New Mexico Road Trip – Day Three
7.1.11 § 12 Comments
Day three of the road trip (Can you call it a road trip if you spend like three days in one place? I’m going to.) was supposed to be our last day in Santa Fe. I woke up in a great mood because I knew we were going to eat at my (up until then) favorite restaurant in Santa Fe, Tune Up Cafe. This place Rocks. My. Socks.
The first time I went there was with a then-boyfriend who was visiting New Mexico for the first time. He ordered the special of steak and eggs, and, like everything in New Mexico, it was smothered in chili. Christmas style. I had the rockingest breakfast burrito Of. All. Time. I know. It may sound extreme. But in my memory we were still happy in love (my boyfriend and me, not the burrito and me…we’re still happy together), and this breakfast was a moment when all was right in the world. So, needless to say I was excited to go back to my love. My darling. My burrito.
There are so many awesome-looking things on the menu here. My mom has tried a lot of them and assures me that everything is lick-your-plate good, but I was not to be deterred. The breakfast burrito, please. With bacon. And avocado. Smothered. Christmas style. It. Was. Bliss. I know. I’m still sounding a bit too enthusiastic about this burrito, but y’all, it is my second favorite burrito in the whole world, and I’m telling you, actually…I don’t know what I’m telling you…I lost my train of thought looking at that burrito picture.
My mom had the combination lunch plate, which came with a chicken pesto quesadilla, a side salad, and, wait for it, chilled corn-avocado soup. The salad and quesadilla were pretty run of the mill, good, but not spectacular. But the soup? Oh the soup! I love all things avocado, but I was hesitant about eating it in soup form. I don’t know why. Avocado is always good. And the Tune Up kids know what they’re doing. This is where it’s at, folks.
So, after Tune Up, we walked around Santa Fe looking for something a friend had asked me to get for him. We couldn’t find what he wanted, but we spent enough money on…well, other things. Whoops.
As we were getting ready to make the 1.5 hour drive from Santa Fe to our family’s cabin near Rociada, NM, I decided it would be prudent for us to eat once more before leaving town. We played the phone-a-friend card to get some more recommendations and ended up going to The Shed, which we were told had “the best red chili.” Turns out what The Shed really has are the best margaritas. Mom and I had one with our meal (which was great, we’ll get to that in a minute), and then, we decided to let fate decide our course. “Okay, we’ll call the inn (that we just checked out of this morning), and if they have a room available tonight, and if they give us a good price, we’ll order another margarita and stay the night.” They had a good room. At a good price.
The food was really good too. We started off with guacamole and chips. Now, when it comes to guacamole, my mom and I are tough customers. We’ve been known to ask for extra lemons to squeeze into the bowl, to add copious amounts of salt, etc. But this guac was pretty great, and it was spicy, which was a nice change. I didn’t ask what was in it…and I’m blaming that brainfart on the margarita(s).
For dinner we split a combination plate: a blue corn, ground beef enchilada topped with red chili, a chili relleno (which, for those of you who don’t know, is a chili pepper stuffed with cheese then breaded and fried) topped with green chili, beans, and posole. The meal was really good, as was the red chili, though I’m not sure I’d call it “best ever.” It is worth mentioning, however, that The Shed received a James Beard “American Classic” award in 2003. And it’s been around for like fifty years or something crazy like that.
Bottom line (well, my bottom line, I don’t pretend to be an authority on the matter), if you’ve got two days in Santa Fe, I’d say you have to haveto havetohaveto go to Tune Up Cafe. You can skip The Shed though, because the next morning mom and I did succeed in finding my favorite ever red chili. Thank god for that second margarita! Without it I wouldn’t be able to tell you where you have to haveto havetohaveto go for red-chili-smothered everything. Stay tuned.