Friday, May 07, 2010

Santa Fe: The City Different

Do you know the way to Santa Fe?
You know, tumbleweeds...prairie dogs...
~ "Santa Fe", from the musical RENT

Last Thursday, we packed up the car and hit the road to Santa Fe with our friend and city tour guide Brian.  We took the scenic route along 285, and although it was mostly cloudy the sun eventually broke through and we stopped to take some pictures as we passed a bunch of 14'ers. What to say about that stop sign... grrr.

Eventually, the road straightened out and the only interesting things to pass was sage brush, farms (including a solar farm), cows with their calves, horses with their colts, pigs, geese, Colorado Gators (yes, they have alligators here?!), and the Great Sand Dunes. I would have loved to have stopped at the dunes but there was no time on this trip. We did stop for lunch at the Brown Burro Cafe in Fairplay (in the area that South Park is based upon), where I got yummy breakfast food. Definitely worth a stop if you're ever passing through the area. That was just the beginning of our weekend food fest... seriously, every single meal on this trip was good. So good, that I gained 2 lbs while we were there (thankfully it's back off now). 

We crammed most of this trip in 2 days since our driving days were Thursday and Sunday. Thankfully we had Brian to show us the highlights! Once we arrived in Santa Fe we headed straight to Tomasita's, a former railroad station, to have a yummy dinner of Chicken Enchiladas served flat with green chile, and sopaipillas drizzled with honey - DELISH! This is how my love affair with New Mexican food began...

Friday's agenda included: breakfast burritos (with green chile of course) at the Santa Fe Baking Co. Cafe; walking downtown Santa Fe through snow flurries (oh yes, in late April!); the Palace of the Governors; the New Mexico History Museum; lunch at The Burrito Co. Cafe (yummy chicken taco salad with red chile salsa); and the Museum of Indian Arts & Cultures on Museum Hill. Then we met up with Brian's family and had dinner at Il Vicino for some fire oven pizza.

Saturday we braved the weather turning bad and headed up to Bandelier National Monument to hike among the cliff dwellings of the ancestral Pueblo people. For me, this was the highlight of the trip! It was great walking through this area after learning about it's history the day before. We barely made it around the main loop and long house before the clouds, wind, and snow rolled in (it is May people!), but we did it! If you are ever in the Santa Fe area, this is a must see. It's only about an hour away from the city.

Here are pictures from Bandelier (click to open album on Picasa to see the details of these pictures!):

Oh, I was so excited to tell you Bandelier, that I almost forgot to tell you about the rest of our Saturday! Well, we had a fantastic breakfast at The Chocolate Maven. I had the cottage cakes with blueberry-rhubarb compote and cranberry-orange chutney, and the best Cafe Mocha I have ever tasted. When we got back from Bandelier we had lunch at the French Pastry Shop and Creperie where I had the spinach, mushroom, and chicken crepe... mmm.... Then we walked around down town Santa Fe and checked out the art (I have never seen so much art in one little town in my life). Then we went to the Jackalope, which is a huge market with all kinds of interesting things. My favorite part of Jackalope was watching the glass blowing (and I had to buy few glass things to bring home). To end the day, we met up with Brian's family for dinner at La Choza, where I had the chicken stuffed sopaipilla with green chile. So so yummy, I miss those sopaipillas!

Here are some pictures of the drive and of Santa Fe:

Sunday after breakfast at the Santa Fe Baking Co. we headed home. Because of the weather we decided to take I-25 back to Denver. We stopped in Trinidad, a little old coal mining town to have lunch at the Bella Luna Pizzeria where I had the Mean Mica Salad which was good.  I wasn't expecting the I-25 route to be so scenic, it was a good drive until we hit snow and traffic around Colorado Springs. But really, what a great trip. We are so thankful to have had a tour guide - thank you Brian! If you're ever in Santa Fe, and only have a few days, I highly recommend our itinerary and especially the restaurants. 

So, where have you been lately? I wanna know! :)

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