Santa Fe Holiday Food Fun!

You’re invited to dinner in Santa Fe! In fact, we’re suspecting that you probably have a favorite Santa Fe Restaurant in mind, and we’d like to know what it is. Perhaps YOU will be the winner of our Facebook holiday contest!

Vegan Polenta from Galisteo Bistro

TripAdvisor recently named Santa Fe as one of its Top Ten US Food Destinations…..of course, we agree! And if you agree, we invite you to tell us so and possibly win a gift certificate to your favorite Santa Fe restaurant! Simply tell us in 30 words or less about a restaurant in the City Different that you especially enjoy, and if you post a photo of your meal, so much the better, since a picture piques the palate!

Our winner will be the person whose entry receives the most “likes” on Facebook, so be sure to make your entry descriptively delicious! The winner will receive a $200 gift certificate to their favorite Santa Fe restaurant. And be sure to vote as well, because we’re sweetening the pot by awarding a $100 gift certificate to one lucky voter, to be chosen at random by our contest administrator.

Breakfast Burrito at Tia Sophia

Please take time to read the contest rules on our Facebook page in order to avoid disqualification of your entry. ONE ENTRY PER PERSON, please, but you can vote as many times as you like. The winner will be determined by the total number of “likes” that the winning entry receives on our Facebook page. Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2011, you can find the contest on the left-hand column of our Facebook page. Just click on the icon called “Promos” to enter. Please remember, a tasty 30 words or less! And while restaurant professionals are most definitely welcome to enter, we respectfully request that you refrain from entering your own Santa Fe restaurant.

Sorry, but those who have won a gift certificate of any kind from the Inn in the last twelve months are not eligible to win, although we welcome their votes.

We thank you for entering and posting your entry on our Facebook page, beginning on Thanksgiving morning when our contest goes live! This culinary quest runs through the food-filled holiday season, from Thanksgiving Day, 11/24/11 through New Year’s Day, 1/1/12, but don’t delay…the sooner you post your tempting tidbit, the more time you’ll have for people to like it! Good luck, good eating and good holiday cheer!

A Collard Greens Burrito at Body Cafe

Diet-Wise Dining in Santa Fe

This week, the Authentic Guide welcomes guest blogger, Billie Frank, of The Santa Fe Traveler, a Santa Fe concierge and travel-planning company. Billie is here with a Santa Fe visitors guide to finding the best places to eat when special diets are in effect. Thanks, Billie!


Eating away from home can be challenging and never more so than when you have dietary restrictions. There are all sorts of special diets; heart-healthy, vegetarian or vegan, gluten and dairy intolerances, food allergies, weight loss plans, religious dietary restrictions; the list goes on and on. Here are some tips to make travel to Santa Fe, or anywhere, easier for the food-challenged.

  1. Plan ahead: When you have any sort of dietary issues, planning is essential. You can’t just walk into a restaurant and expect them to be able to accommodate special needs unless those needs are really simple (i.e. you need a grilled meat and steamed vegetable). Although more restaurants say they are catering to gluten-free diets on their regular menus, it’s always good to check in advance.  If you’re a vegetarian, and there’s one meat-free dish on the menu and it’s not to your liking, you may be able to get something you’ll enjoy if you talk to the restaurant in advance. Vegans should definitely make plans in advance unless the restaurant is known to be vegetarian and vegan-friendly. Any place can steam a vegetable and put it on pasta or rice, but you can do much better if the place is prepared for your needs.
  2. Research: Speak to someone at the Inn, consult with a travel planner knowledgeable about Santa Fe dining spots for appropriate restaurant recommendations for you or research on the Internet. Once you have recommendations, check the menus and reviews at websites like Open Table and Yelp. Read between the lines. Reviews can be tricky; good ones can be written by the restaurateur or their friends, bad ones by competitors. Open Table, at least, verifies the person writing the review has dined at the establishment they are writing about.
  3. Contact the restaurant(s) in advance: Once you choose the restaurants that interest you, contact them at least a few days ahead to make sure they can accommodate your special diet; not all can or will.
  4. Email or fax them your diet: Once you know that the restaurant can meet your needs, send them your dietary dos and don’ts so that there is no confusion in the kitchen. When you make your reservation, make sure it notes that you have special dietary needs and remind them when you arrive at the restaurant. Getting them your food needs in advance gives the chef time to review them and make sure he has the ingredients he needs and perhaps be more creative.
  5. Breakfast and lunch are easier than dinner: This may not always be the case, depending on your special needs, but if fruit and salads work for you, they are a good fallback. You may want something more elaborate for dinner.
  6. Pick a more upscale place: You can’t expect any kitchen to cope with really complicated special needs. You want a place that has a chef rather than a cook. The better the chef, the better your dinner
  7. Bring your own food: If you have highly specialized dietary needs, sometimes it’s easier to avoid restaurants for breakfast and lunch. If you don’t want to travel with your food, Santa Fe has a number of natural grocery stores and a Trader Joe’s which can make eating on your trip a lot simpler unless you really want the restaurant experiences. The Inn on the Alameda provides an ample breakfast. Let them know in advance what your dietary needs are, and they’ll try their best to provide appropriate foods.

