So Long, Santa Fe

11/5 - We awoke to this this morning in Santa Fe!

It’s time to say ‘so long’ to Santa Fe. We have been here for two weeks now, and since we woke up to this view out our front windshield this morning, we know it’s time to be movin’ on…. This is actually our second visit to this wonderful little artsy town in northern New Mexico. We had a lovely stay this past March when three Chicago girlfriends came out and joined us here, and this time we routed back because we arranged a little rendezvous with our friends from Vermont, Pam and Stan, who flew out here for a week to join us.

Of course our first order of pleasure upon their arrival at ABQ was to have lunch and celebratory cocktails which, incidentally, we’re good at doing all together!  And then no visit to Albuquerque is complete without breaking bad and visiting one or more of the Breaking Bad filming locations.  We were surprised when our Google search returned scores of locations all mapped out for us — too many to visit in a hour — but we picked out a couple of the highlights that were nearby including Walter White’s house, Saul’s office in the strip mall (“Better call Saul!”), and the money-laundering car wash.

During our week together we shopped and dined and explored and did many of the things we did during our previous visit, but with more time we also went farther afield.  We all had a great day hiking at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument — see A Month of Monuments post.  We spent a day getting smart at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos and another day up in Taos where our husbands bought us each gorgeous turquoise bracelets — lucky us!  We hit the exclusive Canyon Road and thoroughly enjoyed browsing the fine art galleries there [some of the pieces we saw were more expensive than Charley!] followed up by a fancy lunch at a James Beard award-winning restaurant, Compound.  Pam and I confined our purchasing to the more modestly-priced boutiques and shops down near The Plaza in Santa Fe and we both report much success in the way of shopping!

One of the highlights of our time together was having cocktails at the Bell Tower Bar on the roof of LaFonda on the Plaza.  Thanks to Pam’s good scouting skills and the Butlers’ early arrival, we had a great table and one of the few blankets with which to keep warm on that chilly night up on the roof!

We had several wonderful dining experiences, but the one that stands out the most is our evening at Raaga.  Recommended to Pam & Stan by a guy on their plane ride out, we looked it up on TripAdvisor and found it to be the #1 restaurant in Santa Fe (out of 450) so we just had to check it out.  Chef/Restauranteur Paddy Rawal came to our table several times to inquire about the food (flavorful, exotic and excellent!!) and ensure we were having a nice evening.  We tried and loved several of his classic Indian dishes as well of some of his own takes on his native cuisine.  We purchased his cookbook which he so kindly personalized for us, and once I’m in a larger kitchen and have room for spices like cardamom, coriander and fenugreek, I’m going to try to recreate Paddy’s incredible modern Indian cuisine.

After being in Santa Fe for three weeks now, I’ve become rather fond of the place.  However, it’s time to move south and continue to chase warmer weather.  But without pause or hesitation I would highly recommend a nice, long stay in Santa Fe….