Painter Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks might come to mind when you approach Café Fina in the evening. Walls of windows give the dining room a fishbowl quality, enveloping everyone in the deep indigo of winter’s nighttime. Is that a coyote watching me sip my soup?

In fall 2018, Paddy Rawal went back to business with Raaga-Go, a takeout-only shop serving a wide range of traditional Indian dishes alongside some of the most popular offerings from his earlier brick-and-mortar incarnation.

Tibet Kitchen's menu presents an ideal opportunity to taste new things and realize that, in what we eat and in many other ways, we have more in common than we think. 

Thirty-six years after it first opened, Saigon Vietnamese Kitchen proves that sometimes playing it safe pays off. You’ll find a smallish set menu here with nary a bite of the usual tendon or tripe in Vietnam’s famous pho, but with dishes that nod to the café’s Chinese restaurant origins.

In seeking out Santa Fe’s most satisfying offerings in this arena, I looked for vegan drinks that could substitute for a light meal, gravitating to those that contain more fat and protein than sugary fruit. 

In this brief window before the New Year, visions of crusted medium-rare filets and succulent lobster tails tend to dance in our heads. ’Tis the season for the kind of decadence we usually parcel out over the rest of the year. But at Market Steer Steakhouse, the new dining destination at the Hotel St. Francis, such occasions are a year-round affair.

Restaurant Review

La vie en rose: Clafoutis

Customers have been lining up at Clafoutis since it opened in 2007, the loyal local following undeterred by the tiny, tightly packed dining room, the long wait for seating, or the totally inadequate parking at the bakery’s original location on Guadalupe Street. The restaurant’s move to Body’s former café space on West Cordova Road last spring resolved two of those decade-old problems: The seating has almost doubled, and the parking is now easy and abundant.

Restaurant Review

Wine and dine: Hervé

Hervé is a spacious wine bar and tasting room in the space formerly occupied by the nightclub Skylight, where you can perch on a barstool and consume a glass or sample a flight of wines produced by St. Clair Winery.

Whether you’re floating on the río, visiting Ghost Ranch, or relaxing and recreating on an area lake, Bode’s General Store is your proverbial one-stop shop for pretty much anything you want or need, including some good hot food. For roughly two decades, a small café tucked in a corner of the store has been filling the bellies of rafters, hikers, anglers, sightseers, and everyone in between.

In honor of Edible’s annual Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown on Saturday, Sept. 8 — and more importantly, in service of the fire-breathing debaters of this hot-button local issue — I’ve divided the city's best green chile cheeseburgers into three categories.

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Raising the bar: New beer taprooms

To borrow from a vintage ad campaign, if you’ve got the time, New Mexico’s got the beer. By the time 2017 rolled around, our state had fostered around 50 local breweries, and that number has only been growing since then.

Under the battering rain of a Northern New Mexico thunderstorm, staring down into the intricate ruby center of a perfectly seared venison medallion, I wondered if ther…

Santa Fe has a reputation for being a relatively wholesome community — one with an eye toward exercise, yoga, and healthful cuisine. While we’re far from having veggie…

So much of summer is about grilling, but that can be a drag for vegetarians and vegans, whose options at neighborhood barbecues are often limited to short-shrift sides…

Located just 15 minutes from the heart of Santa Fe by highway — 30 minutes or so if you meander along the slower-moving, lushly green canopy that frames Bishop’s Lodge…

Eve was a forager — the original locavore. Though she knew about God’s warning not to eat fruit from the forbidden tree, she nonetheless took a chance on a snake’s rec…

IN Jack Handey’s “Tales of Old Santa Fe,” a smattering of absurd anecdotes published in The New Yorker in 2014, the humorist tells the origin story of the $15 margarit…

Meow Wolf is the new black. The powerhouse art collective has made a success out of its flagship Santa Fe funhouse attraction and is poised to open two more, in Denver and Las Vegas. But while the exhibit is impressive, it’s an open question as to whether it inspires repeat visits (it’s not exactly an amusement park), so it was shrewd of the collective to acquire a full liquor license and open its very own bar and restaurant, Float.

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

The personal touch: Socorro's Restaurant

Hernandez native Socorro Herrera, a vibrant and energetic woman who will turn eighty-one in July (although she prefers to describe herself as “thirty-four plus tax”) opened the restaurant 20 years ago in a family-owned building that formerly housed a liquor and grocery store. 

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Keepin' it classy in the backcountry

With the onset of warm weather, as visions of campfire flames dance in my head, I always recall one Proustian meal cooked over a fire sometime in the early 1990s. After a summer day spent paddling around in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, my family sat down to a dinner of freshly caught pan-fried walleye, its buttery flesh sweetly snow-white and flaky. 

