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February 22nd, 2010

I was having a brain cramp trying to think of a post this week.  I was going to post about the magnificent Santa Fe Playhouse's annual one-act play extravaganza called "Benchwarmers" (which I still might do later this week), but the crazy snow we got today set my sights inward.  After taking the dogs out for a trek through the snow-packed arroyo - complete with gators and ski goggles to keep out the driving snow - I was starving and cold.  This is the best time to indulge in red chile.

Red chile comes from the dried red pods of the Hatch chile pepper.  Same pepper, different stages of ripeness.  Also, just because the peppers are red does not mean they are hotter.  Green chile peppers can be just as spicy- if not spicier- than red chile peppers.  It depends on the bushel.
A photo of fresh chiles that I stole off the internet.
The red ones are more ripe than the green and are dried and turned into ristras like so:
A photo of a ristra that I stole off the internet.
Anyway, I know I am rambling about a boring topic.  So let's cut to the chase.  How do you turn red chile pods into red chile sauce, the delectable New Mexican delicacy?  E-z p-z.

First, buy some ground red chile. If you are a red chile purist, you might do some crazy thing where you soak whole pods in water and grind the husks with a food mill.  While I am sure that method has many merits, using pre-ground chile works very well and is a lot faster, too.  You can find red chile in the "New Mexico" aisle of your grocery store, or, if you don't have a New Mexico aisle, email a friend in New Mexico and she will mail you some.

I forgot to take a photo of my red chile (I got it at the farmer's market, so there's no label anyway) but here's an example photo I found on the internet:

Step one: Finely chop 1/2 of a yellow onion.  Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium- to large-sized saucepan.  Heat the oil, add the onions.

Fry the onions until translucent or slightly browned.

Step 2: Add about a tablespoon of minced garlic.  Yeah, I use the pre-chopped stuff in a jar.  Don't judge me.

Now, this is important, continue to fry but not more than 1 minute.  You just want to get the garlic fragrant.  Garlic also burns really, really easily so don't push it.

At this stage, you should add about another tablespoon of olive oil, so it looks like this:

I probably should have said at the beginning that making red chile sauce requires a lot of oil. Don't freak out.  It's good for your soul.

Step 3: This is the only slightly tricky part.  You need to add flour to make a roux.  Put in about 2 1/2 tablespoons of regular, white flour.

And stir it in.
(Kev did this part so I could take a photo.  Then he admonished me for taking photos during the "most critical time" in the chile making process.  Apparently, he is very serious about his chile.  Sheesh!)

Step 4:  Add more oil so the roux isn't clumpy and can spread across the pan in a more or less even way.  I had to add another tablespoon or two but this is not exact.  Just eyeball it.  Nothing bad will happen.

Actually, I probably could have used a bit more oil here but whatever.  Kev was admonishing me, so I was distracted.  :)
Let the roux get toasty colored.  This is the same method used to make gumbo.

Step 5: Add water or broth  (I used chicken, but any flavor would be good except for maybe fish broth) while whisking.  Add about 1 1/2 cups and then allow it to heat up and thicken.  It will be quite thick, so keep adding until it reaches a white gravy consistency.  I added about 3 cups of chicken broth all told.  This part is really up to you and how thick you like your chile.   

Step 6:  Add the red chile powder and whisk it in.  I used 1/2 - 3/4 cup.

The rule of thumb is to add enough to give it a nice, red color like above.  After I added the red chile, I ended up adding a wee bit more chicken broth to keep it a thick-but-not-too-thick consistency.

Allow it to come to temp, add a dash of salt to taste, and you're done!

Spoon a generous amount on top of your burrito, like so:

This was a refried bean burrito with cheddar cheese and chopped green chile rolled into a whole wheat flour tortilla.  I used whole wheat tortillas to pretend I was eating heath food.
You can add some additional shredded cheese on top and then nuke it to melt it, or place it in your oven.  I gobbled this down and practically broke out into a sweat this chile was so hot.  That's because we only buy the hot chile.  That's how we roll here.  Chile powder is sold in varying degrees, from mild to extra hot.  If you find your smothered burrito is too spicy, a dollop of sour cream will help cut the heat.


