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.
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).
Back in the '80s, winemaking was just a hobby for artist and wine enthusiast Jim Fish. Today, some of his original hobby casks still serve as a reminder of how far he's come, as they stand surrounded by hundreds of gallons of newer wines. At Anasazi Fields Winery, Fish focuses on table wines made from locally-sourced fruits and berries such as plum, apricot, blackberry, and peach. And despite being fruit wines, they're dry and multi-faceted, a far cry from the sweet varietals some might imagine when they hear fruit wine.
The winery is open throughout the year, beckoning visitors inside for tastes and tours, events, or to buy a bottle, sold on the premises. Orchards and vineyards surround the property, all watered by a spring-fed irrigation system that dates back more 1000 years when Anasazi people farmed the valley.
A Santa Fe landmark, the Inn and Spa at Loretto is steeped in an atmosphere that befits a place where the coyotes don bandanas, the tumbleweeds wear turquoise, and the sunset has been stuck on "stunning" since 927 BC. The Loretto is an architectural recreation of the Taos pueblo, right down to the haute restaurant, galleries, gardens, and wooden ladders in place of stairs. Georgia O'Keeffe famously painted the hotel in 1932, accurately depicting the enormous cow skull that perpetually hovers above the roof as well as the huge pink lily whose delicate, puffy folds form the hotel's entrance.
Pecos Flavors Winery opened fairly recently—in 2004, originally just as a Roswell-based tasting room—but it brims with New Mexico history. The facility's current tasting room, for instance, takes on the identity of a southern New Mexico ranch. Its bar is a century old, plucked from Hondo Valley. Nearby, a statue of Billy the Kid keeps watch, staring grudgingly at anyone who spills their glass.
Befitting its state pride, Pecos has an extensive selection of New Mexican wines. More than 80 different blends of regional wine populate the Pecos collection, including the winery's own varietals grown at a pair of Chaves County vineyards. Pecos offers a number of other New Mexico products, too, such as coffee, sauces, and chocolates, as well as beers gathered from in-state breweries.
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.