Tag Archives: Albuquerque

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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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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El Rey Inn, Salsa Under the Stars, el Patio, Frontier, UNM – Albuquerque

imageWe have breezed through Albuquerque in the past but spent more time there this trip because our daughter will soon be attending UNM there, several relatives live there and, last but not least, we’re Breaking Bad fans (which filmed in Albuquerque.)

We enjoyed some local restaurants including El Patio  (excellent New Mexican fare) and Frontier (an old-time almost all-night joint frequented by UNM students, and others.) Our brother-in-law who grew up in the Dominican Republic also took us to Salsa Under the Stars – which happens on Friday nights in the summer at the Museum. Full of a great and very diverse group of salsa dancers and large live band. Perfect on a summer night. We also enjoyed the Saturday morning farmers market downtown, picked up some green chile powder, a tacos, designer bread, an empanada filed with spinach, artichoke and feta, some “marriage equality” dish towels as wedding gifts.

With Amelia in Albuquerque

With Amelia in Albuquerque

I should probably mention that we were a bit disappointed with our longtime lodging in Sante Fe – the El Rey Inn. It’s a great old motor lodge that we’ve stayed at several times over the years. Still charming and very affordable and good service but we found our “traditional” room a bit shabby this time around – I’ve let the proprietors know (since they asked several times for our opinion) and hope things will improve so we can stay there again (not to mention recommend it to others…) Other options: the Madeleine, Nicholas, Inn at Paseo.image

 

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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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