Since you asked, yes, I did have fantastic food. I've never had anything but fantastic food in Santa Fe. I noticed when I was there 10 years ago (twice in 1999 - more on that later) that the bar was set very high for restaurants in Santa Fe. I did go to some of the top ones back then - generally Southwestern - but I also remember having the best Chinese food I ever had in Santa Fe. The standards are very high all around.
My first night in Santa Fe on this trip, I brought my book and ate at the restaurant downstairs at the hotel, the Inn of the Governors - the Del Charro, which has a saloon section and a quiet (heated/enclosed) patio where I sat. I had the salmon wrap, which came out on a lovely bed of fresh greens, stuffed with grilled salmon and black beans, artfully drizzled with light stripes of red pepper coulis and creme fraiche, with a side of cucumber salsa, all for $6.
After wandering around town the next day, I went back to the Del Charro for lunch and had a nice tostada before heading off to Absolute Nirvana for a massage. On the advice of several people on tripadvisor.com, I booked a classic massage followed by the rose petal bath (luckily at a winter discount price) that was OMG fabulous. This is actually food related, because alongside the bath you get a pot of Javanese ginger tea, fresh fruit, and an extremely intense chocolate truffle, no doubt of medicinal quality. Wish I'd brought my camera (no, not for the bath!) because the spa is located in a lovely old Victorian inn called The Madeleine, with lovely grounds. The last time I was in Santa Fe, we'd gone up to the venerable Ten Thousand Waves for massages, but I thought I'd try something different this time and it was delightful.
Another beloved Santa Fe spot is Pasqual's, which was just a block away from my hotel. I went 10 years ago, but missed it this time on my short visit. One place I did return to was Maria's New Mexican Kitchen, which claims to have the best margaritas in town (hey, mine was good!) and serves great Southwestern food. I had the blue corn enchiladas, which were deliciosas. I went with a friend of a Massachusetts friend of mine, who moved out there a year ago with her husband. We had a nice time eating and discussing the state of the world and the state of our careers, with no conclusions, but when fueled with endorphins set off by chiles and tequila, who needs conclusions. Afterward, I met up with a couple of online friends (one from Santa Fe and another from Texas) at the Pink Adobe's bar, which I'd also been to 10 years ago. (It got to be a bit of a joke, my revisiting old territory, sometimes places that the local person hadn't ever been to. My ex-bf R had been quite the travel guide.)
On Saturday morning, I met up with my online friends at Tia Sophia's restaurant in the plaza (I'd had breakfast at the hotel, since a full buffet came with the price of my room). After wandering around the plaza area and touring galleries on Canyon Road, we took a siesta. The evening's plan - a trip out to Gabriel's Restaurant north of Santa Fe, one of my absolute favorites from a previous trip. They make guacamole tableside the way some restaurants make Caesar salad, and I could have been muy contenta just eating the guac and fresh warm corn chips. But the pollo en mole poblano was rich and delectable, so I'm glad I saved room for it. When we returned to Santa Fe, we went to the piano bar at Vanessie for some entertaining live music and a glass of wine to top off the night.
On Sunday, the Texans had fled south (as I mentioned, it got pretty chilly in SF, especially Saturday night!). But I got an unexpected call from M asking me if I wanted to join her for lunch at Geronimo, one of the top restaurants in town. I'd been taken there in the evening for my birthday 10 years ago, and it's quite pricey. But for lunch, it's more reasonable, and it was a welcome treat for my last day. I had a corn-encrusted chili relleno stuffed with shrimp and asiago cheese - heavenly. As you can see in the top photo, we split a dessert - Jivara Chocolate Palet d'Or, a flourless chocolate cake with apricot cream sprinkled with a few carmelized rice crispies for texture. Yum.
Did I have some good meals in Santa Fe? You could say that.