Category Archives: New Mexico

Tesuque Market, La Boca, SITE museum – snow and cold in Santa Fe

Tesuque Market

Way behind on my blogging since we left Albuquerque two days ago. There we woke up to a dusting of snow — enough for public schools to be delayed. We drove to Santa Fe where it was even colder and snowier which was pretty but made walking around outside not very enjoyable since we still were chilled even wearing borrowed warmer gear. Tuesday is not the best day to visit Santa Fe if you want to do indoor activities.

Tesuque Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of the places we would have visited are closed on Tuesdays — the crazy George RR Martin installation, Meow Wolf, and SITE, the new contemporary art museum at the railyard district. We ended up having coffee at Tesuque Market, an alternative hangout (that has become sort of a touchstone for me) and later a good Spanish lunch at La Boca near the Plaza. Oddly this is restaurant week in Santa Fe, when restaurants have price  fixe (i.e. slightly more reasonably priced) meals…to lure people. Des Moines’ is in August. We drove back to ABQ on the always stunning turquoise trail (highway 14) through Cerillos and Madrid but the scenery was even more dramatic with the snow and the clouds dropping snow in the distance over the mountains and the sun streaming through at the same time.

Leah’s bumper sticker OMG GOP WTF

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Acoma Pueblo, Bibo Bar, bow & arrow brew, chili addict — abq

Road trip Day #1 from Albuquerque! The theme was Pueblos. First stop the Pueblo Culural Center in Albuquerque, a pleasant southwest adobe building with interesting exhibits on the history, art and culture of the Pueblos, primarily in New Mexico. Good gift shop and nice looking restaurant too. Then we drove about an hour west through flat range country with giant buttes. mesas and other-worldly rock formations rising from the ground like strange abstract sculptures. Tumbleweeds blew, rather than tumbled, across Interstate 40. Unfortunately, Acoma Pueblo was not open to visitors when we arrived. Winter hours. But we could see a few adobe houses atop the Mesa where about 15 families still live. Off season was not a bad time to see it (from a distance, if not up close and personal) because you could get a sense of the isolation. It’s way out and up there. We drove on a two Lane highway up to an overlook atop a rock outcropping where a few native Americans were selling pottery from their car.

Then on to the small dusty town of Bibo and an old adobe building that has been a bar since 1913. As promised by a friend of Leah’s, the 1/2 pound burgers with cheese and green chilis were fantastic, served hot off the grill behind the bar where the woman who took our order also fried them up.

Back in Albuquerque, we met Wellington at the Bow &Arrow brewery, started recently by a Native American woman, we are told. Cool brew space and good beer, my husband reports.

I stopped at the Chili Addict, a small shopped packed with any kind of chili product imaginable (even x-rated chili, with racey illustrations on its labels, hidden behind a towel covering the shelf with an adults only sign. (I was an adult so I peeked in).I bought some packages of frozen green Chile’s to take home. (I brought an insulated lunch bag for transport.)

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The Range Cafe (Menaul), Sandia Crest in the snow — ABQ

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Nice surprises in the giftshops at ABQ airport (frozen green chiles, Kei and Molly tea towels)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is a way to take home frozen green chiles in your carry on luggage from Albuquerque – if you remember to bring a cooler or cold pack to the airport. My sister-in-law who lives in town found several places to buy the chiles but we weren’t sure if I would be able to keep them frozen so they’d get through airport screening. Turns out they are sold in airport gift shops located past the security screening point – although they’re kind of pricey.   A container costs only $5 but it’s the cooler carrier that gets you – it’s about $30, although if you buy 6 containers, it’s free. Next time, I’d consider bringing my own cooler carrier and buying a few tubs of the stuff – which is great for many dishes Mexican, New Mexican and not (meatloaf etc.)

The gift shop located before the security screening also had Kei & Molly tea towels made in Albuquerque but now sold all over. I had hoped to find the New Mexico-themed ones at the Saturday morning Farmers Market in ABQ (where I first found them) or at the Sunday morning Rail Yards Market in ABQ but didn’t so I was pleased to spot them unexpectedly at the gift shop.

