Last week we were like, “Dang, restaurants are closing in quick succession in Santa Fe? That’s pretty scary.” If you missed it, you can click this link to find out what kind of nonsense we spouted off for, like, 4,000 words, but if you don’t have it in you to do that, just know that we mostly wondered aloud if this was some sort of death knell for workers, but also we were mad about missing things we like eating. And obviously we got some mail about this, so let’s pull some out of the ol’ grab bag and do one of our favorite not-so-regular things—LETTERS FROM READERS!
“Good morning, Fork. I hope you are well. I know what a great supporter you are of our local restaurants, and I wanted to ask for your help on a contentious issue. Road construction. There are some road projects going on right now that are seriously impacting some of our favorite places. We had dinner at Pantry Dos recently and it was almost empty. The road closure on Richards has kept a lot of people away. The upcoming shitshow on Guadalupe will cause problems for a lot of places, including my beloved Cowgirl. Would you please urge people not to abandon their favorite places because of detours, lack of parking, etc?”
We’re glad you bring this up, Tess H., because we know just what you’re talking about, having been on our way to the Santa Fe Community College to meet our boss for something and being forced to reroute all the way back down to Cerrillos Road.
In short, the road work sucks and does make it hard to get where we are going, but Tess brings up a great point restaurant-wise—we need to figure out how to get there. In the case of Guadalupe Street, well, parking downtown has always been complete bullshit, but we’ve figured out how to get places when we need ‘em, so, keep doing that. There’s never a good time to do roadwork, but they’re hittin’ us on the Southside and downtown and...what’s next? Your mom’s house? (We’ll let you know if anyone winds up doing stuff near your mom’s house, because you know we’re gonna be with your mom.)
“Hi, really good article.”
We normally wouldn’t include a last name, but we have to thank Robert McCormick, founder of the Santa Fe Foodies Facebook group and website, for his kind words. They’re correct words, but they’re also kind. You can learn more about what Robert’s up to at santafefoodiesnm.com.
“No need to panic, this is just the way life is. I’m guessing I’m a bit older than you, and have been where you are now. I still miss Noon Whistle, Julian’s Restaurant, Guadalajara restaurant, A pollo roasted restaurant, a spot that had Patio in their name, I think, a gluten free vegan place...geez can’t remember the names anymore...and probably more. Just the cycle of life. Where one goes away, another pops up. This economy is hurting everyone.”
While we understand you, Bridget M. and straight up love what a regular reader and writer you’ve been, we respectfully have to disagree in this case (and we mean respectfully, because ask anyone who we’ve disrespectfully disagreed with, we aren’t scared to be like, “shut up!”). Anyway, while we do agree with you that time keeps on slippin’, slippin’ slippin’ into the future, we kind of like being the kind of amorphous gas being who feels badly for workers who lose their jobs and/or when restaurants we loved can’t make a go. Still, we do see your point.
“I am overtipping these days, especially at the places which tend to be small, reasonably priced, and cater primarily to locals. 25 to 50%, depending. I don’t go out very often but when I do, everybody has a good day. I go through all kinds of anxiety when friends who are treating me for my birthday are less forthcoming. I try to find discreet ways of making up for it but can’t always. I don’t want these places to close.”
We do the same, Cheryl B., and while we maintain that tipping is rooted in the inherent racism of America, as long as we’re forced to cooperate in the system, we’re gonna be kind about it. We salute you for your cool moves.
“Mostly, I agree. As for Opuntia, however, I don’t. I only heard of them when invited there for a coffee in the Railyard. A coffee shop that opened at 10 am. Strange. Worse, I asked for a half-caf Americano. ‘We can’t do that,’ I was told. Either all decaf or all caf. Really? So I get a tea. It’s brewed in a cool looking device that has the unfortunate consequence of leaving one’s tea lukewarm by the time it is steeped. It also cost a lot. At least the cookie was good. I tried one more time. Had another pretty lukewarm tea and never went back. Not sure at all what they offered in the Railyard that was worth having.”
We actually feel you on this, Rohit M., and we think this is where the unreliable labor thing comes in. We get that people don’t want to work for shitty wages, especially in restaurants, but with the people who are great at those jobs holding out for better employment, there’s still a steady stream of lesser workers who would rather make something up—say, not being able to do a half-caf—rather than saying they don’t know if that’s a thing. Still, experience is a good chunk of the restaurant game, so...yeah. You aren’t wrong.
“Politics and food are separate subjects but then again, not really. The economy is driven by those in the driver’s seat in the political arena, like it or not. It’s time to wake up to the reality that MLG and her gang are not doing the economy any favors and until people accept this and make it known they are less than satisfied with their leadership, the sinking economy will continue with more closures.”
