Look...listen...just...OK, we’re no stranger to making a restaurant list. We’ve done it a lot, but we like to think that our local bent and gluttonous expertise differentiate ours from the madding crowds. We have nothing to prove to anyone (if we did, why are we so combative with our readers?!) and nothing to gain with our lists, we just think that if we put a place on a list (or even make one in the first place), it’s a place you might like to know about, dear reader. But now that we’ve said all that, we’re also here to mention that we’re sick-to-effing-death of all the restaurant lists we’re seeing online lately.
This all started when our boss shared this Washington Post list with us dubbed “Think you know Santa Fe? Get away from downtown.” Therein, writer Erin Vivid Riley pretty much rattles off a list of places that are either
A)Totally effing downtown
B) Meow Wolf or Jambo for the 80-bazillionth time.
Now see here, we have no ill will toward Jambo whatsoever. We love it, actually. And, like most folks, our Meow Wolf feelings are complicated. When this writer lists Vara Vinoteca and Nuckolls Brewing, however, we’re kind of like, “What do you think downtown Santa Fe is, bud? Only things that literally touch the Plaza?” Isn’t The Railyard totally still downtown? Yes it is.
Then there’s Eater-dot-com’s “23 Essential Restaurants in Santa Fe” from a few weeks ago. If you’ve read as many of these lists as we have, you’ll hardly be shocked to see it’s yet another Jambo/Paloma/Geronimo/Dolina rundown. Maria’s is on there, too, which is absolutely mind-boggling because, as we’ve all agreed, at least anecdotally, that place’s glory days are loooooooooooong behind it. Of course, as we said last week, we salute Eater for including eateries like Dr. Field Good’s and Madrid’s Mine Shaft Tavern, but at what point will anyone go a-looking for things off the beaten path even a little bit? Who decides these lists? No one has ever emailed us to see what we think (OK, the James Beard people did a couple times, but we were like, “As we are an amorphous gas being, we cannot be contained by your institution or any other!”), but if they had, we might have at least suggested a place or two that hasn’t been on every restaurant list for all time.
What of Condé Nast’s “12 Best Restaurants in Santa Fe?” from just a few days ago? Is Jambo on there? You bet it is! Is Paloma? Oh, no fucking doubt. And before you get your typing fingers in a huff to tell us that we’re being over-sensitive or whatever, you can stuff ‘em in a sack! All of those restaurants are absolutely totally good, but grrrrrrrrrl, what of Fusion Tacos? What of The Ranch House? What of Sagche’s Coffee House and Soup Star? What are these people’s criteria? Expense? Loudmouths?! FACEBOOK POSTS?!?!!?
Just once we wish that instead of one of these food writers blowing through town to buy some wack-ass silver bracelet while they dine at The Compound and Google Alexander Girard that they’d maybe, oh, we don’t know, ask someone who lives here and doesn’t have a ton of money to eat out what they think. We’re local as hell and so are all our local friends, and the vast majority of them have been to Geronimo maybe once, maybe twice if someone died and they were splurging or something. And though we’re glad to see spots like El Chile Toreado and Horno hitting these lists—likely because they were shortlisted for the Beard-os, which is what we’re pretty sure the James Beard Award is called, earlier this year—your old pal The Fork remains of the opinion that part of what makes it hard to live in Santa Fe is this weird vision visitors have of what we’re all about. We want you to think about that the next time you’re scarfing an El Parasol taco with a horchata for quaffing, or the next time you tell someone you really miss Felipe’s, or the next time you drive through Piccolino, or the next time you order a Posa’s brekkie b or a Mucho’s sandwich.
The version of Santa Fe being perpetrated by the “New Mexico is so kitschy-cute, I think I’ll wear my widest-brimmed hat to Instagram a fucking gorge and mistakenly talk about saguaros!” set does not exist, and seeing as how food is quite possibly the most universally beloved art form, they do us a disservice. We’re the town that voted Café Castro owner Alma Castro onto our City Council. We’re the town that practically wept when Bobcat Bite originally closed. Someone (not us) make a list about that shit. Someone remind everyone that the rolled tacos with guacamole and cheese at Burrito Spot is one hell of a killer quick lunch. Try something new, travel writers. Go to hell, influencers. Do better, everyone (us included)!