You probably know that if you’re on a special diet, depending on how restrictive it is and what the chef has to work with based on your foods, your experience will differ from that of a person eating the menu choices. The truth is that some ingredients simply make food taste better.

Here’s a list of some Santa Fe restaurants that will accommodate special diets and do so gracefully. Unless noted, contact the restaurant in advance and make arrangements.

315 Restaurant and Wine Bar: Owner Louis Moskow says the restaurant is almost totally gluten-free and is willing to work with other special dietary needs. Chef Ryan Mann will rise to the occasion.

Savory Scallops at 315: Photo by Steve Collins

Coyote Café: Sara Chapman, one of the four owners of the restaurant Mark Miller made famous, says that Executive Chef (and her husband and co-owner) Eric DiStefano can accommodate most diets with advance notice.

Galisteo Bistro: Executive Chef and co-owner Rob Chickering and his wife, co-owner and pastry chef, Marge, are very welcoming to people with special dietary needs. Call Rob and let him know what you need; they’ll graciously accommodate you.

Epazote: Chef/Owner Fernando Olea is one of the most accommodating people in Santa Fe and he loves to feed people. He uses the foods of the New World to create a unique Mexican cuisine, but of course, your dietary restrictions will define the meal.

Las Fuentes: This restaurant has an almost gluten-free menu (just skip the crab cakes). Executive Chef, Chris McLean, will work with other special diets with advance notice. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Raaga: This new entry to the Santa Fe Dining scene offers Indian food and does a great job of it. The personable owner, Pramod “Paddy” Rawal, will gladly accommodate your dietary needs, and there are vegetarian entrees galore and vegan options, too.

Mouth-watering Mussels in Coconut Curry at Raaga: Photo by Steve Collins

Restaurant Martin: Owner Jennifer Rios, who runs the front of the house here (her husband and restaurant co-owner Martin is the Executive Chef), says no advance notice is necessary for special diets; just bring your food list. She says they are seeing more and more people who cannot eat off the menu. If you have a very unusual diet, contact them in advance to make sure they have the foods you need.

Terra: Executive Chef Charles Dale is the man who allowed me to think it’s possible to dine out on a very restricted diet. He said any chef should be able to deal with special dietary needs with advance notice. He loves the challenge and he delivers. Terra is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Compound: General Manager, Matias Guillen says that wheat-free, dairy-free and vegetarian diets can be accommodated without notice. If the vegetarian option on the current menu doesn’t speak to you, contact the restaurant, the Beard Award-winning Chef, Mark Kiffen, will create a dish using foods that are more appealing to you. Other diets can be accommodated with advance notice.

Vanessie: This restaurant, popular for its piano bar can accommodate special dietary needs with advanced notice.

If you have special dietary needs, you can travel to Santa Fe with the comfort of knowing that there are restaurants that care and will do their best to create a meal that meets your needs.

