We had a marvelous time away in Santa Fe last weekend, celebrating our 24th anniversary. What a beautiful place to relax and explore. Friday, we arrived and settled into our hotel room just as a thunderstorm broke loose with sheets of rain. To the chagrin of the locals, it lasted only long enough for us to refresh ourselves from the road trip and change for dinner. With a quick review of restaurant recommendations we received from friends, we were out the door.
Tomasita’s, with a waiting area the size of some restaurants, was packed so there was a 50 minute wait. Sip-worthy margaritas made the wait bearable as we sat quietly reviewing the menu, trading thoughts, and people-watching. I still remember the days of enduring a long wait wrestling a toddler; several families were in Olympic form by the time they got to their tables. Glancing over the menu the choice was pretty clear.
What do you plan to eat while in New Mexico?
Oh, and red chile.
Lots of both.
Tomasita’s did not disappoint. I am always game for red meat, so I ordered red chile cheese enchilada, relleno with green chile, and grilled steak. Matt chose the pork adovada, roasted until meltingly tender. To my delight, sopapillas with honey butter are served with every meal. (No need to feel guilty about ordering dessert when it arrives automatically!) It was the perfect start for our green and red chile weekend, but there is more to Santa Fe than authentic Southwest food.
If I had to describe Santa Fe in one word: Art
Saturday we strolled through the Santa Fe Plaza admiring fine artisan craftsmanship in leather, metals, jewelry, pottery, fabrics, and more. Exquisite shops filled with unique pieces of wearable art, as well as home decor. A little off the beaten path, a favorite stop and gawk place for us was the door and beam graveyard—antique door and window collections looking for new homes. It was clearly a thriving market in the area as many of the homes we saw, no matter how new or grand, reuse the weathered and historic pieces like windows to the soul of their home. Of course, there was sustenance along the way, you can’t just walk and not eat. A green chile and Swiss Kobe beef burger at Balconies on the Plaza provided a midday green chile fix (have you picked up on the food theme?), followed by more shopping and strolling (and a little buying).
We had longed for time away, a break from the craziness of the past couple of months here in Colorado. The arms of my heart flung wide open to embrace the wonder, lavish beauty, and peaceful surrender of Santa Fe, its landscape, art, and opera would all be part of it. We dined on bone-in rib eye with mushroom ragù, seafood paella, and roasted red chile corn bisque at Luminaria before heading to the Santa Fe Opera. Operatic drama and cricket-song filled the cool night air of the foothills.
We were wowed by Susan Graham & Friends, the friends comprised of nine accomplished opera performers interpreting eighteen pieces, including duets. The open air seating and passionate crescendos invited the chill on my skin, stolen away in transcendent escape into the beauty and wonder of music and voice. Like fine art, opera has an ethereal quality balancing the unseemly darkness of the world.
There was a moment in C’est toi, mon pere, the final act from Massenet’s Thaïs, a haunting duet sung by Erin Wall and Mark Delavan about a priest proclaiming his love for a dying nun on her deathbed (oh the drama!), when she elevates beyond the drama of human love to a place where peace and hope collide. His focus was on the regret of love unquenched and her entire focus was on her transition into heaven, all so glorious and sad at the same time.
Thankfully, we had subtitles as she was singing in French, I sat completely enthralled when she uttered, “Une béatitude qui apaise mes maux pour dormir!” Or for the rest of us, “A blessedness that lulls my ills to sleep!” It was a reminder of the divine that quenches, satisfies, and allows the stuff of life to fall away. I was carried away by it; my ills were indeed lulled to sleep. If you have ten minutes, here is a YouTube video of this same scene with slightly different wording (includes subtitles), or skip to the last five minutes for the impassioned duet—this rendition is sung by Reneé Fleming and Thomas Hampson.
Our late evening turned into a late morning brunch at Tia Sofia’s, a superb recommendation from blogger friend, MJ of MJ’s Kitchen. Huevos rancheros on blue corn tortillas and strong coffee were the ticket—yes, more green chile for me, thank you very much. I savored every bite. The rest of the day was spent meandering through many of the more than 100 Canyon Road fine art galleries. One day is not enough to take in all there is to see and experience of fine art in every medium imaginable. Unfortunately, I do not have photos to share from our Canyon Road adventure as most galleries did not allow photos to be taken. We did get this one by some of the prevalent flowers adorning the pathways—certainly not the dessert scene we expected.
Ah, refreshing time away to celebrate, there really is so much good to savor in life. Thank you, Santa Fe, for a deliciously glorious weekend.