I recently had to attend a training in Santa Fe. I know, it’s rough, isn’t it. I was thrilled to go and jumped at the chance. I love this area of the country and our dream is to retire there someday soon. But, for now we will just make sure we visit at least once a year.
This was a solo trip for me. The conference was mid-week so it was virtually impossible for The Hubs to get away. Although it would have been much more fun if he had been with me, I had a wonderful time. Sometimes wandering around by oneself can be refreshing and offer some new perspectives.
Let’s start with the flight. I flew into Santa Fe and when the travel agent asked if I wanted to fly into Santa Fe or Albequerque, I told her that she must be mistaken because you can’t fly into Santa Fe. (Yes, that is me being belligerently obstinate. Yes, I did try to tell her she was wrong at her job.)
Well, you can fly into Santa Fe and the airport is hilariously quaint. The plane, a tiny American Eagle, pulled up right by the back door of the airport. Seriously, you walk right down the ramp and into the back door where your luggage is being unloaded by the same person who pulled the gang plank up. You walk a few more steps and you are out the front door. I don’t know why I didn’t take a picture but imagine what the airport might have looked like in 1958. Yep, you got the image.
I was lucky enough to get a really early flight so I had almost the entire day to rummage around Santa Fe before the training started the next day.
My first stop was to check in and drop off the luggage. The conference was being held at La Fonda on the Plaza, a great place to make as a headquarters if you are planning a trip. Almost everything is within walking distance which was a plus for me as I was sans a car.
Since I was starving, I decided to hit a spot that I knew was good, Rooftop Pizza. We had eaten here before on another trip and it was a beautiful day, perfect for sitting outside on a rooftop. I didn’t feel like pizza though, so I had some baked goat cheese and a salad.
Then I was off to explore. I knew the training would have me hooked up from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. for the next three days so I wanted to make the most of the free time I had.
Number one on my list was the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. I love this little place. I can always find some inspiration there. There were two exhibits going on: Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams—The Hawai’i Pictures and Abiquiu Views. (More about these later.)
Then, I was off on a quest for The Hubs. He wanted some pint glasses from Marble Brewery. Their tap room used to be adjacent to Rooftop Pizza but after lunch I discovered that they had moved. After the museum, I pulled the new location up on my phone and started walking. It looked to me like it was near the Railyard so I headed that way. I made a quick stop at The Station for some green tea and water—it is a dry climate. Then, Google maps told me I was within .4 miles of Marble. I started out. My phone was dying so I wanted to get there quick. It looked to me like Google Maps was incorrect so I started walking in what I thought was the right direction. As I “navigated,” the mileage to my destination soon became .6, then .7. WTH? I knew I was going in the right direction. As I found myself in a neighborhood and walking by some sketchy convenience stores with bars on the windows, I decided to reassess. (Yes, just like I tried to tell the travel agent she was mistaken, I was convinced I was right and Google was wrong.) It was time to admit defeat and retrace my steps. So, a less than a half mile walk to get these glasses became about a two mile trek into unknown Santa Fe territory. After this hike and a bloody blister, I finally found Marble’s new hangout and purchased the pints. The things I do.
After a stop at the Five and Dime (home of the best Frito pies) for some peroxide, bandaids and neosporin for the blisters, I collapsed at the hotel, unpacked and recouped before dinner.
I had already decided that I was going to eat in some of the more famous Santa Fe spots, some places that The Hubs and I had not hit yet in our travels here. (For our previous dining experiences in Santa Fe, click here.)
My first stop was The Shed. The Shed is famous for its creative cookery and for being a 2003 James Beard Award Winner as an “American Classic of timeless appeal.” It was a Monday night so I figured it wouldn’t be that crowded. (The reason we had not previously dined here was because of the hours long wait.) Remember, I was also eating solo so how hard could it be to get a table? It was packed and it was going to be over an hour wait. I persevered. I figured I could snag at least one seat at the bar if needed. Nope. An hour and fifteen minutes later and I finally got a table. Let me tell you that some people were POed and were raising heck because of the wait. Not me though. After my day hike, I was humbled, hungry, and willing to wait.
Can I just say that the food was OK? Yes, I tend to hype things up in my head until there is no hope that the expectations will be met, but I truly know a place less than a mile from us that serves authentic Mexican food that was as good or better than this. Will I go again? Certainly, especially with The Hubs and especially if we can get a table in the courtyard.
And, the olive oil La Boca serves for bread dipping is also beyond words.
For my final evening meal of the trip, I made sure I was at Cafe Pasqual’s at bang up 5:30 to get a table. I still had to wait in a small line that was forming out side the door before they opened. (This was another place I was dying to dine.)
This was perhaps my second best meal. I loved the vibe of the place.
What I think I have realized is that the food tastes better with my dining partner in tow. Although I don’t mind dining out solo, I know I truly enjoy The Hubs company, critiques, and banter during dinner. (He did appreciate the Marble pints I shuttled home in my suitcase.)
And, the next time I go, I will seek out those non-famous places.
But, the real reason I was here was for training. It was better than I expected and exceeded my expectations. The training focused on helping and understanding families and children in poverty. I will certainly be able to put these practices to good use next year when school starts.