Red chile sauce is a great- and should be from now on- substitute for that hideous jarred "enchilada sauce" that I see for sale at grocery stores.  Put down the enchilada sauce jar.  Make this. You will thank me.

I will also add in the interest of full disclosure, that this was the FIRST TIME I had ever made red chile.  Kev is the resident chile sauce maker here.  It was easy as pie.  I promise.  

Now I must return to my Olympics watching. BODE!

February 7th, 2010

So, I think I've mentioned Santa Fe's new Railyard area on this LJ before.   There's a train station and the Santa Fe's bi-weekly farmer's market there.  (Click here for a link to my October post on the Farmer's Market.)  In any case, a brand-spanking new restaurant opened there and yesterday afternoon we decided to check it out. 

It's the Second Street Brewery!
The original Second Street Brewery is on Second Street, naturally.  That location is large and frequently has live music.  The scene reminds me a lot of a Boulder bar- kind of hippy-ish and sporty-ish but yet still new and clean.  Anyway, the railyard location is smaller but still very nice. Also, the menu is a bit different than at their other location and includes several dishes with locally raised food from the farmer's market.
Here's K at the bar:

There is a lot of light and many of the windows are like garage doors so in the summer an entire side of the restaurant will be open air.  Cool, huh?
We sat down and split an order of our favorite food- mussels:

I thought the mussels were great.  But, in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I have had a bad cold for the past week and I have lost most of my sense of taste and smell.  K, on the other hand, thought that the mussels were bland and had to add salt and pepper.  I have never heard of anyone ADDING salt to brine before so I have a suspicion that K's assessment was more accurate than mine. On the other hand, we both liked the tortilla chips with habanero and pinon nut salsa.  

Who is everyone rooting for in the Big Game tonight?  I'm rooting for the underdog Saints this year as my team, the Steelers, were terrible this season.  We're heading over soon to watch the game with some pals.  I'm making super-delicious jalapeno poppers:

What could possibly be better than a jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon?  Nothing, that's what.

The recipe I got from The Pioneer Woman.  Recipe linked directly here.  

January 24th, 2010

This past week we got a ton of snow. I think that it's the same weather system that is dumping all of the rain on California.  We had some accumulation here in town.  This is the view from my office window on Thursday:

But the Santa Fe Ski Area got, like, three feet or so.  Three feet of fresh snow!
So, suffice to say, we headed up to Ski Santa Fe on Saturday morning.  Now, I have only dabbled in skiing/snowboarding over the years and, since moving to Santa Fe, I have gone up only a dozen times or so.  All this to say, I am no Lindsey Vonn.  I stick to the blue (intermediate) runs.  Here's a photo of Kev at the top of Open Slope (link opens .pdf trail map):

The snow was great on Saturday, but it was bitter, bitter cold and there were occasional white-out conditions due to additional snowfall and wind.  Lots and lots of wind on that upper mountain, woo-wee!  I bought a neck cuff thingy and another hat to go under my helmet at the ski shop and felt better.  Still, I had icicles on my hair and face on Saturday.  Sunday it was still cold, but clear and sunny.  The photograph of Kevin above is from Sunday and it's so clear you can see the Jemez Mountains in the far distance.

When we called it in at the end of the day, we headed to the car and warmed up with a refreshing beverage and a snack.

Can you tell how freaking cold I was when this photo was taken on Saturday?  My cheeks are red like Santa's for crying out loud!

On the way back down the mountain...

... we decided to stop at 10,000 Waves.  10,000 Waves is an extremely beautiful Japanese-style spa.  They have saunas, hot tubs, facials, massages, scrubs, wraps, and all that kind of stuff.  Our favorite, and the most popular, aspect of 10,000 Waves offerings is the outdoor hot tubs.  The water is unchlorinated; the water allegedly is cleaned with a system of ultraviolet light.  Or something.  I don't know how these things work, I just enjoy them.  :)  

After parking the car, you walk up a winding pathway to the spa.  The sign at the bottom of the pathway said it burns 47 calories to walk the path to the top.  Not bad.

