Quick Hits: Santa Fe, NM

I traveled to Taos, New Mexico way back in high school and I’ve always been looking for a reason to return. 18 years later, it still hasn’t happened. However, a good friend of mine did journey to New Mexico recently and shared some quick tidbits that he was willing to share for those of you headed to the “land of enchantment”.  He spent his weekend in Santa Fe (but I’m secretly hoping he was actually in Albuquerque chowing down on some Los Pollos Hermanos…).

breakingbad

Here’s a breakdown of his Santa Fe suggestions.

What to do

  • Puye Cliff Dwellings
    • So the best thing I did was go tour the Puye Cliff Dwellings.  It’s 30-40 minutes from Santa Fe and is just awesome. The Mesa Top tour ($20/person) offers a super knowledgeable guide, really cool history, and amazing panoramic views of the area. Be warned, if the guide asks you to hike back down the side with him, it’s more of a climb than a hike. Worth doing though.
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Puye Cliff Dwellings
  • The Georgia O’Keefe Museum
    • Located downtown, this little is also worth a visit in my opinion. Not a ton of her most famous paintings are there, but there’s some great stuff including some neat photography of her time in the area.
  • Obviously all the art galleries and shops off the main plaza are a must-do. There’s also a good indie bookstore called Collected Works that’s worth checking out.
  • Loretto Chapel
    • A must-see is the Miraculous Staircase at the Loretto Chapel.  Apparently they made it into a movie starring the guy from CSI!  (Editors note: He’s referring to the 1998 TV film “The Staircase” starring Barbara Hershey and William Petersen)
The Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel
The Miraculous Staircase at Loretto Chapel
  • Madrid
    • If you’re flying in and out of ABQ, I suggest driving up or back one of the ways through the turquoise trail. There’s this little town called Madrid that is a reclaimed ghost town that has become a cool art enclave. Almost had a guy there talk me into buying meteorite fragments.

Where to eat

  • For Belgian style beer drinkers, I would recommend Duel Brewing.
Belgian beers at Duel
Belgian beers at Duel
  • Cowgirl Grill
    • Really friendly clientele; some nice strangers bought me beers.  Get the green chili cheeseburger.
  • The Pantry
    • A nice, greasy spoon type place to get a solid breakfast.

Thanks very much Dwain Smith!  More info about Dwain can be found here.

Quick Hits: The Pantry

Like I said earlier, the food in Amsterdam isn’t exactly world famous cuisine.  They seem to have imported a lot from other countries; for example, there are a ton of hamburger places in Amsterdam.  That being said, we still wanted to find a place that had local cuisine.  Lonely Planet rarely misses, but in this one case they weren’t up to par.

For good local fare, I would not go with their recommendation of Bistro Bij ons, which is near the Anne Frank House.  I’ll just make a long story short, the service wasn’t good.  They weren’t mean or anything.  Just very, very inattentive.   They never took our food order, but when the bill came, they tried to charge us for food.  And it wasn’t like the place was packed.  It was me, my friend and a couple – that’s it.  The waitress was apologetic, but it’s not worth wasting your time going there.

Where should you go?  The Pantry.

The Pantry had fantastic service, a really cool eating in someone’s dining room feel, and good, hearty food for the chilly Amsterdam weather.  The place is small, so there’s a solid chance you’ll need to wait a little while.  We ordered some Bitterballen beef croquettes as an appetizer and we each ordered something off the “Traditional Dutch Dishes” menu as an entree.  I ordered the “combination” menu which consists of three different types of mashed potatoes (a carrot/onion/beef, a kale, and a sauerkraut) with either a meatball or a sausage.  It’s definitely worth trying.