Forgo that Big Mac and prepare for an afternoon of more interesting eats. Food Tour New Mexico offers a filling, diverse and educational journey through Santa Fe's culinary landscape that accommodates tourists and lifelong locals alike.
Monday through Saturday, attendees pay a single price to sample food at a total of six restaurants, all the while learning about local lore, food and otherwise.
For Food Tour New Mexico owner, founder and tour guide and La Junta front man Nick Peña, the tour's main goal is to show attendees an eclectic mix of Santa Fe cuisine.
“I knew I didn’t want to be extremely traditional or stuffy,” Peña says. “I decided to pick a variety instead of just sticking to New Mexico-based cuisine, so tourists could see a wide perspective and not just the tourist spots.”
As of now, the tour's first three stops are all on or near the Santa Fe Plaza. On a recent sunny Friday, approximately eight people, including this reporter, gathered at the northwest corner of the Plaza at 10:45 am.
On the first leg of the tour, we tried an unusually filling spinach chicken salad at San Francisco Street Bar and Grill, pleasantly spicy posole at The Ore House on the Plaza and a variety of olive oils and balsamic vinaigrettes at Santa Fe Olive Oil Company.
After a more vigorous walk over to Guadalupe Street, we filled up on Santa Fe sushi rolls, which include green chile and shrimp tempura, at Kohnami Japanese Restaurant. We followed up sushi with an unlikely complement: chicken pesto pizza at Upper Crust Pizza (my personal favorite, although I'm not much of a foodie). The tour wraps up with a dessert of chocolate treats at Señor Murphy Candymaker, leaving participants sweetly sated and close to where the tour began.
In his tour narration along the roughly two-mile route, Peña goes in depth about chapels, buildings, artwork and the Santa Fe River, as well as the food itself. (While eating posole, we learned about the evolution of modern corn.)
Although Food Tour New Mexico has only just kicked off, Peña already has ideas mapped out for its future.
“As soon as it’s within the company’s means to expand, I’d definitely like to do at least one more tour,” Peña says. “Maybe one in Old Town, Albuquerque and maybe even one in Taos.”
But for the time being, foodies will have to make due with local (and not so local) fare.
Food Tour New Mexico
11 am-2 pm
Mondays through Saturdays
Santa Fe Plaza, northwest corner
Corner of W Palace Ave. and Lincoln Ave.