Sept. 23, 2017

Best of Santa Fe - Eat It!

Eat It!

July 23, 2013, 12:00 am

Best preempted movie theater popcorn award

“Patronizing the competition, I see,” Game of Thrones mastermind and newly minted cinema impresario George RR Martin told me as we bumped into each other at the Regal Stadium 14. To be fair, so was he. A wink and a nod later, Martin signaled to his right jean pocket and revealed a Ziploc bag filled with white powder. I got nervous—I hung up my coke straw years ago—but the baggie’s contents were revealed to be Parmesan cheese. It alluded to SFR’s cover story [May 1: “The Radness of King George” ] wherein the author claims to be “bound and determined” to again have the best popcorn and toppings at the Jean Cocteau Cinema (opening Aug. 9)—given that back in the day, Martin became “addicted” to the granular topping at the single-screen theater. “See,” he continued, “I wasn’t kidding.” Any man who takes his theater snacks that seriously has our vote of confidence. One caveat, though, GRRM: Should you decide to make us absolutely love the new Cocteau and, in a GoT move, suddenly take it away, this honor shall be immediately rescinded. We’re not kidding. (Enrique Limón)

Best plating

This award probably should go to one of the fancy places, like Geronimo, The Compound or even newcomer (dark horse, because you can actually afford it!) Bouche. But no. Really, it’s the too-authentic-to-actually-eat Frito pie from the Five & Dime General Store (58 E San Francisco St., 992-1800), served in a bona fide Fritos bag. (Alexa Schirtzinger)

Best way to protest being left out of a story about wedding cake

So, this actually happened: I wrote a story about finding a wedding cake. (Have you ever been a woman who organizes her own wedding? Ladies, back me up here: The guy thinks you’re done planning as of Day One. “What, I gave you a ring. It’s planned!”) I love cake, but this was surprisingly stressful: Which to choose? How much to pay? Is any cake, ever, even coated in solid gold, worth $1,500? I mean, people generally don’t even eat this stuff, right? Or, they eat a bite, and then they’re like, “Let’s just drink more; it’s an open bar!” Anyway, the only way I could motivate myself to actually find a wedding cake was to write a story about it. However, I made a crucial mistake. Being that I don’t really notice gluten, I did not try the (otherwise beloved by me) Revolution Bakery (1291 San Felipe Ave., 988-2100). Kudos to Revolution: We received not a single angry call or desperate plea for help (“I don’t know why I’m mad about a girl in a bikini, but I am! And can you pretend to be my therapist for the next 10 minutes?”). Silence. In fact, I didn’t even realize my error until a huge, heavy, delicious carrot cake arrived at SFR offices, and an ad rep dutifully informed me that the cake had come because I had left Revolution out of the wedding lineup. So, I shouldn’t have. GF or not, I frequent the place for their scones and cookies, which are universally awesome. I’ve written (dare I say) plenty of positive things about them. Still, this isn’t an abject mea culpa. As long as I can have gluten—and as much as I love my GF friends—I’m having the real-deal flour at my wedding. But what’s classier than being nice when the other person screws up? Yeah, nothing is. Love you, Revo. (AS)

Best use of chocolate

Recently, SFR editor Alexa Schirtzinger and I were out taking photos for our now-infamous Summer Guide 2013. As we wandered through Sena Plaza, a Texas tourist sidled up uncomfortably close to us. “Why hello there. Y’all like gold-covered chocolate?” Not that we’d ever tried such a delicacy, but, come on, who wouldn’t like a treat so fine? We answered yes, and quickly snuck away before the Texan could spew more tequila-infused breath onto us. Point is, there are some creative uses of chocolate in this world, and Santa Fe’s got some good ones. They may not be golden nuggets, but Kakawa Chocolate House (1050 Paseo de Paralta, 982-0388) serves up chocolate elixirs that recall the nectar of the gods. The thick, warm liquid chocolates are served in cups sized so that there’s not too much of the rich, dark and sometimes spicy drink, but just enough that you’ll want to try another. (Mia Rose Carbone)

Best deal for starving souls

Eating lunch on the Plaza is an especially luxurious enterprise, and anyone who undertakes this task should be prepared to spend some serious dough. But there are ways to penny-pinch for a meal and drink downtown, even in the heart of the most expensive city in New Mexico. On the southwest corner of the Plaza rests a food cart specializing in $5 fajitas, but don’t bother with those. Instead, opt for the tamales, which come at only $2 a pop. Two tamales are ample enough to fill you up until dinner, and the price tag only comes at $4 for the entire meal. Then, when the clock strikes 4 pm, head one-quarter of a block west to the Thunderbird Santa Fe (50 Lincoln Ave., 490-6550). There, you can bask on a second-floor patio overlooking the entire Plaza with La Cumbre Brewing Co.’s signature Elevated IPA. The beer—a hoppy, high-quality, 7.2-percent-alcohol brew—comes by the pint at just $3 a glass between 4 and 6 pm. Two pints of La Cumbre’s IPA is more than enough to make you loopy. And the best part is, lunch and two high-powered beers on the Plaza still wouldn’t cost you anything more than a crumpled $10 bill. (Joey Peters)

