I’ve driven through Albuquerque a few times when I was a freshman in college, I always wanted to go back to New Mexico, the skyline was always so mesmerizing…
… Luckily, my boyfriend’s brother recently moved out to Santa Fe, so it served as the perfect opportunity to take a trip to the Land of Enchantment.
Lesson Number 1: Always ask for Christmas and always get that traveler’s insurance!
We woke up late, missed our flight, didn’t have the traveler’s insurance, so the most realistic option was to rent a car and drive! Yikes! I still can’t believe we did that! We lost the first day, but I got to spend that extra EXTRA quality time with my boyfriend…needless to say, he survived. 😉
There is so much to do in New Mexico, we barely scratched the surface. Unfortunately the Taos Pueblo was closed, I couldn’t snap a photo =( #sad. But that’s OK, I think there is a longer road trip across America in my future.
Now let’s talk about Christmas.
The first thing I learned in Santa Fe was how to order my food Christmas! The chili is a staple in New Mexican cuisine. When you order a burrito (for instance) they ask if you want it smothered in green chili sauce, red chili sauce, or Christmas- a combination of both. ALWAYS get Christmas, it’s like getting slapped in the face from both sides, so you feel a sense of balance. Factoid: After the chilies have been transferred into the sun to harden, the hotter the sun the spicier the chili
The food was so good, that once it was put in front of me, I didn’t even think about social media, I just shoved it all in my face! Ain’t nobody got time for photos when your eating Christmas chili rellenos! Here is a list of all the places I highly recommend:
My New Mexico Foodie List:
The Shed – THE place for brunch right in the middle of the historic plaza. This place is tucked away in little courtyard with just the right amount of sunlight and greenery. I had the blue corn burrito with “Christmas” sauce.
Tesque Village Market – Direct from their website they describe themselves as “a chic general store with a hipster aesthetic” It resembles an old world trading post and is located in a part of Santa Fe county that looks like a little swamp bayou town. *Disclaimer: the closest I’ve ever been to the bayou is at Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride* They open really early, and have the BEST baked goods. If you’re like Oprah, and you LOVE bread, then you’ll have to check this place out.
Padillas New Mexican Kitchen – This one is located in Albuquerque. After hiking Tent Rock, we were on the hunt to find true New Mexican food, and we found the jackpot here. It is located near Midtown/University area and looks like a whole lotta nothing from the front. Once you walk in, you will notice you have walked into something special, the scene will surprise you in that classic-Albuquerque-senior citizen-mafia-type of hang out. Here they have the classic sopaipillas, a fried doughy bread that you top with honey.
Taos Brewing Co. – There are two locations: El Prado and Taos. We went to both! Both were beautiful with a great atmosphere. Perfect for hanging outside on a beautiful day.
Sugars – This was another local tip, we would have driven right past it on our way to Taos! Sugars is named after the family dog, and is located in the middle of nowhere. Good news, they serve veggie burgers 😉
Cowgirl BBQ – One of the few spots open late, with live music and family friendly atmosphere. Here I stuffed my face with the Chile Relleno, which is a local favorite. Again, Christmas.
Lesson #2: Magical washer machines and screen savers really do exist.
Don’t believe me? Check out Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, an immersive art installation that will take you back to the wild imagination you had as a kid. If you followed my story on Instagram (@plannercreative), then you definitely saw the magic!
*See washer machine portal below*
My New Mexico Itinerary:
Hauled a$$ from San Francisco. We had dinner in Williams, AZ where they have a nice main street reminiscent of the ol’ Route 66. There were beautiful cars lined up for the perfect vintage selfie and all the old signs lit up with neon lights. Definitely somewhere I would stay if I wasn’t in a rush to get to my destination.
Santa Fe Plaza & Meow Wolf – The House of Eternal Return aka magic washer machine portal.
Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, Taos & Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs – Perhaps my one of my favorites. We went to the hot springs after 6pm where they offer a discounted price. Each mineral bath has different healing powers and each one looks unique pushed up against the desert mountains. I was in so much awe, I didn’t want to ruin the moment by taking pictures, I just wanted to take it all in.
Tesque Village Market & Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument – Walking through Tent Rock was unreal. I felt like I was walking through my screen saver! Absolutely breathtaking.
Travel day. But don’t worry, we took a plane this time.
It was a short but relaxing trip and such a nice contrast to my life in San Francisco. Even though we only had three full days, the pace of life made them feel long; not to mention the expansiveness of the blue sky adding to the illusion of open space and open mind. I look forward to my next visit, and I think I will actually plan to drive.
Photos Taken with the Cybershot Sony Hx80 – No Filters.