Southwestern Flavors in Santa Fe

New Mexico is known for its chili peppers and the southwestern food that is made with them. We were only in Santa Fe for a couple of days, but that didn’t keep us from trying as many different options as we could. As a town, Santa Fe has a growing reputation for having a food scene with creative chefs and restaurants with interesting menus. We focused our attention on the historic downtown area, but there are excellent restaurants throughout Santa Fe.

San Francisco Street Bar and Grill
Grilled Corn and Chipotle Soup
Mexican Style Lager

Southwestern food is generally Mexican inspired food with an American flair. We had burritos filled with pork marinated in red chilis as well as Huevos Rancheros. We also had tempura battered green chilis as well as a delicious grilled corn and chipotle soup. Obviously there is more to the food in Santa Fe than just southwestern, it is just that they are known for that style of food. We also had a wonderful prime rib dinner at the Ranch House, although we were so hungry that we didn’t end up taking any photos of the dish. We stopped at a place called Harry’s Roadhouse on our way out of town, which featured traditional diner food that was so popular that cars had to park on the road as the parking lot was full.

Huevos Rancheros
Fried Green Chilis
Pork Burritos with Spicy Green Chili Sauce

Needless to say, we needed to have something cold to drink while we ate, especially with the hot summer temperatures. New Mexico has a variety of local breweries and brew pubs and we enjoyed a few different beers at the Blue Corn Brewery as well as the Second Street Brewery, which is in the Railyard Arts District. Perhaps as popular as beer are the margaritas, so we made sure to stop into the San Francisco Street Bar and Grill for a couple of their happy hour margaritas. They were a perfect mid-afternoon treat and weren’t too sour, which can sometimes be the case.

Brown Ale
Before the Bar Got Full

Clearly we didn’t have enough time to sample everything that Santa Fe has to offer, but we definitely enjoyed the meals that we did have. Anyone visiting Santa Fe will be pleased with all of the offerings. As always, be sure to ask your hotel staff and cab drivers for recommendations, you will often find that pleasant surprise. We ended up at Harry’s Roadhouse based upon a recommendation and we certainly weren’t disappointed. We look forward to recreating some of these wonderful dishes in the very near future.

Oatmeal with Apples, Walnuts, and Brown Sugar
Diner Breakfast
Just Part of Harry’s Roadhouse


Enjoying Food and Beer in Alamosa, Colorado

Alamosa is a small town in southern Colorado that has a lot of historic charm. We enjoyed spending a weekend there while we visited the Great Sand Dunes. As is typical of the region, there are plenty of Mexican restaurants, but there are plenty of other choices as well. It was very hot during our visit, so having a cold beer that was locally brewed was also a must. In addition to the restaurants, there was a local fair going on and we enjoyed walking through it and visiting the various tents.

San Luis Valley Brewing Company
Walking Around the Fair
Spicy Caribbean Pasta with Shrimp
Tortillas Made to Order

We went to a casual Italian restaurant that is actually in an old movie theater that has been redecorated to become a quaint bistro. We had read before going that they offered half portions on their pasta, providing the opportunity to share two different options. Considering the size of the half portions, a full portion would have definitely been too much for the two of us. We had homemade lasagna as well as a very spicy Caribbean with shrimp. Both were very delicious and we took the leftovers from the Bistro Rialto back home with us.

Italian Bistro
Homemade Lasagna
Funnel Cakes and Other Food at the Fair
Alamosa Amber Ale

We stopped at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company a couple of times and enjoyed their Alamosa Amber as well as their Valle Caliente, which is a lager soaked on Hatch Chile. The lager had a little heat to it, but overall the taste was very smooth. We did, of course, visit a very popular Mexican restaurant that actually served an all-day buffet. We don’t eat enough to take advantage of an all-you-can-eat buffet, so we ordered a pork burrito, but the food on the buffet was fresh and very popular. It was our last meal before leaving Alamosa and in some ways we wish we would have found Calvillo’s sooner.

Mexican Buffet
Pork Burrito with Salsa Verde
Valle Caliente Lager
Local Beers

One thing that we enjoy about visiting smaller towns are the locally owned restaurants that use fresh food grown in the area. There are always a few chain restaurants, but we avoid those whenever possible. Having the opportunity to taste locally brewed beer that represents the tastes of the area is a definite benefit and almost expected in Colorado these days.

The Food of Scottsdale

The number of restaurants in the Scottsdale area is almost overwhelming. Since it is a resort area there are options to suit any food craving or dining style from formal to casual. When visiting Arizona, having some authentic Mexican food, or even just some southwestern food, is a must. There are also plenty of outdoor patio options, but during the summer heat, most people stayed indoors. There are also several brewery options that offer good pub food with a variety of local beers that were perfect on a hot afternoon, although not as many options as we have in Colorado.

Crab and Shrimp Stuffed Chili Relleno
Picante Macaroni and Cheese with Sausage
Mussels in White Wine Sauce

We should have known that this trip was going to be full of good food when we arrived at our resort on Saturday night to find out that the restaurant was offering a prime rib special. Two prime rib dinners, starter salads, and a bottle of wine for $40 and the prime rib was cooked to perfection. We almost always share a single dinner, so it was way too much food for the two of us, but it was too good of a deal to pass on.

Prime Rib Dinner with Corn and Potatoes
Sautéed Green Beans
Chili Pork Verde

We definitely took advantage of the many Mexican restaurants that are in the area. From a traditional pork carnitas burrito served enchilada style with fresh ingredients to a half of chicken with oregano, lime, and aji rocoto that was spicy, but delicious. We also had a wonderful pork and green chili queso and crab and shrimp stuffed chili rellenos. We love good Mexican food and we certainly were not disappointed with what we had in Scottsdale.

Carnitas Burrito Served Enchilada Style
Roasted Chicken
Guacamole Variation

Obviously, we had more than just Mexican food over the seven days that we spent in Scottsdale. One of the things that we found interesting was that almost every menu had some variation of macaroni and cheese on it, some with meat, some without, so we had to try one of each during the week. Another interesting treat were the pork wings appetizer that were bone-in pork shanks with a spicy barbeque sauce. We also had some salmon cakes and an interesting devilish egg dip as appetizers and really unique burger.

Devilish Egg Dip
Pork Wings

We definitely enjoyed the food that we ate while we were in Scottsdale. Clearly, with all of the restaurant choices available, you can spend quite a while in Scottsdale and never eat at the same place twice, but some of them are so good that you just have to go back again and again. Perhaps we will revisit Scottsdale in the fall at some point so that we can eat our way through more of the many choices.

Local Beers on Tap
Spicy Macaroni and Cheese
Salmon Cakes
Cold Local Beer