Spent 2 1/2 days in Sante Fe with some good food and some surprises. First the surprises. The nicest surprise was Counter Culture, on Baca St. off Cerillos, which had delightful (inexpensive!) food in a sort of rehabbed industrial setting, very casual, you order at a counter, pick up your own utinsels, then they bring the food--for breakfast I had an excellent fritatta--grilled peppers, potatoes and feta cheese-- with a mixture of greens and my companion a good omlette with excellent home fries for about $12total--they also serve an evening menu that sounded pretty good--salmon with mango salsa listed at $12, yum--and have some interesting wines and beers listed ie run dog flying snake dog beer (I think I've got this right!) And I swear something like Rasta Imperialistic Revolution Beer. Must be local. I definitely Plan to go back for dinner sometime.
I also tried the Guadalajara Grill, which had been recommended as a good Mexican seafood place--the seafood did all seemed to be fresh, although I found My Guadalajara Shrimp, served over carne asada (grilled beef) not bad but bland--my husband's spicy wild salmon, a special, was much better, and came with yummy roasted veggies--corn, tomatoes, green beans, lima beans, really tastey. Refried Beans were good and tortilla's tasted homemade to me. We had beer--came to $40 or so. Nice staff.
Our last surprise, although a bit expensive, was our meal at Amaya, the Native American Cuisine restaurant in Hotel Sante Fe, where we stayed. We decided to eat there so we didn't have to go out, and were at first nicely suprised--lovely room, low ceilings with vigas, a kiva fireplace, a live musician playing on Indian flute (Friday night)/ good staff--both the hostess and our waiter were french speakers and showed a real dedication, without being instrusive or intimidating, to giving us a good meal. I had a simple mixed green salad that was dressed absolutely right, right down to rubbing the bowl with garlick. My chicken was served sliced on the bone,with a burgandy reduction sauce and wild rice cooked with homemade pork sausage--very good! My husband took their mixed grill, which included buffalo sausage, venison, quail and, I think, a lamp chop, all of them seasoned or marinaded differently before they grilled them--it was excellent. And his desert, cheesecake (I think ginger) served with butter pecan icecream, was BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE! We were feeling very relaxed until we got the bill, which was $140 including tip--Major for us! (That included wine, coffe, cointreau) Oh well, money flies when you're eating well. In the future, though, I might just go back for dessert and coffee!
We also had a very nice meal at El Farol, Sante Fe's deservedly well thought of tapas place on Canyon Rd., where many of the art galleries cluster: excellent fried calimari, spinach with raisins and pine nuts (love it!), a lamp chop (my husband), and some peppery grilled shrimp. An expensive and disappointing bottle of wine--a Spanish white--but ont he other hand exquisite deserts. I had a flourless mocha chocolate cake with whipped cream, scattered with raisins soaked in, I think, orange liquer--every bite was a rush. My husband had an apple crip sort of thing, with nuts, also yummy. I would definitely go back,maybe on flamenco night next time, but I think I would order sherry by the glass rather than a bottle of more ordinary wine. They have a terrific selection, as they do of aged tequilas. Service is nice, quiet and unobstrusive--the building is old Sante Fe, pleasant--a good experience
Now back to albuquerque and green chili--I can't wait!