At night, it is lit with tiny lanterns.  I like 10,000 Waves at night especially because you can star-gaze while luxuriating in the warm water.  Kev and I actually went up for a soak twice this weekend: once on Friday in Kobuta private tub and then again for some apres ski on Saturday.  Here is the path near the top at night:

They provide you with towels, sandals, and robes and a locker key.  On Saturday, we went to the communal tub/sauna.  Sure, it's a bit chilly walking in a robe and flip flops to the outdoor tub, but once you get there, it's pure heaven.  Happiness is sitting in a hot tub while it's snowing. 

Here I am when we're leaving.  I have warmed up my freezing cold fingers and feel great, albeit tired.

After being a human icile for 5 hours, a 1 hour dunk at the Waves will keep you warm the rest of the evening. 

The best part is, we still have one more week left on our Millennium Ski Passes and there is yet another winter storm anticipated mid-week.  I know what I'll be doing next weekend!

November 29th, 2009

We were fortunate enough to take another day trip around lower Bavaria. The first stop was Schloss Linderhof which is about 60 kilometers from Munich and close to Garmish. The drive itself is beautiful and you have a view of the German Alps and Zugspitze.

Linderhof was the primary residence of King Ludwig the II. He is widely remembered as being the "crazy" king because he lived alone, disliked other people, and built these fantasy castles around Germany. He died under "mysterious circumstances" by drowning in a lake a few days after he was forced to abdicate his throne. He was forced to abdicate because (1) he was widely disliked and (2) the royal doctor declared that he was insane. Of course, the tail probably wagged the dog on that one.

Nevertheless, Ludwig's castles are probably the biggest tourist attractions in Germany now. Linderhof was the only one of his castles that was completely finished. Ludwig used Linderhof as his primary residence and it was styled in the extremely ornate rococo style. It was an homage to King Louis XIV and was supposed to be a smaller version of Versailles.

K inside Linderhof
Here's K inside. This is a contraband photo as I was told soon-after that photographs inside were strictly forbidden. Suffice to say, the entire place was decked out in marble, gold, and silver.
Here we are outside of the palace:

The grounds of Linderhof are also beautiful. Ludwig was a huge fan and benefactor of Richard Wagner and he built a fake cave that was intended to be an opera venue. The gardens were also lovely and had a breathtaking view of the mountains.

And here I am on my way to the King's chapel.

Ludwig was also a huge fan of swans and peacocks. Here I am with my uncle by the swan lake.

These swans were very used to people and were practically demanding that bread be thrown to them. Also, as an aside, swans will bite you if they do not get what they want. You have been warned.

Next, we drove to another one of Ludwig's castles- Schloss Neuschwanstein. This is sometimes called the "Sleeping Beauty Castle" because it apparently was the inspiration for Walt Disney's castle of the same name.
And I can totally see it:

The inside of the castle was never completed and it is believed that the King spent less than 100 days in residence. He preferred Linderhof.

But, I am getting ahead of myself here.
Neuschwanstein is in Schwangau, which is the very southern part of Bavaria, right on the border of Austria.

Upon my insistence, we took a horse drawn carriage to the top of the hill on which Neuschwanstein was built.

It was chilly out.

Then, we hiked a ways out to Marienbruke, which is a bridge that overlooks the castle.

The story is that a children's book illustrator drew a fairy tale castle for King Ludwig. Ludwig liked it so much that he decided to build it. It really is stunning.

Then, you can take a leisurely walk back down to town. Neuschwanstein was built in the mid to late 1800's and typifies the heavily romantic style that King Ludwig loved so much. I snapped this photo of K's brother in front of Neuschwanstein.

There is another castle right across the valley from Neuschwanstein. It is called Hohenschwangau castle and it was where crazy Ludwig was born and raised. It dates to the 12th century. This castle is no slouch but compared to Neuschwanstein it's just not that impressive. My uncle jokingly referred to it as Neuschwanstein's chicken coop.

While hiking down from the bridge, you can get a beautiful view of Hohenschwangau and the area mountains.

