I’m not one to tell you what to do (I’ll leave that to Bubbe), but if you like amazing food, fresh air, the friendliest people around and gorgeous nature, get thee to Santa Fe!! Here are my tips for the best of Santa Fe.
Kristin and I had so much fun together on our trip to Phoenix, that we immediately started planning our next adventure to another easy trip from Austin- Santa Fe! First the Southwest USA, and then we conquer the world.
We flew into Albuquerque (try to spell that right on your first try), and drove a super quick and picturesque hour to Santa Fe. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with the loveliest new friends, delicious food, and amazing history (even a Jewish connection! I’ll explain below).
Our friends from the Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs in Phoenix heard we were coming and wanted to show us around their Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort and Spa property. Arm twisted. The Governor’s Suite (featured on Season 19 of The Bachelor!(!!!)) was sick.
The opulent two-story room, designed by the native Pueblo of Pojoaque’s Governor and artist George Rivera, has killer views, a fireplace, and a spiral staircase to a giant tub, deck, bar, and bathroom. When can I move in?
Fun fact- a Pueblo is called such because the natives were never pushed out, versus a Reservation. Cool, right?
I want swan towels. I didn’t leave with a swan towel, but we did get much-needed quickie massages and facials at their spa. Ahhh.
Happy Hour at The Red Sage! I wonder if this is our table? Since we were going to dinner, we requested light bites, and were greeted with a rainbow of six cocktails. And some of the most delicious steak around. They are extra local- not only is the meat local, but the chefs explained that the animal feed is also local! This is not a common practice, but it should be, because these steaks were amazing.
After that aperitif and light bite (jk), we headed to Izanami at Ten Thousand Waves for dinner.
This restaurant was so zen. They even had heated toilets! (TMI?) We didn’t have time to try their spa (plus I’m trying to limit massages to one per day) but definitely want to on the next trip. Sake flight!
We wanted to do the omakase tasting menu but surprisingly were pretty full from all that steak, so we decided to split one. There was still so much food! The hamachi and tuna sashimi with dukkah was one of my favorites.
90% of their meat and produce is organic or sustainably raised by purveyors they know and trust. Everything is super fresh, so they only serve fish on the omakase menu to keep things extra fresh and more local.
This fried tofu. Perfection.
Then we finally
rolled checked into our home for the weekend: The Inn of the Governors! We loved its convenience to all things downtown aka walking off our meals. Fun fact: the number one rated bar in all of New Mexico is in their lobby! The also have complimentary breakfast, and a classy tea and sherry happy hour.
Breakfast at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen! So delicious (breakfast burrito with chiles!), fresh (buckwheat banana pancakes!) and creative (carrot cake quinoa bowl!). And co-owner Fiona is the sweetest.
They make everything from scratch- even mill their own flour. We loved it so much at Sweetwater, we returned for their Thai night.
Oh hello breakfast burrito- the sweet potatoes were a nice touch, and I loved both red and green chile sauces.
Next stop was Meow Wolf. Which can only be described as Disney World on acid (sign me up!)
Meow! Mr. Roboto. Is this art? JK it was a food truck! Is it a cat, is it a wolf? Who cares, let’s go inside already!
There is the option to spend $1 on 3D glasses, so I’ll take this opportunity to teach you a life lesson. 3D glasses are never an option. Best $1 we ever spent! Functional and fashionable.
Meow Wolf is a crazy interactive art exhibit mansion mystery meets what I assume LCD is like meets hidden portals and also a concert venue. Jungle gym meets haunted house meets museum. Here I am in the refrigerator.
I’ll let the photos do the talking. This guy.
Things! The best most photographed part, the neon tree forest! If all trees looked like this I may be into camping. And nature.
Tree house gone WILD. I would have purchased all of these if they were for sale. Take my money!
All that stimuli was too much for us to handle. Matzo ball soup was needed ASAP. So we stopped at the appropriately named New York Deli for a nosh! Much better. #comfortfood Then it was time for lunch #2 at regional hot-spot Cowgirl. While we waited for our meals, we took the opportunity for an impromptu photo shoot. Judge away.
Kristin went for their world-famous, award-winning Green Chile Cheeseburger, but I saw Turkey Reuben on the menu and didn’t need to look any further. Santa Fe is all about the chile, so I added some to my sandwich. Good choice, self. Then we walked off our lunch(es) with a stroll on Canyon Road. A half mile of galleries, shopping and art. Santa Fe has over 200 galleries in total! We even saw this artist, James Roybal, at work!
We wandered off the beaten path for a little peek at how the locals live. And they live adorably! Downtown has strict rules to maintain the adobe look, but away from the historic Plaza region can get more colorful. Fauxdobe is the name coined for those trying to copy the traditional look, and as a pun lover I LOLed about this for at least a full minute. And then we indulged in a little retail therapy. Treat yo self.
