The Fork

The Fork: Brunch under the balloons

We are once again asking you to consider dining in hotel restaurants.

Like you, we’ve been known to scoff at the idea because we’re all invested in businesses aimed mostly at locals, y’know, like, emotionally. But after reading SFR stories on Ortiz at the Hilton Santa Fe Historic Plaza and Agave at the Eldorado Hotel & Spa, we made it a point to to visit Luminaria inside the Inn & Spa at Loretto (the hotel next to that chapel with the miracle staircase ). And though our meal had high points and low points and in-between points (like literally every experience, really), we’re putting this one on our we-should-totally-go-there-again list thanks to its excellent service, overall ambiance and enticing menu from chef Jonathan Perno (formerly of Los Poblanos, no less).

First off, Luminaria does Sunday brunch like woah every week, and it’s exactly the kind of brunch to which you wanna take your mom. That’s precisely what we did, and she was all like, “Oh, Fork, it’s beautiful in here—don’t worry about celebrating my birthday this year!” And by the time we told her we weren’t going to celebrate her birthday this year anyway, we were already seated and well into an order of chips and guac ($12) with house-made chips and one of the chunkier guacamoles we’ve ever had in this one horse burg. Interestingly, the cup of coffee from Aroma paired weirdly well with Luminaria’s guacamole, an experience we’ve never had before, but one that gave us the strength and fortitude to overlook the brioche French toast ($14) we so desperately desired and zero in on the Luminaria Benedict ($18)—a good old fashioned eggs Benny with a chipotle twist on the hollandaise and some of the thickest slices of smoked ham that will forever haunt our dreams.

Why no French toast for Le Fork? In our twisted little heart of hearts, we reasoned, an egg dish has protein, and is therefore better for you than what is essentially cake made with bread.

Still, chipotle hollandaise sounded like a gamble, because most restaurants struggle enough when it comes to balancing the right citrusy tang of the sauce. Hollandaise is a tricky sauce with a thin margin for error. Luckily, it turns out that if you throw chipotle into the mix, it’s a flavor revelation that magically tastes novel while familiar—like that experience when someone tells you some new piece of information and you’re like, “Of course! Now that you say that, it’s so obvious!” The smoky undertones of the chipotle worked so well with poached eggs, as did fleeting moments of sweetness and bitterness. Ooh, la la—trés complexe! Bien que, this sort of highlighted the undercooked side of herb-roasted potatoes that come with the dish. Don’t get us wrong—the melange of herbs was indeed a deliciously earthy combination, but those little spuds could have used a little extra roasting time to hit their full potential. Our guess? It was a busy brunch service and potatoes take forever.

Mom, meanwhile, announced how she likes to “order things I’ll never make at home,” which meant fish and chips ($20) in this instance. She loved ‘em, she told us by phone the next day.

“Those were some of the best fries I’ve had in a long time, and not over-salted,” she said. “The breading on the fish was light but crunchy and satisfying, and—wait, what kind of fish was that?”

“Cod,” we answered, before launching into a speech about the proper way to read a menu.

“Fine! God! Cod! That cod was some of the flakiest I’ve had in some time; kinda buttery, but not greasy—honestly, they cooked it just right,” she said. “I mean this in a good way, but it was almost like an upscale fish stick. You know when you were a kid and you loved fish sticks? It made me feel like that. It might be my favorite I’ve ever had in Santa Fe.”

“What about outside of Santa Fe?” we asked.

“Oh, God, no, sweetie,” she quipped. “I’ve lived by the sea before, so...”

When we pressed mom to name names of lesser fishes and chipses (said in Gollum voice) for the purposes of comparison—and about how she could just make fish sticks if she wants them so badly—she balked.

“I’m just trying to live my life,” she said.

Anyway, back at the actual brunch and stuffed to the point that mom kept mentioning she’d be unable to eat again for the rest of the day, we both sucked it up and ordered a slice of chocolate cake ($13)—for science! Luminaria also offers a caramelized brioche, a trio of sorbets, cherry cheesecake and a flourless torte ($13 each), but mom loves flour. Like, she won’t shut up about flour. Sadly, Luminaria’s chocolate cake ranked among the tasteless and unimpressive. Though the scoop of vanilla ice cream and included strawberries helped a little, not even the cake’s chocolate itself bore memorable or noticeable flavors. We should have ordered the red wine poached pear with berries and ice cream instead (also $13). We bet that thing rules. Ah, well. Live and learn. We’ll go back. Next time, too, we’ll sit on the gorgeous patio.