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Tesuque Village Pet Memorial Park and Chimayo Santuary – near Santa Fe

I finally made it to Chimayo Santuary, a small old church in a rural village in the mountains north of Santa Fe (about a half hour drive) and it was worth the trek. Lovely, quiet, peaceful place. I tried several times to find the remains of a colonial plaza in Chimayo but despite driving up and down and around a narrow rutted dirt road that supposedly went to the plaza, I never got there. I did pass by the restaurant in Chimayo that we ate at a few years ago, Rancho de Chimayo, and Ortega’s Weaving and Marketplace.

Earlier in the day, I  ended up in Tesuque Village, picking up a cup of coffee at the funky cafe/market at the crossroads (the breakfasts looks great) and then wandering down the shady, narrow Bishops Lodge Road, dotted with the occasional impressive stucco homestead or ranch, sculpture foundry or gallery.  I landed in surprising place, a little pet cemetery/memorial called All Creatures Memorial Park, a tranquil spot at the edge of the road (before the entrance to a private estate) with pretty tiled walls with honorable mentions of pets past.

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Rail Yard Market, La Luz Trail and surprise encounters (Sam Donaldson and a rattler)  — Albuquerque 



As expected, The Rail Yard Market in downtown Albuquerque blew me away. Open seasonally, only on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm, it’s a farmers market and crafts market inside a fantastic old Santa Fe Railroad building – an enormous brick, metal and glass structure with some busted windows to keep things authentic and almost seaglass-colored glass panes here and there — in various shades of green and yellow.  I found some great gifts (Ecuadorian jewelry, southwestern tea towels, green chili seasonings) and killer sticky buns and chili cornbread muffins at Burque Bakery.Dog with booties

Perhaps the best part was the people watching, lots of alternative types – multi-colored dreadlocks, vintage clothes, lots of tattoos and pierces, a Great Dane wearing booties.

Today we drove northeast (I am directionally challenged in this city) to the Sandia  foothills, where we went on a great hike on the La Luz Trail, once we found the trail head. Therein lies a tale. As we were driving in the foothills on a narrow winding road past a few large stucco homes, I spotted a silver haired man watering his lawn and asked if he knew where the trailhead was. He didn’t but he looked so familiar. I suddenly realized that he was a famous former TV reporter but couldn’t remember his name. In a few seconds as we were turning around in his drive, I blurted out. “Are you Sam Donaldson?” “Yes I am,” he responded. I mumbled something about appreciating his reporting and off we went. He covered the White House for years for ABC so I probably should have said I wished he was covering Trump.

Our other big encounter was with a rattlesnake, fortunately at the end of our hike. Another hiker spotted the rattler slithering across  the trail and gave us a heads up that it was in the brush at the edge of the trail but did not appear to be coiled or in strike mode so we assessed the situation and quickly walked past the brush. The  terrain reminded us a lot of our hikes in Tucson, with desert vegetation, orange and purple wild flowers and a glorious view of the mountains on our left and the valley spread out below, with downtown in the distance. One pleasant difference: the weather here is not as scalding hot as Tucson, 80s vs 100 plus weather.

One thing that has been irritating here is all the road construction, especially on Central Avenue. Driving is like an obstacle course at times with clogged streets, hard-to-discern rerouting, traffic jams. My relatives here are not happy about it and I can see why.

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BReaking Bad, Burger Boy, Farmers market and Silver Hill historic District and Airbnb — Albuquerque 

We are staying in a cool old bungalow on Silver Street in a historic district near UNM in Albuquerque, which  is a change since we usually stay with relatives here. But because there are about 30 of us, we spread out into Airbnbs all over. We arrived early enough to catch the last hour of the farmers market in Robinson Park downtown, which is always fun and has good baked goods (a fresh croissant place) and good tacos and vendors selling chilies. 

Some of those green chilies ended up on our burgers at Burger Boy, a roadside joint along the backroad to Sante Fe (the torquise trail) one of my favorite roads here (thru Madrid)  where we met up with adventurous family members who had just experienced “goat yoga'” so were in an especially jolly mood (and had hilarious photos). After our burgers and crispy fries, Wellington piled us into a van he’d rented to transport a rowdy Cuban band (who happened to be on our flight) who were playing at a Latin music festival. Off we went on a Breaking Bad tour, visiting several locations used for the famous TV show and some entrepreneurs capitalizing on the show, including “The Candy Lady” in old town where we could pose in Walter garb with rock candy resembling blue crystal meth. Kind of a weird thing to base your tourism on but whatever works!

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