Ron and Olha Dolin didn’t discover their shared passion for wine and spirits until after they were married. Together they use Ron’s Ph.D. in engineering and Olha’s generational knowledge of producing vodka and brandy in Eastern Europe to craft handmade wines and fine spirits. Their wines include the specialty Emotion series, which includes cherry sherry, apple ice wine, and a wine made from rose petals. The two also distill spirits ranging from blue corn vodka and bourbon to gin made from New Mexico juniper, pinon, chamisa, sage, and rose hips.
Toro Tequila Bar & Grill furnishes the famished with a menu of tangy grilled meats steeped in Mexican flavorings. The fuego sliders ($7) rush to the table, leaving a smoking trail of chipotle aioli in their wake. Beef short ribs, fresh from a tequila-lime bath, snuggle up in their mashed-potato beds with pico de gallo pillows and vegetable quilts ($18). Poultry gobblers relish the pepperjack chicken paired with linguini in a spicy cream sauce ($15).
Fat Sat's Bar and Grill conjures memories of the jazz age with its 1920s-style ornamentation and murals of old-time Chicago street scenes, each hand-painted by world-renowned artist Michael Ostaski. The owners named the bar in fond remembrance of their grandfather, Uncle Saturnino Trujillo, who grew up in the era of prohibition and speakeasies. Inside the kitchen, chefs bustle day and night, whipping up breakfasts, twirling pastas, hand-cutting rib-eye steaks, and grilling seafood. Bartenders behind three separate bars communicate to one another by angling mirrors as they fill cups to the brim with margaritas and 14 draft beers. Nineteen flat screens beam down upon the bars and tabletops, and a fire pit blazes amid two large outdoor patios. Live bands serenade guests Thursdays through Saturdays, while Friday nights entertain guests with games, trivia, dancing, and karaoke, offering them a welcome reprieve from evenings spent thumb-wrestling their aunts.
The aromas of sizzling fajitas and marinated shrimp mingle in Mariscos Altamar’s dining room while hosts welcome diners with charming Spanish greetings. Along with the Aztec paintings, Owner Hector Hernandez’s menu, with seafood as the primary focus, hearkens back to northern Mexico where he grew up. Along with grilling steaks and spooning ranchero sauce over chiles rellenos, chefs also stuff sautéed crabmeat into enchiladas and fry platefuls of breaded shrimp.
The dining room maintains an airy ambiance with its light wooden tones and neutral-colored walls, and an aquarium full of small fish and adorable baby Poseidons catch diners' eyes at the entrance. On Thursday and Saturday evenings and Friday afternoons, the restaurant regales guests with the lilting melodies of live musicians.
In the heart of the Railyard District, Junction harnesses fresh, local ingredients to populate an eclectic menu where Frito pie and baby back ribs are equally at home—making for "better food than any other sports bar in town," according to the Santa Fe Reporter. New Mexico grass-fed beef stampedes through gourmet burger toppings such as green chili, New Mexico cheddar, and jalapeño rajas. Bartenders garnish boutique liquors such as Hendrick's gin with orange-blossom water, maple cherries, and fresh juices and herbs, High ceilings angle above a bright, minimalistic interior set up for communal revelry and hung with nine flat-screen HDTVs, including a massive central 83-inch screen constantly endangered by passing basketball players trying to join the action.
Run by a mother-daughter team of stitchery specialists, The Designer’s Lounge draws on the pair’s deep-rooted family expertise to help students expand their fashion design repertoires. During private lessons, threadheads can study whatever sewing subject catches their fancy, from basic stitches and seam finishes to more advanced techniques, such as working with silk. Piece together an eye-catching pair of pants, or draft a skirt pattern for a broke friend who’s been trying to pass off her newspaper dress as a fashion statement.
Servers clad in traditional Vietnamese dresses escort guests to linen-topped tables inside Miss Sai Gon Bar & Grill’s expansive two-story dining room. Behind the scenes, chefs pair stir-fried shrimp with rice cooked in a hot clay pot and tuck beef inside piles of fried rice noodles. Spicy pho broth topped with thin slices of beef is served as sunlight floods in through the floor-to-ceiling windows and potted plants, scattered throughout the space, quietly keep on keeping on. On the second level, a natural-stone wall complements the slate flooring and wood tabletops. For those who are really, really popular, chefs can prepare meals en masse for parties of up to 400 inside the dining room, which also includes a dance floor and professional stage.