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Just as Santa Fe’s full name is a mouthful — La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís (The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi) — so too is its culinary scene. More than 400 years old, Santa Fe is the source for many types of cuisine, but its indigenous foods are the best way to acquaint diners to the city.
Breakfast: For almost 40 years, the Maryol Family has been serving traditional New Mexican breakfasts and lunches like your abuela would make at Tia Sophia’s, including the breakfast burrito. Not to be confused with its many fast-food imitations, the breakfast burrito at this diner is served in a variety of combinations that include shredded potatoes, scrambled eggs, and ham, sausage, or bacon wrapped in a tortilla and topped with red or green chile or both, which locals call "Christmas."
Lunch: One of the hallmark restaurants for northern New Mexican cuisine is The Shed, located about 100 yards from the Indian street market at the Palace of the Governors. The Shed has been crafting Santa Fe cuisine for almost 60 years in a hacienda built in 1692. The menu includes the local version of enchilada served with blue corn tortillas and doused with a signature sauce made from red chiles from Hatch, N.M., the self-proclaimed Chile capital of the world, and topped with a fried egg. Atypical for Santa Fe, all entrées are served with garlic bread.
Drink: Strolling the galleries, museums, and historic adobes of Santa Fe can be tiring. For a different kind of afternoon pick-me-up try Kakawa, just down the hill from the Canyon Road Galleries. Kakawa specializes in pre-Colombian and colonial chocolate concoctions; among them Thomas Jefferson’s own recipe for hot chocolate, which includes sugar, nutmeg, and Mexican vanilla served in traditionally styled espresso-sized cups. "Jefferson loved this and thought that Americans would be a nation of hot chocolate drinkers rather than tea or coffee," said owner Thomas Bennett.
Dinner: In an unassuming traditional house just a block from the state capital buildings at 526 Galisteo Street is Restaurant Martín. But beyond its beige clay walls is a gorgeous patio and herb and root garden (source of many of the restaurant’s ingredients and the scene of many special events including Jada Pinkett Smith’s 40th birthday party). Local chef Martín Rios, who has appeared on Iron Chef America, serves progressive American cuisine with northern New Mexican ingredients. Among his creations are an orzo mac and cheese made with truffle oil, a vegetarian tasting plate with cauliflower-quinoa stew, ricotta-yam strudel, and Maple Leaf Farm duck breast served with a pepper-cinnamon sauce and sweet potato-pine nut purée.
Late-Night Snack: After 9 p.m., almost all of Santa Fe’s restaurants, as well as the rest of the city, shuts down. So where do the chefs and restaurant workers go to chill after creating all that good food? One key hangout is The Del Charro Saloon in the Inn of the Governors Hotel, across the dry Santa Fe riverbed on West Alameda Street. Grab a seat at the bar or in front of the Pueblo-style fireplace where you can rub elbows with many of the top chefs in town, locals of all stripes, or other travelers. "I love my own burgers," said chef Carmen Rodriguez of La Posada de Santa Fe Restaurant, "but they serve a great green chile cheeseburger for a good price."
The Top 8 Hikes Near Santa Fe
As the rolling foothills and forested peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains lie between 15 and 30 minutes from downtown Santa Fe, getting outdoors doesn’t require a full-blown expedition. It can mean a two-hour hike after you hit the museums, or an hour-long ramble before dinner. If you’re looking for challenging terrain, you can find that too, with peaks in the surrounding areas towering at 12,000 feet. Within a couple hours’ drive, you’ll find even more outdoor playgrounds, from the tufa-carved Pajarito Plateau to a field of conical rock formations.
The weather can be quite different in the mountains than the city, so be prepared. The peaks can be windy and exposed during summer thunderstorms, while the high elevation and dry desert air calls for more water than you might expect.
Shopping for Ingredients
Many of the ingredients for our recipes are available directly from the Santa Fe School of Cooking. Shop Ala Cart or Purchase all the Ingredients as a Package.
Ingredients and Tools available at the School of Cooking
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into small dice
- 3 to 4 large cloves garlic, finely minced
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 roasted chicken, skinned and deboned, meat shredded by hand
- 3/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves, for garnish
- 1 lime, cut into wedges for garnish
Blue Corn Tamales with Calabacitas
Blue Corn Tamales and Calabacitas as Published in our Flavors of the Southwest Cookbook
Place the blue cornmeal and masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Place the lard in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until lard is white and fluffy.
Add the dry ingredients by the spoonful and beat on low to mix.