During the summer months, these castles are positively overrun with tourists and the wait to take a tour of Neuschwanstein's interior can be up to seven hours long. This is partically why Kev and I like taking vacations in November. Sure, the gardens are not in bloom and you have to contend with chilly weather, but you feel like the place is all yours to enjoy.

K and I can't wait to go back to Germany and check out everything that we missed this time around. We still have numerous castles to see and pastries to eat. And that semmelknodel has my name on it.
From Munich, it is super-easy to take a day trip to Salzburg. With the Bavaria Train Pass (called "Bayern Ticket" in German), you can go anywhere in Bavaria and also Salzburg for only 30 Euros. I think that the 30 Euros is good for up to 5 people, too.

Kev and I started our day at Munich's Hauptbahnhof, or Central Station. All of the U-bahns (subways) and S-bahns (above-ground commuter trains) stop at Hauptbanhof so it's easy to get to.
I took a photo with the Bavarian lion statute there.

We were there early so we got a coffee and a pastry (naturally) and tried to read the German newspaper.
The trip there took about 2.5 hours because we had to transfer twice. It wasn't a big deal though, because one of the advantages to traveling by Deutsche Bahn (German Railroad) is that you can peer into the pastoral Bavarian countryside.
Here I am on the train.

The way back was direct, though, and it only took 1.5 hours.

Ok, so we arrived in Salzburg and we bumbled around until we made it to the old part of town.
K in Salzburg
And here I am close to the Salzbach river.

We crossed the Salzbach river to check out the Salzburger Catherdral ("Dom") and find something to eat.

The Salzburger Cathedral is beautiful. The entry is free, as are most European churches it seems, and the interior is covered in frescoes. It has been in a constant state of renovation since it was first built in 800 AD. It was burned to the ground and endured several remodels but has been in more or less the same state since the late 1600s. It suffered some damage to the main dome during WWII, too.
Here's the inside:
Salzburger Dom
Here's one of the ceiling fresco:

Then we bummeled around to the Catacombs of St. Peter. It was a verdant and overgrown graveyard that dates to early 1620.

I spied this cool tombstone that reminded me of that children's song, "The Worms Crawl In, the Worms Crawl Out."

We were searching for the restaurant St. Peter's Keller, which we did not find until later, but we instead came across St. Peter's Bakery (Stiftsbackerei). It was located in this charming courtyard with a water wheel to pump air into the bakery's wood ovens.

There's Kev on the stairs. You can also see the Salzburg Fortress on the hill in the background.
In any case, we ended up having some wienerschnitzel and a beer at a cafe down in the old part of town.

We needed our strength because we decided to walk to the top of "Hohensalzburg," which is the medieval fortress that towers above the city.
We wandered up the narrow and steep cobblestone street to the castle. The entrance was 7 Euro a piece- well worth it. Here's Kev at the entrance gate and "arrow alley." There were little windows all around that archers used to ambush the enemy. It looked pretty deadly.

Here's Kev peering out of a cannon window.

Hohensalzburg was originally a monastery that was heavily fortified against foreign warring peoples or, as the case may be, Salzburgers that were seriously pissed off. The bishops and other powerful religious leaders would hole up in there. Construction on the fortress began in 1015 and it was expanded in the 1500s and during the Napoleonic wars. It was also used as a prison in WWI.

There were a few rooms at the very top of the castle that had the medieval decorations still intact.

It was easy to visualize In the Name of the Rose in this place.

The views from Hohensalzburg were unbelievable. Here's one of the Austrian Alps.

Here's another one of the Alps with a view of the other smaller buildings within the fortress walls.

We took the little cog railcar back down (which, might I add, took 30 seconds as opposed to the 20 mins it took to walk up there) and then checked out other Salzburg sights.
First, the Christmas market had already begun in Salzburg. There are stalls upon stalls of Christmas cookies, ornaments, decorations, and presents for sale.

There are also stalls selling punch and mulled wine. We warmed up with a mug of Gluhwein, which is drunk while standing at a table that we shared with some Italians.

We also found the location of Mozart's birth.

