Tiny hanging tea lights cast orange orbs onto the lavender-hued walls. Thatched wicker chairs gather around tables, round and tapered like the heels of giant boots. Though these decorative embellishments may seem bold, the Martinez family wants them to be fixtures of a much greater statement—a culinary statement, one that won Los Equipales the title of 2011's Best Mexican restaurant according to Weekly Alibi.
The Martinez family changes the menu every three weeks to focus on the specialties of a different state of their native Mexico. Homemade sauces such as sweet mole and spiced tequila cream marinate fresh fillets of red snapper, salmon, and spice-infused chicken. While waiting on sizzling plates of fajitas to cool, patrons can also ask servers about their private rooms, which accommodate up to 110 guests or 500 tapped telephones.
The Spot Caf??s kitchen is stocked with locally sourced produce, meats, and cheeses?all of which chefs fashion into omelets, burritos, and more. When 11 o?clock rolls around, the chefs use their stock of ingredients to make shaved Boar?s Head pastrami sandwiches and baskets of fish and chips. The caf??s half-pound Angus burgers, which tuck into seven different breads including Texas toast and green chile rolls, are topped with fried eggs and jalape?os. Come dinner, salads mix lettuce with fried chicken tenders or toasted sesame seeds, and pair nicely with a glass of wine or beer. Customers can order food to-go or dine inside the caf? bedecked with paintings by artist Lloyd Neal Brown and available for purchase or 99-year lease.
During peak season, 70% of Vinaigrette's fresh produce is produced in the fertile fields of owner Erin Wade's organic farm, and unfilled ingredient niches are plugged with the harvests of other organic local farmers when possible. Besides the stable of classic salad staples ($8.95–$10.95), the hearty yet healthy meals of this walk-in cornucopia include signature salads ($8.95–$15.95) such as the Bell & Cheese, where flame-kissed red and orange bell peppers make curd angels out of goat cheese in a field of fresh greens during a rain storm of ruby-port vinaigrette ($10.95). Experience the lemony-dill tang of the veggie-packed Tuna Salad Salad ($8.95), or slip south of the border with the verdant romaine and crispy red cabbage of the Salacho, peppered with seasoned beef and chorizo and doused in a vinaigrette of honey, cumin, and lime ($11.95). Besides flagship salads, Vinaigrette's chefs can whip up gourmet dinner specials including well-topped crostini ($10) or goat-cheese potato gratin ($6).
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 saut?ed 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.
Inspired by the seafood of the American Northwest, the culinary team at Desert Fish prepare exclusively wild-caught catches using fresh, contemporary seasonings. The cucumber-melon finish of their Shigoku oysters from Washington State’s Willapa Bay prime palates for kona coffee-crusted Hawaiian snapper or house-made gnocchi with littleneck clams and pan-roasted brussel sprouts in brown butter sauce. Behind the bar, bartenders compliment the dishes with wines and specialty cocktails mixed with fresh fruit juices and herbs, such as the Mint Mirage martini, whose basil Hayden Bourbon and fresh mint magically disappear before diners’ eyes over the course of about 20 minutes. The restaurant also serves weekend brunches, offering a diverse selection that spans from fried oysters with biscuits and gravy to crab cake Benedict.
A native of Santa Fe, Chef Charles Thompson shares his passion for traditional native cuisine with visitors. At Tabla de Los Santos, located in the Hotel St. Francis, he puts an elegant spin on traditional northern New Mexican cuisine using organic and local farm-to-table ingredients and French cooking techniques. Starting at 7 a.m., the restaurant fills with spicy aromas as his kitchen staff prepares breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch entrees. For dinner, they fire up the grill to prepare Angus rib-eye steak that has been aged 21 days as well as lamb chops accompanied by peppercorn demi-glace spinach, which the wait staff brings to indoor fireside tables or a secluded outdoor patio. For dessert his signature organic flan is made with goat’s milk from Sweetwoods Creamery.