I spent last week wandering around New Mexico with someone I knew for about an hour before embarking on the trip. Here’s how that happened.
When I was in Saluda, North Carolina, I got to interview local organic produce goddess Carol Lynn Jackson. While there, one of her CSA (that would be a Community Supported Agriculture group) members asked her what she was going to do with her two weeks off between the end of her summer CSA and the start of the winter distribution. Her response:
“I’m going to find out where Darla is and join her.”
Where was Darla? Phoenix. Where did Carol Lynn’s sister live? Phoenix. Where is a nice little road trip from Phoenix? New Mexico.
So, off we went.
Considering that we are both dedicated foodies we had to dream up a worthy first meal on the road. Just outside Phoenix we picked up an Organic rotisserie chicken and along the drive through Payson, Arizona we added a bag of spinach thanks to the folks over at Vita-Mart. Somewhere deep within Route 87N in the Petrified Forest we found a picnic table, cracked open a bottle of Theros olive oil (fresh from North Carolina) to dress the spinach and dug in. Our frozen fingers pulling chicken from the bone, eating spinach salad out of Tiffin boxes and toasting to the start of a new adventure and (hopefully) a new friendship.
That night in a chilly cabin at the KOA just outside Gallup, New Mexico we polished off the chicken with some homemade chili (traveling with foodies rocks), organic cheddar and gluten-free crackers.
The next day we made the beautiful-big-blue-sky drive up to Taos, New Mexico, a cute little ski town that happens to be the home of Julia Roberts (a fact that Carol Lynn kept dropping in hopes that someone might lead us to her front door).
And if there is one and only one thing I recommend that you do in Taos it is to dine at the Love Apple (a farm to table restaurant located in a chapel built in the 1800s). And if there is one, and only one thing I recommend that you try at the Love Apple it is the homemade tamale. Oh, maybe the lamb sausage too. And, while you’re at it, splurge and get the warm organic apple pie served with homemade vanilla ice cream. Gluten and dairy and sugar oh my!
In the coming weeks I’ll give a nice little rundown of the organic farm that we spent the next two nights on just outside Santa Fe in a little town called Nambe. What the folks over at Vinaigrette are doing deserves a lot more than a mention in a post and I plan on delivering on that promise.
If you happen to be traveling through Santa Fe and can’t wait for the goods, here are a couple places you should stop when in this very RoadHuggable city:
1. Aztec Coffee. Great organic coffee selection (go for the Mexican mocha). Really good wifi access (a must for this road warrior) and an atmosphere that made me stay past closing time.
2. Cafe Pasqual’s. Serious food, but also at serious prices so be sure to save your pennies by not eating all day and splurging on these New Mexican delicacies. And if the stuffed acorn squash is on the menu, get it, devour it and go to sleep with a full belly because of it.
3. La Choza. Not organic and not locally sourced, but damn fine New Mexican cuisine and even damn finer margaritas (try the Gold Coin – the Belle Orange addition hits the spot).
4. The cafe at Spandarama Yoga. While Carol Lynn got her yoga on, I got my wifi on…sitting at the counter while being fed hearty Congee (a super-healthy rice porridge) and a slightly spiced pumpkin chai by owner Pam Sweeney.
5. Clafoutis. It’s a tiny French bakery (without a website…gasp) that came highly recommended on our way out of town. And although the pastry cases are lined with croissants, macarons, beignets and other French concoctions I have no idea how to pronounce, the menu offers an absolute gem: the omelet with provencal herbs and olives. Every bite tasted of something new and wonderful. Three eggs never went down so easy.
So, New Mexico…RoadHuggable? Definitely. I just wish my girls were here to join me…