The only list we’re making right now is a shit list.
-Baca Street Railyard eatery Cafecito announced a new menu this week that will reportedly highlight foods from Argentine, Italian and Armenian culinary tradition. According to the release we received, the restaurant now sources butter and beef from local butcher shop Beck & Bulow, and will also down to clown when it comes to special events.
-Sounds like Japanese joint Kohnami is going through a little something as a sign on their door reads something about how they’re closed until further notice. Apparently they’ve boarded up the windows from inside, too. Now, first off, thanks to the MANY readers who emailed us about this. We love that you think of us. Sadly, we’ve been unable to get any information, so we’ll just have to suggest that all y’all sit tight and if we hear more, we’ll put it all up in here.
-BREAKING: The chicken sandwich at The Ranch House is fantastic. We just thought you should know that. You should probably know that owner/chef Josh Baum is about the nicest dude of all time and we honestly think if we don’t get that sandwich again soon, we’ll cry.
-You might also like to know that there’s a new pizza place inside Villa Linda Mall (call it Santa Fe Place all you want, but we’re ne’er buckling on this matter) called Capeesh, and if the reader who wrote us in all caps about how “IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOU WOULD THINK MALL PIZZA COULD BE!” is right, it’s so much better than we’d think mall pizza could be. We’re pretty sure that’s not how you spell capisce, but that’s OK. Phonetic spelling works fyne bye uhss. We’ll let you know if we try it, but you can let us know if you do, too.
-We’re seeing a number of local restaurants are opening up reservations for Christmas already, so you might wanna get on that if you’re hoping to get in someplace. And before any “people should be with their families!” nerds pop up, Santa Fe has tons of Jewish residents and immigrants who don’t observe the holiday and/or people who just wanna see a movie or grab a bite on Dec. 25. So chill out and ask your old pal Jesus how he’d rather you act. Do we have a list of these restaurants? No! What are we, made of minutes? If you think you want to eat someplace on X-Mas, call ‘em up and ask if they do that, God! But chances are, if it’s fine dining or a nice hotel, they’ll have something. We’ll be at the movies with our mom, as is tradition.
-This edition of Le Fork drops on Thursday, Nov. 16, which means you’ll have two days from the time this initially appears to order from local nonprofit YouthWorks’ Thanksgiving Bake Sale. We’re talking pies and biscochitos and a pumpkin pie roll that looks like what we imagine if Little Debbie’s snacks weren’t a bunch of processed crap. Supporting YouthWorks is also very cool.
Wow, Toby Keith sucks and this video is terrifying. No wonder The Chicks have always hated him so badly. We want you to look at the dad character’s smile as he watches his kids wreck his leaf piles...it’s Hannibal Lecter-level stuff. Frankly, this whole thing is unhinged.
-Food & Wine-dot-com has suggestions for how to best avoid the whole teary-eyed onion cutting thing. They’ll also tell you why that happens. We have some suggestions, too—like getting it together and being a human person who just chops the onions already.
-We’ve discovered that there are cookies that are practically mini apple pies and we just thought you should know that that is a thing. Thanks, Popsugar-dot-com! Honestly, they look incredibly good, too, so we might go ahead and make some. If you do use the recipe, let us know!
-Bon Appétit breaks down the 10 best appetizers from Trader Joe’s, and we’re down. While we don’t tend to buy meat or produce from TJs, we will buy snacks and cookies and stuff, and the mac and cheese bites alone seem worth it. See the whole list here.
-Lastly in not-local stuff this week, we’ve discovered a food blog called Pinch of Yum, and while we find that name twee and weird, the recipes seem like they’re outta control good. Might we suggest you peruse the offerings?
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
The way we hear it, this’ll be the last week without food coverage for at least a while, so just sit back and relax and be cool.
Number of Letters Received
*For some reason, we get this number of emails a lot.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“I’m at the point where I’ll do the opposite of what you say.”
*Don’t send us any money, then.
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
Three readers reached out to say they made the green chile stew recipe we shared a couple weeks back. We love to hear it! Two of them suggested letting it sit a little longer so the potatoes take on extra flavor and squish. We’re sold!
*Thanks so much, y’all!