We ate well -and often!-- during our travels. And talked a lot about cooking, cookbooks and our favorite meals. Northern New Mexican fare, tamales, chilequiles, posole and the ubiquitous "red or green" chile salsa quickly became daily staples. We came home with packets of Chimayo sun-dried red chile powder and searched for recipes for biscochitos. Looking out the back window at our heavy clay Wisconsin earth, I've found myself casually wondering if it could be worked to construct an horno (adobe oven).
Our favorite restaurants, books, recipes, foods, food sources, drinks (mustn't overlook libations) and discoveries:
El Parasol- all of them, but especially the one in Espanola, adjacent to the venerable, El Paragua. Unassuming, fast food style walkup window with picnic tables but authentic regional fare, where the locals eat. Delicious chile and chicken tacos, breakfast burritos, steaming tamales and chilaquiles with salsa to set your heart on fire.
El Paragua- Try the carne adovada here. A beautiful building worth a trip in itself, fine dining atmosphere, diverse menu and comfortable bar with friendly staff. Don't miss the gargantuan cottonwood tree in the back parking lot.
Kokoman Fine Wine and Liquor in Pojoaque Valley. One of the largest collections of fine wines, microbrews, and spirits we've ever seen anywhere. Ask the staff for recommendations, they're on the mark.
Red chile powder is sold almost everywhere, with different locations vying for top taste honors, but we found our favorite, El Potrero Trading Post just outside the walls of the Sanctuario del Chimayo,stocked in October with exquisite sun dried Chimayo red chile, darker oven dried chile and and several other varieties. Next trip we'll spend more time taste testing our way down the valley!
For fresh food locally grown, that supports regional farmers and families try The Espanola Farmer's Market, every Monday 10 - 5 from June thru October. Check the webpage for additional times and events. Vegetable and poetry contests, horno on site baking biscochitos y mas, chile roasting, wildflower gardens and local arts and crafts make this a hidden gem. Be sure to chat with market manager Sabra Moore about the community and the children's free book exchange which she created as part of this radiant Project for Public Places.