Joe’s Blog: Open Fires & Hot Toddies




One of New Mexico’s signature scents is the roaring open fire, burning bright with Pinon and juniper. At the Inn on the Alameda we’d like to also include the tempting scents of hot cider cocktails and Toddies.

PicMonkey Collage

Toddy Stick & Jerry Thomas

Hot drinks are an American tradition. Early Colonial era gatherings were enlivened with the tradition of “Flipping” drinks, adding a hot iron to the cocktail to make it froth and “flip” about. The earliest recipes consisted of a blend of beer, rum and sugar. Over time, eggs were added and the beer was reduced. Eventually this drink evolved into the now familiar nogs.The father of modern Bartending, the famed Jerry Thomas, included many variations of flips in his influential books on cocktails.

No discussion of hot drinks would be complete without mentioning the traditional Irish balm: the Hot Toddy. Mixing whiskey with boiling water, sugar or honey, lemon and spices provides a revivifying effect. The vitamin C and honey help explain the soothing efficacy of the drink in treating the cold effects of winter. The toddy can be fine tuned in many different ways to individualize the drink. In the Midwestern United States it can be made with the addition of ginger ale, a decidedly non-traditional preparation.

It is good naturedness that provides the final element of hot drink perfection, the quality of welcome, which you will find at the Inn on the Alameda. Cultures around the world have terms to refer to this ineffable quality. For Germans it’s called Gemütlichkeit, the quality of a situation or location that induces a sense of welcoming coziness and unhurried warmth. That’s a standard we’re proud to offer – come see us soon for a soul-warming beverage of your choice.

Tracy Ritter at the Santa Fe School of Cooking

Santa Fe School of Cooking, 125 North Guadalupe, Santa Fe, NM 87501



As many of our friends no doubt know, for many years, the Inn has partnered with the Santa Fe School of Cooking to offer our tasty and ever-popular Muy Sabrosa Cooking School Package. The School has settled in nicely to their ample new facility at 125 North Guadalupe and has made a wise choice in bringing Tracy Pikhart Ritter on board as the new Culinary Director. Tracy is well-know to Santa Fe foodies as the chef/owner of the late but still lamented Whistling Moon Cafe. We thought we’d take some time to introduce this inventive chef to those who love the unique cuisine of New Mexico.

Tracy Talks Chile!

Q. Who inspired you to cook professionally?

A. I had cooked for many years in NYC, yet never really took it all that seriously…I was planning on going back to accounting or textile’s. It was a good friend, Stacy Crespi, that suggested we walk to Soho to see the new French Culinary Institute..The rest is history…Then Marcy Blum encouraged me..She became my mentor.

Q. What brought you to Santa Fe?

A. A visit to a friend after I left the Golden Door Spa in CA, and Rancho La Puerta in Mexico. I came here to help her plant trees,  the beauty of the land, and a job offer from Bobby & Judy to be executive Chef at SantaCafe.

How Much is That Cookware in the Window? The Ones with the Waggly Tails!

Q. What is your favorite cooking utensil?

A. Currently a micro-plane and a vitamixer and La Chamba cookware available at the Santa Fe School of Cooking.

Q. What was your most unforgettable kitchen disaster?

A. Losing a lobster claw during New Years Eve service – they were all accounted for!  It was a challenge. I eventually found it.

Q. If you could have a meal prepared for you by any chef, who would it be and why?

A. I would enjoy a meal prepared by Maxime Bilet, for his approach and contribution to modern cooking technology. He is also a graduate of the culinary academy I attended many years prior. I would love to see the change in styles.

Q. If you could cook for someone special, who would that be and why?

A. My mom – she passed away right before I started to cook. I think she would have been very proud, since I never cooked as a child.

Q. What do you do to relax when you’re not whipping up a culinary masterpiece?

A. I like to bike ride, spin and hike…a fun meal out is always nice

Q. Do you have a special autumn harvest favorite to share?

A. Pumpkin anything really…I kind of like pumpkin cupcakes that we decorate for the kids.

Tracy and Noe Check It Out!

