For those of you traveling to Santa Fe, New Mexico in the future, please consider taking a few hours to go on the restaurant walking tour hosted by the Santa Fe School of Cooking.
On Saturday, we were treated by my good friend's hubby to this very tour. I must admit, we were a bit disturbed at the reality of having to take a time out from gallivanting around town at our own discretion. However, we were soon very pleasantly surprised.
Our host chef and tour guide was Chef Rocky Durham, and he was an absolute delight. Funny, charming, and full of knowledge about where to dine in the area, he led us around town to some secluded spots and some places we'd walked right by and never considered. All of the stops were absolutely delicious! And, he boosted my ego about ten notches by carding me before I could begin the tour. I'm 35! I never get carded unless my handsome, baby-faced hubby is with me, so I was elated. He made my day!
Chef Rocky began our tour at the cooking school, with a bit of sparkling wine to compliment a tamale filled with the best duck meat I've ever tasted. Ok, actually it was the only duck I've ever tasted, but I was impressed none the less. (I failed to snap a picture of that little treat, but it was wrapped ever so delicately in a corn husk, tied at both ends, and looked beautiful!)
The first restaurant we walked to was Rio Chama by the state capitol, and we were led through the entire place, including the kitchen, by Chef Tom Kerpon. This is a truly elegant, fine-dining stop that I recommend you stop at if you're in the mood. The decor is top of the line and they can host just about any size of party, even as small as just two, in one of their many nooks and crannies. You will feel like southwestern royalty. And, the food serving was delish! This is actually pork belly (I know...sounds disgusting, but it was sooo good. I just skipped eating the top layer of fat...) with sweet potatoes and some sort of sauce on the bottom, with little fried onion rings on top.
Our next stop was Amavi. Talk about another amazing source of ambience! It was voted the most romantic restaurant in May of 2008 and I can see why. We met David & Heather, the husband and wife team who run the show, and David is the head chef. We were served a huge scallop on a bed of fettucini with capers, and it was superb. I ate every bite. Their menu is updated every few weeks, and their food centers around tastes from Spain, Italy and France.
We moved on to La Casa Sena from there, and were treated to a splendid bit of trout baked in a custom made clay fish-dish. Chef Patrick Garrity and his staff literally make these little custom baking dishes shaped like fish so they can bake the trout in their wood burning oven. The clay fish are cracked open to reveal the most juicy and tender meat inside. I lapped up every bite of that treat, too. Yum. ee.