water (and us too).  She told us all about the restaurant and that it was going to open in the next week.  We were leaving the next day but told her we would come for a meal next time we were in Santa Fe. The bistro is bright and colorful and has a great atmosphere.  We ordered some wine and a selection of their bruschetta–local goat cheese, roasted garlic and charred tomato, mozzarella, BLT with applewoood smoked bacon, roma tomatoes, and lettuce and a fig, brie and port jam.  All were exceptional with fresh vegetables, herbs, and the right seasonings.  I could just eat a variety of these with some wine and be happy.  For our entrees we selected a coffee and cola marinated flank steak for me and Cajun Shrimp and Grits for Steve.  Lisa also had the flank steak and Grady had a flat bread selection.  The flank steak was flavorful, and cooked perfectly with crispy potatoes and nice vegetables.  Steve’s shrimp and grits were just the right level of spicy and had the herb/seasoning touch this bistro seems to have gotten right. We also had their Casa salad, a fresh bowl of greens with cubed apples, cheese, and crispy things.  Very refreshing.  
We had a moment to chat with Chef Catherine and she actually remembered us!  She said, “You had the two dogs.”  We showed her a photo of Chef Mochi saying, Hi, I’m Chef Mochi and she got a big laugh out of that.
They have also put in a nice back patio dining area, and it’s dog friendly.  We’ll be back next time with the boxers!
We ended the evening at La Casa Sena where there is live music every night and it’s provided by the wait staff who are all talented and sing Broadway show tunes.  It sounds crazy but it is a lot of fun and the staff are very good.  When they apply for a job it’s their singing talent, not their restaurant experience that gets them hired. We had breakfast at Calfoutis on Friday, July 4.  We’ve been here before and simply love the place.  All the bread is made in house along with some beautiful pastries.  I enjoyed the French breakfast, pictured here.  An assortment of meats and cheese with a crusty and chewy, perfect French baguette alongside a pile of salad with a sharp vinaigrette.  Not the typical breakfast but I liked it and also saved some for a snack later.  Lisa ordered the French breakfast too.  We should have shared one!
I had to sample Steve’s ham and cheese omelet and I could tell there was liberal use of butter.  It had a brown butter aroma and flavor and managed to be fluffy inside.  It was served with slices of the fantastic bread. Grady’s French toast with fruit, chocolate and maple syrup was fantastic according to him.  I would definitely try it sometime. It was certainly tempting to walk out with one of these fruit tarts or a sandwich for later. Time for a little relaxation.  Lisa and I booked a private spa suite with two hot tubs and a sauna.  It was very refreshing.  We had a view of the mountains from the tubs and a lovely garden with a Japanese maple tree. I appreciated the edible lettuce and herb garden in front of the restaurant. July 4th dinner was at Luminaria restaurant inside the Inn at Loretto.  We had dinner there last year and enjoyed it so much we wanted to go back for my special birthday dinner.  The patio is beautiful and with the cool weather sitting outside is a luxury for us.  Sitting outside here is Santa Fe is such a pleasure.
The waiter started out by placing a handful of rose petals on our table in honor of my birthday.  He then said he would be bringing me a complimentary glass of champagne.  Yes!  We were presented with the amuse bouche, a tuna and pineapple spoon.
The bread selections  had a very hard pumpkin see biscotti type bread, .multigrain bread, French bread and a nut muffin that was so dry when Grady attempted to break it apart, it exploded all over his place at the table.  All the bread was a little dry to tell you the truth. You could break your teeth on the pumpkin bread.  That didn’t stop us from eating it though. I had the carrot ginger soup to start.  It was served lukewarm, not sure if that was intentional or not.  I like my soup either hot or cold.  The soup was smooth, and well seasoned and I enjoyed it.
Steve had the spinach salad with Asian pear, candied pecans, buttermilk blue cheese and sherry vinaigrette.  He also had two dishes for his main course–a blue corn crepe with duck confit with chile Colorado and chipotle crema and a shrimp and Spanish chorizo with white wine paprikia broth served with bread.  Grady also had the crepe with duck confit and loved it.  Lisa ordered the shrimp and chorizo dish and braised short ribs with poblano cheese grits, carrots and pearl onions escabeche.  I sampled a bite of her short ribs and it was delicious.
  I ordered the local Talus Wind lamb rack with potato trinchat, jalapeno pea puree, farmer carrots and Cabernet reduction.  They were absolutely the best thing I had all evening.  The sides were a little odd, though.  The potato trinchat (whatever that is) was barely warm and the carrots were undercooked and a bit rubbery.  The pea puree and sauce were nice. Later I discovered Brett Sparman, the former chef of Luminaria had moved to another restaurant, “Georgia’s” and I saw that this very same dish is on the Georgia’s menu! I wish we had gone to Georgia’s since I believe Sparman was the reason I loved Luminaria last year.
For dessert, I was given a complimentary birthday dessert and I selected the white chocolate banana bread pudding with tequila caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.  I shared it with Steve.  Let’s just say that cold bread pudding is not my thing.  It has some nice components but it wasn’t that great.  After dinner Lisa pulled out the glow in the dark glasses and we wore them back to the hotel.  People gave us some strange looks!
A trip to Santa Fe is not complete without a visit to Café Pasqual’s.  We always have breakfast there at least once.  I was not in the mood for any heavy New Mexican food this morning so I ordered the Durango omelet with ham, cheese, avocados and a little green chile sauce.  Steve had Barbacoa Tacos with eggs which he loved.  Lisa tried the chile relleno with eggs and Grady had the Papas Fritas with red chile and scrambled eggs.  Everything was hot, spicy, and totally Santa Fe eating.  I will miss this food.
Barbacoa tacos
Durango omelet
Papas Fritas
A trip to the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market just made me want to buy up all the beautiful produce and come home to cook.  One day we will come to stay a long time in a place with a kitchen.  Then I will do some serious cooking. Our final dinner out was at Galisteo Bistro.  We have been here a couple times and enjoyed it.  No Southwestern food so a bit of a break from all the chiles. 
their version of oysters (not good at all!)
good cheese selection–one of the best things we had
Shrimp Remoulade
New York Steak–very grisly and tough
Chicken Saltimbocca–nice dish
Lisa’s risotto–sent back!
The mud puddle was excellent
Guadalupe Café for final breakfast before leaving on Sunday morning!
Huevos Rancheros
Blue corn pinon French toast with jalapeno cheese sausage and egg
Casey’s enchiladas with green chile sauce
Casey’s enchiladas with red chile sauce