Mozart was born in Salzburg but he was not celebrated there until his death. Now, every other thing is dedicated to Mozart here. They have numerous Mozart festivals and the city's chocolatey confection is called the "Mozartkugel" or Mozart marble. Along those lines, before we headed back to Munich on the evening train, we enjoyed another special Austrian dish. The Dampfknodel, or steam dumpling:

The dampfknoedel is a steamed wheat bun filled with sweet stewed plums. It is smothered in vanilla sauce and topped with poppy seeds (I think). Very good. Another specialty is Austrian "nockerl" which is a raspberry and vanilla sauce topped with huge meringues.

Salzburg was beautiful. We got back to Munich at about 8pm, which was perfect because we were pretty tired from walking for 12 hours straight.

Up next- another Bavarian day trip to crazy Ludwig's castles!
So, if you've been wondering where we have been for the past week, here's your answer. We went to Munich! We spent approximately a week there visiting the family and all of the Bavarian sights, Griswold style. We also took a day-trip to Salzburg, Austria, which will be the subject of a separate post. The photos of Munich are not in chronological order, rather, they are in order of their location in the city. I thought it'd be easier to follow that way.

We stayed at an apartment on Theresienstrasse, which is close to the universities in Munich. It was a great place that was very central and easily accessible via U-bahn (subway).
K at U-Bahn Station

We walked our legs off while in Munich. We frequently headed down to the Altstadt, or "Old City", where the Marienplatz and various well-known churches are.
Rathaus Glockenspiel

This photo is of the front of the Neue Rathaus, or "New Town Hall". It has the Glockenspiel on the front (which is called a "carillion" in English apparently) and it goes of two-three times a day. The little figurines spin around. The building was built at the end of the 1800's, hence the term "new" town hall. The "old" town hall is adjacent to it and how houses a toy museum. The Neues Rathaus forms part of the Marienplatz, which is the city's main down-town square and named after the statute of Mary with child that is at it's center. Here's a photo of the Rathaus at night:
Neue Rathaus at night

To get there, you can walk along various pedestrian zones filled with fancy shops.
pedestrian foot zone- decorated for christmas
The photo above is of Kev. I took this photo because this time of year Munich's Christmas market is just about to get going. This is a big deal. All of the stores get decked out in Christmas decorations, which you can see on the white building behind Kev. Also, you can see a wee bit of the Frauenkirche towers in the distance too.
But, before we go to the Frauenkirche, let's stop by the old favorite Hofbrauhaus. The Hofbrauhaus is located behind the new Rathaus on a small plaza called the Marienplatzl.
me and S at Hofbrauhaus
The Hofbrauhaus is a giant restaurant and beer hall that serves the best of traditional Bavarian food. I had actually never been there before and it was quite a trip. A loud German polka band would play a folk song every 10 minutes or so. The waiters had on lederhosen. It was like year-round Oktoberfest in there.
S at Hofbrauhaus
First, we started with the liter-sized maB. I had a Radler, which is a maB, but the beer is mixed with lemonade. It's good. As for food, Kev got spatzle with a turkey ragout, S got schweinebraten with potato dumplings (kartoffelknodel), and I got a sausage plate with sauerkraut with an order of bread dumplings (semmelknodel) on the side. Oh, and a pretzel, too. I was hungry!
Hofbrauhaus wurstplatte

Now, leaving the Marienplatz area but still very close by, is the Frauenkirche.
Heading toward the Frauenkirche:

k walking

K before the frauenkirche
Here's Kev waving just as we approach the Frauenkirche. The Frauenkirche is one of Munich's most distinguished buildings as it has two twin copper onion domes. The church was almost completely destroyed during WWII so the inside is still pretty bare and austere. It is also called the "Dom" or cathedral. K and I frequently stopped for coffee and a pastry. Here's Kev enjoying an espresso right in front of the Frauenkirche.
coffee at frauenkirche
Also, around the Frauenkirche are some lively bars. We went to Augustiner am Dom, which looks a lot like a ski lodge. It has been in the same family's hands for the past 100 years.
Augustiner Am Dom
Here I am at the bar-
me at Augustiner am Dom
At these older places, there are large wooden tables everywhere and you just take a seat where ever there is room. The waitress will separate the bar tab any way you desire.

