Grown-ups with rambunctious children, cool kids digging the music, seniors here to relax, singles of all sexes and persuasions: Everyone loves the Cowgirl. If you could only take visitors to one restaurant in Santa Fe, this might be the best choice. It encapsulates Santa Fe's diverse-is-an-understatement charm in its several small rooms, an always-crowded bar, backside family area with play equipment and a world famous outdoor patio. The chips with spicy tomato salsa and addictive black-eyed
pea dip get things off with a bang-pair them with a house margarita or two and time will fly by. Up next, you can find New Mexican-inspired creations such as blue corn chicken enchiladas, a chockful-of-beef burrito and salmon tacos so tasty you'll never be tempted to try anything else. There are also down-home country options such as chicken fried steak with comforting mashed potatoes and some fine barbecue. Specials are always worth checking out and often involve exotic meats like buffalo, elk and ostrich, though the basic quesadilla, which can be gussied up with a range of add-ons, is the kind of basic you'll crave time and time again. Though the Cowgirl is the kind of place you crave even when you're not at all hungry.
319 S Guadalupe St., 982-2565. Lunch and dinner daily,
brunch Saturday and Sunday. $$.
Chips and salsa and margaritas, buffalo burgers.