We spent an entire day exploring Santa Fe, starting with breakfast at the Café Fina, one of Robert and Ingrid’s favorite restaurants in Santa Fe. Fresh and organic, and not in the middle of town, we had a very relaxing breakfast and then headed to Santa Fe. Originally named La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Assisi, it was thankfully shortened to Santa Fe. It was the first designated UNESCO Creative City for craft and folk arts and design, and boasts the third largest collection of art galleries in the United States. It is the nations oldest capital city at 406 years old and also the highest in elevation at 7,000 feet.
We headed to the Farmers Market, located in the Railyard-Guadalupe District, where you not only can find the market, but also any number of one-of-a-kind boutiques, cafés, restaurants and outdoor music venues. Winters in northern New Mexico can be long and cold and the fresh vegetables were just getting to market so the offerings were not as bountiful as later in the summer, but we did find enough for a few dinners. Jan got an earful from a local vendor, we went to the meat man and bought a bunch of sausages, checked out a colorful linen store and the local music scene, and Robert and Jan checked out a local artist’s mural.
Not too many of these left…
Check out the little old lady jamming to the music!
We headed downtown and walked around the historic Old Town Plaza where one finds a blend of the past mixed with a contemporary vibe. It is still the center of action, replete with museums, galleries and restaurants. Jan and Ingrid did some shopping for the girls in China while Robert and I wandered around, sat on benches and took in the scene.
The night before, I think, we had had Frito Pie, a new experience for me and Jan.It’s pretty much what it sounds like, some chili piled over fritos and garnished with onions and cheese and cilantro if you so choose. But it is a little more serious than that. Both New Mexico and Texas lay claim to having invented it and the rivalry between the two states is fierce. New Mexico claims it was invented at a Woolworth’s in Santa Fe, now a Five and Dime, the Texan one was dreamed up by the mother of the fellow who invented fritos. Found often at baseball games and probably other outdoor sporting events as well, it is served in the frito bag and one eats it with a plastic fork. New Mexicans put beans in the chili, Texans DO NOT. Ingrid does not like her fritos on the bottom, instead she covers the chili with the fritos and garnishes. There is no right way I’m sure, but all I know is that it was a first for me. I don’t have Ingrid’s recipe, but it closely resembles the one I found from the blog The Pioneer Woman, who makes it the classic and messy way. You gotta try it once. And use a plate – the bag can’t be that strong.
Old Town Santa Fe is very colorful, vibrant, artsy and touristy. As you know, if you have been reading my blogs, I love color, doors, benches, hallways and old buildings. The architecture of New Mexico is unique and Santa Fe was no exception.
The New Mexico Museum of Art.
The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is located just off Old Town Plaza and has ongoing exhibits of her work.
I wondered if Todd Webb would be in the exhibit and sure enough he was. Todd, and his wife Lucille, were old friends of my parents dating back to when we lived in Paris when my father worked for the Marshall Plan after World War II. They remained friends, Todd and Lucille having a home in Connecticut not far from where we had one and later a house in France, in Aix-en Provence, a day trip to Baigts-en Chalosse, where my parents lived most of the year. He was a world renowned photographer and Georgia O’Keeffe became one of his closest friends and colleagues.
A great collection!
Our last little trek took us to Canyon Road via auto, a mile-long street with over 100 art galleries ranging from modern art and sculpture to Native American weaving, ceramics and jewelry. The old world architecture has been kept while some on-going restorations and preservations are executed, and while we didn’t get out of the car, it was enough of a tease to make sure we return. Great day with Robert and Ingrid.