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Oodles of noodles: J&N Thai Bistro

Whenever a new Asian spot opens up in Santa Fe, I clear my calendar. Dreams of fish sauce and curries and crunchy bamboo shoots dance in my head, because as one of Santa Fe’s few Asian residents, I bemoan the fact that Santa Fe has a sad dearth of Asian cuisine. 

Humans remember things with their mouths. As Proust did with a madeleine, whole experiences can be evoked from a single bite of something. But sometimes tastes themselves can be evoked — if imperfectly — through pictures, and by that trick of synesthesia you can both taste and experience a city by perusing a book.

Charlie’s Spic & Span Bakery & Café, the most well-known restaurant in Las Vegas, sits on Douglas Avenue in the heart of the old railroad town. A cartoonishly giant creampuff protrudes from its storefront next to the Historic Serf Theatre Hall and across the street from a stunning mural called The People’s History of El Norte, inspired by the work of historian Howard Zinn and painted by students in town.

The most useful cookbooks are spiral-bound. Folded to a beloved recipe on the counter beside a bubbling pot, they’re more practical objects than glossy visual feasts, with down-home prescriptions that are annotated, over time, with penned-in additions and faded grease spots. Dog-eared and well-loved, they’re handed down from one generation to another — and if we’re lucky, every once in a while, they are reissued, so we can wear out a brand-new edition all over again.

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Lettuce eat tacos: Alicia's Tortilleria

Santa Fe has been a culinary destination for a couple of decades, known for its high-end restaurants and the classic New Mexican joints that are usually booked to the gills with locals and tourists alike. To my mind, though, one of the best things about our city is its hidden gems, secret neighborhood places without all the bells and whistles or claim to James Beard Foundation fame. 

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Where the South meets Mexico

When he was a kid in Monterrey, Mexico, Eddie Hernandez would ask his grandmother to make pickled pork skins for him. She always replied,  “If you want to eat it, then learn to make it yourself.” And so he learned. “And eventually became pretty good at it,” the James Beard award-nominated chef modestly admits.

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Back to the land: The Kitchen

Santa Fe’s little-known all-vegetarian lunch restaurant is perhaps the most closely guarded secret spot in town. Outside, a whiteboard gives you three to four menu options for your $14.75 prix-fixe lunch. If it’s your first time, and especially if you’re a carnivore, you may worry about portion size, or whether the food is really any good, and what you’re doing so far down Agua Fría for lunch anyway. Relax. Have a seat at a blond-wood table. 

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

Veg out: "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian"

We should all eat more vegetables. But often, marching toward the outside aisles of the grocery store with the best of intentions, we end up wandering aimlessly through the produce section, touching all the radishes and fondling the eggplant in a longing, but bewildering, way. What are sunchokes, and what does one do with them? Under what conditions is rhubarb poisonous? Should we play it safe and just buy a steak?

Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

A few good pies: Gourmet pizza

    When it comes to pizza, Santa Fe is a far cry from spots like Brooklyn or New Haven, Connecticut, where the nation’s most traditional (and perhaps best) thin-crust pizza experiences originated. Here are a few good pies at places you might not immediately think of — where the gourmet pizza, often fired by wood, turns out to be a sit-down dinner experience worth writing about.

    Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

    The vegan lunch challenge

      Many vegans, especially in the wake of last December’s shuttering of the beloved Rasa Kitchen and Juice, struggle to find dependably good, nourishing dishes at the city’s mainstream restaurants, which frequently only offer one or two vegan options. In an effort to identify a few off-the-beaten-path gems in Santa Fe, we sent out three food writers in search of an all-vegan — but also so-tasty-you-didn’t-even-miss-the-cheese — lunch.

      The main event here is unabashedly beer, with at least 15 Second Street Brewery varieties and a couple guests rotating on tap. Affordable flights offer an opportunity to taste several four-ounce pours, so I opted to choose my own adventure with a flight of four. My favorite was the evocatively named Summer Rain Sour, a kettle-soured brew bright in hue (a lovely raspberry) and flavor, which was zingy, a berry-tinged refresher. 

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      Beaucoup bakeries

      Owned by South Korean natives Amanda and Sky Yang, B&B (aka bread and butter) is the most unusual bakery to open in Santa Fe this year. The tiny spot in Burro Alley fills its pastry cases with breads and sweets that are largely gluten-free, like the elegant French-style macarons ($2 each). 

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      Chile weather: Pecos Trail Café

      The restaurant has an unmistakably Old Santa Fe vibe to it, with the kind of funky, authentic atmosphere you hope to discover on a road trip — homey and unpretentious, with a few totally unironic Mexican cowboy hats and lariats on the walls. The menu runs the gamut of local cuisine, from the norteño to the gringo to the Mexicano. 

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      Made by hand: Trattoria a Mano

      Opened in December in the space most recently occupied by Galisteo Bistro, Trattoria A Mano has transformed the long, narrow, high-ceilinged room into a lively gathering spot for good food, good drink, and good company. The decor is eclectic, combining iron window grilles, oversized photos of ’50s Italian haute couture and hands kneading dough, a wall of quotations about food, and a flower-bedecked bicycle. 