Slowly add the broth or water until everything is combined. Turn the mixing speed to high and beat for 12 to 12 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
Add the garlic and the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove mixture from the heat, place in a bowl, and let cool for 10 minutes. Stir in cheese and use salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Top reviews from the United States
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I was really impressed with this cookbook because it is so much more than a cookbook. It has history, culture, food background, and much, much more. In face, it is only part cookbook. I have been fascinated with all that I learned about Santa Fe. I originally bought the book because of a research paper I was doing on Santa Fe, but then I fell in love with the book itself.
There are really some colorful pictures of the foods as well as the city itself.
As far as the recipes, they are easy to follow. It would be easy to cook with these recipes.
Having read and tried recipes from several NM/Santa Fe cookbooks, I feel this one is the one to get. This is the authentic stuff. Although a Californian, I'm a NM visitor and southwest food enthusiast. I grow chiles, mail order what I can't grow properly, make my own tortillas, take this stuff seriously.
The recipes for Carne Adovada, Green Chile Stew,Chicken Enchilada filling, Piquin Chile Salsa are totally great and, if you have the ingredients, very simple. The Carne Adovada recipe, while non-traditional, is off the dial. If you've visited Santa Fe and want to re-live the essence of this earthy, elemental cuisine, get this book.
Directions are simple and direct, pictures are beautiful, local ingredients info and historical background is great. First rate.
Santa Fe Canyon Preserve is a Pocket of Paradise
ON MORNINGS WHEN TERRY SULLIVAN LEADS HIKESਊt the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, he pauses on a particular rise and asks his guests to shhh, listen, and watch. 𠇏irst you hear this enormous serenade of northern leopard frogs,” he says. “It echoes off the hillsides. And then you walk down into a little area where you first see signs of beaver dams.”
Over the past 21 years, the Nature Conservancy has turned this 525-acre pocket off Upper Canyon Road into an ecological success story. Site of Santa Fe’s Victorian-era dams for drinking water and irrigation, it had devolved into a mudflat after newer reservoirs were built farther up the Santa Fe River. Enter the Nature Conservancy, a nonprofit group that oversees properties all over the world, including a handful in New Mexico.
Volunteers and staff like Sullivan, the conservancy’s state director, began planting cottonwoods and river willows. “The whole ecosystem came back,” he says, although they can’t explain exactly why. “It just exploded.”
Nature Conservancy State Director Terry Sullivan takes outdoor enthusiasts on a hike in the Santa Fe Canyon Preserve. Photograph by Jackie Hall.
Nestled two miles from the busy Santa Fe Plaza, the preserve includes a gentle 1.5-mile trail that loops through the wetland, beneath shady trees, past the 1881 Old Stone Dam, and over the 1893 Two-Mile Dam. Views extend up into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and are especially glorious, Sullivan says, when autumn illuminates the leaves.
More than 30,000 people a year visit the preserve𠅊 phenomenon, given the site’s anonymity among many residents. The conservancy plans to attract even more by making trails that accommodate wheelchairs, adding bilingual signage, and improving the packed parking lot.
The trail intersects the city’s vast Dale Ball trail system, so you can extend your mileage, but take note: Dogs aren’t welcome in the preserve, as they might disturb the beavers. To see that critter, Sullivan recommends coming in the morning or evening, late April to late September. Park yourself on a bench along the upper portion of the trail, then shhh, listen, and watch.
A hooded warbler sits on a tree limb at the preserve. This small bird is an active insect eater and loves the forest. Photograph by Bernard Foy.
The Santa Fe Canyon Preserve, at the intersection of Upper Canyon Road and Cerro Gordo Road, is open from dawn to dusk. Park only in the lot, not on the streets. The Nature Conservancy will resume guided hikes when it’s safe to do so.
Santa Fe recipes: Casa Chimayo’s New Mexican posole
Posole is pure New Mexican comfort food. While it’s served at family dinners throughout the year, it’s considered a holiday dish showing up on many family tables at Christmas and New Years. The corn based dish is rich and spicy and has been made in New Mexican families for generations. Roberto Timoteo Cordova, owner of Casa Chimayó Restaurant in Santa Fe, can trace his New Mexican roots back to 1598. His ancestors arrived with Juan de Oñate and the first Spaniards to settle here. They arrived in Chimayó in 1695 after the Spanish returned at the end of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. At that time, they also settled in Truchas and Cordova further up the High Road to Taos.
Santa Fe recipes: Cordova family at Christmas Grandma Tita in front, photo/courtesy of Roberto Cordova
Cordova is passionate about his family’s history, including the culinary part. His restaurant serves what he calls “las comidas de las abuelas” (the food of the grandmothers). He calls it “authentic” New Mexican food. The recipes have been passed down in his family. He shares his grandmother Teresita’s (“or Grandma Tita as she was known to us”) posole recipe here. Should you have too much holiday cheer, he says it’s a great hangover cure. ¡Feliz Navidad y Prospero Año Nuevo!