As a side note from the Inn’s vegan General Manager, you can also find vegan and gluten-free menus at Annapurna, the Treehouse Cafe and Bakery and Body Cafe of Santa Fe (which has a vegan chocolate ganache that will make you simply swoon with delight!).

It’s a Collard Green Burrito at Body Cafe of Santa Fe!

Billie Frank has over twenty-five years experience in sales, marketing and customer service. In 2004, she began a career in the hospitality industry at a small inn outside of Santa Fe, NM. After leaving that position, she worked as a concierge at two Four-Diamond hotels in Santa Fe for over four years. Billie is co-owner of The Santa Fe Traveler, a travel concierge and trip-planning service. She writes a travel blog, Santa Fe Travelers. You can also follow her on Twitter.

Authors note: As a long-time concierge in Santa Fe, the writer may have dined as a guest of some of the restaurants mentioned. Their generous hospitality has not influenced this post in any way.

Santa Fe Travel Leads Home

Santa Fe may be a southwestern paradise, but we locals do leave on occasion, even if the time of year is foreboding…and even when the foreboding is borne out in fact! When the weather delays that froze up 2/3 of the country kept this Santa Fe traveler in the Big Apple with additional time to fill, a business trip bestowed unexpected pleasures that more than made up for the 30-hour return trip (which also yielded renewed appreciation for the stamina and commitment of our guests, who sometimes arrive so tired!).

Snow in the Big Apple

Since I am one of our Santa Fe Opera‘s most ardent fans, extra time meant that a visit to the Metropolitan Opera was inevitable. Waiting through the long months between seasons here in Santa Fe makes having the “opera-tunity” to see a live performance especially delightful. While I have been solaced monthly by the Met simulcasts shown locally at the Lensic Center, nothing really compares to that opening moment when the conductor steps onto the podium and the lights go down. It’s simply thrilling! Thanks to our excellent local Opera company, I had last seen Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra back in the summer of 2004, when Mark Delavan sang the title role and Patricia Racette, a Santa Fe favorite, sang the role of his daughter, Amelia.

Patricia Racette as Amelia and Mark Delavan as Simon; Santa Fe Opera 2004 Production of Simon Boccanegra

Our  rapidly-changing Santa Fe weather always contributes an element of danger (the possibility of wild winds, lightning and thunder) that suits lush historical tales like this one. No fear of weather ensconced safely indoors at the Met, however, where the sense of danger came from the story, full of intrigue and big brassy horns, not to mention Dmitri Hvorostovsky‘s silver mane!  It was a stunning performance, and I came away with the satisfaction of finally seeing James Levine on the podium, a long-held desire. Now that long-held desire has transmuted into patiently waiting for opening night here in Santa Fe, which takes place on Friday, July 1, 2011, with a new production of Charles Gounod’s Faust, led by chief conductor, Frederic Chaslin and director Stephen Lawless. Faust…now that’s a dangerous story!

“Full Court Press” for Simon Boccanegra at the Santa Fe Opera 2004

While waiting for my rescheduled departure, I headed for the other Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where a photography exhibition of works by Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand was on display. Nice alliteration on that title and a very serendipitous Santa Fe sense of familiarity for a visiting New Mexican! While I have seen some of Alfred Stieglitz’s beautiful photos of Georgia O’Keeffe at our wonderful O’Keeffe Museum, in an exhibition of this size, there were naturally some exciting discoveries. Beautiful partial nudes and detailed photos of O’Keeffe’s gorgeous (and talented) hands spoke volumes about the deep connection that bound these two artists together.

Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe – Hands, 1919 (printed 1920-1930s) ©Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

It’s no surprise that photographer Paul Strand also spent plenty of time in New Mexico, as have so many artists of all persuasions. Interested parties can peruse the fruits of his labor with a copy of Paul Strand Southwest from our local Photo-Eye Gallery and Bookstore located in Santa Fe on Garcia Street, just a short stroll from the Inn. Even Edward Steichen has a NM connection, with the 1995 book published by the University of New Mexico Press, Picturing an Exhibition: The Family of Man and 1950s America.  In this book, author Eric Sandeen presents a study of Steichen’s historic exhibit and its subsequent global influence, along the way examining the exhibit’s origins, Steichen’s beliefs and background, and the aim of his image selection, all reflected through the lens of the 1950s.  Steichen’s work in the Met exhibit certainly demonstrates his broad array of interests, but there’s always something else to be learned from the back story, especially when the opportunity to learn is found so close to home.

And in a wintery, blustery city with 7-foot high snowbanks, isn’t finding hometown connections one of the comforts of travel? Now if the Big Apple only had our great green chile (an immediate visit to Atrisco ensued upon return), a lonely Santa Fe traveler would never feel far from home!

MMMMM…Green Chile!

Santa Fe Opera Photographs courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera, all rights reserved. Alfred Steiglitz Photograph ©Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

Santa Fe Wine and Chile and What Else to Do!

Yet another busy summer is behind us, and the best time of the year for Santa Fe is here! Yes, “best” is quite a qualifier, but after 30+ years in New Mexico, I have come to believe that the months of September and October make for truly sublime travel to Santa Fe. The weather is perfection, the town is not as crowded, and there are still many things to do and see. One of the big events takes place this week as wine aficianados from around the world pour in to town (pun intended!) for the Santa Fe Wine and Chile Fiesta.

Photo by Azampella

Wine and Chile is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and continues to be a huge draw for those who love to have their palate tickled with the zest of New Mexico’s chile-speckled cuisine and imbibe fine wines in the process. As always, all of the tickets for the Grand Tasting event at the Santa Fe Opera grounds went as fast as a celebratory bottle of Dom Perignon, but for the real wine-lovers, there are still many more events designed for tasting pleasure.


Wine Hour at the Inn: Photo by Eric Swanson

To many, the Reserve Tasting, at the Eldorado Hotel on Friday, 9/24 from 4:00-6:30 p.m., should be considered the big event. Boasting the best wines of the week, all participating wineries will be sharing their finest bottles. A silent auction of 50 rare wine lots will take place during the tasting to benefit the Wine and Chile Foundation’s education programs. This is an ideal event to attend before one of the winery dinners. Although at first blush (can’t help these puns), wine dinners may appear pricey, the prix fixe meals include the wines, paired in thoughtful flights with dinner, so these may actually be a bargain. If you’re staying at the Inn, you can skip the reserve tasting and save dollars for dinner by starting the night at the Inn’s wine hour.

If the appetizing thought of a winemaker dinner is on your radar, however, here are a few spots to consider, all within walking distance of the Inn. Obviously, if you take a look at the complete list of participating restaurants, you’ll see that this is just the tip of the wine carafe:

315, Beautifully Renovated

315 Restaurant and Wine Bar, at 315 Old Santa Fe Trail, is basing their Wednesday 9/22 dinner, referred to as Ten Years After, on wines from Bordeaux, vintage 2000. On Friday, 9/24, 315’s winemaker dinner will feature the Louis Jadot Burgundies. Chef/Owner Louis Moskow will be on hand both nights to ensure that all four courses of each dinner reflect a pairing that will enhance the wines; two seatings, at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Trust the Italians to go all out! Stepping up to the plate with three full winery dinners is Osteria d’Assisi, 58 Federal Place, a perennial Santa Fe favorite for Italian comfort food. Wednesday 9/22 will feature Robert Mondavi wines. Thursday the 23rd will be a Premier Vino Italiano Di Kobrand spread, and on Friday, 9/24, Lino Pertussini and the crew will be plating, pouring and pairing Antinori Wines with Italian specialties.

If you are willing to go just a bit further away for your Italian fix, Pranzo, at 540 Montezuma Street, will let you practice your Italian lessons with recordings, while you fix your face in the powder room. All kidding aside (though you really can hear Italian lessons in the ladies), this friendly Italian grill will be welcoming Beringer Vineyards on Friday the 24th at 6:00 p.m., with a menu to match. Mangia!

