A feast of fabulous flavors awaits you in Santa Fe County, one of the world’s top food destinations. Try hearty green chile stew, red chile-marinated carne adovada and other traditional northern New Mexican fare in a revered restaurant. Sample tasty dishes featuring African spices and sauces at a charming adobe restaurant with stunning mountain views. Dine on New Mexican and American classics at a historic saloon and eating house. To get you inspired for your epicurean adventure, we’ve included an easy recipe for carne adovada (New Mexico-Style Pork with Red Chile). This traditional northern New Mexico dish is popular during the holidays and all year long. Buen Provecho (enjoy), and don’t forget to pack your appetite!
Timeless Culinary Traditions
The unique cuisine of northern New Mexico is shaped by a rich blend of cultures across the centuries, starting with the Ancient Puebloan people. The staple ingredients they coaxed from the soil to make their food included the Three Sisters—corn, beans and squash that, like sisters, nurture each other as they grow. When the Spanish arrived starting in the 16th century, they brought fruit trees, sheep and other food sources to the region, influencing Pueblo cuisine. The two cultures mingled ingredients and techniques, resulting in northern New Mexico culinary traditions that have been handed down through generations. Dishes like posole and tamales are made by families and served in restaurants all year long, although they’re also holiday favorites. On Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve, the whole family will pitch in to help with the labor-intensive task of assembling and hand-tying tamales. Biscochitos, a beloved Christmas cookie flavored with anise, are also enjoyed throughout the year. Foods like this, made from the heart and carrying on timeless traditions, are simply too good to be savored only once a year.
A New Mexico Classic
To experience the authentic flavors of traditional northern New Mexico cuisine, head to Rancho de Chimayó Restaurante, winner of a coveted America’s Classic award from the James Beard Foundation. For more than 50 years, this renowned restaurant has served delectable New Mexico fare in a 19th-century adobe ranch home. Regional dishes such as green chile stew, carne asada, chile rellenos and other favorites are all made from family recipes. “Mrs. J,” aka Florence Jaramillo, a New Mexico Culinary Treasure, will likely be on hand to greet you. She and her husband, Chimayó native Arturo Jaramillo, restored the ancestral family home in order to open the restaurant in 1965.
Open Tuesdays – Sundays, 11:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m. (last seating, 7:30 p.m.) Breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Closed on Mondays.
Somewhere in Time
Step inside The Legal Tender Saloon & Eating House and travel back in time to America’s railroad heyday. Located in the historic railroad town of Lamy, this beloved landmark dates to 1881 and is steeped in the atmosphere of the Old West. A handsome saloon lit by sparkling chandeliers leads to dining rooms infused with history. The menu offers New Mexican and American classics such as green chile stew and pan-seared Ruby Trout. For dessert, the seasonal fruit cobbler with red chile honey drizzle and whipped cream pays tribute to fruits long grown in the region, including apples, peaches and apricots.
Open Fridays-Sundays, noon to 6:30 p.m.
The multicultural influences in New Mexico’s melting pot include the vibrant cuisine from African chef Ahmed Obo, whose blend of Caribbean, Indian, East African, and North African flavors has long thrilled diners at Santa Fe’s Jambo Café. This year, Obo expanded with the opening of Jambo Bobcat Bite in the Old Las Vegas Highway location that once housed the iconic Bobcat Bite. Breakfast and lunch offerings include house made banana bread French toast; Ethiopian berbere sauce with curried crab plantain fritters; a Moroccan spiced lamb burger; and, in a nod to Bobcat Bite, a juicy green chile cheeseburger with Chimayó red chile aioli.
Open Mondays-Saturdays; breakfast 8 a.m.-11 a.m.; lunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Top Honors to Bishop’s Lodge
It won’t surprise anyone who’s stayed at Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection – Santa Fe to learn that the resort, which re-opened in 2021, has earned high accolades from Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2023. The resort landed the No. 1 spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s Top 20 Resorts in the Mountain West, and the No. 10 spot on Condé Nast Traveler’s Best Resorts in the World. Condé Nast Traveler describes the resort as “a high-end yet unpretentious place to immerse oneself in nature, adventure, spiritual healing, and local traditions, bundled in the signature comfort, style, and authenticity of the Auberge Resorts Collection.” The SkyFire restaurant gets a shout-out, too, for its sophisticated Southwestern dishes, including chicken enchiladas with smoked red chile.