Kimberly D. is like, “Food isn’t political, but here’s my political food take!” Right on. Thanks for writing?
Then, of course, we got the requisite emails about how we suck and stuff, but...yeah, we aren’t including those. Thanks to everyone for writing with your thoughts, we really appreciate it!
Just as you do, clams also have feelings.
-Denizens of our weird little town were confused the other day when a post on the Opuntia Café Facebook page casually mentioned the business was selling coffee, tea and pastries in conjunction with fellow Railyard business Sky Coffee—especially since Opuntia announced its closure the previous week. Here’s why: First off, the original impetus came when Sky Coffee, facing a water leak issue in its location, popped over to do biz at Opuntia for the day. Secondly, Spitzer still had some plants, coffee and tea available, as well as some baked goods, soooooooo, he tells us, he’ll be offering up those plants and that coffee/tea/baked stuff throughout the month of October during limited hours. This isn’t a guarantee that he will be there every day, but you can try your luck and stop by or make sure to check the Opuntia Facebook for any developments.
-We aren’t sure how we missed it last week, but the folks who use Tripadvisor-dot-com have helped to crown Santa Fe’s Sazón the sixth-best fine dining joint in America. The data was culled from “a high volume of above-and-beyond reviews and opinions,” according to the site. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s another pretty big accolade for owner/chef Fernando Olea, who also won Best Chef of the Southwest at last year’s James Beard Awards.
-Word on the street (by which we mean an email the restaurant sent us) is that Arroyo Vino will close down its outdoor dining deck for the season as of Oct. 14. So, y’know, if you wanna get over there and eat outside, you should. We might do that, even.
-Remember back in 2019 when we interviewed baker/maven/champion Chaine Peña about her then-fledgling macaron biz Chainé without unmasking ourselves to her? That was wild and informative. Well, a lot’s happened since then for Peña, including a biz name changeup, a more retail focused shop, some moves and moving, signing on with local commercial kitchen The Kitchen Table and, at least according to Instagram, a reopening in/on/within/through/down downtown street Burro Alley earlier this week with those same macarons we all knew and loved, but also more stuff, too. Follow that Insta for more.
-We’ve got some unconfirmed reports that Santa Fe’s Leaf & Hive (they make a honey-based booze drink that’s doooooope) might have also closed. Y’all heard anything about this? They do live music, too, so that would be a huge drag.
-Sounds like The Pink Adobe’s Dragon Room is back in business, and while we’ve not seen them with our own eyes yet, a number of readers reached out to say you can see some Dale Chihuly chandelier-type light fixtures in there, and that just rules. If you didn’t know, Chihuly is a glassmaker like no other—the kind of dude who is so well known that he was even part of a joke on an episode Frasier. Anyway, we don’t know for sure if they’re real, but we’re going to operate as if they are.
-Eldorado food truck Brunch Box Blue is now serving up bratwurst, and we just thought everyone might like to know that. Especially our dad, who really loves brats. That’s right—we have parents. Deal with it, America!
-According to this-here KRQE report, food banks throughout the state are seeing increased demand. This is exactly why we asked everyone to donate to local food causes lately. You can keep doing that, too, even without a giveaway. Still, we’re proud to say a number of local restaurants reached out about offering up gift certificates for future contests, so stay tuned.
See?! That’s rad!
-The McRib is back, you complete plebs, so hurry it up and get you some goo that’s injection-molded and tastes vaguely of BBQ. DO IT NOW, YOU WEIRDOS! Let the “meat” slide down your throat holes!
-If you’re looking to bid on what could very well be the world’s oldest scotch, you can soon do that at an auction soon. See, it would appear that several dozen bottles believed to have been distilled around 1833 were discovered recently within Scotland’s Blair Castle. To thicken the plot, it seems this particular scotch is the very same type that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert would have imbibed during a week spent at the castle in 1844. Queens are stupid, but this is kind of interesting, don’t you think? To learn more about the auction, go here.
-Three cheers for snack closets, which are actually more like safe spaces with snacks and community for LGBTQ+ youths around the country. The burgeoning movement sounds like a good one to us, and if you’d also like to learn more, you can by clicking this link.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
In the print edition of SFR this week, learn a little more about what’s going down at High Desert, the café and bar at the new Mystic Santa Fe hotel.
Number of Letters Received
*Oh. Our. God. That’s the same number as last week!
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Boo-hoo. Things close, get over it.”
*You seem much madder about this than us, my good bitch.
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“You could always cook at home more. That’s what we do.”
*That is actually a good reminder that we make the best grilled cheese sammies this side of wherever the hell.