Executive chef Megan Tucker is going all out these days at Amavi, 221 Shelby Street, and the restaurant is truly one of the most romantic spots to dine in downtown Santa Fe. Amavi will be welcoming Vin Iberian wines, bringing diners the best in Spanish wines, sure to complement the farm to table dining experience. Although the wine dinner menu is not listed on their website, it is sure to reflect some of these flavors from the classics, and winery dinners take place on Thursday and Friday evenings at 7:00 p.m., one seating only.

And on the subject of Spanish influences, another Santa Fe favorite at 808 Canyon Road, El Farol, will be featuring wines of Chile at their winery dinner on Friday, 9/24. With an opening reception at 6:30 p.m., diners move from queso to flan, accompanied by interesting Chilean pairings.

If you are a fan of chef Martin Rios, Thursday night the 23rd is the time to head for Restaurant Martin, 526 Galisteo Street, at see what he can cook up to go with Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars. Family-owned and operated means commitment, and Martin is definitely one of Santa Fe’s committed chefs. Canapes begin at 6:30 and seating is limited, don’t be late!

Cheese Maven Laura Werlin

Of course, with Santa Fe being such a hands-on sort of town, sit-down dinners are not the only thing that Wine and Chile has in its toque! Each year, the the Fiesta brings a series of intriguing learning experiences to entice the City Different’s food and wine aficionados. Both local food celebrities and national names will be in attendance at this year’s events, which include Chef’s Demos, Blind Tastings, Wine Seminars, Food Seminars, and even Chef”s Luncheons for those who want to make the midday meal their main event. There is truly something for every taste!

Beautiful Northern New Mexico: Photo Eric Swanson

If you are feeling forlorn about missing the Grand Tasting at the Opera, don’t despair; you can still get some New Mexico bragging rights of a different sort and acquire some nice art in the process, if you drive out of Santa Fe for the 13th Annual High Road to Taos Art Tour. Taking place every year over the last two weekends in September (9/18-19/10 and 9/25-26/10 this year), this is an event to which locals bring their friends to enjoy one of New Mexico’s loveliest drives in what many consider the best season of the year. The High Road Art Tour, occurring from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, is a chance to connect directly with local artists and see their studios as you visit the tiny, historic Land Grant villages tucked deep into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. If you feel like staying in Taos on Sunday night the 26th, you can catch a reading by renowned playwright, Sam Shepard, appearing in a benefit for the Society of the Muse of the Southwest, better known as SOMOS.

If that seem like too much driving, consider the Pecos Studio Tour, yet another artistic excursion into the surroundings environs of Santa Fe. 23 of the village’s artists will welcome visitors on Saturday and Sunday, 9/25-26, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. If you make either studio tour the closing to your wine experience, make sure you have had enough water to flush your bloodstream before driving on the backroads of New Mexico.

And last but not least, if you want some thertrical drama with your wine drama, head for the Santa Fe Fashion Outlets to catch the last performances of OM: Ten Tiny Epics in an Outlet Mall, Theatre Grottesco‘s autumn set of short plays (see my August posting below to read more). OM will be playing Thursday, 9/23 through Sunday 9/26 at 7pm, and yes, it is at the Outlet Mall, a quirky but successful venue for this adventurous and gifted troupe.

Salud, Buen Provecho, and above all, Disfrutele con Cuidado!


Never enough ART, Santa Fe!

ART Santa Fe 2010 takes place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center located on the northeast corner of West Marcy and Grant Avenue from July 15-18. Hours: Gala Opening July 15 5-8pm; July 16 11am-7pm and 11am-6pm July 17-18


2010 ART Santa Fe at the Convention Center

After last weekend’s panoply of the arts, International Folk Art Market and SOFA West Santa Fe ( not to mention, a whole host of gallery openings),  you would think that Santa Fe would be ready for a rest! No way, Jose! This week, the dial is cranked up again with the tenth anniversary appearance of ART Santa Fe. And based on last year’s exhibition, 2010 will surely be a welcome return engagement for art lovers!

