Dear, Dear Santa Fe

We had the opportunity to take a 36 hour jaunt to Santa Fe, New Mexico, over Memorial Day weekend.  The initial purpose of the trip was to see Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen in concert together at the Santa Fe Opera, but we managed to get a couple of great meals in as well.  But what was our first stop the minute we walked off the plane?  To the Pink Adobe for a prickly pear margarita?  No, that would have to wait un momentito.  Green chili pork stew with sopapillas?  No again…Back at the Ranch for some cowboy boots.

The store front of Back at the Ranch

With custom-made boots in every shape, size, leather and exotic skin, Back at the Ranch is bound to have what you are looking for.  And if they don’t, they will make it for you.

Boots for the gents
Boots for the ladies
Boots for the scorpion-lover in you
Just in case you forgot where you were

I picked out a great pair of Cordovan leather boots that go up almost to my knee, reminding me of my English riding boots.  In this case, the term Cordovan refers to the shade of burgundy (not equine leather, at least I hope) and takes its name from Cordoba, Spain, where leather making was practiced by the Visigoths in the 7th century.  I will get a photo of them, but they are packed for my trip to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic this weekend.  I digress…so I paired them with my mother’s Zuni fetish necklace, and off we were to Geronimo Restaurant on lovely Canyon Road.

Zuni fetish necklace

In its 22 year history, Geronimo has established itself as the fine dining restaurant in Santa Fe.  It is housed in a 250 year old adobe building that was built by hacendado Geronimo Lopez for his family of 13, and features large overhead beams, creamy stucco walls throughout, and a Kiva (bee hive) fireplace below a massive set of moose antlers.  The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and we were more than happy to settle in for an evening of fine wines and food.  I ordered one of their signature cocktails, a Pear Royale, vanilla poached pears in sparkling wine, while contemplating the menu.  I was tempted to try the vegetarian tasting menu because it just looked so good, but opted for the complete opposite: steak frites served over Swiss chard with four dipping sauces: hot and spicy hollandaise, au poivre, horseradish, and carmelized onion.

The dipping sauces had me at hello

The next morning a hike up Tesuque Peak was a must to get ready for a long day of eating and tailgating.  The concierge at the Inn of the Anasazi encouraged us to try this 12 mile (roundtrip) moderate hike to the 12,047 foot peak.  At the summit, you will find yourself at the Santa Fe ski area overlooking a gorgeous view of Santa Fe and the valley below.

The trail was clear of snow on this great day, so we made good time in just under 4 hours.  But we were famished.  We had been looking forward to eating at The Shed, but it was closed on Sunday.  Meanwhile, some friends had spotted Lyle at the Lucchese store in the main square stating that he was going to meet his good friend, Robert, at Pascual’s.  But the crowds at this James Beard award-winning cafe were too much for us to bear, so opted to take a 30 minute drive to the Rancho de Chimayo for some heavenly sopapillas and platos mexicanos.

Finger-licking sopapillas
The plates are served with an option of red or green sauce, but I wanted both
Display of historic Indian pottery at the Rancho
I have some boots on here, but these are from Littles in San Antonio

I had to get my prickly pear margarita fix, but time was running out!  So we dashed to the Pink Adobe and Dragon Room Bar before the show.

Por fin
Tail gate party at the Santa Fe Opera

The acoustic show was outstanding.  They each took turns with a song: She’s No Lady (She’s My Wife), It’s the Little Things, If I Had a Boat, Gringo Honeymoon, Nobody Knows Me, Christmas Song…you get the drift.  They were room mates in college at Texas A&M and told great stories about themselves between songs.   Could you imagine hanging around that house in college?

When I leave a place, I always think about the things to do upon the return trip.  I like to think that for every goodbye there will be a hello.  As we visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum on this trip, my wish on the next trip would be to drive out to her home at Ghost Ranch to see the actual landscapes she painted.

I am off to the Aspen Food and Wine Classic today.  Stay  tuned, dear readers, for some great posts on the classes I will be attending…Jacques Pepin, Mario Batali, and more!  Stay tuned and hasta pronto!


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