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Trip List by TxAggieGirl

Feast for the Senses in Santa Fe

Jul 21, 2009  Visits to Santa Fe almost every summer as a kid and whenever I can as an adult.
4.0 of 5 stars based on 4 votes

A few great ways to experience the flavors, sights and sounds of Santa Fe

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Pecos
  • Category: Perfect weekend
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Shopping, Never been before
  • Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with teenagers, Seniors, Tourists
  • 1. Shed Creative Cooking
    The Shed, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    A visit to Santa Fe wouldn't be complete without a visit to The Shed. The location is just around the corner from the cathedral so the wait/lines can be horrendous, but I'm willing to put my name on their list anyday. When we showed up at 1:45 on a Saturday afternoon, they told us it would be a 1.5 hour wait! Part of me thinks it was just to scare us off, as they technically close from 2:30 to 5:30 between lunch and dinner.

    We persevered and were sat just after 2:30. The sangria was delicious, as was the spicy guacamole and salsa. And much as I'd like to, I can't force myself to order anything other than the chicken enchiladas Christmas style (red and green chile), and they were delicious as always. And garlic bread at a New Mexican eatery? Don't ask questions...it's yummy and is handy for sopping up the remaining chile on the plate.

    It's a personal tradition to visit this place on every trip to Santa Fe....so I'd appreciate it if the rest of you stayed away so I could get in sooner. :)

  • 2. Coyote Cafe
    Coyote Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    We stumbled onto the Coyote Cafe rooftop cantina on a recent trip just by sheer luck. We were walking and feeling hungry, and looked up to see folks eating and drinking on an open-air second floor patio, and needed no further convincing. After a 15-minute wait, we were sat near the corner of the cantina so we could see down to the street below. The service was good and our waitress was very friendly.

    Now onto the important part....the food. It was PERFECT. We ordered the guacamole and salsa for an appetizer and it was fresh and delicious. For entrees, we tried the Navajo taco (Indian frybread topped with ground buffalo, shredded chicken and pulled pork, black beans, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, green chile, sour cream and a scoop of guacamole), the duck quesadilla and the Kobe "garbage burger." We were practically fighting over each other's food it was all soooo good.

    I wish I lived closer....I would try to talk them into letting me have a standing reservation for Saturday afternoons...yes, it was that good.

  • 3. Harry's Roadhouse
    Harry's Roadhouse, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    We visited Harry's Roadhouse on a recent trip to Santa Fe on a Sunday evening. We'd had a late lunch, so we didn't show up until nearly 9 p.m. The parking lot was still full, which is always a good sign. We had to wait 20-25 minutes, but passed the time sitting out on the front patio with drinks from the bar. Also, don't judge Harry's by the name...when I heard the word "roadhouse," I was thinking of something much more rustic. The place (at least at night when we were there) had great ambiance, warm lighting and warm colors, making it feel homey and comfortable.

    Once we were sat in the back room, we had a lovely view of the lush courtyard all lit up with lights. It was too chilly to sit outside that night, but the huge windows made it feel almost like we were sitting outside. Our server was very attentive and friendly, and answered all our questions.

    The food was very good. Of the three plates we ordered -- the steak with cheese enchilada with mole, smoked tri-tip with twice-baked potato special and spaghetti carbonara special -- all were delicious. Portions were good-sized and we all took home leftovers that we enjoyed the next day for lunch.

    Worth the wait and the drive (just outside town).

  • 4. Burrito Company
    Burrito Company, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    Just a few steps from the Plaza, Burrito Co. is a good little place to duck in for lunch or something to drink. We've enjoyed the patio in the summer, but the inside is nice too.

    Decent-priced lunch plates and friendly service. We got New Mex fare (burritos and enchiladas), and it was yummy, and the chile wasn't too hot. Worth a stop in if you need a pick-me-up near the Plaza that won't break the bank.