Casa Chimayo’s Posole
Casa Chimayo’s Posole, photo/courtesy Casa Chimayo
© Casa Chimayo Restaurant Recipe author: Helen Cordova
Posole is a very traditional dish around the holidays in Northern New Mexico. It is a rich and hearty dish that sticks to your ribs, and warms you up from the inside out.
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: varies from 1½ to 3 hrs, depending on type of posole (hominy) selected.
Total Time: varies, depending on posole used (see note below).
3 lbs. pork shoulder
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp salt or to taste
10 to 12 Casa Chimayo Red Chile pods, (Note: the more pods, the more intense the flavor and heat of the chile).
2 cups broth, or enough to allow pods to puree easily in blender (Do not fill blender more than halfway with hot liquid).
4 cloves fresh, peeled garlic
Salt to taste
1 lb. posole, dried or frozen. Canned hominy may be substituted if dried or frozen are not available add it in the last 15 minutes of cooking to preserve texture.
1 onion, quartered
1 tsp salt
You will essentially be preparing this recipe in three stages: pork, chile, and posole. These are then combined into the final posole.
Step 1 - Prepare Pork:
Place pork shoulder in a pot and cover with water.
Add 1 tsp salt, cumin, bay leaf and onion.
Bring to a boil uncovered and then then cook, covered, over medium heat until tender and falling off the bone about 1½ hrs.
Remove meat from broth and let cool reserve broth for later.Pull meat from bones and cut into small bite size pieces, set aside.
Step 2 – Prepare Chile:
Place rinsed chile pods, stems and seeds removed in 2 cups of hot broth and let soak about 20 minutes, or until soft.
Place broth, pods, and garlic in blender and blend until smooth. Add salt to taste and set aside.
Step 3 – Prepare Posole:
If using dried posole let soak overnight, then proceed to next. If using frozen, defrost thoroughly then proceed to next step.
Drain and rinse posole.
Place posole in a cooking pot and cover with water. Use approx. 2 parts water to 1 part posole.
Add onion and salt
Bring to a boil on the stove, then lower heat and simmer until posole has started to “bloom” (about 1 to 1½ hrs). The posole will swell and start to resemble popcorn, but will still be chewy. At this point add the pork, chile, and any remaining broth into the posole and let it finish cooking. The key to a successful posole is watching for it to finish “blooming”. Posole is fully cooked when it has opened completely, and is tender when chewed.
Taste and adjust seasonings.
Serve in bowl and place garnishes on the table so that each can do their own. Garnish are optional and may include: sliced limes, chopped fresh cilantro, finely chopped onion, oregano, cubed avocado, or grated cheese.
Note: Total cooking time for this dish will vary greatly, depending on which kind of posole you select (canned, frozen, or dried). Best estimate would be anywhere from 2-4 hrs. Just remember, dried posole will take the longest @ 3 hours, frozen will shorten cooking time somewhat, and canned will be the shortest at taking about 1½ hours.
Do you have a favorite Santa Fe recipes to share? We’d love to hear from you.
A flourishing border, above, delivers a graceful transition from the formal courtyards near Mark and Karen Still&aposs home to their free-spirited wildflower meadow on the far side of the path. It overflows with long-season bloomers, like terra-cotta yarrow (Achillea millefolium &aposTerra Cotta&apos), Korean feather reed grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha), globe thistle (Echinops ritro), spires of Agastache &aposBlue Fortune,&apos and purple cone-flower (Echinacea purpurea).
5 Great Neighborhoods in Santa Fe
This pricey neighborhood’s historic adobe residences are much sought after. Flower-filled gardens and unpretentious facades conceal interior living spaces that range from rustic to opulent. Some of the neighborhood’s winding roads remain unpaved: in Santa Fe living on a dirt road is a matter of prestige. Residents like to see themselves as hardy pioneers living in a time warp.
The advantage to living here, apart from the historic appeal, is the proximity to the Canyon Road arts district and downtown, which are both walkable. The down side? Because it’s a historic district, renovations to the old buildings are strictly controlled. This can also be a problem since many of the historic homes have small, dark rooms, low ceilings and small windows that don’t jibe with contemporary tastes.
The neighbors: Mostly retired couples, second-home owners and a few of the old Spanish families who have lived here for generations and opted to ride out the gentrification wave.
