Given how the last several months have gone, we can't blame Santa Feans for wanting to get outside right about now. It's nice out and the surrounding nature of our beautiful state plays like some kind of treebound siren song. Fact is, we don't really know what's going to shake out in the long run, but we do know it's OK to get out of your home in small, responsible groups (preferably with your quarantine partners) to do things like hike, bike, run and, yes, picnic.
In the spirit of the latter, we've gone ahead and assembled a local smattering of items to fill out your picnic baskets. We tried to keep things fairly light in case folks want to hike in and out of wherever their perfect spot may be. Remember to pick up after yourself and do your best to not get all up close to people you don't know. Be kind, drink wine, maybe eat some chocolate.
1. Hot Stuff!
Il Vicino, 321 W San Francisco St., 986-8700
You know how anytime you've been in to have a pizza or something at Il Vicino, you've dipped your crust in the spicy oil on the table and thought "Why don't they bottle this stuff?!" Well, they do. It's called olio picante, and whether or not it's as simple to make at home as some of our more nay-saying friends have suggested, its -ingredient ratios, taste and impact on anything from pizza and pasta to even dipping a simple piece of bread…well, let's just say this stuff is the best. You'll spend $22 on the first bottle, $17 per refill after that.
2. The Most Sensual of the Dried, Cured Meats
Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop, 2860 Cerrillos Road, 471-0043
Once there was a multitude of butcher shops in Santa Fe, but now there's really only a few (not counting big ol' grocery stores)—and Dr. Field Goods Butcher Shop is the place to go. Headed by master butcher Gabe Archuletta, this is straight up how to throw together your charcuterie board. Archuletta has the staples—your capacola, pastrami, salami and such—but also delicacies like pig speck for the more adventurous.
Total: $10-$15 per lb.
3. Smushed Grapes
Susan's Fine Wine & Spirits, 1005 S St. Francis Drive, 984-1582
The nice folks at Susan's Fine Wine & Spirits have reopened for business after the public health closures. They recommend two bottles for picnicking: a 2017 Sheehan Winery cabernet sauvignon from right here in New Mexico, and a 2017 Marimar Estate chardonnay from the Russian River Valley of California. Either/or are light and tasty with refreshing notes great for cheese and charcuterie. Also recommended is calling ahead so your order is ready when you are.
Total: $28.99 and $34.99
4. Crust, Punk!
Bread Shop 1708 Lena St., 231-7426
When we went to check out the Bread Shop on Lena Street in the before times, a line had formed before the door had even opened. It made snapping shots a little more challenging, but we think it's a testament to bread artisan Jacob Brenner's know-how and delicious skills. Brenner's selection is ultimately small and sells out quick, so our suggestion is to call or email about best bets—or to show up before Brenner does and watch the sunrise or something.
5. Sweet, Baby!
El Paisano Supermarket, 3140 Cerrillos Road, 424-9105
We could have very easily rattled off a list of the same old bakeries we all know and love, but we already all know and love them. Instead, hit up the panaderia within El Paisano Supermarket. Stocked fresh all the dang time, we've had crispy churros, outrageously good muffins, cookies and biscuits to die for and what might be the best-kept secret cinnamon roll of all time.
Total: Varies based on choice
6. Cheese Spread
Market Street, 600 N Guadalupe St., 982-4668
According to Market Street cheesemonger Mary Francis Crispin, you should be on the lookout for semi-soft cheeses with edible rinds—something to set out before you leave home so it can get a little creamy; she helped us choose sheep's milk cheeses from companies Ewephoria and Gran Valle de Montecelo that really impressed the office with their silky-smooth textures and delicious flavors.
Total: So many cheeses, so many prices—it all depends on your choices
7. Become a Truffle Hog
Cacao Santa Fe, 3201 Richards Lane, 471-0891
We spent some serious time breaking down the chocolate offerings at this Midtown chocolatier (which also serves up absolutely fantastic coffee), but we ultimately went with one of the prickly pear, lime and hibiscus bars. At 60% cacao milk chocolate, it goes down smooth, and the citrus and flowery kick in the background feels refreshing and bold. If you also want variety, you can't go wrong with an assortment of artisan truffles in a wide variety of flavors.
Total: $10 bar; $15 for six truffles