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Dining in Taos, NM

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Restaurants & Bars 2

Dining in Taos, NM

Gunman | Dec 29, 2002 08:02 PM

Just got back from a quick ski trip to Taos, and a few days at my sister's about 60 miles west of there. Had been looking forward to eating at Joseph's Table, but discovered it is on hiatus while the owner moves it (or a new iteration) into a spa in town. It is slated to reopen this spring.

Doc Martin's -- this is the restaurant in the historic Taos Inn, just off the Taos Plaza. Hit it on a Saturday night around 8:30 and was immediately seated. Healthy sized crowd, but didn't appear to impact service. They appear to be known for their wine list, which is extensive and reasonable (about 2x retail). They even highlight some "lesser known" styles and varietals as better values. I opted for a bottle of the WillaKenzie Pinot Muenier just to try something new. Started with the chipotle shrimp on corn cake -- shrimp was a little overdone, and the corn cake could have been crisped a little more -- about the consistency of soft polenta. It was all smothered in a cream sauce that would have been more effective with a crunch on the corn cake. Good, but unremarkable. Main course was a quarter duck, "shellacked" and wood grilled to a medium rare with a light char, served with a red chile broth and a duck confit tamale. Snap peas for color and crunch. The duck was really good -- I prefer mine a little more to the rare, but it was tasty, and worked well with the red chile broth. The snap peas were a bit vegetal for the meal -- I understand they may have been going for color and contrast, but I'm not sure it was the right vegetable. The duck confit tamale was amazing...truly the highlight of the meal. The masa was appropriately light, and the duck was tender and vary flavorful. The wine alternated between being a perfect choice, and being overwhelmed by the food...it depended on how quickly you drank after consuming the duck with the red chile broth. If you let the chile heat abate a bit, and then drank, it was a great wine.

Orlando's -- You can't say enough good things about Orlando's. About a mile or so north of the Plaza, Orlando's is a local legend for New Mexican cuisine. The food here is pretty awesome, and very reasonable. Had "La Reina", which included a blue corn cheese enchilada smothered with green chile sauce, two pork medallions (carne adovada) smothered in Chile Caribe, and sides of posole and pinto beans with one fresh tortilla. It was all amazing. Chile Caribe is one of my favorite flavors in the world (when done well), and this meal made Orlando's a permanent stop on all future Taos ski trips.

Eske's Brewery/Restaurant -- ate here by default because I was slow to get moving toward dinner on Sunday night after a day of skiing, and there didn't seem to be many other options. Food is serviceable but unremarkable. If you are a fan of brew-pubs, they do a nice job with their house beers. I had the 10,000 Foot Stout, which had nice chocolate and coffee flavors.

For future reference, there is a magazine/newsletter that focuses on Northern New Mexico restaurants/cuisine. It can help deconstruct the ABQ, Santa Fe, Taos food scene before you head that direction.

Link: http://www.lacocinita.com/

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