Q. The State question, red or green?

A. Christmas…unless it is my chef de cuisine Noe’s  Red Chile…

Spanish Market Santa Fe

For lovers of art and heritage, the upcoming weekend promises many delights, as the 61st annual Santa Fe Spanish Market swings into the Plaza. With 183 artists in the Market, and an additional 52 youth artists exhibiting their work, this is an artistic and familial legacy that continues to grow in size and quality.

Spanish Market on the Santa Fe Plaza

Taking place on the historic Plaza, on Saturday and Sunday, July 28 and 29, from 8:30 am to 5 pm, the Market offers something for everyone, from straw applique to retablos to engraving to weaving and calaveras, too. If we’re lucky, we might even see some of that beautiful and increasingly rare colcha embroidery!

Calaveras con Corazon

And if your taste runs more to the cutting edge, the Contemporary Hispanic Market runs concurrently, spread along both sides of Lincoln Avenue, with 134 booths of art and artistry to peruse or purchase.

There will be food, of course, since it’s Santa Fe, and among other tasty events, there’s a cooking class with John Vollertsen, “Spanish Influence on New Mexico’s Norteno Cooking,” at Las Cosas on July 26 at 10 am.  And if you just can’t make time for that class, don’t forget that the Inn offers a Muy Sabrosa Cooking Experience with the experts from the Santa Fe School of Cooking, soon to be fully ensconced in their new location.

La Comida Muy Sabrosa!

Also on July 26, John Schaefer lectures on “Collecting Spanish Colonial Art” at Peyton Wright Gallery at 4:30 pm. On Friday July 27, at 9:30 am, Patina Gallery hosts a breakfast reception and lecture on the work of Enric Majoral.  On Friday evening, a Market Preview opens at the Santa Fe Convention Center at 7 pm.

Listen for “la musica,” not only during the Saturday-Sunday Market itself. On Thursday, July 26, the Santa Fe Bandstand series gets into the act with homegrown favorites, Andy Primm and Alex Maryol, performing on the Plaza from 6 to 9 pm. Performances by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival take place in St. Francis Auditorium on Thursday, July 26 at noon and 6 pm, Friday, July 27 at 6 pm, Saturday, July 27 at 6 pm, and Sunday, July 28 at 5 pm. The Santa Fe Desert Chorale offers a concert, “Celebrating the Centenery,” at 8 pm on Saturday, July 28 at the New Mexico History Museum.  The Santa Fe Opera serves up Giaochino Rossini’s Maometto II on Friday the 27th at 8:30 pm, and on Saturday the 28th, also at 8:30 pm, the premiere of Richard Strauss’ Arabella rounds out the season’s repertoire.

It looks like it will be a great weekend…will we see you there?

Summer in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Yes, it’s summer, and the sunsets have been glorious, as will be the summer arts scene in the City Different.

Santa Fe Sunsets are Memorable

The Santa Fe Opera season opens on June 29th with a gala performance of Puccini’s Tosca. This year’s repertoire should be an opera fan’s delight, with five, count ’em five, new productions: In addition to Tosca, you can enjoy Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, Karol Szymanowski’s King Roger, Giacomo Rossini’s Maometto II, andArabella by Richard Strauss, founder John Crosby’s favorite composer.

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival kicks off on July 15th and runs through August 20th, with many familiar names. The Orion String Quartet will return, as will flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni will take a night off from his opera duties to sing in town. And Santa Fe welcomes Alan Gilbert, conductor of the New York Philharmoic and former Music Director of the Santa Fe Opera, to the stage for several viola performances.

The Santa Fe Bandstand brings free music to the Santa Fe Plaza Monday through Thursday nights at 6pm beginning on July 5. Mondays and Wednesdays also feature concerts at noon, with all performances running through August 16.

The big arts events are all scheduled to return, with the exception of the SOFA show, which was sadly cancelled for this year.