We also visited the "Alter Peter" which, literally translated, is the "Old Peter." It is St. Peter's Church that was built in the 11th century and then largely renovated in the 14th century and again in the 1600's. Here I am in front of the old doors to the church:

For a small fee (1 -2 Euro), you can climb the 300 or so steps to the very top of Alter Peter and get some awesome views of the city.
Here's Kev climbing the stairs-
K climbing alter peter
You can kind of see the wood beam supports. It's neat.
When you get to the top, there is a very narrow 350 degree balcony.
K top of Alter Peter
But the views are great. Here's a view of the Marienplatz and Neue Rathaus:

The yellow building in the distance is the Theatinerkirche (another church close at the Odeonsplatz, which I will get to soon). You can see all the way in the distance the Olympic Park tower and, directly to the right of the tower, the BMW building.

We also hit up the very busy coffee house that is right on the Marienplatz called Cafe Richard. The reason I'm mentioning it here is because I had a piece of raspberry cake the size of my head there. Of course, I got it with a side of "Schlagzahne" or whipped cream.
K and Himberkuchen

Heading back toward downtown, you will pass by the Museum of Hunting and Fishing. We didn't go inside but I was introduced to the wild boar out front.
Me and Wild Boar

We hoofed it to Viktualienmarkt, which is the open-air food market that is very close to the Marienplatz.
It was amazing. We got a couple of cheeses to take home with us and a package of WeiBwurst, a traditional Bavarian veal sausage.

We then headed to the Lowenbrau restaurant and beer garden for lunch.
me lowenbraw lunch
I ate one of my favorite German dishes, kaesespatzle, which is a type of small, homemade noodle covered with melted cheese and, in this case, fried onions.
Kev had a WeiBwurst sausage and sauerkraut platter.

K and WeiBwurst
It was delicious.
Another day, the weather was warm enough for us to eat at a beer garden that was also close to the Vikuelienmarkt. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the name. The views were good, though.
Here I am at the biergarten. You can see the Frauenkirche in the background and a bunch of people enjoying themselves with a beer or two.
Me at Beer Garden
There was a busy tram station next to this biergarten and people were just stepping off the tram and sitting down for some lunch. It had a good and fun vibe. It was crowded and everyone squished in on the wooden tables and benches.

I had scheweinebraten (pork roast) with semmelknodel (bread dumplings). Kev made an unusual choice and had blood sausage and sauerkraut.
K blutwurst

Heading back towards Theresienstrasse you will come upon Odeonsplatz. This is where the Bavarian opera house is as well as the Theatinerkirche, which I mentioned above. We darted into the Residenz one afternoon, which was the city palace of Bavarian royalty. It is gigantic. It was partially under construction so "only" 100 rooms were open for viewing.
This is me in front of the Odeonsplatz lion:

And we also enjoyed some mulled wine ("gluhwein") and tea at a coffee house. This is K and his brother canoodling underneath blankets provided by the cafe. It gets chilly at night but why go inside when you can people watch so much better outside?
Kev and S at Odeonsplatz coffee house

Also close to the Odeonsplatz is Kaffee Hag where we went on a different occasion and I had, quite possibly, the best piece of walnut cake of my life. I memorialized the cake in this photograph.

Anyway, we did not get a chance to see a concert or opera this time but we intend to next time we visit. There are a TON of concerts in Munich. K read somewhere in his guidebook that there is an average of 5 concerts a day in Munich! Woha.

Ok, so back to where we were, traveling north from Odeonplatz, you quickly come across Museum row. There is the old, new, and modern art museums. We went to the new and the modern. Here I am on museum row:
me Museum Row

The Neuepinakothek ("New Art Musuem") contains European art from the 18th and 19th centuries. It has some of the royal portraiture from that time period up to an including the impressionists. It even contains a Van Gogh Sunflowers.

