For the past few years, my mom and I had been dreaming about taking a trip to New Mexico together while I was pregnant. A mother-daughter babymoon, if you will. With this year's successful pregnancy - we finally made it happen! The timing couldn't have been more perfect. Granted, I've never been to Santa Fe at any other time of the year, but the weather was divine - high 70's to low 80's with a slight breeze. And I was far enough into the second trimester to feel nice and comfortable - with a little bump to boot!
We stayed in a spacious fireplace suite at Hotel Chimayó, an authentic boutique hotel just steps away from the historic Plaza in downtown Santa Fe. We were immediately charmed by it's central location, New Mexican decor, local artwork, and the generous welcome basket of locally made caramel corn, chocolates and complimentary drink vouchers.
After unpacking, we toasted to our good fortune with virgin margaritas in the adjoining Low 'n Slow Lowrider Bar and introduced ourselves, quite accidentally, to the HEAT of New Mexican chiles at a hidden local hot spot called The Shed. When asked if we wanted red or green chile sauce on our enchiladas, we chose "Christmas", a combination of the two. Little did we know we were in for a sweat-inducing, water-guzzling surprise! Those chiles pack a punch. And now that I'm back home, I've been craving them ever since.
Fun Fact #1 - did you know chile peppers actually release endorphins?
The next morning, we ate breakfast at Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen - which we'd never have found if it weren't for John, our new friend at Tourism Santa Fe who helped us plan our entire itinerary. This place is a real gem. The owners are devoted to nourishing their community with healthy, organic, sustainable and locally sourced foods. One of my latest pregnancy cravings has been granola - and I fell hard for their homemade version with sprouted buckwheat, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and coconut in sugar-free almond milk. Best granola of my life, I'd say. There were so many veggie options on the menu, we would have been perfectly happy eating there daily.
With so much history, art and culture - museums were first on our agenda. A good place to start is Museum Hill, where you can kill 4 birds with one stone. We chose the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and the Museum of International Folk Art, stopping to admire cacti and other desert beauties at the nearby Santa Fe Botanical Garden.
The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum was my top priority, which happened to be within walking distance from our hotel. She's known for her flowers, yes. But I was strangely attracted to the monochrome abstract watercolors. And how cool are her art supplies? I love that they put her used paintbrushes and pastels on display.
Fun Fact #2 - Did you know there's a strong possibility that Ms. O'Keeffe and I may be related by marriage? :)
We ended our second night with a scenic drive through the high mountain desert landscape for dinner at The Four Season's Terra. The best meal of our lives - no joke. Chef Andrew Cooper absolutely nailed the vegetarian tasting menu, giving us a colorful assortment of creative and inventive dishes. It was only supposed to be 5-courses - he added a 6th just for us!
- Creamy Artichoke Soup w/ Onion Jam, Candied Lemon, Crispy Artichoke;
- Melon and Burrata Salad - Garden Vegetables, White Balsamic Vinaigrette;
- Pan Seared Tofu Scallop w/ Carrot Puree, Pea Tendrils, Grapefruit Glaze;
- Grilled Lemon & Asparagus Risotto - Farmers Market Vegetables, Balsamic Reduction;
- Portobello Mushroom Steak - Truffle Spinach Puree, Red Wine Reduction;
- Coffee Mouse, Chocolate Pudding, Lemon Sorbet and Cheesecake w/ Mango Salsa.
Baby was doing flips!
With full bellies and full hearts, my mom and I watched the sun go down, turning the entire desert sky into a brilliant shade of turquoise and orange. Santa Fe, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
Stay tuned for PART 2 ....
This post is sponsored by Tourism Santa Fe and the above establishments. The content and opinions are all my own. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep Happiness Is running!