But back to the fun stuff - the food! New Mexico is known for its chili sauce - both red and green. As we discovered in Santa Fe, whenever you order any kind of Mexican food, the waiter will ask you "red or green?" - or if you can't decide, you can go with "Christmas," which is both sauces. We were literally just pulling into the parking garage of the hotel in Santa Fe when Andi texted that she was at The Shed restaurant and had made a reservation for three - thank you my friend! They are only open until 2:00 pm for lunch and it was after 1:00 pm when we arrived at the hotel. We quickly checked in and ran out to the restaurant - didn't even bring our bags up to the room! The Shed was on Cary and Brian's list of recommended restaurants, so of course we had to try it:
First hour of vacation meant a margarita was in order for Andi!
My plate with Christmas sauce - cheese enchilada, blue corn taco, spicy pinto beans and posole, which is made with hominy corn, pork, and of course, chili.
This was good and I really liked the red sauce, beans and posole, but the taco was nothing special, so I left most of it on the plate.
Being on vacation meant treats, like this chocolate mouse truffle from Todos Santos Chocolates:
Cute AND delicious!
Jeff and I had a late lunch on Saturday at Tia Sophia's, which was PACKED due to the onslaught of people in town for the Pancakes on the Plaza event. We had to wait a bit for our table, and we don't usually bother with that, but in this case I'm glad we did. The restaurant is small and vintage and charming - check out the napkin holder:
Honey and a shaker of cinnamon sugar on the table for sopaipillas, which comes with every Mexican dish ordered - yes, please!
I got an blue corn cheese enchilada with red sauce, which by then I'd figured out was my preference, along with a taco. Everything was excellent and I became a member of the clean plate club, LOL. Jeff had a plate with a tamale, enchilada, and taco, and he managed to eat everything as well. We had planned on eating dinner that night at Tomasita's, which came recommended from my mom as well as Cary and Brian, but we were so full from our late lunch and we didn't feel like dealing with a crowded restaurant later in the evening, so we ended up eating dinner at 8:30 pm at La Pazuela restaurant, which is inside of our hotel - very convenient...and again, delicious. The restaurant is really pretty:
All of the window panes have a handpainted, original design on them, and I'm lucky to have a copy of one, thanks to Cary.
The next morning, which was our last in Santa Fe, meant one thing - a trip back to Tia Sophia's for their famous breakfast burrito. CC and Loretta had eaten there a couple of days prior and talked about how good it was and how big it was. So Jeff ordered it, and I chose a smaller item off the menu, figuring I could have that and a bite or two of his meal. Mine was described as a "hand held breakfast roll" and to me, that meant a breakfast taco. Not so much...this is what was brought to our table:
My "smaller" meal is in the foreground. Both of these tasted great, and of course we managed to eat every bite!
We didn't eat again until dinnertime, and by then we'd driven to Albuquerque. I was online, looking for somewhere different (to us) to eat, when I found the Range Cafe - it sounded intriguing, so off we went. We shared (don't be too impressed, we had two desserts afterward) a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich, complete with frizzled onions and homemade kettle chips, which came back to haunt me a couple of hours later, as my gallbladderless body just can't take that much fried food at once, and I was really nauseated for most of the night. Once again, lesson learned - apparently I have to relearn it every few years or so, unfortunately. By the next morning I was feeling better, so we went back to the Range Cafe because their breakfast menu looked amazing:
Pancakes with homemade granola inside of them, topped with more granola, fresh fruit, and yogurt. I ate all of the topping and a bit of the pancakes - they were great, and I loved the addition of granola, but I think I was ready for some normal-for-me food, in the way of fruit and yogurt.
We drove most of the day and didn't eat again until dinner, unless you count the homemade peanut brittle that we snacked on in the car - this was our wedding favor, and it was yummy! We arrived in El Paso and after searching online, I found a highly recommended hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, Tacos Chinampa, where we had little tacos al pastor, which were fantastic. You could order a six pack or a four pack, and we both ordered the four pack, but in this case I'm sorry we didn't go with the bigger portion. Funny story - along with chips and salsa, they also bring you a little bowl of tortilla soup, for free. It was spicy! I'm talking burn your lips, make you cough spicy. But so good. We were just about finished with our meal when two men came in and were seated behind us. A few minutes later I heard them coughing - sure enough, they were eating the soup!
The next morning Jeff went off to do some training for work (which is why we were in El Paso at that point) and I ate breakfast in the hotel. I was glad to see some nice fresh fruit at the buffet - gee, do you think I was craving it?
This and coffee was all I ate until dinnertime - being stuck at a hotel makes eating less really easy.
For our last meal on vacation, we went to Cafe Italia in El Paso - and if you ever find yourself in El Paso, be sure to go there because it was the best! The owner was there, making the pizza and bread - he also makes the mozzarella cheese every morning. At our waitress's suggestion, we split the house salad - greens with roasted walnuts and thinly sliced pears, and then we split the Gracie's pizza, which had roasted fennel and mushrooms, rosemary, mozzarella, and Parmesan - and it was fantastic! We also ordered their rustic bread and I'm telling you, if bread doesn't taste like this when I'm offered it at a restaurant in the future, I'm not going to bother eating it. This bread was perfection - slightly crunchy on the outer crust but soft and flavorful on the inside. We felt bad leaving a couple of pieces, but we just couldn't stuff ourselves any more, good as it was.
While I wish I could magically transport some of these restaurants to our town, it's probably a good thing they aren't readily available to us, as I think Jeff and I would go a little overboard. But for a week, it was fun to try so many new and different places to eat!