Santa Fe New Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit. Recently, Wade and I wanted to have a fast weekend get away, and our critieria was four hours away or less. That left us with a choice of Albuquerque NM, Ruidoso NM, or Santa Fe NM. We haven’t been to Santa Fe in a while so it won the contest! We weren’t disappointed in any way! Last minute internet searches for a reduced hotel rate got us a room at the awesome Eldorado Hotel and Spa, a member of the Preferred Hotel group. This hotel is located only 2 blocks from the plaza on W. San Francisco Street. The room was quiet, the bed very comfortable, and the bathroom clean with nice amenities. Their cocktail lounge, The Agave Lounge, makes a wonderful agave coin margarita. And the green chili cheese “Kobe” beef sliders were extremely yummy! We will definitely be back at the Eldorado. Another favorite place to stay is at the La Fonda Hotel which is at least 200 years old and is on the square. It is currently under renovation, but is and will always be an amazing place to stay.
The Eldorado Hotel and Spa
The La Fonda
After checking in to the hotel, we headed down to the plaza and decided to visit the Loretto Chapel. I have visited it several times before, but this was Wade’s first time. It is the most beautiful chapel. Two mysteries surround the spiral staircase in the Loretto Chapel: the identity of its builder and the physics of its construction.
When the Loretto Chapel was completed in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft twenty-two feet above. Carpenters were called in to address the problem, but they all concluded access to the loft would have to be via ladder as a staircase would interfere with the interior space of the small Chapel.
Legend says that to find a solution to the seating problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed, and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters’ prayers.
The stairway’s carpenter, whoever he was, built a magnificent structure. The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today.
The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway’s construction.
Over the years many have flocked to the Loretto Chapel to see the Miraculous Staircase. The staircase has been the subject of many articles, TV specials, and movies including “Unsolved Mysteries” and the television movie titled “The Staircase.”
Then it was dinner at Geronimo. Regretfully I didn’t think to get photos here. It was a very memorable meal…probably in our Top 3 ever. We had a delicious Bing Cherry and Proscuitto Salad with Baby arugula, Fresh Burrata, Port Reduction and Sweet Sherry Vinaigrette. My entree was Fiery Sweet Chili and Honey Grilled Mexican White Prawns with Jasmine Almond Rice Cakes, Frisee’ Red Onion Salad, and Yuzu Basil Aioli. Absolutely to die for! Wade had the Peppery Elk Tenderloin and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon with Roasted Garlic Fork-Mashed Potatoes, Sugar Snap Peas, and Creamy Brandied-Mushroom Sauce. He was equally impressed! To top it off we enjoyed a nice coffee and decadent mandarin orange tres leches cake. Go there! You will not be sorry! Geronimo Restaurant, 724 Canyon Rd., Santa Fe. Phone for reservations or use Open Table.
Here are 2 asses! Wade made this joke, not me!
Another fun thing to do is people watch from the Thunderbird Bar and Grill (formerly The Ore House) on their second story balcony overlooking the Plaza. We enjoyed great margaritas and chips and salsa, guacamole, and queso.
Looking out over the Plaza from the Thunderbird, you can see the Loretto Chapel in the distance.
The Indians are getting ready to sell their beautiful jewelry on the Plaza.
Great shopping in Santa Fe.
And of course, Jackalope, which has gotten huge!
After Jackalope it was time for lunch and Harry’s Roadhouse was just the spot. We opted for a hand shaken margarita and a gluten-free pizza. Our recent adventure of learning about gluten free foods has been a process of trial and error. It’s about learning which flours give the best results, and since we love to make pizza we decided to try it at Harry’s. This margherita pizza with proscuitto was delicious. The crust was tasty and crisp. I asked our waiter and he told me it was made from brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch. We tore into the pizza before I got the photo, so here is half of the pizza that was left!
On our last morning, we got in line outside the door 30 minutes before Cafe Pasqual’s opened for breakfast. We had tried to get a dinner reservation the evening before, but it was already full. Pasqual’s is one of those rare, amazing places that is always the same. Always consistently delicious year after year. It remains small with a community table, uses sustainable organic ingredients, and is the tastiest food ever! I ordered Huevos Rancheros with 2 eggs which most people get over easy, but I ordered mine medium, with black beans on a corn tortilla, red and green chile and melted jack. Wade ordered Huevos Barbacoa Con Chile D’Arbol Salsa. It was marinated, slow cooked shredded beef with 2 eggs on corn tortillas , refried beans, and cotija cheese. We thought we had died and gone to heaven! After practically licking our bowls, I asked our waiter for dessert. Wade thought I was crazy until he took a bite of the Lemon Meringe Tartlet. It was completely amazing! You will love Cafe Pasqual’s. Be sure to pick up one of their new cookbooks, “Cooking With Cafe Pasqual’s”, their second book. The first cookbook was published in 1993, “Cafe Pasqual’s Cookbook”. The executive chef and founder of Pasqual’s is Katharine Kagel. In 1999 Cafe Pasqual’s received the James Beard America’s Regional Cooking Classics award and Kagel was nominated for Best Chef: Southwest that same year.
It was time to head for home, but first we stopped by Trader Joe’s and loaded up some great groceries, a pineapple plant, and a beautiful huge basil plant! We are already talking about our next weekend getaway to Santa Fe!