Category Archives: new mexico

Turquoise Trail, Vinaigrette, Shake Foundation, El Rey Inn — Albuquerque, Madrid, Sante Fe

Salads at Vinegarette

Salads at Vinaigrette

After a short but bumpy flight from Phoenix, wedged in a middle seat between two big guys in the very last row of the plane (Ahhh Southwest), we arrived almost on time at the Albuquerque airport where our hospitable brother in law Wellington picked us up in this big red truck (a work vehicle) and drove us to his adobe style house in the southeast part of town. We had a nice family dinner prepared by my sister in law Leah, visited my mother in law who lives in a residential home that house five elderly people (a far better option than the way more institutional feeling nursing home she left in Kansas, and left this morning for sante Fe along the scenic Turquoise Trail, a two lane road though the mountains. True to form, I bought something in the small town of Madrid, although not a rug because our favorite rug shop (Seppanen & Daughters Fine Textiles) wasn’t open.  I bought a flowy sweater at a little shop lining a dusty side street (most of the shops are in worn houses lining the road) and we had an excellent ice coffee at a hippie dippie place called Java Junction (note to self: coffee ice cubes!).

On the outskirts of sante fe, we checked into our usual place, a well preserved (and updated) 1930’s roadside motel, the el rye inn, which I first learned about from my mom in the 1980’s (thanks Mom xox). We had a really nice lunch at Vinaigrette in an unmarked adobe building just south of town that specializes in very fresh salad greens and interesting combos (I had a pear, blue cheese, walnuts , bacon pieces salad in a balsamic, yes, vinegrette…note to self: poach pears in balsamic vinegar; Dirck had the lightest most creative version of a taco salad I’ve ever seen/tasted). We moved onto the Plaza area and finally found a free parking spot (non metered, along a little park by Marcy street and the radio tower.) we window shopped a bit along the plaza and canyon road (dropping in at the Ventana Gallery for old times sake (where we saw $30,000 painting with sold stickers beside them). The southwest adobe architecture is still charming but the shops don’t interest me much so we just wandered. Perfect weather. Sunny, 70s, light breeze.  The railyard district nearby seems to be the more emerging place to be (it’s much more

Shopping in Madrid, New Mexico

Shopping in Madrid, New Mexico

gentrified than when we last visited 13 years ago and went to the great farmers market which, alas, is on Tuesdays and Saturdays …note to self: return on a Tuesday or saturday.)

We stopped for some ice tea and ginger lemonade at Shake Foundation, a hip fast food place made of sheet metal and glass with two takeout windows and what looks like great food (green chili burgers, lamb burgers, salt caramel ice cream, pistachio milk shakes…lunch tomorrow!)

 

 

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Reasonable fares (!!) Des Moines to Albuquerque

Thanks to airfarewatchdog, I did find a surprisingly reasonable fare on American from Des Moines to Albuquerque – $250 (advertised as $208 but the taxes add up) – for my daughter who is going to visit her cousins in June. We were gearing up to drive her down to Kansas City to catch a Southwest Air flight but that flight turned out to be more than flying from D.M. (Granted the KC flight is direct but involves a 3 hour drive from DM; the DM flight connects through Dallas.) The fares seem to be cheapest right now to parts west (Denver, Phoenix) and a few places in Florida.

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Where to eat in Albuquerque

My dad is passing through Albuquerque and was looking for a good place to eat so I checked in with my sister-in-law, who lives there. Figured I’d share her suggestions which include: the Grove Cafe,  Standard Diner, Farina (for wood oven pizza) and  Artichoke Cafe (a fancier place).

Also for a funky New Mexican food place, there is Duran’s Pharmacy near Old Town – an  old-fashioned pharmacy with a little restaurant that serves pretty decent stuffed sopapillas and green chile stew.

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Best Mexican Food in New Mexico?

My ears perked up today when I heard Jane and Michael Stern on the NPR show The Splendid Table talk about the bext Mexican food in New Mexico but I tuned in too late. Thank heavens for the Internet. On the show’s website I found what they were talking about and even better it’s in Albuquerque where my sister-in-law and her family lives and we visit now and then. The restaurant is Garcia’s Kitchen and a highlight is carne adovada for breakfast or super. Having just butchered a pork belly today to make carnitas here in Iowa, I’m more than ready to have someone else cook the pork for me. This dish is made with chile and smothered in an intensely flavored but not knock-your-socks off heat. Good to know.

We’re looking forward to having some very good authentic Mexican food later this week in Dodge City, Kansas where we’ll be for Xmas (with our New Mexico relatives.)

 

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Santa Fe: our favorite lodging still gets high marks

A recent NYT story on Santa Fe continued to plug the El Rey Inn – a place we’ve stayed at several times (upon the recommendation of the NYTimes.) It’s a retro-motel, located a bit out of the main part of town – which we didn’t mind. It has a lot of character, a nice pool, pretty grounds and best of all is reasonably priced (or relatively, compared to other Santa Fe hotels.) Doubles from $99 according to the NYT.

Other old favorites mentioned include the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market. We also liked exploring the shops in this area, which now apparently includes a new Railyard Park.  (And I didn’t know about the new passenger train from Albuquerque – which is where we fly into New Mexico and visit our relatives there.)

As always, Santa Fe continues to offer more new restaurants and sights. Among the ones that caught my eye: Restaurant Martin; two other restaurants – Vinaigrette and La Boca; a bike trail and bike rental outfit called  Mellow Velo; a flea market called Jackalope and SITE Santa Fe – a modern art space; a housing development with interesting architecture called Zocalo.

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