      What is Irish-Italian spaghetti? Where did it come from? And why would you want to eat it? The recipe for this culinary curiosity may have first appeared in Better Homes & Gardens in the 1930s. “We still get requests for it,” the magazine’s website claims. “People can’t seem to get enough of it.”

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      Something to taco 'bout: El Callejon

      Before it shuttered a few years ago, El Paseo was a downtown institution. El Callejon, the restaurant opened by LiAnn and Raul Morales in the same space in 2016, may not be a sticky-floored bar anymore, with its brightening makeover of burnt-orange walls, colorful murals, and carefully positioned katsinas. But it is the heir apparent to its predecessor’s laid-back vibe — Raul even worked as manager of El Paseo from 2001 to 2012. 

      "Sit up; sit still; use your inside voice; no, you can’t run around the restaurant; please get up off the floor; I know this is not the butter noodles you eat six nights a week but can you please just taste it; be careful with this glass, it has no lid; oops, can we get some more napkins …" What’s it like to dine out with kids? That’s how Maggie Maddux, mother and owner-director of Santa Fe Sprouts preschool, describes it.

      Menu prices seem to be creeping up around town, as evidenced by the $26 bowl of pasta with a mere handful of shrimp we recently had at a popular Italian eatery. While some diners are looking to taste what is coming out of the trendy kitchens of our award-winning chefs, many of us are just looking for a well-prepared, interesting dinner out at a fair price in a comfortable and attractive setting. 

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      West by southwest: Opuntia

      Tucked away in an attractive industrial-modern, multipurpose building, the fledgling teahouse’s glass walls bring summer into winter in a bright, greenhouse-like setting. It’s a blend of the interests of Todd Spitzer — a founding partner of Iconik Coffee Roasters and co-owner of Sky Coffee — and plant maven Jeanna Gienke, with a menu designed by consulting chef Kim Muller, whose Santa Fe credentials include stints at The Compound and Izanami.

      Portland, Oregon, chef Jenn Louis — a 2012 Food & Wine Best New Chef and two-time finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef: Northwest award — and her co-author, Kathleen Squires — recipient of the M.F.K. Fisher Award from Les Dames d’Escoffier for Excellence in Culinary Writing — have together created the beautifully photographed The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium of 40 Varieties, From Arugula to WatercressWith More than 175 Recipes. It’s a culinary tour de force whose title says it all.

      Once upon a time, baking teacher and cookbook author Susan G. Purdy arrived in Santa Fe to prepare for a demonstration baking class. As she concocted a chocolate buttermilk cake at 7,000 feet, she watched with horror — as generations of recently arrived New Mexico residents undoubtedly had before her — as the layers rose promisingly in the oven only to crash when they cooled. 

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      South by Southwest: Gourmet Today Café

      T.J. Griffith is a brave woman. As a management consultant, she traveled the world teaching leadership skills in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. After a brief retirement, with absolutely no experience in the restaurant business, she took another bold step and opened Gourmet Today Café. Tucked between The Pink Adobe and Río Chama Steakhouse, the café is the perfect size for a new restaurateur, with just 16 indoor seats and the potential for another dozen or so on a patio facing Old Santa Fe Trail.

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      Café society: Café Sonder

      Café Sonder, which occupies the spot that formerly housed the venerated Zia Diner, is the fancier, borderline fine-dining sister restaurant to downtown’s perennially packed Plaza Café. The owners of Sonder, longtime restaurateurs who also operate the Plaza Café Southside, are dedicated to making everything in-house and from scratch, with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Sonder, which opened in November 2016, has the feel of an upscale diner, with the former Zia Diner’s same open, multilevel floor plan and minimalist decor topped with modern-looking metallic red ribbons that hang from the ceiling.

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      A lot of Gaul: Frenchish

      Adding an “ish” to a statement of intention almost always sounds like you’re hedging your bets. “I’ll be there at 6-ish,” for example, doesn’t exactly scream determination to be on time. Jennifer James, sometime James Beard Award semifinalist and one of Albuquerque’s most popular and highly lauded chefs, may have chosen Frenchish as the name for her new foray into the dining scene to avoid the judgment of purist Francophiles, but she needn’t have worried. Her versions of French classics can withstand the scrutiny, and her more whimsical twists might even win over les grincheux.

      Amuse-Bouche [Culinary Musings]

      How vegetarian is Santa Fe?

      More than a few Santa Feans raised their eyebrows when, in October 2016, the website Priceonomics declared our small city to be the most vegetarian-friendly in the country. Yet anyone who’s lived the veggie life knows that we’re far from having vegetarian restaurants on every corner, and any time a conversation turns to the sorts of restaurants Santa Fe lacks, more than one person will mention vegetarian and vegan cuisine.