ART Santa Fe

This year’s exhibit opens, as it did last year, with a Gala Opening Night Vernissage (a lovely French term for a private showing held before the opening of an art exhibition), taking place on Thursday, July 15 from 5-8pm and benefitting the Santa Fe Art Institute. This, of course, is when the local arthounds and mavens will show up in droves to see art and each other. Given that Santa Fe has consistently ranked in the top three cities for art sales, collectors and interior designers should be out in force, hopefully with checkbooks in hand. We DO like to see artists make a living here in our city!

Although ART Santa Fe is celebrating its tenth anniversary, this is the first year that the festival will be held in our beautiful new Santa Fe Community Convention Center. This was such a great venue for SOFA West last week, with ample space, good airflow and good lighting, and this expansion of exhibit space will certainly add to the luster of ART Santa Fe. The list of exhibitors is quite deep, with local galleries such as Linda Durham, Zane Bennett and Charlotte Jackson welcoming their confreres (see, that vernissage word put me in a French mood! Oh, and Happy Bastille Day!) from around the U.S., as well as Japan and Germany.

Art is for Everyone!

Being that Santa Fe is the sort of place where art lovers want to do more than just look, ART Santa Fe has also put together a series of special events to enhance the experience. This year’s keynote speaker is New York Times art critic, Roberta Smith, who will present a lecture on contemporary issues in art on Saturday, July 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the lovely auditorium of the New Mexico History Museum. As an aside, for those who love our History Museum, consider scooting over to the Railyard for the resurrected Taste Of Santa Fe event this Saturday, July 17, from 2-6pm for a 35-restaurant tasting event whose proceeds benefit the museum!

The Art of Printing

Returning to ART Santa Fe again for informative daily demonstrations will be Landfall Press, founded by Jack Lemon. Landfall will be revealing the techniques and nuances of lithography, a real bonus for fair-goers this year, since the ample space of the convention center allows viewers to move around the demonstration areas, seeing the nitty-gritty of production from every angle. As part of its expanding How Things Are Made program this year, ART Santa Fe is also pleased to welcome, for the first time, the innovative works of Portland, Oregon-based Bullseye Glass Co., started 36 years ago as an artist cooperative. Both of these professional arts organizations will be on hand each day to show the back story of how great art comes into existence!

Shapes, Colors, Forms and Fun!

And there will be food! This year the art will not just be on view – some of it will be edible, too! In the spirit of the pop-up, nside the Convention Center will be an  elegant installation restaurant, Café Arte at the Fair. Attendees will be able to relax in the quiet ambience of a fine restaurant, while still within the venue. This chic setting will be open July 16-18 from 11am-3pm daily, with world-class fare provided by Santa Fe’s own Walter Burke, who previously anchored the Museum Hill Cafe. Doesn’t the promise of artistic cuisine always make things just a wee bit more enticing?

Art for the Body, Not Just the Soul

If your feet still hurt from strolling around last week’s plethora of art opportunities, than take time to rest them now, because ART Santa Fe is another once-a-year event that should not be missed!

Vegetarian Santa Fe

True confessions: I am not so mindful as to have given up animal protein, but I do enjoy my healthful veggies along with those who are working their admirable way towards a higher consciousness. This kind way of eating is right in sync with the Santa Fe aesthetic, so it’s a pleasure to report that our little town has some big options for those who forego the way of the flesh.

