Since 1965 Rancho de Chimayo Restaurante in The Chimayo Valley has been serving customers on their way between Santa Fe and Taos on the legendary High Road. This path takes you through lovely territory, extending from the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains to the Rio Grande Valley.
A prickly pear frozen lemonade along with some guacamole and salsa (the chile based salsa shines) is the perfect way to sit on the heated patio and take in the menu.
A wonderful meal, invigorating conversation, a lovely bottle of wine. And the food, it’s singing love songs in your mouth. And then you realize dessert is served and the halcyon memories are soon ending. A brief moment of panic sets in when you contemplate that you have in fact not taken one note about your experiences at Restaurant Martin.
It is a freezing night. Bone chillingly cold as you walk to the restaurant. It is farther, much farther than you imagined. So cold each step is a painful gash of lung busting agony. You start to consider scenarios where you are frostbitten, found the next day on the street and they say if only he went a little farther he would have made it.
The grande dame of Santa Fe restaurants, Geronimo has been doling out high end culinary delights for years. Depending on whom you speak with the restaurant is either stronger than ever or a shadow of its former self. Such it is with critique, there is always room for dissension.
As The Monster waits for a table he sidles up to the bar and orders a drink. The Honey Mar-Tea-Ni with green tea infused vodka shaken with fresh lemonade, kissed with honey on the rim along with a Signature Martini complimented with lychee-lime foam.
Off Old Las Vegas Highway twenty minutes out of town is Harry’s Roadhouse the local place to go for breakfast and hearty lunches in Santa Fe. It’s the kind of spot Guy Fieri loves (yep, he’s been here) so expect a wait. That’s okay, great people watching.
With multiple rooms inside and out as well as bar seating, Harry’s may make you wait but once seated they’ll get you in and out efficiently enough.
Tratoria Nostrani, a much lauded (and equally infamous, more on that later) Italian off the main square in Santa Fe is The Monster’s next stop on what is a never-ending eating tour. It’s Christmas and we’re doing an early “dinner before dinner” so it’s quite and cozy inside early in the evening.
Expect a seasonal menu of Italian delicacies along with a voluminous wine and port list from which to enjoy yourself. A few oddities at Nostrani, your Amex is not welcome nor is perfume or cologne. Now, if you walk in reeking of Axe Body Spray will they kick you out? They very well might and they should. The policy is explicitly stated on the menu and impressed upon you when you make a reservation. If you’re not kicked out don’t expect much love the rest of the evening even if it is Chanel #5.
It’s Christmas Eve and The Monsters are doing an early dinner at Cowgirl Bar & Grill (before our actual dinner later) watching a drunk guy in sunglasses and a cowboy hat berate a woman at the bar telling her to “shut the fuck up” repeatedly. Ah, Christmas spirit!
A Texas Toddy will hopefully warm the cockles, Makers’ Mark Bourbon with mint simple syrup in hot water with a float of Grand Marnier and lots of fruit. This has disaster potential written all over it.
The always packed Cafe Pasqual’s is at the heart of Santa Fe dining. The small space squeezes as many patrons inside as (in)humanly possible with more spilling out on the sidewalk eagerly waiting for a table for the renowned Northern New Mexican cuisine.
The room itself is a claustrophobic look at the culture of this region with every wall covered in tile, paintings or tchotchkes. Depending on your mood, being this close to your neighbor either means you’re in for great conversation or a long game of shut the fuck up. The Monster normally goes for the latter.