Here Comes Santa Claus Fe

The only bad thing about our stay in Santa Fe (the second night of our road trip) was the Cherry Vodka Lemonade She had at a sports bar.

After our disappointing experience at Gruet, we decided to drive north to Santa Fe for the night. Looking through the guide book we came across an inexpensive but recommended motel on a “seedy stretch” three minutes from downtown that was conveniently located across from the town’s only strip club: Cheeks. Gotta love that name.

We were immediately charmed by Silver Saddle Motel’s Western kitsch and super friendly manager. No need to be put off by the supposedly “seedy” stretch. This place is close to downtown, comfortable, and, umm, $40 a night. Seriously. We were given #8, the Billy the Kid room, as commemorated by a plaque and a picture of Emilo Estevez above the bed.

We ventured into the quaint downtown that looked just how the Holidays should: all sparkles and snow and full of good cheer. It was super cold and the air was thin. We huffed and puffed and shivered and then stopped at the Catamount Bar before dinner (cherry vodka is terrible, Maker’s Mark is not).

The restaurant we had Yelp’d opened at 5:30 and we got there as soon as the doors opened–along with forty other people. We knew nothing about the place other than the 95 positive reviews and the James Beard Award hanging in the window. Café Pasqual’s was awesome. We got the last two seats available at the communal table next to a blowhard and his hippy wife from Georgia and a large (aka big boned) blue blood family from Houston.

At some point He and the blowhard struck up a conversation and it was revealed that the blowhard is an architect. I said “me too”, and then the big boned wife from Houston said “me too”. And then the blowhards wife says that she too has a degree in architecture. Weird. 4 of the 6 adults from different places in the US at a communal table in Santa Fe, NM have degrees in architecture. But, like most architects, they were all kind of annoying–especially the blowhard (the downside of the communal table).

We scooted our chairs closer to each other and ordered and ate a fantastic meal. All produce and meats are organic and with a Southwestern flavor. Deciding we had maybe been a bit harsh on the Gruet people we decided to try a bottle of Chardonnay. It was both creamy and crisp and matched well with Her spicy Chicken Mole Enchiladas and His Plato Supremo (Chile Relleno and Chicken Mole Enchilada, and a Taco Barbacoa, and Fresh Corn Torte with Cilantro Rice).

We skipped dessert and had a glass of Côte de Perrin “Nature” Côte de Rhône 2007 instead.

It was still early, but we were tuckered out. We decided to head back to the Emilio Estevez as Billy the Kid room and rest for a bit and then hit the town’s one punk bar and Cheeks, of course. It was very cold by now, so we cuddled up in the bed with the heat on and the next thing we knew it was 9AM.

We really want to go back to Santa Fe, so much so that we are re-thinking our route home. Maybe another stop in Santa Fe after Marfa. See you at the Silver Saddle.

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