WHERE TO EAT
526 Galisteo Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505/820-0919; restaurantmartinsantafe.com)
The menu at Restaurant Martin is ingredient-driven New American, but enlivened by the imagination of Chef Martin Rios. He wraps yam and ricotta in a puff of dough and calls it strudel; dresses duck breast with piñon puree and a cinnamon jus; whips sorbet from green apple and basil, and somehow makes it work with a buttery apple-walnut cake. He even switches elbows out for orzo in his version of mac n' cheese, so the noodles better soak up the truffle cream they're swaddled in.
Rancho de Chimayo
300 County Road 98, Chimayo, NM 87501 (505/351-4444; ranchodechimayo.com)
A visit to the chile-farming village of Chimayo, thirty minutes north of Santa Fe, should probably always end with a meal at Rancho de Chimayo. The food is simple, filling, and thoroughly New Mexican: among other things, there's carne adovada (pork swathed in a thick red chile gravy), pozole (white corn stew), and chiles rellenos with Jack cheese and green chile salsa. And don't forget sopapilla, the puffy fried bread that comes with every entree—it's best hot, dipped in a bit of honey.
Luminaria at the Loretto
211 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (800/727-5531; innatloretto.com)
Even if you don't book a room in the Inn at the Loretto, Luminaria, its dining room, is worth a try. The sage brush cocktail, a muddle of herb, simple syrup, prairie vodka, and lime, is a great place to start. Move on to a plate of garlic shrimp and Spanish chorizo accompanied by paprika gravy that you can sop up with toast. The polenta fries are good, too—soft and breaded, spooned with tomato compote and a grassy goat's cheese.
WHAT TO DO
Classes at the Santa Fe School of Cooking
125 North Guadalupe Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505/983-4511; santafeschoolofcooking.com) Class prices vary.
Learn firsthand about Southwestern cooking with one of the Santa Fe School of Cooking's ten-plus classes and culinary "boot camps." You can try anything from chile workshops (one for green, another for red) to salsa-, tamale-, and hot sauce-making lessons. Each class leaves room for experimentation, as in the tamale class, where you might spend one day stuffing the corn husks with chile and pork, and another with duck confit and cherry-barbecue sauce.
"New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate, y Mas" at the Museum of International Folk Art
706 Camino Lejo, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505/476-1200; internationalfolkart.org)
Santa Fe's Museum of International Folk Art opens its newest exhibit on December 9, 2012. Curated by Nicolasa Chavez, the exhibit focused on the mestizaje, or mixing, of Old and New World cuisines in New Mexico. Viewers walk through different rooms, each of which displays antique cooking equipment from both sides of the ocean (molinillos, for example, which were used to froth hot chocolate, and which vary in material by geographic region). On your way out, try the special menu developed for the exhibit at the nearby Museum Hill Cafe.
Santa Fe Railyard Farmers Market and Artisan Market
1607 Paseo de Peralta #1, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505/983-4098; santafefarmersmarket.com). Tuesdays and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Artisans Market on Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
It feels like all of Santa Fe comes out to the Railyard Farmers Market, especially on weekend mornings, when artisan vendors are there selling hand-painted gourds, jewelry, and raku pottery. The crowd is fun: people chat, laugh, and gather around street musicians and break-dancing kids. Bring a big bag for food purchases—you'll want to pick up plenty of New Mexican gouda, local pistachios, and bags of still-smoking, roasted chiles.
Georgia O'Keeffe Museum
217 Johnson Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505/946-1000; okeeffemuseum.org). General admission: $12. Open daily; hours vary.
Georgia O'Keeffe, who pioneered American modernist art with her paintings of over-large flowers and bright-colored abstractions, spent many summers, and the last years of her life, in Santa Fe. She found inspiration in the landscape and culture; this museum, now in its fifteenth year, is an homage to her life and oeuvre.
WHERE TO STAY
La Fonda on the Plaza
_100 East San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (505/982-5511; lafondasantafe.com) _
There's been a hotel this corner some two hundred years, locals say; some even place it further back, to three or four hundred years. La Fonda, the current iteration, has been around since the early 1900's, and in the years and renovations since, has preserved its history—in the folk art on the walls, the adobe fireplaces, the hand-painted windows around the old-fashioned dining room. There are modern comforts, too: a spa, a rooftop bar, and a string of Santa Fe's best boutiques right outside the door.
La Posada de Santa Fe
330 East Palace Avenue, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (855/274-LAPO (5276); laposadadesantafe.com)
Once a sanctuary for the likes of Will Shuster and Georgia O'Keeffe, La Posada keeps its creative tradition strong, employing an on-site curator who oversees over 600 pieces of art. Many of these pieces are on display in and around the main house, a converted nineteenth-century mansion that also houses Fuego, La Posada's global Latin restaurant, and Staab House, the jazzy hotel bar. Guests stay in adobe casitas fringing the mansion, where they have easy access to La Posada's spa, bar, and poolside cafe.
_ 1501 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501 (855/825-9876; bishopslodge.com)_
A few minutes' drive out of downtown Santa Fe brings you the best view in the city: the mountain-forest landscape around Bishop's Lodge, bright in the sun and fragrant with piñon trees. Guests at the Lodge can take full advantage of their surroundings with complimentary use of equipment for mountain biking, horseback riding, bird watching, hiking, even lawn games. Best of all are the sunset cookouts, held at the top of the mesa with a several grills, a big fire pit, and fare that ranges from rattlesnake-rabbit sausage to chocolate bread pudding.