If you need a Benedict recipe, here’s one.


  • The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market kicks off its Del Sur Southside Market from 3-6 pm on Tuesday, July 2. An afternoon market that doesn’t come with the hassles of downtown/Railyard parking? Neat! All you’ve gotta do is look for the Presbyterian Santa Fe Medical Center (4801 Beckner Road), and you’ll find the market in the parking lot. Del Sur runs on Tuesdays through Sept. 24.
  • If you’re looking for more hot market action, you’ll find one at the Cerrillos Station Farmers Market from 4 to 7 pm on Thursday, June 27 (the same day this edition of The Fork drops). Sure, that’s a little outside town, but you can suck it up if you want stuff direct from farmers.
  • Mark your calendars for Arroyo Vino ‘s Early Summer Grand Wine Tasting from 1-3 pm on Saturday, July 13. As Bastille Day is July 14, Arroyo Vino will celebrate all things French wine, including tastings of vintages from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne and beyond. The tasting runs $50 per person, but that comes with some discounts from the wine shop. Call (505) 983-2100 to secure your tickets or ask questions.
  • If you’d like to get in on a cool talk event while also munching on items from Jambo Café (which we know everyone loves), look no further than the upcoming Creative Santa Fe talk with author/filmmaker/journalist and filmmaker Kenny Mann —and it’s in her dang home. Mann, who was born and raised in Kenya and now calls Santa Fe home, will welcome up to 40 participants to her storytelling/discussion session involving ancestors. You can learn more here .
  • Guadalupe Street’s Esquina Pizza is hosting a block party event alongside Copita Wine Bar (which, to be fair, lives on the Esquina patio) and guest chef Michael Diaz De Leon from Colorado—who has a dang Michelin Star for his food plus a Michelin Green Star for sustainability. When does this magical evening go down? From 4-10 pm on Sunday, June 30. Did we mention DJ Christina Swilley will be on hand to kick out the dance jams? Interestingly, the only place we’ve seen this event publicized so far has been Instagram , so tell yer friends or whatever.

Of all the songs about hotels, this is one of the best.

More Tidbits

  • In a piece of news that has us feeling all sorts of ways, nearly 300 coffee products from Intelligentsia, Coffee Hound, Bolt and Cape Cod Coffee have been recalled across the country due to concerns of botulism. Apparently there have been no reported illnesses yet, but it’s still cool to be informed, so check out this link for more information before you buy some other coffee thing.
  • While we might normally not care about some weird product mash-up, we must admit that the limited Cheez-It/Hidden Valley Ranch flavor is right up our alley. Cheez-Its are so much better than Cheese Nips and we’ll die on that hill. Plus, now that you can just plain smoke weed in Santa Fe, we can only imagine the types of very high people for whom the concept of ranch-flavored cheese crackers might sound heavenly. Oh, America—we’re so embarrassing.
  • A lot of people asked us about our bowels this week after we mentioned a recent bit of sadness revolving a new-ish adverse reaction when we eat chile, so to return the favor, find a list here of the healthiest salad ingredients for the next time you’ve got bowels on the brain and just gots to get some roughage all up in you. Wow. This is one of the grossest series of words we’ve ever concocted. In our defense, y’all were the ones who sent numerous “bowel” emails, so...

A totally scientific breakdown of The Fork’s correspondence

In this week’s print edition of SFR, find all kinds of content relating to this year’s Pride issue , including a bevy of stories from local writers, things to do, places to go and more.

Number of Letters Received: 37

*We hear tell of a fabulous little Caesar salad down in Oaxaca now, plus others from around the globe. Full honesty? We might not go to Oaxaca for a salad, but we’ve gone farther for less, so you never know.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader):

“Not including the Cowgirl Caesar on your list is almost criminal.”

*We’re pretty sure we said something about how last week’s Caesar-focused Fork was not a comprehensive list (it was three salads), Stuart H., but we’re sorry we upset you, dang.

Actually Helpful Tip(s):

“Oh dear, so sorry to hear of the belly problems with chiles. Maybe try an acupuncturist for herbal remedies to heal intestinal lining and help digest spicy food. You live in NM and cannot give up chiles!”

*We hadn’t considered that, Seva K., but truer words might never have been spoken about us and chile.

Hollandaise’d and confused,

The Fork

Letters to the Editor

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