We also went to the Pinakothek de Moderne which contains art from the post-impressionists and cubists all the way up to present day installations. It also has a good bit of modern furniture and automobile design with a healthy dose of groovy mod and art deco styles.

From the Pinakotheken, our apartment was just a hop, skip, and a jump away. We were right next to the Technical University of Munich, which meant that we could get schweinebraten at any hour due to the late night restaurants geared toward students. We took a day trip to Salzburg (which will be the topic of a separate post) and didn't get back to Munich until late at night. K was famished so we wandered down the busy Schellingstrasse and found a pool hall. Kev got the "farmer's plate" which contained various pork products and bread dumplings.

It hit the spot.
Tune in for another post about Salzburg and then a final post about our day trip to Lower Bavaria's two most famous castles.

November 15th, 2009

Santa Fe: Breakfast Edition

K and I have started something of weekend tradition. We go out for a late breakfast on either Saturday or Sunday. Recently, we've been hitting up the Counter Culture Cafe. The Counter Culture is a counter-service only place with a super-delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. I'd say that it specializes in baked goods (baked on premises) and fresh salads and sandwiches. That is not to say that it skimps on the New Mexican-style foods. No siree. Their green chile has been nuclear hot recently. It's great place to get a well-priced and beautifully fresh meal.

As far as atmosphere, it's noisy, busy, and attracts hipster/artsy types. Good vibe.

We have also rediscovered The Tune Up Cafe.

It's a neighborhood haunt in the Agua Fria area. We often see people we know there enjoying a cup of joe. The food, though, is El Salvadorian influenced with plenty of classic New Mexican dishes, too.
This time, Kev got a giant cinnamon roll and a plate of chiles rellenos.

I had the special, which was chicken enchiladas smothered in mole sauce with a side of fried bananas.

The Tune Up is small but it boasts a sizeable covered patio, which is great to sit on during these warm autumn days and people-watch. The price is nice and it is also counter-service only.

Finally, K and I went to Los Amigos for the first time yesterday. It's on Rodeo Road, close to the corner of Rodeo and Richards Ave, and next to the Chevron station. It's modest exterior hides a delicious, family-run, classic New Mexican-style menu.

Kev got the huevos rancheros "christmas," which means that it was topped with both red and green chile.
I got the "Buenos Dias," which is a plate of cubed potatoes smothered in the chile of your choice and topped with cheese and an egg.

This restaurant is fabulously good and appears to be essentially a local's place, a rare feat in Santa Fe. (Many of my favorite breakfast places have been featured on "Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives" which means that the wait to get in to these places have increased exponentially. And, FYI Guy Fieri, chile is spelled with an "E" at the end, not an "I." )

Also, for those so inclined, K found a very good restaurant review blog for places in and around Santa Fe. It's called NM Gastronome.

November 13th, 2009

It's getting to be cold outside. It's dark before we get home from work. The desire to leave the warm confines of our home wanes. I mean, Santa Fe is all about drinking margaritas on patios and apres ski in cozy sweaters. But what is there to do during the in-between seasons? Kev and I have stumbled upon our new favorite thing- chillin' on Canyon Road at night.

Canyon Road is lined with galleries and, at night, the art-filled windows light the way.

Allegedly, Santa Fe has the second largest art market in the United States, right behind New York City. There are all sorts of galleries: western art, traditional arts from different countries, modern art, print and sculptural arts. Going for a nighttime stroll is like a brightly lit hors d'oeuvres of arty delights.

But Canyon Road is not only gawking at studios and galleries. No siree. After a few blocks of strolling in the chilly night air, we pop our heads into one of Canyon Road's restaurants for a glass of wine.

The Compound is a Santa Fe legend. It's *extremely expensive* but delicious. And single glass of wine is an affordable indulgence. Another option is Geronimo, which is perhaps ever so slightly less expensive than The Compound but still very, very good (and expensive. Did I mention expensive?) Also- I saw Val Kilmer at Geronimo one time. He's, uh, kind of, um, no longer Batman-sized. Another good place for a drink is El Farol, which is by far the most affordable of the three. El Farol is a busy and loud tapas bar that usually has live music. I am kind of on an El Farol boycott, though. It's a long and uninteresting story but, suffice to say, I prefer other places.

