The second day of our weekend in Santa Fe was as crazily jam-packed as the first. After a fortifying brunch of fresh fruit and jalapeno-cheese quiche at the Inn on the Paseo, we started the day with some museum time. The tiny but well-appointed Georgia O’Keefe Museum set just the right mood for our day. We saw the famously suggestive giant flowers, of course, but also many other delightful paintings — seashells, mountains, desert landscapes — that deepened our understanding of O’Keefe as an artist.
Next, we visited the Palace of Governors Museum for a fascinating chronicle of the history of Santa Fe. My favorite part was the Palace Print Shop, a working exhibit of frontier printing presses.
Our morning of museum-hopping gave us terrific appetites, so we headed to the Blue Corn Cafe & Brewery, lured by tales of its wondrous beer sampler. We were not disappointed.
(As to whether beer is anti-inflammatory, the answer is probably no. Alcohol in general converts to sugar readily, and the carby, grainy goodness of a well-crafted microbrew is no exception. I love beer. It has been the very hardest thing so far for me to
give up cut back on. This weekend in Santa Fe was sort of my last hurrah.)
The Midwestern Gentleman, cheered by his chile-peppery success of the night before, daringly ordered Luis’s Mac & Cheese, cavatelli pasta tossed in a creamy cheese sauce generously spiked with chopped green chiles and served with grilled chicken.
My Ensalada Tostada with pinto beans and calabacita was mediocre at best, but the thick, spicy Green Chile Stew I ordered for an appetizer saved the meal for me. The stew’s pork, potatoes, and posole made for a hearty and satisfying dish, as well as some good alliteration.
We waited out another thunderstorm as we sipped our beer samplers, until several blocks in the vicinity lost electricity (including the restaurant). Many of the shops closed while the power was out, so we headed back toward the Plaza to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis.
After the Cathedral, we headed over to the smaller but equally magnificent Loretto Chapel. Seeing the Loretto Chapel in person filled me with childhood nostalgia. When I was a kid, I received a much-beloved copy of Norman Rockwell’s Christmas Book filled with Norman Rockwell illustrations and Christmas-related stories, songs, and recipes which I would re-read every winter holiday season. One of the stories told of Santa Fe’s Loretto Chapel and its miraculous staircase.
In spite of the kitschy museum shop hawking Loretto staircase trinkets, it still felt special to see the staircase in person after marveling over the story as a child.
Later, we hiked up a winding, brick path leading up a hill to a large cross which loomed over our Inn, giving us some beautiful views of Santa Fe.
We followed up our active day of walking and sightseeing with dinner at an Italian restaurant called Il Piatto.
We shared a light but flavorful grilled calamari and sweet pepper appetizer.
My succulent roasted duck was served on a savory bed of sweet potato, mushroom, and onion hash.
The Gent’s spinach and goat cheese stuffed cannelloni were equally delicious — for once our dinner competition (who ordered the best dish?) was a draw.
As the sun set on another wonderful day in Santa Fe, we were already plotting a return visit.