Mr. Harper's Travel Guide
Perhaps more than those of any other Southwestern state, the sparsely populated mountain and desert landscapes of New Mexico exude an atmosphere of the ancient. Aztec and Pueblo ruins sit in the shadows of massive natural sandstone formations; Mogollon cliff dwellings in the Gila Wilderness ...
Perhaps more than those of any other Southwestern state, the sparsely populated mountain and desert landscapes of New Mexico exude an atmosphere of the ancient. Aztec and Pueblo ruins sit in the shadows of massive natural sandstone formations; Mogollon cliff dwellings in the Gila Wilderness invoke ghosts of the 13th century; petroglyphs from thousands of years ago preside along the Rio Grande; a volcano once traversed by mammoths and bison lies dormant in the northcentral wilderness.
In the foothills of the southern Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe, the oldest capital city in North America, is also home to the nation's oldest public building. The legacy of the Spanish colonizers' culture is pervasive in the rodeos, ranches and cattle drives that remain a part of modern-day New Mexico. But a sense of the future is equally salient. The famous International UFO Museum and Research Center at Roswell allows visitors to decide whether a flying saucer really did crash here in 1947. The Old Town of Albuquerque is a historic village updated with modern shops and boutiques, and the ski slopes at Taos and Santa Fe fuse the slow geologic time of soaring peaks with modern downhill velocities.
Recommended Luxury Hotels in New Mexico
Best Restaurants in New Mexico
Atmospheric restaurant in an 1860s adobe house on Sena Plaza with a fine collection of paintings and furniture, plus a lovely tree-shaded patio. The imaginative Southwestern menu might offer pan-seared ruby trout with jalapeño risotto, spinach and tarragon butter; or lamb chops with sweet potato pavé and a Cabernet-mint reduction. The 56-page wine list has more than three dozen by-the-glass selections.125 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe $75 http://www.lacasasena.com/
The spare interior of this stylish restaurant provides the setting for Southwestern folk art, as well as chef Mark Kiffin’s creative fare. A starter might be tuna tartare with walnut toast, preserved lemon and caviar. Main courses could be Alaskan halibut topped with clams and mussels with fennel-potato purée and bouillabaisse broth; or beef tenderloin with cèpe mushrooms and foie gras Hollandaise. The excellent wine list has more than 200 selections.653 Canyon Road Santa Fe $80 http://www.compoundrestaurant.com/
The restaurant of the Inn and Spa at Loretto has one of the loveliest patios in the city, illuminated by chandeliers, candles and an immense kiva-style fireplace. Beneath the Gothic Loretto Chapel, guests dine on Southwest-fusion dishes such as Berkshire pork belly with Anasazi bean ragout, corn and harissa; salmon with huitlacoche flap jacks and radish salad; and 36-hour sous-vide buffalo short ribs with grits, market vegetables and buffalo jus.Inn and Spa at Loretto 211 Old Santa Fe Trail Santa Fe http://www.innatloretto.com/new-mexico-dining/santa-fe-restaurant.php
With four dining rooms, each with its own fireplace, and an elm-shaded patio, this 1862 adobe house provides the venue for superb contemporary Southwest cooking. The menu changes seasonally, but classic starters include shiitake and cactus spring rolls with a Southwestern ponzu dipping sauce, and shrimp and spinach dumplings with a tahini sauce. Look for main courses such as grilled Angus filet mignon with glazed carrots and green chili mashed potatoes with a cilantro-lime Hollandaise. The extensive wine list offers a good selection by the glass.231 Washington Avenue Santa Fe $60 http://www.santacafe.com/
This time-honored restaurant within a restored 1756 adobe house has a charming dining area on the front porch and a contemporary interior with fireplaces and modern art. On chef Sllin Cruz’s eclectic menu, a main course could be elk tenderloin and apple-smoked bacon with garlic mashed potatoes, sugar snap peas and a creamy brandied-mushroom sauce; or mesquite-grilled salmon with green goddess aioli, fennel and house-made cavatelli.724 Canyon Road Santa Fe $70. Four-course vegetarian menu, $60 http://www.geronimorestaurant.com/