So, yeah. That's what K and I do when we sitting at home and addled by inertia. It's simple but remarkably fun.

Also, along these same lines, Canyon Road is a good place to go running at night. I find treadmill running incredibly boring but it's usually dark by the time I get home from work. The solution is Canyon Road. There is very little traffic at night and the street is lit up by all of the galleries.

Yes, I know I am a big ham. But at least I'm a big glowing ham in running tights. That's gotta be worth something, right?

Edited to add:
I forgot to post this photo I took. It's a shop window on Canyon Road full of neat old things.

November 1st, 2009

Halloween in Santa Fe

Happy All Saints Day!  Last night K and I went to the best Halloween party in town, the Santa Fe Reporter Party.  The Santa Fe Reporter is the free weekly newspaper in town here, sort of like the City Paper in DC.

K, true to form, made his costume in the span of 45 minutes.  He went as a lobster.

My favorite part of his costume were his eyes.  We made the eyes by sticking pipe cleaners in styrofoam spheres and then wrapping the pipe cleaners around a headband.


I went as an octopus.

I made this costume by tie dying a sweatsuit and 4 additional arms cut off of other sweatshirts.  Then, I cut about 1 million circles out of felt and glued them to the arms and legs.  I stuffed the extra sweatshirt arms and sewed them to the hooded sweatshirt.  I was pleased with the result and the costume was nice and warm in the freezing night.

We also tortured Lucy by putting her bee costume on her.  She was not pleased but we sure were!

She's still getting over the indignity of it all.

So, then after having a couple of trick-or-treaters, we headed off to the Reporter Party.  It was a new place in town, Milagro 139.  It's downtown and across the street from the long-standing Evangelo's Bar.  The place was packed and there was a line to get in, which is a rare beast in Santa Fe.

Inside was full, too, and DJ Feathericci was pumping the jams. Feathericci is a DJ around town and seems to have something of a following here.  This was the first time I listened to him and, I gotta say, he was good.  Real good.
Here's the dance floor, taken from the above balcony.

I especially liked this Beaker and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew muppet duo costume:

After the Reporter Party, we headed over to the Catamount- which ended up having an only so-so Halloween party, and finally to one of our favorite dive bars of all time, The Matador, for a quick drink. 

So, that's what we did for Halloween.  It was a great night, even though I am freaking exhausted today.  So much dancing!

October 31st, 2009

La Posada & Haunted Santa Fe

A few weeks ago K and I went to one of our favorite bars in Santa Fe, La PosadaLa Posada is also a hotel and spa but the bar is really nice, quiet, and comfortable.  The bar is located in the old Staab House.  The Staab House is named after its original owners, Julia and Abraham Staab, and was built in the 1880s.  The legend is, Julia Staab committed suicide in her bedroom and the Staab House has been haunted ever since.  Her bedroom is actually the largest suite in the hotel and the haunted room demands a premium.  Here's a link to the whole story. 

Here we are, sans ghost, finishing up a glass of wine in the bar.  It was chilly so we sat by a fireplace.

I actually had one of their delicious cocktails- a Lemondrop.  mmm.  Also, I am no photographer so I caught the flash in the mirror above the fireplace.  Oh well!
Here's a photo of the hallway leading to the bar.  The story is that the ghost of Julia Staab is frequently seen to be walking down the stair (which are behind me in this photo) and into the hallway below.

I learned about this story last year when I went on a Santa Fe Hearse Tour.  This is an awesome nighttime activity where you tour around in a modified open-air hearse. 

On the way back to the car, we passed another haunted area.  Here's a creepy photo:

This is an abandoned mental hospital.  No joke.  Well, it was once a mental hospital, then at some point became a nursing home, but now it is mostly abandoned.  The rooms are rented out to film production companies and other short-term enterprises.  It's really the strangest thing because it's a large plot really close to downtown.  One would think that it'd be a prime candidate for either remodel or tear down.  It's probably the fact that it's incredibly haunted that detracts potential developers. 

Happy Halloween everyone!

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