On a gorgeous summer Santa Fe afternoon at a table on one of the prettiest patios in town, I found myself, of all things, dwelling in the past.

I’d come to Sassella to meet co-owner Lawrence Becerra for a tour of the fine dining Italian restaurant’s recently launched lunchtime tasting menu. But as we chatted about the food, the wine, and the philosophies and stories behind Sassella and its sister restaurant, Sazón, talk repeatedly turned to great meals over the years — and what made them so memorable.

It’s something that drives operations at both Sassella and Sazón: creating an experience, being part of a story. For me, my most lasting dining memories form somewhere in the synergy of good food and drink, thoughtful service, beautiful surroundings and meaningful, special touches. Memorable dining, Becerra told me, is truly entertainment. Over the course of lunch, I’d put that statement to the test.

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Mussels served in a white wine tomato sauce atop squid ink linguine.

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