This time of year, conversations at Chow Bella meetings tend to turn to who's eaten what -- where. With the summer travel season in full swing, we bring you Food Tours, our writers' suggestions of what to eat and drink out of town.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, has an epic "dine local" scene going. The most often asked question might be "red or green" regarding chile (if you're unsure, answer "Christmas"). Whether you go in the summertime for the annual Indian Market, like we did, or take a drive over in the winter for skiing or cooking lessons at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, the mix of offerings and culinary craftsmanship in the "City Different" will keep you coming back for more. In no particular order . . .
See also: 10 Things to Eat and Drink in Manhattan.
Huevos Motuleños at Cafe Pasqual's
One of the most colorful restaurants in Santa Fe serves up this breakfast dish from the town of Motul that includes banana and peas. Yes, you read that correctly. Essentially it's a mix of a corn tortilla, black beans, eggs over easy, feta cheese, sautéed banana, feta, peas and tomatillo salsa. It might be $14, but it's the perfect thing to eat before making the long drive back to Phoenix. Sadly, it's not terribly photogenic. If breakfast isn't your thing, they have a wonderful dinner as well -- but you'll want to make reservations. 121 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe, 505-983-9340 pasquals.com
Chocolate Chai at The Chocolate Maven If you get chile-ed out, stop in at The Chocolate Maven. Amazing pastries (you can watch them make them through a large window in the dining area), breakfast ideas like blue-corn blueberry pancakes, and hearty egg dishes -- and no matter what you order, you will need the chocolate chai tea. The smell wafting off this thing will weaken your knees and prepare you for the excellent food you're about the devour. 821 W. San Mateo Rd. Santa Fe, 505-984-1980 chocolatemaven.com
Pretty Much Anything to Drink at Secreto, the Lounge at Hotel St. Francis Santa Fe is a town that likes to drink, and, yes, being the City Different, they bring it. We tried a variety of their handcrafted, award-winning cocktails at this sexy lounge including the Agave Way, a pleasing mix of red grapes, New Mexico green chile, Espolón Reposado Tequila, lime juice, agave nectar and the Spicy Secreto that won first place in the 2010 "Shake It Up! Competition." It's a mysterious mix of cucumbers, lime juice, cane syrup, cachaça, elderflower liqueur and a touch of spice. See their full menu here. If you're not tipsy when you leave, you didn't try enough of their menu. 210 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe, 505-983-5700 hotelstfrancis.com
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Chile Cheddar Fries at the Cowgirl BBQ You'll find a mix of locals and tourists at this spot near the city center, and for good reason. No one is above ordering some comfort food done right. Whether you're sitting on the patio with a beer or inside with an order of scallops, start your meal right with chile cheddar fries. Nothing completed, just green chile. That's what you're in New Mexico for after all isn't it? 319 S Guadalupe St, Santa Fe, 505-982-2565 cowgirlsantafe.com
Breakfast Burrito at the Pantry The Pantry is known at Santa Fe's meeting place and has been open in 1948. The dishes are pretty straightforward but made with a certain . . . something. You can't go wrong with a breakfast burrito here, with green chile of course. 820 Cerrillos Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505 505-986-0022 pantrysantafe.com