How amazing is this coat!! Horses, fringe, beads. Just add a few sequins and take my money already! All that shopping worked up a sweet tooth, so we stopped at Kakawa Chocolate House for some drinking chocolate. My rose almond elixer (sounds healthy, right?) was just barely sweet, and based on what natives drank years ago, but perfectly rich and indulgent. After a quick recharge- of our phones and ourselves- it was off to try our hand at the Margarita Trail! As an Austin, Texas resident, I’m embarrassed to say I don’t love margaritas. But this Tequila Mockingbird (LOL stop with the puns already!) concoction from the Santa Fe Sage Inn with elderflower and jalapeños won me over big time!! YUGE!
Oh weird, another impromptu photo shoot. ‘Merica.
That night we strolled around the peaceful downtown (hardly a car in sight!) and clapped with glee at the sight of this yes-we-know-it’s-February-but-it’s-Christmas-in-my-head light display in the Plaza.
The Plaza is the intersection of a a bunch of trail roads, and the heart of the city. So much deserved light display.
We kept walking until we reached The Palace, former brothel in which the infamous La Doña Tules held court. You can read more about La Doña here, and you should because she’s a bad-ass. Fun fact- Santa Fe is the number one city for women owned businesses (girl power!) Though there are only 85 men for every 100 women, so ladies, go to Santa Fe to start your empire, not to date.
With dim lighting and red decor, the restaurant was dark, so I didn’t get any good food photos, but I did get a winning shot of this rhinestone skull and fireplace combo I want in every room of my house. The husband and wife chef team have worked all over the world, but love putting their twist on local American cuisine in Santa Fe. They live with five (!) chef roommates and often stay up until 5am dreaming of new menu items. Best slumber party ever! At 10pm the upscale restaurant turns into a karaoke restaurant because why not?
Luckily we woke up the next day hungry, because first stop was breakfast at Modern General! Excuse my French, but how freaking adorable is this place???? If I lived in Santa Fe, I’d work here. Also, if I put on pants on a regular basis. But Modern General is worth putting on pants and washing your hair to leave the house. You can quote me on that!Juicy.
The Red Pepper Sonoracakes literally called out my name. It was weird, but I didn’t question it. Smoky roasted red pepper flapjacks with lox, chive sour cream, and a sweet pepper syrup. Literally dead. The Lemoncakes with lemon curd, blueberry compote and labne buttercream reminded me of blintzes! And the Green Chile Cilantro Corncakes deserve a mention too.
We followed breakfast with some culture. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is a must. Wow. On our way to lunch we got totally distracted Santa Fe Oxygen Bar and decided we needed some digestive oxygen massages stat! I mean how could you not walk in here and want to
move in stay awhile?
Kristin and I made ourselves comfortable with what can only be described as water cocktails. Oh wait is that what a mocktail is? My first!
I had never tried oxygen before (besides, you know, constantly breathing it), and after a combo of oxygen bar, essential oils and a massage, I have literally never felt more relaxed and clear-minded. Kind of life-changing.
So we were
very slightly late for lunch at Andiamo!, but luckily New Mexico is the Land of Mañana, so we were right on time.
After our massages, all I wanted was some greens, and this Seared Salmon Salad with arugula, egg, roasted potatoes, green beans and tapenade was amazing. The bites of Kristin’s Linguine Arrabiatta I stole were perfectly cooked and spiced, and we agreed that we are both super picky with Italian food.
Classic SF. Literally Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Finally, the Jewish portion of our tour! La Posada Resort & Spa is located on six-acres, and is home to The Staab House, the original home of Abraham Staab, who built the mansion in 1882 as a way to convince his wife, Julia, to move from Germany to Santa Fe for a business opportunity. They say Julia loved the home so much she never left, and word is she still haunts the home (she’s a friendly ghost, don’t worry, though she may nag a bit).
Each guest room is unique, but I loved this sitting room in the Staab House, complete with a rotating art gallery. Rumor has it that the Archbishop ran out of funds to finish the cathedral, and the Staab family loaned the rest to make it happen. Cool! Maybe this is one of the reasons Santa Fe is more than a tolerant city- they literally don’t see race, sex or religion.
(If you look closely you can see the Star of David in this stained glass!)
Here is the famous cathedral. And here is the Hebrew word for G-d right in front! Thanks, Abe.
We made it back from our exploring just in time for sherry happy hour at the inn.
The next day it was time to head back to Austin, but we had time for bagels and coffee at Iconik Roasters. I had one more chile-fix with egg and veggies on a chile bagel.
And Kristin got veggies and schmear on a plain bagel.
We needed the fuel for a hike of Tent Rocks! They were formed from volcanic eruptions 6-7 million years ago (give or take). Wow!Nature is cool. Even if it isn’t Meow Wolf-neon.
Hiking in fur and glitter sneaks is totally normal.
Thanks, Santa Fe! See y’all real soon.
The City of Santa Fe took care of our accommodations and food, but all options are my own. And my opinion is that I need to go back to Santa Fe ASAP!