Enjoy 2018 Santa Fe Restaurant Week

Note: As many of you know, Billie left us last October. I decided to keep the blog up. I will post occasionally. I’m shifting my focus to solitary travel (and travelers to Santa Fe). Billie and I shared an office for many years. I enjoyed our years of working together and miss them but I’m not ready to give up the blog. I’ll make gradual changes. I’ve gotten a lot of good advice about taking time adjusting to my situation. I’m making changes but at a pace that feels right for me. More about that as this evolves…

Chile chocolate mousse at Casa Chimayó, photo Carlos Zozaya

It’s Santa Fe Restaurant Week again, running from tomorrow, Sunday, February 18th through Sunday, February 25th. Try a new restaurant that you’ve been wondering about or get a good dining deal at an old favorite. Besides great deals from the participating restaurants, many of them offer special events, ranging from Signature Agave Margarita and House-Made Salt Tasting at Casa Chimayó to whiskey, tequila and cocktail tastings and classes in all manner of food making. Chef Cristian Pontiggia of El Nido will even teach you how to make mozzarella cheese. All of the restaurant menus and their special events are on the Restaurant Week website. All of the restaurant links below are to their Santa Fe Restaurant Week menus. Thanks to Carlos Zozaya inviting me along and for taking some great photos!

This week I got to sample some of this year’s Santa Fe Restaurant Week offerings. I know, it’s a tough job…

The Santa Fe Restaurant Week menu of Midtown Bistro ($35 per person) features creations of Executive Chef Angel Estrada. I loved the grilled Scottish salmon, with Israeli couscous and a decadent caviar buerre blanc. The menu also features veal osso bucco and a locally sourced rib-eye steak with a red wine demi-glace.

Grilled Scottish salmon with saffron Israeli Couscous, and Tobiko Caviar Beurre Blanc, photo Carlos Zozaya

The $15 menu of the Plaza Café Southside offers a selection of tacos (my favorite were the crispy avocado tacos but you can also get crispy Baja fish tacos or chicken mole enchiladas) or a great green chile cheeseburger made with locally sourced beef. Start with green chile stew and finish with a tres leches cupcake. Everything is made from scratch.

Crispy avocado tacos: fresh avocado coated with quinoa, sesame and poppy seeds, photo Carlos Zozaya

If you haven’t yet tasted the northern New Mexico comfort food of Casa Chimayó you owe it to yourself to do it soon. What better time than Restaurant Week! Their $25 per person menu features time tested comfort food as it has been made by abuelas (and abuelos) in Chimayó from recipes handed down through generations. Posole is not just for New Year’s here. The locally sourced grass-fed lamb chop is rubbed with coffee and coriander and grilled. The chile enogada is a unique take on a traditional specialty, a poblano pepper filled with a mixture of lean steak, apricot, pinions and raisins and drizzled with a creamy walnut sauce, and adorned with pomegranate seeds, pinions, and cilantro

Nativo Posole: colorful hominy with pork made in the traditional way, photo Carlos Zozaya

La Casa Sena’s $45 menu has a fabulous apricot glazed Muscovy duck breast stuffed with apple and chestnut and served with bacon celeriac puree. Their osso bucco is made with pork shank, slow-braised and delicious, or you can get pan-seared trout with artichoke risotto cakes and lemon caper oregano sauce. Start with hoisin braised pork belly, their classic poblano cream soup or a salad of baby kale, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds and tequila vinaigrette.

Stuffed Muscovy duck breast: apple-chestnut stuffing wrapped in honey and bacon over celeriac puree with sherry apricot glaze, photo Carlos Zozaya

Have you been to Milad Persian Bistro yet? This quiet spot is on Canyon Road between Geronimo and El Farol. Their $25 menu features classic Persian specialties. My favorite entrée was boneless trout stuffed with walnuts, barberries, garlic and tarragon. Other entrees include roasted vegetables in a walnut and pomegranate stew, a leg quarter of braised chicken with carrots and dried plums and diced beef and split peas with sun dried lime basmati rice. Start with eggplant and walnut served with house made and wood-fired oven baked pita, or carrot and beet falafels, hummus and vegetables or crispy saffron rice layered with turmeric chicken and barberries.

Milad Persian Bistro’s pan-seared trout, stuffed with walnuts, barberries, garlic and tarragon

Julia, A Spirited Restaurant and Bar, at La Posada, offers a lunch restaurant week menu for $20 or a dinner menu for $35. I sampled offerings from the dinner menu. The piquillo relleno, a sweet mild pepper filled with smoked chile con queso and a lime aioli dip was my favorite appetizer, but olives poached in olive oil came in a close second for me. Tough choices for entrée, too but I loved the pan-seared striped bass accompanied by quinoa pilaf and tomato ceviche. Go with friends and share so you won’t have to choose.

Pan-seared striped bass accompanied by quinoa pilaf and tomato ceviche, photo Carlos Zozaya

It was a tough job having to sample all of this wonderful food but I enjoyed it. It’s great to know our city has a thriving diverse and innovative culinary scene. This is but a small taste of the offerings of Santa Fe’s finest chefs that you can taste next week. Treat yourself. Bring a friend. You’ll love it and you might learn about a new restaurant or two!

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8 Responses to “Enjoy 2018 Santa Fe Restaurant Week”

  1. Suzanne Fluhr
    February 17, 2018 at 5:00 pm #

    Best wishes as you carry on the blog, Steve.I know Billie would have approved. I think even I could have survived (indeed, flourished in) Santa Fe Restaurant week. Some of these dishes have no mention of chile.

    • Steve Collins
      February 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm #

      Thank you, Suzanne! Yes, believe it or not, it’s actually possible to eat food here that doesn’t have chile.

  2. Carol Kirkpatrick
    February 17, 2018 at 5:46 pm #

    Hello Steve…I am a friend of Carole Applegarth..and was supposed to travel with her to Santa Fe but could not make it this trip…I have been looking at your posts and enjoying them very much..Years ago I had a restaurant in Oklahoma City..loved to cook..My condolences on the loss of your wife…I recently lost my partner and I empathize with anyone who goes through grief.Carole thinks highly of you and I would have enjoyed meeting you…I have visited Santa Fe several times over the years and at one point was hoping to move there..I also had a friend who was a psychologistin Santa Fe for years…We grew up together in Michigan…My best wishes to you in your endeavors…Carol Kirkpatrick

    • Steve Collins
      February 17, 2018 at 6:41 pm #

      Thank you for your encouragement, Carol! Yes, I would have enjoyed meeting you. Let’s stay in contact! May I email you?

  3. Vera Marie Badertscher
    February 17, 2018 at 6:13 pm #

    Steve, I’m so glad you’re going to carry on the blog. I’ll look forward to seeing your great pictures and food stories and other tidbits. It is also a tribute to Billlie’s work for you to keep this going!
    Vera Marie Badertscher recently posted..Pension Application: Is This Adam Stahler THE Adam Stahler?My Profile

    • Steve Collins
      February 17, 2018 at 6:39 pm #

      Thank you for the support, Vera! You are absolutely correct that it’s a tribute to Billie’s hard work. She sets a high bar but I will work on developing my own style. It’s a work in progress.

  4. Wendy
    February 18, 2018 at 7:20 pm #

    Glad to see you are carrying on with the blog, Steve. Sorry we won’t make in time for restaurant week. I am sure there will be plenty of fun things to do in April when we arrive.

    • Steve Collins
      February 18, 2018 at 8:09 pm #

      Thanks, Wendy! I am still getting back up to speed about things happening but April usually has things going on. Hello to Tom!

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