The Chile Trail is back home in Santa Fe this week. And what better guide to all things foodie than C. Whitney-Ward. She moved to Santa Fe eight years ago (she already had the cowboy boots and the pawn jewelry) and with the addition of a few vintage fringed jackets she settled right in. Originally from Boston, she worked back east as a journalist, food editor/stylist and PR Director of the Four Seasons Hotel, Boston. She created Chasing Santa Fe two years ago and has been photographing and celebrating Santa Fe ever since. She now gets more than 9,000 hits a month and will be opening a Chasing e-store in January showcasing Santa Fe artists’ work. Check her out at www.chasingsantafe.blogspot.com.
“Chasing Santa Fe” Restaurant Picks
Whenever I meet someone new in Santa Fe the first thing they ask me is “What’s your favorite restaurant.” The answer can be daunting because I have my favorites for atmosphere, desserts, breakfast, afternoon tea/coffee, lunch and dinner; and I keep adding new favorites. But, here goes…
CHEZ MAMOU, a French bakery and cafe, opened a month ago and what a delight! It’s quite charming and when you step inside, you feel as if you’ve been transported to a cafe on the Left Bank. Sun pours through the large front window and delightful seating vignettes beg you to sit and enjoy breakfast, lunch or a late afternoon coffee and pastry. I loved the Eggs Benedict, Butterfly Palmiers and the amazing Meringue with Ganache. (CHEZ MAMOU, 317 E. Palace, next to Noëlla Jewelry, Santa Fe, 505-216-1845)
THE BEESTRO is a nifty and delicious curbside take-out eatery on Marcy Street—next to the Design Warehouse. Owner/Chef Greg Menke opened The Beestro in October and whips up dazzling entrée salads, cold and hot sandwiches, hearty soups that you can order and drive by to pick up. The menu changes daily and everything is fresh, locally sourced and delicious. I love the Ruben Panini and the Lamb Salad. (THE BEESTRO, 101 W. Marcy Street, Santa Fe, 505.629.8786, or check the daily menu at www.thebeestro.com)
RESTAURANT MARTIN: I had lunch the other day at this lovely restaurant. It was delicious, but dessert was even more wonderful. Owner/Chef Martin Rios does all his own pasty and what was presented at table—a Hazlenut/Chocolate Pot de Crème—was pure theatre for the taste buds. There were bit-sized pistachio daquoise; caramel bananas, milk chocolate and Earl Grey tea ice cream; paper thin chocolate meringue wafers; and lovely fruit and herb purees. (RESTAURANT MARTIN, 526 Galisteo St., Santa Fe, 505-820-0919, www.restaurantmartinsantafe.com)
JINJA BAR AND BISTRO: a chick Pan Asian restaurant is a favorite both for the food and crisp and friendly service. I’m a creature of habit and seem to order the same thing for lunch every time I visit—Lettuce Wraps, Tempura Shrimp and Vietnamese Spring Rolls—but they’re wonderful as is everything else on the menu. Their warm Chocolate Silk Cake with Caramel Sauce is amazing… (JINJA BAR & BISTRO, 510 N. Guadalupe, Santa Fe, 505.982.4321, www.jinjabistro.com)
And, if you have a hankering for wonderful Brioche French Toast, LA PLAZUELA at La Fonda Hotel serves up the best! Santa Fe’s legendary CAFE PASQUAL’S has fifty million wonderful things on their menu, but their Mexican Hot Chocolate is the perfect way to begin the day.
One of my favorite hangouts is CLAFOUTIS. I love their pastries, especially their Lemon Cake and Sugar Brioche, and every Saturday morning they have divine Beignets.
And my latest favorite—PICCOLINO—an off-the-beaten-path Italian dine-in and take-out restaurant on Agua Fria St. The menu is huge—wonderful veal, seafood, chicken, and pasta dishes. But if you have a hankering for Italian with a New Mexico twist, I suggest the “Pasta Polloco”—sautéed chicken, red crushed pepper, garlic, butter parmesan cheese, cream, and green chile. Sensational!