Shopping local at the holidays in Santa Fe is a daunting prospect. With so many options, where to begin? There’s the art, of course, at every price point and in every medium. There are imported goods and specialty shops. And there are all the glorious edible options, perfect for shipping or dropping at a friend’s doorstep.
Last year, I shopped intentionally, with a checklist of stops at some of my favorite stores in town. I picked up teacher’s gifts from ArtfulTea (101 Marcy St., Santa Fe; artfultea.com) and something for the parents from Santa Fe Olive Oil Co. (116 Don Gaspar Ave., Santa Fe; santafeoliveoil.com) I stopped by the Santa Fe Farmers Market (1607 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe; Saturdays and Tuesdays) to visit the stands for Heidi’s jam and flavored mustard from Old Pecos Foods. I grabbed some easily giftable brownies from Chocolate Maven (821 W. San Mateo, Santa Fe, chocolatemaven.com) and gift cards from Ohori’s (ohoriscoffee.com).
We’re lucky: Living in a tourist-friendly town means never running out of wonderful local gift options. This year, I decided to shop like a tourist: to slow down my holiday sprint and embrace a more leisurely approach to shopping.
What I found is local businesses that are already in the spirit of sharing: Plenty of places sell not only “their” products, but proudly present tons of other Santa Fe and New Mexico goods.
Take the picturesque new Los Poblanos Farm Shop Norte (on the corner of Washington and Marcy, Santa Fe; farmshop.lospoblanos.com), which opened this month in a downtown building that has housed a 1930s gas station and bank branches over the years.
Farm Shop Norte has taken the art of curation to the highest possible level, with every shelf aesthetically stocked with a blend of its signature edible goods and home products, many featuring Los Poblanos lavender, alongside other local and thoughtfully selected items. You’ll find bags of Los Poblanos spiced pecans and granola, seasoned salts and spices and sauces, and several lovely options for pre-packaged gift bundles.
The store is also selling bottles of its own gin (which you’ll be able to taste in the adjoining bar) as well as other New Mexico spirits and wine. Or you could grab a bottle of Honeymoon Brewery’s hard kombucha, a bottle of Los Poblanos lemonade or other cold beverage, or take home a bag of Taos-based tea.o.graphy tea leaves. A refrigerated case offers a selection of picnic-worthy provisions as well.
Afterward, take a break down the street at The Mud Hut by Agapao Coffee (105 E. Marcy St., Santa Fe; agapao.com), where the “sweater weather” specials on a recent Wednesday read like the coffee menu of my wintertime dreams. Try a pralines n’ cream breve, a gingerbread latte, a Mexican mocha or a light roast drip coffee with honey and coconut milk.
My next stop took me to an iconic tourist hub: the historic La Fonda on the Plaza. The place is packed with wonderful shops, but I spent a few minutes browsing Detours at La Fonda (100 E San Francisco St, Santa Fe; lafonda.myshopify.com). Among the many textiles, toys, clothing and home goods were edible gifts that might have otherwise sent me scrambling across Santa Fe and beyond to gather. I spotted chocolates from Kakawa Chocolate House and The Chocolatesmith, and delightful bags of sweet and savory Legacy Pecans from Mesilla. A small selection of liquors included local favorite Colkegan whiskey from Santa Fe Spirits.
You can exit Detours back onto the street or deeper into the hotel complex. Inside, you’re a stone’s throw from the airy, elegant La Plazuela restaurant and The French Pastry Shop & Creperie cafe.
Had it not been the day before Thanksgiving, I might have stopped in at La Plazuela for a leisurely lunch of tortilla soup and Beck & Bulow bison short rib tacos, or chosen one of the beautiful sweets from behind the Pastry Shop’s glass cases. But holiday visitors packed both places, eager for a break from all that shopping and sightseeing.
I finished my downtown stroll with a first-time visit to Gift & Gourmet (200 E. Water St., Santa Fe; giftngourmet.com), across the street from El Centro shopping center. This specialty gift shop is chock full of every New Mexico (and beyond) culinary goodie you might imagine for a gift basket, hostess gift or simple pick-me-up. Think gourmet candies, piñon coffee, hot sauce, endless permutations of chile, salsa, oils from Santa Fe Olive Oil Co., caramel corn from Sweet Santa Fe, Celina’s Biscochitos, local honey and jam and condiments, soup mixes and blue corn pancake mixes and sopaipilla mixes. You’ll also find kitchen wares, pottery, candles, wind chimes and more nonedible gifts.
I wrapped up my slow-shopping adventure with a visit to the ever-evolving CHOMP food hall (505 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe; chompsantafe.com). One of Santa Fe’s most seasoned chefs, Peter O’Brien, is currently firing up gourmet pizzas here, as well as bar snacks, antipasto and sandwiches under the name Pedro’s Pizza. (You can also find him at High Mountain Cuisine, his business with wife Cara O’Brien offering healthy prepared meals, private chef and catering services, pop-up events and event planning.)
I placed an order for two pies — a deep-dish white pizza with herb ricotta, Italian sausage, sweet basil, roasted peppers and garlic with fontina and provolone cheese; and a simpler thin crust with pepperoni, mozzarella, Parmesan, oregano and chile flakes. As I waited, I browsed the small shop nearby, TheArtisan’s Bottega, which sells a captivating assortment of imported Italian pasta, oils, vinegars, sauces, sweets and more.
Metal shelves next door hold a range of locally made art, jewelry, honey and home goods. My favorite discovery was on the bottom shelf of the Zero Waste Santa Fe display: a small jar of handmade beeswax crayon chips for just $5.
CHOMP’s current food and drink lineup includes the Bottega Del Vino bar, the ever-popular Nath’s Inspired Khmer Cuisine, food truck standout Poke Taco and Alex’s Mediterranean Deli (Ohori’s is next door, as well). Alex’s was closed on my visit, but I picked up a small, sweet bowl of Thai mango sticky rice from Poke Taco for dessert. Then it was off to say a quick hello to chef O’Brien and back to the car with my piping-hot pizza boxes and more than a few packages from my shopping excursion.
I may have been heading home instead of back to a hotel. But this kind of holiday shopping — a bit of slow strolling, a break for a bite or sip here and there, and the delight of discovery — felt less like a chore and more like a little vacation of my own.