Settled around the turn of the last century, this neighborhood was close to the busy Santa Fe rail yard and was popular among the merchants and workers who depended on the train for their livelihood. It’s also close to the Roundhouse, the state capitol.
Houses are in a variety of styles: Victorian, Territorial and Pueblo Revival, including many made of adobe. The yards tend to be more expansive than on the East Side, and the homes are exceptionally well built. Shady, tree-lined streets with sidewalks make for a congenial neighborhood feel. The Railyard district and downtown attractions are within walking distance, making this one of the more desirable neighborhoods.
The neighbors: With prices rising quickly over the past 10 to 15 years, the area is less accessible to young families and emerging artists than it used to be. Still, you’ll find a number of families as well as professionals who work in government and in downtown offices.
This development about 15 miles southeast of downtown is the nearest thing Santa Fe has to a suburb. El Dorado was built in the 1970s to appeal to young families looking for affordable housing and, despite rising prices, remains extremely popular with families.
El Dorado has panoramic views, excellent schools and a low crime rate. It’s a mature neighborhood of attractive family homes built on one- to two-acre lots. A small, unobtrusive commercial center lets residents buy groceries and grab a bite without having to drive into town, so it remains a workable blend of town and country living.
The neighbors: Families with young children, horse people, artists, some singles.
Also consider: Oshara Village, which is closer to town and intended to be a model of sustainable building. Houses are smaller and closer together than in El Dorado.
To find larger homes and mansions in the Santa Fe area, you have to head for the hills surrounding the city. Las Campanas is a gated community 10 miles west of town with two Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, an equestrian center, a spa and tennis center and a clubhouse.
Homes here are built in a variety of styles: Pueblo, Territorial, contemporary, ranch, log cabin, and northern New Mexico pitched-roof. The minimum allowed square footage is 2,500, but most homes are larger, and many have guesthouses and other outbuildings as well. The views are breathtaking, so Las Campanas is popular with those who come west looking for wide-open spaces.
The neighbors: Primarily second-home owners, wealthy business owners, retirees and entrepreneurs.
This tiny village of some 900 residents, six miles north of Santa Fe, attracts those who love country living but prefer to avoid planned communities. Tesuque was founded by the Spanish as an agricultural village adjacent to the Indian Pueblo of Tesuque. Although few residents grow crops anymore, many maintain fruit orchards and vegetable gardens irrigated via the ancient acequia, a Spanish watering system brought to New Mexico more than 400 years ago.
Lot sizes tend to be large, and the homes range from modest adobe cabins to expansive mansions. Most aren’t even visible from the main road. Proximity to Santa Fe, coupled with the sense of splendid isolation, makes this an especially sought-after location.
The neighbors: A congenial mix of millionaires, artists, writers, equestrians, old-time Spanish families and scientists who work at the lab in nearby Los Alamos.
THINGS TO DO IN TAOS, NEW MEXICO
When you first step into Earthship Biotecture, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to another planet. An Earthship is a solar house that’s made of both natural, sustainable, and recycled materials. Even water is collected on the roofs and channeled down into the home and filtered for different usages. I was in awe of the unique architectural design of the homes using glass bottles and aluminum cans.
Taos Ski Valley
Nestled deep in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Taos Ski Valley offers gleaming white slopes for skiing, snowboarding and more.
Also known as the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, the Gorge BRide is a steel deck arch bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge 10. Drive across it, or even walk across. I took the picture above with my drone.
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According to court records, the archdiocese in the last several months has requested a bankruptcy judge grant a request to sell properties in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Sandia Park and Edgewood. Those sales alone reaped $7.5 million. Most of it stemmed from selling off a large part of the Carmelite Monastery Complex in Santa Fe.
The documents also indicate church officials have hired an auctioneer firm out of Florida to oversee the sale of 732 properties by July 21. A lot of the properties are vacant lots no bigger than a couple of acres. They are spread across the state including Valencia, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Bernalillo counties.
Abuse survivors have accused the archdiocese of transferring ownership of properties to more than 90 parishes to keep them from going toward settlements.
In October, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled that lawyers for clergy sex abuse survivors can file lawsuits alleging the archdiocese fraudulently transferred millions of dollars in property and other assets to avoid bigger payouts to victims. The court has indicated that more than $150 million could be involved, and that was only for a portion of the assets victims potentially could receive.
That decision in the Chapter 11 reorganization case opened the door to what could be a multimillion-dollar boon to hundreds of alleged victims. It could also result in protracted, costly legal appeals that would tap funds that could have paid valid abuse claims.
The archdiocese filed for reorganization in late 2018 to deal with the surge of claims. An estimated $52 million has been paid in out-of-court settlements to victims in prior years.
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