Matluba Bazarova, featured Folk Artist from Uzbekistan

Handmade SilK and Felt Scarves from Kyrgyzstan

The 12th annual ART Santa Fe returns to the City Different from July 12-15. TheSanta Fe International Folk Art Market takes place on Museum Hill on July 13-15, followed shortly by the 61st Annual Spanish Market on July 27-29. And it wouldn’t be August without SWAIA’s Indian Market, with the 91st iteration taking place on August 17-19.

What’s new in Santa Fe? The Santa Fe School of Cooking is moving to its new digs on July 1st, with ground level access and their own parking lot. The new location is at 125 North Guadalupe Street.

317 Aztec has taken over the space of the former Aztec Cafe, bringing a focus on raw salads, juices and vegan/vegetarian items. The sorely-missed Plaza Cafe has yet to re-open, but we are watching the progress on Lincoln Avenue. The Palace Restaurant is definitely back in the saddle, complete with red-flocked wallpaper and the talents of Joseph Wrede, formerly of Joseph’s Table in Taos, headlining the kitchen. And there’s a patio in back!

The Sun-Dappled Patio at La Casa Sena

Speaking of outdoor dining, a patio does make for a wonderful evening, and the patio at Restaurant Martin is as gorgeous as the food. SantaCafe is always a stellar outdoor choice, and La Casa Sena has renovated their menu along with their patio. The patio at The Compound is always peaceful and cool, and the Coyote Cantina (sorry, no reservations) is always a lively scene.

Since your time may be better spent enjoying a daytrip, we are always happy to discuss dining options or make dinner reservations for you; you just need to call us at 888-984-2121 for suggestions or assistance.

Take a Daytrip into Beautiful New Mexico, Photo by Eric Swanson

Let us be YOUR Santa Fe!

Santa Fe Food Carts

Santa Fe, NM, is definitely a town on the radar of foodies everywhere for fine dining and unique regional cuisine. But sometimes, a street snack is just what the tummy ordered. Given the significantly smaller size of  the City Different, it hasn’t graduated to the status of another state capitol, Austin, TX with its impressive food cart scene, but you can definitely get a good feed on the fly.

The One and Only Roque

The grand-daddy of them all – and we know for a fact that he is indeed a well-loved abuelo – has to be Roque’s Carnitas, grilling  on the Santa Fe Plaza for over twenty years. Roque Garcia and partner Mona Cavalli continue to cater to locals and visitors alike with beef and chicken carnitas packed with grilled onions, peppers and spicy secret sauce. You can get tasty tamales, pork or vegetarian green chile, and a refreshing homemade “Jamaica,” a Mexican sweet iced tea, which Roque brews himself with hibiscus flowers. A recent visit found me enjoying fresh grilled corn on the cob, one of the summery joys of street eats. Roque’s Carnitas parks on the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and East San Francisco Street, Wednesday through Monday.

Roque’s Famous Carnitas

Chicken Fajita from El Molero

Yum, Yum, Grilled Corn = Summer!

A short hop to the opposite end of the Plaza, on West Santa Francisco Street and Lincoln Avenue, you’ll find the competing grill of  El Molero Fajitas, similar to the carnitas, but sluiced with sour cream, guacamole, lettuce and salsa instead of onions and peppers. Tamales are available here, too, along with fresh lemonade.  While Mona and Roque head south to their Mexican home to feed the ex-pats over the winter, the El Molero grill crew reliably toughs it out on the Plaza most of the year.

Slurp Up Some Savory Soup

Le Pod!

Buckwheat Crepe with Chicken

French food sound good? It did to me, and I could have eaten that delicious buckwheat crepe even without the juicy filling. Le Pod, another rehabilitated Airstream, is parked in the parking lot at the southwest corner of Paseo de Peralta and the Old Santa Fe Trail. A selection of hot andwiches, filled crepes, frog dogs (hot dogs with a French twist), and a daily soup selection ensure a variety of choices. And the natural Rieme sodas from France are a refreshing change of pace in a Coca-Cola society.

