Monday, July 21, 2008

Meanwhile Back in New Mexico - POST 1

OK, so I've been momentarily distracted with day-to-day blogging, but I wanted to go back and share several AMAZING and totally vegan-friendly places I visited when I was recently in New Mexico (as well as some of the beautiful pix and touristy stuff too).

Starting out in Santa Fe, one destination I most wanted to visit was the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum , so I was pretty excited we made that our first stop!
I've always loved the passion and emotion of O'Keeffe paintings, and the work she did in New Mexico is some of my favorite. It was an unexpected treat to discover the museum was also hosting an Ansel Adam's exhibit, double-feature - I was thrilled!! (I admit I stole this photo from a website, no photos allowed in the museum of course!)

After the Museum, we walked and shopped Santa Fe's Plaza, where the Spanish Market and the Santa Fe Indian Market are held. Good thing I didn't have money to spend! Upscale shops, high-end designers, original jewelry and art to drool over, New Mexico chile products and Native American items galore, but there are definitely "tacky-tourist-y" parts too;

Honestly, I wasn't totally comfortable browsing the rows and rows of the Indian Market.
I'm not sure why, but it almost seemed ... sad - and embarrassingly commercial, as if too much history had been lost to tourism, as if we white folk had taken so much from these beautiful people that they're reduced to sitting hours in the sun stoically selling cheap trinkets and tacky souvenirs as their livelihood.
Maybe I'm interpreting it all wrong. Tourism is a thriving industry here in Santa Fe, I only hope those who lived here first are reaping some financial benefits from our footprints on their land.
That soapbox rant aside, this area is SO beautiful and rich with history. Photo opportunities and colorful contrasts everywhere I turned. I can't tell you how much I LOVED it (OK, except for the heat which no one but ME seemed to mind).
Many of the buildings surrounding the Plaza stand just as they did during colonial Spanish times. Besides the shops and restaurants, there are several famous landmarks including Palace of the Governors, St. Francis Cathedral and Loretto Chapel with it's miracle staircase. I'm a history geek, I was in heaven but I'll spare everyone a three-page point-by-point dissertation!
After a tiring (did I mention hot) and busy day, we started looking for someplace to eat; traditional New Mexican, yet remotely vegan-friendly in this land of cheese and meat.
Luckily, we were directed to one of Santa Fe's oldest restaurants, "The Shed". The place is famous with locals, family owned, right off The Plaza and (be warned) MAJOR tourist destination, you might want reservations, which we didn't have. Instead we had margaritas (Lots. While waiting for dinner).
We didn't announce our dietary choices because it was easy enough to order from a nice selection of vegetarian items, just leaving off the cheese. After we'd ordered, our waiter said "Oh, you must be vegan!" and helpfully suggested several appetisers and other yumminess. The gazpacho was TO DIE FOR! I'm craving it seriously as I write this.
In the picture you'll see some of our food including Froggy's blue-corn enchiladas with red chile sauce, and my vegetable burrito with green chile sauce. Everything was delicious, very traditional and we were so VERY impressed with our waiter's vegan-awareness. Totally made our night!
And finally, we stayed that night at the charming (and very affordable) Casa Del Toro Bed-N-Breakfast. They have a bunch of wonderful little guest houses (not just single rooms) all located right in the heart of Santa Fe. I can't rave enough about this place and their amazing accommodations and if you are EVER in town this is the place you must stay. You MUST.
Even though we didn't need it, they upgraded our group to a bigger house - plenty of room for everyone, but still cozy and decorated with traditional Southwest furnishings and artwork.

But best of all? OH. MY. GOSH. The next morning, they served us the most amazing VEGAN breakfast!!!
All their breakfasts are quietly vegetarian - but the cook herself, (whom we met and fell in love with) is vegan and will prepare a special vegan breakfast if notified when you reserve. She outdid herself for us and we couldn't be more impressed.
With fellow guests, we chowed down on Southwest Tofu Scramble, the world's best granola with a sweet yogurt-type raw-cashew-creme, home-fried potatoes, biscuits, scones and minted fruit-salad.
All without the omni's realizing it was all vegan (except for the coffee cream and milk for cereal, though soy was available too) - and certainly no complaints!! Everyone went back for seconds. Oh wow, drooling over the memories!
I have so much more to share (bore) you with from my little Southwest vacation because I'm long-winded that way, stay tuned though, the rest will have to wait for another night.


VeggieGirl said...

Wow!! Can't wait to read more about this fabulous trip!!

Erin said...

It's SO nice to find vegan food away from home! Santa Fe looks like a really cool place, I'd like to visit someday. The Mexican food and the brunch both look delicious.

Chelsea said...

The food a The Shed looks amazing! I have been talking with friends about the need for more great vegan mexican food.

Monika K said...

OK, I'm sold. Sounds like I need to visit New Mexico!

P.S. I'm a history nerd, too - you're definitely not boring me!

Katy said...

Thanks for the note on my blog! I see you're from the Seattle area. Me too! I'm living in VA for another year, but during my visit home next month I'm excited to try out some of the yummy vegan restaurants there.
You have a great blog!

Rach-ums said...

Yummy looking breakfast!

Cynthia said...

Sounds like you had a blast!

Vaishali said...

What an evocative description of Santa Fe- I've been longing to go there, and reading your post made me want to do so all the more. That bed-and-breakfast sounds amazing. How wonderful to find amazing vegan food while traveling, without having to go through a thousand explanations!

jelymo said...

i stumbled across your blog via a google search for vegan ranch dressing. i love your blog! i spent a month in taos NM during college and i loved it there! i'm so glad you had fun. i felt the same way about the market in SF, btw.

VeganVerve said...

Articles/blogs like this really make me wonder why I haven't spent any real time in NM! I mean I live in CO! I understand what you mean about the Indian Market....what their culture has been reduced to saddens me. I grew up with a mother that was engrossed in Native American history and I learned to appreciate their culture and lives. Sadly the same cannot be said for many people.

VeganCowGirl said...

That is so exciting that you got to go to Georgia Okeefe's gallery. She is amazing!
Your photos look great Vegan mom!