The Teahouse

Joy Godfrey

Most of the time, a trip up Canyon Road comes with some kind of arts mission. But when it's approaching mealtime (any one of 'em), it's good to know The Teahouse is up there, too. Boasting dozens of teas from China, Sri Lanka, India, Japan and right here in Santa Fe, it's the sort of place one goes for a heady brew, but also for delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner items.

For us, The Teahouse will always be a Sunday brunch kind of place, and a recent stop-in for its famous oatmeal with gluten-free oats, forbidden rice, buckwheat and a thick side of whipped cream ($9) proved brilliant and upped our energy factor immensely. Our dining partner was ready for lunch, however, and they repeatedly insisted their roasted eggplant panino with goat cheese, arugula and balsamic glaze ($13.50) was easily one of their top five sandwiches of all time.

You can quaff a tea or two while dining in, natch, but the expert staff can help you put together a to-go care package as well. Study up on the massive menu and make repeated trips; you'll find a slow cooked dinner special each night plus options like grilled salmon, spicy Italian sausage, a balsamic roasted beet and goat cheese salad, plus so many other dinner items you'll wonder how they fit it all in there. (Alex De Vore)

821 Canyon Road, 992-0972
teahousesantafe.com

Arable

Joy Godfrey

Comfort food should not be so heavy and gut-sticking that the comfort it brings is really just a numb coma. Comfort food should make you feel a rainbow of good vibes; hope, nostalgia and camaraderie all layered over a clean, warm fullness is the ideal for any meal.

While these things aren't listed explicitly on Arable's brunch or dinner menus, you can find them hiding in items like their shrimp and grits ($16.50), Santa Ana Pueblo corn grits smothered in a Creole bell pepper sauce with jumbo, perfectly tender shrimps; or bacon green chile mac and cheese ($12.50). And though the restaurant's weekend brunch offerings are on hold right now, Arable continues to do a great lunch and dinner.

Arable's lighter plates retain the comfort angle, too; the Eat Your Beets salad ($10) with warm roasted beets, feta cheese, spiced nuts and greens helped me rediscover my relationship with the earth, which I think is the point—everything's farm-to-table, and chef/owner Renee Fox brings a deep respect for the ingredients (and the diner) to each preparation. I left my meal with a smile that stayed on my face all weekend and with rave reviews for all my friends. (Cole Rehbein)

7 Avenida Vista Grande,
Eldorado, 303-3816
arablesantafe.com

Café Castro

Joy Godfrey

The epitome of the neighborhood New Mexican spot, Café Castro called Midtown home before it was cool. Decades later, it remains a go-to for residents from across town, and its no-frills ambiance coupled with some of the most noteworthy chile in town do not disappoint.

We snuck our lunchtime meal in between errands, starting with chips and creamy guac plus a pint of Santa Fe Brewing Co.'s Pepe Loco ($3.50), a Mexican style beer that's refreshing and delicious no matter the time of day. It paired well with red chile chicken enchiladas ($11.49) stuffed with more than enough cheese and smothered with enough chile left over to sop up with a fresh sopapilla—over easy egg on top, of course. Café Castro serves breakfast items all day as well, and a breakfast burrito smothered Christmas ($8.99, and that's red and green chile both for our out of town friends) provided a satisfying protein boost midday. The green chile was bright and spicy, but plenty flavorful, while the rich, earthy red leaned into its own thick body just right.

Our server even recognized us, making the whole thing feel homey, and when the check came, it was almost hard to believe something so good could be so affordable. (ADV)

2811 Cerrillos Road, 473-5800
cafecastro.net