I love a good mini-holiday. Especially when said holiday is in the middle of the week. You throw caution to the wind, pack a bag, and hit the road in pursuit of a carefree adventure. In fact, nothing says sweet sweet summertime like taking an impromptu trip with no real agenda, set plans, or heaven forbid, those atrocious specimens schedules.
All by way of saying, I felt the road calling my name when I wrapped up spring semester. I wanted an adventure. I wanted to lose track of time. I wanted to goof around and dress up and eat good food and enjoy art. I wanted to cruise down my New Mexico highways blasting Spanish pop and later get dolled up for a night at the theater. Which is how I found myself in Santa Fe last week for no other reason than to see a fabulous play and enjoy the luxury of sleeping in a hotel for the night.
Let me be clear before I continue: the places I went and the things I did in no way represent all the things you must see if you visit Santa Fe. In fact, you'll find this is a hodge-podge assortment of places and things to enjoy born out of off-the-cuff recommendations from friends, aimless walks down side streets, and a shameless Google search to find the best chocolate makers in the city (hey, wine only takes a woman so far).
Having grown up in New Mexico and visiting Santa Fe more times than I can count, I skipped a lot of the museums and historical sites the town is famous for because I've seen them a hundred times--and would happily see them again, but that wasn't in the cards for this trip! I love being a tourist in my own backyard. Go see them. Enjoy them...then maybe try a few of the places I discovered on my recent trip.
I stayed at the Lodge (pictured above) because I found a killer deal online (hello off-season). It sat on top of a hill, making it feel removed from the city and yet, in reality, it was only a two-minute drive to the plaza area. Personally, I like to go to Santa Fe during the off-season to avoid the crowds. If I were staying longer than a night, I would have taken advantage of the hotel's beautiful outdoor area to sunbathe and write. As it was, I enjoyed the view from my window while sipping a morning cup of coffee and getting in a little writing before heading to Clafoutis for breakfast after a lovely night at the theater.
Two words: French Bakery. Here's another word: Delicious. A friend of mine recommended it for breakfast and, boy, was I glad she did! I indulged in coffee and chocolate croissant for breakfast (alas, my beloved almond croissants were sold out by the time I got there). I also took a souvenir home in the form of an apricot clafoutis or custard pastry for which the bakery is named (pictured here with my breakfast croissant).
But I'm getting ahead of myself: I originally went to Santa Fe to see one of my friend's plays, In the Other Room (Or the Vibrator Play) at the Santa Fe Playhouse, which, according to its website, is the "oldest continuing running theater west of the Mississippi." It's a quaint theater with a rich history and the play was a saucy and surprisingly poignant story about Victorian-Era gender and sexual norms...that has surprising relevance today.
Pre-theater, I dined with an old friend at 315, a delightful wine bar and restaurant. We sat on the patio and drank rose while soaking in the intoxicating spring mountain air. We split the fava bean and artichoke falafel, truffle fries, and the asparagus and mushroom strudel (all pictured below). Each dish was as tasty as it was visually stunning! This place is built for leisurely dinners where conversation, wine, and food are savored with equal fervor. After the play, several of us (including the director), went for drinks at Del Charro, voted one of the best bars in Santa Fe. My chile-mango margarita and I agree!
Funny how most of my travel blogs revolve around good food...which brings me to my farewell lunch at Jambo Cafe before I cruised back to Burque. This award winning African-Carribean restaurant is a favorite of the locals and I can see why. I ordered the Jamaican hibiscus tea and a tofu jerk sandwich with cumin fries. You can tell a lot about a place by what they can do with tofu; it's either bland as all get out or melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Jambo Cafe knows how to make tofu tasty and the portions were so big I easily got two meals out of it. Yum!
Since I had no set agenda for this trip, I also took some time to window shop and peruse some of my favorite stores. I can never go to Santa Fe without peeking into Act 2, a woman's consignment boutique with unique affordable clothes. Having recently gone to the mall on an errand, I remembered two things: 1. I hate malls and 2. I love small shops like Act 2 where I can find funky clothes. Bonus: it's more eco-friendly to shop consignment. That's what I call win-win. Last but not least (and here I am circling back to food again), I went to Chocolate Smith where I got some delectable lavender-lemon white chocolate, cherries dipped in dark chocolate, and caramels, for which they are famous for, with flavors like peanut butter and jelly, thyme-lemon, cardamom-orange, and pomegranate-fig (pictured below). It's like a mini-holiday in my mouth whenever I indulge in these little treats.
Wherever the road takes you--to Santa Fe or another destination--allow yourself to lose track of time, discover new places--or redsicover old ones--and enjoy the simple pleasures the unfolding day brings.
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