View the Mountain West list here: cntraveler.com/gallery/top-mountain-west-resorts
View the World Resorts list here: cntraveler.com/gallery/best-resorts-in-the-world
Santa Fe County is honored to be a Sunset Magazine’s Travel Awards Winner for 2023 for Best Destinations in the US West. Sunset describes Santa Fe County as “the quintessential high-desert mountain destination” offering “a world-class opera, ski resorts and spas, art and culture, and nature and history.” The magazine notes that Santa Fe County continues to evolve, with immersive adventures such as Meow Wolf and Sky Railway. Thank you, Sunset!
View the Sunset Travel Awards article honoring Santa Fe County as one of the best travel destinations in the West:https://www.sunset.com/travel/best-destinations-in-us-west-2023
Discover the many reasons why Santa Fe County is a top destination any time of year, in Sunset Magazine’s new travel directory.
Focus on Film
With its dazzling landscape, New Mexico has a long history as an ideal place to make movies and television shows. In fact, the world's first movie was made in New Mexico, Indian Day School, shot in 1898 by Thomas Edison on Isleta Pueblo. It’s no surprise that this year, Movie Maker Magazine chose Santa Fe County as the #1 Best Place to Live and Work in North America. The new website for the Santa Fe Film Office showcases the many exciting productions made in New Mexico with the latest sizzle reel.
Ski season is tentatively scheduled to begin on Thanksgiving Day (November 23, 2023) at Ski Santa Fe resort. This family-friendly ski area is famous for legendary powder, brilliant sunlight and stunning views. With 225 inches of average annual snowfall, a base elevation of 10,350 feet and seven lifts serving 86 runs, Ski Santa Fe has long been a top skiing destination in the Southwest. See you on the slopes!
Work off some of those Thanksgiving calories during the annual Stuffing Strut, a post-Thanksgiving ramble of about three miles on scenic trails through the hills at Cerrillos Hills State Park. Be sure to wear weather-appropriate attire and sturdy shoes, and bring plenty of water along with a snack. Meet at the main park entrance, ½ mile north of Cerrillos Village, on County Road 59. (With $5 park fee or free with valid New Mexico State Parks pass.)
Saturday, November 25, 11 a.m.
Celebrate the holiday season at Bishop's Lodge Auberge Resorts Collection – Santa Fe with the 3rd Annual Farolito Tree Lighting on the Bishop's plaza. Enjoy carols, festive beverages and bites by the warm glow of farolitos.
Friday, December 1 at 4:30 p.m. and also on Friday, December 22, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Find more info here: aubergeresorts.com/bishopslodge
Christmas in Madrid
Shop for unique holiday gifts during the Madrid Christmas Open House, when local galleries, boutiques and other local businesses welcome you with refreshments and good cheer on weekends between Saturday, December 2 and Saturday, December 23. Don’t miss Madrid’s madcap Christmas Parade, which kicks off at 4 p.m. on December 2, with costumed residents, vintage cars, marching dogs and the cherished yak. The parade is followed by the annual holiday house lighting throughout the town, a tribute to the town’s historical lighting displays of the mining era.
Tree of Lights
Ring in the holidays with the 11th annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe. As this year’s tree is unveiled, toast the season with a glass of apple cider or spiced hot chocolate and savor holiday cookies.
Friday, December 8, 6 pm. to 8 p.m.
‘Tis the Season
Celebrate the holiday season at the New Mexico History Museum where an Open House features music, crafts and holiday cheer. The free event , hosted by the history museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Friends of History offers a chance to explore New Mexico’s fascinating history in the museum’s gallery exhibitions.
Saturday, December 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Take part in the joyous Christmas Eve tradition, the Canyon Road Farolito Walk, illuminated by farolitos along the streets, adobe walls and gardens. Join in the merry singing of carols, often accompanied by strolling musicians. To warm up, find a luminaria (bonfire) strategically placed along the route, before heading out once again into this treasured holiday tradition.
Sunday, December 24, starting at dusk.
Carne Adovada (New Mexico-Style Pork with Red Chile)
From The Maverick Cookbook: Iconic Recipes and Tales From New Mexico, by Lynn Cline
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup red chile powder
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound pork roast, cubed
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and cook the garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the flour, then the chile powder and mix well. Add the broth and simmer until slightly thickened. Add the vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper.
Visit Santa Fe County for a food lover’s great adventure this fall! We're looking forward to seeing you. For more information, visit SantaFeNMTrue.com and be sure to follow us on social media.