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
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!)