Looking out at the Greenery at Body

Definitely on the list for its ability to satisfy vegetarians and vegans alike, Body is located at 333 West Cordova Road.  Not just a cafe, but also a spa and purveyor of soft and clingy clothing, Body boasts a completely organic menu that both tastes good and is good for you. And if you are a raw food purist, this is the place, with seven raw entrees on the menu! Everything we’ve tried so far at the Cafe has been appetizing in appearance, preparation and portion, and meat eaters can add chicken or fish to pump up a dish to their taste. You wouldn’t imagine that a collard green burrito would be on your list of things that are must-try, but for vegans, it’s a great choice, the collards tender and not bitter and the nut cheese creamy and dotted with cashews. The ambiance is soothing, with warm earth-tones and large picture windows that frame the outdoor greenery. Service is friendly but relaxed, with no pressure to hustle you on out when your plate has been collected. And once your plate has been collected, make sure you don’t ease out the door without dessert. This is chocolate that should be consumed without guilt, rich, dark, creamy and, in the case of the chocolate ganache with raspberry sauce, vegan! If you share a piece of this deeply delicious dessert, you can feel more virtuous when you admire the clothing on your way out, since the fit is one that makes sure you’ve been paying attention to your sweet calories!

A Collard Greens Burrito at Body Cafe

Another new gem that still seems to be largely undiscovered so far is Louie’s Corner Cafe, perched right on the NE corner of West Alameda and Galisteo Streets, a location that was just waiting for the perfect food fit. Named for a beloved pooch, this spot is unlikely to see a doggie bag, as everybody seems to clean their plates with gusto. The vegetarians in my family love the “fakin bacon” in the BLT, and the non-vegetarian was well contented with a juicy grilled Reuben sandwich with a refreshing cucumber salad on the side.  For those who like breakfast at dinner, try the migas (cheesy eggs scrambled with tortilla strips), which are divine; there was no question of what to order when I saw the look on the friendly server’s face after asking whether it should be the omelet or the migas! Speaking of omelets, however, there are a number of choices, including both Johnny-Be-Good and Johnny-Be-Bad versions, a nod and a wink to the clever entree titles scattered throughout the menu. Although a bit more for vegetarian palates than those of vegans, there is a vegan breakfast burrito, as well as several salads and sandwiches, along with a build-your-own sandwich option. Their strawberry tea is a refreshing treat to enjoy out on the patio while you’re watching the world stroll by, and a beer and wine license is now in place.

Louie’s on the Corner

Shohko’s Sushi

If you are hankering for fresh Oriental flavors, you can’t do better than Shohko at 321 Johnson Street! Continuously in business in Santa Fe for 34 years, this place does it right. Vegetable tempura is light and crisp and includes a chunk of green chile, and the bento box lunch gets veg-friendly when you order tofu instead of chicken or salmon. Vegans and vegetarians both do fine with the seaweed spinach salad and a few selections from the vegetarian sushi menu, and you can even order a sake flight if you know what you’re doing. Add in the serene atmosphere and Shohko’s presence in the kitchen, satisfaction guaranteed!

Veggie Chalupas at Atrisco

Of course, you ARE in Santa Fe so you have to try some sizzling green chile at some point, whether it’s coating a burrito or pooling on a plate of cheesy enchiladas. As much as we love several well-known downtown spots for local cuisine, crowds at the doorway can be a deterrent, so find your way over the the innocuous DeVargas Mall (Paseo de Peralta at Guadalupe Street) to settle in at Atrisco. The location makes getting a table easier, and including many locally grown foods is part of their mission. Vegetarians who love cheese are naturals for New Mexican cuisine, and vegans will enjoy the Veggie Especial, which has three incarnations, an enchilada plate, burrito or stuffed sopaipilla, with veggie chalupas on the menu for lighter appetites.

Real Food Nation

Finally, if you want to get out of the city and take a short drive to delicious, head for Real Food Nation, on the Old Las Vegas Highway at the junction with I-25 North (exit 292). Mostly organic, with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices like roasted beet salad or creamy tomato soup, and gluten-free pizza by the slice, this spot is popular with the locals who live tucked in against the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos. You can check out the Meal of the Day postings on their website, then eat in or take it to go for a picnic in the mountains. You have to give kudos to a restaurant that has its lettuce garden in full glory outside the front door, along with five acres of on-site produce – now that’s farm to table!

Between these options and the Inn’s breakfast, with organic cereals, dairy and coffee, you can put your vegetarian palate at ease. You’ll eat as well as the others do, no sacrifices needed!