The Nile Cafe Cart

A Heroic Gyro

If you find yourself out of the Plaza area looking for a quick feed, head for the Nile Cafe cart @NileCafe on Rachel’s Corner at the northeast intersection of West Alameda and St. Francis Drive. I had hoped to try the waffle fries with chipotle hummus that I have heard so much about, but alas, out of waffler fries! I settled instead on a classic gyro and was duly satisfied. Juicy and thick with plenty pf sauce, this was a lunch. Gigi mentioned that she is opening up an Egyptian breakfast and lunch cafe in the spot on the Old Santa Fe Trail where the Dish and Spoon was located, and that is something worth anticipating! News is sure to follow on their Facebook page.

And if you simply want dessert and a seat on the Plaza, let your nose lead you to the sweet smell emanating from the Kernel’s Kettle Korn Kart…just be sure all your dental work is current.

Dessert, Anyone?


Santa Fe Visits SXSW Austin Texas!

We have always appreciated our Texas visitors, with their relaxed and congenial appreciation of all that Santa Fe has to offer, so when we had the chance to go straight to the source, we jumped right in!

The Majestic State Capitol in Austin, TX

SXSW may have been a rather wild introduction to the pleasures of a fellow state capitol, but it certainly proved that Austin is a happening town. With the inspiration of the creative and organized crew from TKO, the City of Santa Fe appreciated this opportunity to remind our neighbors that we are also a great destination for fun, filming and food.  Thanks to the generosity of Roy Spence, we set up shop at GSD&M Idea City, together with our friends and partners, the Santa Fe School of Cooking. In no time at all, a big pot of green chile chico stew was bubbling away, complemented by yummy blue corn muffins and a basket loaded with our state cookie, the biscochito. Did you know we have a state cookie? Only one other state, Pennsylvania, has one, the chocolate chip cookie (a nod to Hershey, PA, no doubt). Courtesy of the cooking school, here’s a recipe for our state sweet (which, thankfully, is not too sweet). We know that the lard factor may be off-putting to some, but pre-dating Crisco, it is a traditional ingredient in New Mexican cultural cuisine.

Biscochitos (Makes 4-5 dozen cookies)


  • 1 lb. (2 cups) lard or vegetable shortening
  • 1 ½ c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t. toasted anise seeds
  • 6 c. flour
  • 3 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ c. brandy


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the lard, or shortening. Add sugar, eggs and anise seeds and cream again. Mix dry ingredients separately and combine with the shortening mixture. Add the brandy and mix thoroughly.
3. Roll the dough out on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle the cookie shapes with the sugar-cinnamon mixture and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned.


Feeling Hungry?

With Santa Fe Spirits right beside us pouring out their “whiskey-ritas,” made with locally-distilled Silver Coyote malt whiskey, our New Mexico cuisine met its match! And we even had easy access to sample Austin’s food cart scene, since Roy Spences’s Royitos Airstream was steps away handing out tasty tamales and his signature hot sauce.


Santa Fe County Commissioner, Virginia Vigil, was on hand to extol the beauty and benefits of the greater Santa Fe area, and a panoply of Santa Fe’s artistic characters was in attendance. Todd & the Fox and We Are the West provided a musical backdrop for the sunny spring day. Jon Hendry and the lovely Michelle drove all the way in the Shoot Santa Fe 18-wheeler to show our city’s continued commitment to and appreciation of the movie industry. They brought along Stephen Guerin from the Redfish Group with a terrific interactive piece that gave viewers a 3-D visualization of last year’s Las Conchas Fire and, of course, screened films, among them Smoke Signals, by Native American film-maker, Chris Eyre, new head of the Moving Arts Dept. at Santa Fe University of Art and Design. And a pair of Canyon Road artists, Natasha Isenhour and Reid Richardson, created paintings on the spot that lucky raffle winners took home.

Art in the Making!

We’re waiting for the raffle winner of our cuisine getaway to come to town, but we hope that our Texas neighbors got enough of the taste of Santa Fe to head on up to cooler climes this summer, since March in Austin found us “enjoying” 81 degrees with 83% humidity…quite a challenge for us high-desert dwellers. Only one question remains, how can Austin have a greater variety of chiles in their market than we do?!?!?!? Guess it’s the Whole Foods Market MotherShip factor!

A Mind-boggling Choice of Chiles!