  • 5. Bobcat Bite Restaurant
    The Santa Fe Bite, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    We'd long heard of Bobcat Bite and their legendary burgers outside of town, but we'd also heard about the small number of tables and the potentially horrendous wait times. Thankfully for us, we recently visited Santa Fe in late February and headed out for a late (around 3 p.m.) lunch at the BB.

    We were not disappointed. We got a table right away and ordered the green chile cheeseburger, bacon cheeseburger and a side of home fries to split. Wow...the burgers were flavorful and juicy and the green chiles actually had flavor...not like the ones you get out of a can. Prices weren't bad for Santa Fe standards either, with our bill totalling $22 for 2 burgers, side of fries and one soda.

    And wouldn't you know....all the art on the walls features bobcats.

  • 6. Tecolote Cafe
    Tecolote Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    We'd also heard this was a crowded spot and upon showing up at 11 am on a Sunday morning, we'd heard right. We waited approx. 30 minutes for a table, but the breakfast was well worth it. Just go expecting a wait and be patient.

    The menu is simple, but the food is great. We had the carne and eggs, which featured the carne adovada, fried potatoes and 2 eggs, and the huevos yucatecos, a delicious concoction of corn tortilla, black beans, fried eggs, feta and Swiss cheese, green chile and pico de gallo with fried bananas and fried potatoes on the side. They were both sooo delicious! I'd also recommend the bakery basket over the tortillas, as it comes with fresh, homemade cinnamon rolls, biscuits and muffins. We were fighting over them they were so good.

    Prices are decent as well -- 2 breakfasts (which stuck with us all day until dinner at 8 pm that night) and two drinks ran us $25.

  • 7. Jambo Cafe
    Jambo Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    We'd read Jambo was one of the best restaurants, but on previous short trips, I was unwilling to forego as much southwestern/green chile smothered food as possible. On a weeklong trip earlier this year, we ventured to Jambo's and were NOT disappointed. The location in a strip mall is nothing to write home about, but the food was amazing. My husband had the three-entrée sampler dish, while I ordered the chicken curry...both were amazing...so much in fact, that our two-year old snubbed her chicken strips and ate off our plates! Don't miss this place!

  • 8. Galisteo Bistro & Wine Bar
    Galisteo Bistro & Wine Bar, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    The manager at the B&B we stayed at recommended this place to us and we were not disappointed. The service was very friendly but this is a small place, so reservations are strongly recommended. We waited just a few minutes for our table to open up.

    The menu is great, with varied choices and nothing is over-the-top expensive. We happened to be there during Santa Fe's first Restaurant Week, so we decided to try the special menu for the occasion. It was a great deal we just couldn't pass up.

    For $25 per person, we had our choice of two starters, three entrees and two desserts. We got both the Potage St. Germain (cream soup made with peas, spinach and lettuce) and the mixed greens salad with homemade blue cheese, and they were both great. Then for our entrees we got the fennel sausage with sauteed veggies and fresh pasta and the grilled chicken and goat cheese crepes with kalamata and caper sauce. These were also to die for and I kept having to keep my husband out of my meal! For dessert we got the chocolate and raspberry mousses, and they were divine as well.

    From what I understand, this is a relatively new place, so I hope it continues to do well. We'll be sure to go back on our new visit to Santa Fe!

  • 9. The Plaza
    The Plaza, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    The Plaza is what I remember most about visiting Santa Fe as a kid. Not much has changed, and it's still a charming place. Centrally located to shopping, restaurants, museums and other must-sees, the Plaza is a good place to start on your first day in Santa Fe.

    And of course, who could resist looking at all the crafts and jewelry in front of the Palace of the Governors, made by local Native Americans? Somewhere at my parents' house is a beaded necklace I picked out from here when I was just a little squirt. Today my tastes have changed, but there's still lots of gorgeous stuff to choose from.

    The Plaza area is also gorgeous near the holidays as it's all decorated in greenery and bows with ice sculptures in the center.

    Grab a coffee, find a bench and just watch Santa Fe go by for a while.