Best way to go local

The very best, most local way to go local is to spend a day at the Community Farm (1829 San Ysidro Crossing, 983-3033). Things do grow in the desert, after all, and it’s really awesome to plant and pick them with your own hands. The farm donates its organic produce to the Food Depot, a local organization that feeds people in need. But if you’re not the farming type, check out the Santa Fe Farmers Market (1607 Paseo De Peralta, 983-4098), where the farmers do the hard work for you. Or, if you want your food delivered to you prepared, there’s Farm to Table restaurant Dr. Field Goods Kitchen (2860 Cerrillos Road, Ste. A1, 471-0043), where the goat sandwiches (pictured above) are fresh and indulgent. (MRC)

Best New Mexican version of chicken soup for the soul

Someday, when I’m awfully low, I will feel a glow just thinking of...the big-as-your-face breakfast burrito from Tia Sophia’s (210 W San Francisco St., 983-9880). Not only have they perfected the art of filling the entire plate (we’re talking meniscus here) with chile, but they’re invariably friendly about your overeating habit. Now that we have rainy days again, consider picking one up and just eating it. For the rest of the day. (AS)

Best alternative to chips and salsa

Cheap, crunchy and not too filling, chips and salsa are an appetizer of choice at almost any restaurant in Santa Fe. But sometimes a patron craves more, and luckily, in Santa Fe, there’s a wealth of other choices. At authentic Mexican greasy spoon La Cocina de Doña Clara (227 Don Gaspar Ave., Ste. 4, 983-6455; 4350 Airport Road, Ste. 4, 473-1081), queso fundido awaits your belly. A traditional Mexican appetizer dish, queso fundido is essentially a bowl of melted cheese mixed with chorizo and poblano chiles, plus corn tortillas for dipping. The dish, which costs $6.95 and is enough to tide over two people before a meal, leaves a spicy aftertaste. Or, from 3-5 pm, hit up happy hour at Taberna La Boca (125 Lincoln Ave.,  Ste. 117, 988-7102) for half-price specials on wine and tapas. Our favorites include the $2.50 pintxos tomate—crispy slices of lightly oiled crostini topped with slow-roasted tomatoes and goat cheese—and, for just $3, a generous serving of mixed olives that pairs perfectly with your bottle of tempranillo. (JP)

Best use of bacon

For a treat created during the years of the Pony Express so riders wouldn’t have to dismount in order to grab a snack (they’d catch the donut by threading a stick through the hole…look it up if you don’t believe us), donuts’ eventual transition to gourmet dessert item is fairly interesting. Some of the craziest concoctions you can dream up have been incorporated into the doughy goodness, and Santa Fe’s own Whoo’s Donuts (851 Cerrillos Road, Ste. B, 629-1678) has just the thing for anyone experiencing a simultaneous sweet tooth and savory craving: the Maple Bacon Bar. According to prep cook Scott Laughlin, “It’s one of our most popular donuts for sure…it seems like people can’t get enough!” There are actually two versions of the bar—one with red chile and one without—and both are among the best things you can put into your mouth. Laughlin creates the donut by baking the bacon with brown sugar and/or red chile powder, depending on which he’s putting together; layering it with browned butter and maple frosting; and then drizzling the whole thing with chocolate ganache. We know what you’re thinking, Santa Fe, and we agree: Why are you reading about this magnificent creation instead of eating it with gusto right this second? You’re welcome. (Alex De Vore)

Best on-the-go meal

Ever gone horse-riding around Santa Fe and been hungry? SFR has your solution: Bring your horse into an enclosed area, bolt it in the brain with some sort of electronic device, break its bones and slit the bugger in the carotid artery for the final kill. After dressing and cooking it, you have yourself some horse jerky! But since we (like Bill Richardson!) don’t endorse horse slaughter, better just visit one of the food carts in the Plaza and sample the delicious hot dogs at Chicago Dog Express (600 Cerrillos Road, 984-2798) or the sizzling $5 fajitas from El Molero Fajitas (E San Francisco St. & Lincoln Ave.). It’s cheap, home-cooked food that’ll fill you up. (Justin Horwath)


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