  • 10. New Mexico History Museum
    New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    I've walked past the Palace of the Governors many times, but never been inside until a recent trip. If you love history, the Palace of the Governors is worth the $8 admission per person (call for discounted rates on certain days and for NM residents). There's some neat artifacts and photographs, but several other unrelated exhibits I couldn't quite figure out how they with the overall theme.

    The staff was friendly and helpful, and we saw an older gentleman volunteer taking a small group through the museum for further explanation. Being an out-of-stater, I didn't recognize many of the names or events mentioned in the exhibit...much like a visitor to the Alamo in my home state might feel. Perhaps you have to be from the area to appreciate some of the information.

    Could be a bit dry for children or those that don't appreciate history. Good activity for a day with bad weather.

  • 11. Loretto Chapel
    Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    A little gem tucked away off a side street, the Loretto Chapel is home to a mysterious (and miraculous?) spiral staircase with no supports, built by a carpenter named Joseph. I'll leave the rest of the mystery for you to find out, but I must say...I love the Loretto Chapel. I remember visiting it as a kid and being fascinated by the place -- now 20 years later, I still felt the same way.

    The audio story they loop in the chapel is well-done, and the staircase itself causes visitors of all ages to sit and stare at it for a while. You just can't help it. It's no longer a holy site, as it's owned by a private family, but the place still retains it's aura of majesty.

    A not-to-be-missed stop in Santa Fe.

  • 12. Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
    St. Francis Cathedral, Santa Fe, New Mexico

    The St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral is a focal point of the Plaza area. With its simple but beautiful architecture, it is at its loveliest when lit up at night, I think. The first adobe structure was built in 1610 when the city was founded, but was later destroyed. A later structure was built in 1714 and a small chapel from it still remains inside the current structure, which was completed in 1887. The cathedral was elevated to basilica status in 2005.

    I'm not even Catholic, but the architecture and history of the cathedral are worthy of a visit. Want to get a sense for the area's early history and the cathedral's first archibishop? Read Willa Cather's "Death Comes for the Archbishop."

  • 13. Georgia O'Keefe Museum
    http://www.okeeffemuseum.org/

    We've visited the O'Keefe Museum on our last two visits to Santa Fe and really enjoyed it both times. The exhibits change a few times a year and include her paintings, watercolors and photography. Just off the entrance is a little theater with a short film about O'Keefe, her life and her love of the local area.

    Hours are 10 am - 5 pm every day except Friday when they stay open late until 8 pm. General admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and 18+ students, $5 for NM residents, free for kids under 18 and free from 5-8 pm for anyone on Fridays.

    The gift shop is small but has some nice prints you can buy to take home. We purchased several small ones for $10 each to frame in our home and they are lovely.

    Don't miss the chance to see the gorgeous works of one of the southwest's (transplanted) best artists!

  • 14. Pecos National Historic Park
    Pecos National Historic Park, Las Vegas, New Mexico

    A great way to spend an afternoon when visiting the Santa Fe area -- just a 30 minute drive from town. The visitor center volunteers and park rangers are very helpful and nice. Watch the 10-minute film in the visitor center to get a short history on the area, then walk through the museum to see artifacts found by archaeologists in the ruins.

    Spend a few hours walking around the gravel trail, climb down in to the kivas and check out the ruins of the living areas (especially the old church). The place has been kept up nicely, but not so much so that you can't tell the new from the old.

    Be sure to watch the video first and check out the museum to orient yourself to the place before going out on the walk. And take a camera -- in addition to photos of the ruins, there's plenty of opportunity to take pictures of the mountains and wildlife in the area as well. Depending on the weather and the time of year, there may be many other folks there (warmer months) -- when we visited the first time in January of last year, we had the trail all to ourselves.

    A nice break from all the people, shopping and hustle 'n bustle of Santa Fe.

  • 15. Frankie's at the Casanova
    Frankie's at the Casanova, Pecos, New Mexico

    We stopped in here for lunch after a hike around Pecos National Park. What a cute little place! The service was very friendly and the food was delicious. Great little find in a small town!