Drinking in the Southwest

Following AMW’s advice, I’m drinking in the Southwest. A few beers are always appropriate, after all.

We’re currently in San Jose, where the Plaza Cafe, recommended, iirc, by D.C. Sessions is temporarily closed due to a fire. Plans to go to Los Alamos tomorrow are canceled because it also is temporarily closed by a fire, with the whole town evacuated at present, according to the news.

Best moment of the trip so far: As we walked through the plaza in Santa Fe, a young man wearing a Green Peace shirt and carrying a clipboard approached us with the least effective spiel ever: “Hello, family, do you believe in…stuff?”

No. I don’t. Not “stuff.” No while I’m on vacation, anyway.

My previous trip to Santa Fe, ca. 1984, was in early October. I recommend coming here in fall, not summer. Better weather, smaller crowds. Of course I’ve long known that fall is the best time to travel, so why did I become a college prof?

About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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8 Responses to Drinking in the Southwest

  1. AMW says:

    I’m not much of a drinker myself, but Tequila would be a better choice for the southwest. If you’re like me, though, the only way you’ll touch the stuff is in a fresh Margarita.

  2. I’m from Colorado (originally) and not New Mexico, but New Mexico’s close enough that I envy you your visit to my region of the ‘States. Have fun!

  3. James Hanley says:

    Speaking of margaritas…Maria’s restaurant in Santa Fe is the place to go. We bought the kids a pizza last night (Upper Crust Pizza–very good), then my bride and I went to Maria’s. It’s obviously a local’s hangout, which is a plus, and it doesn’t tone down the spice for us midwestern gringos, which is good because I like spicy stuff. The chips and salsa were the best I’ve ever had. They didn’t even bother to warn us how hot the salsa was, but it wasn’t just hot for heat’s sake; it was very flavorful. My wife got a sampler plate that had the best chile rellenos she’s ever had, and I had some very tender pork in a spicy red chile sauce. Apparently it’s a regional favorite, and it’s something I’ve never had before. It was marvelous. The meal came with the best sopapilla bread I’ve ever had, served with local honey.

    Of course the margarita was necessary to get through the meal, because of the spiciness. And Maria’s specializes in Margaritas. They claim to have 180+ margaritas, and they had over 100 tequilas to choose from. They actually encourage tequila tasting, like wine-tasting, with a special tequila tasting glass produced by a crystal manufacturer in Germany that created a dozen prototype glasses, then had 2 large scale tasting tests, one in Mexico and one in Germany, to settle on the ideal tequila glass. I was too tired to properly enjoy that experience last night, so I passed. But I am impressed.

    Any recommendations for where to eat in Albuquerque?

  4. I don’t know Albuquerque, or New Mexico, at all, but do they have green chili there? I’ll defer to other commenters who know more about green chili in New Mexico and if it’s as good as in Colorado, but it’s something I miss from my home state, and I can’t find it anywhere in Chicago.

  5. James Hanley says:

    Yes, they have green chili. My wife had it on her chile rellenos and said it was very good.

  6. AMW says:

    Any recommendations for where to eat in Albuquerque?

    Garduno’s (very spicy salsa), YesterDave’s (50’s retro restaurant) and High Finance (pricy restaurant at the top of the Sandias).

  7. James Hanley says:

    Too late. But we just had a good lunch at Little Anita’s. Amazingly, even the 8 and 10 year olds were loving the hot salsa on chips (we have lots of Mexican restaurants in my Michigan town, thanks to a long standing Hispanic population, but most of it is toned down for us Anglos). The sopapillas with honey were also a big hit.

    Albuquerque’s a pretty nice place. Folks here seem quite friendly. They could use some lessons in basic courtesy while driving, however. Everyone seems to be on a mission to keep each other from ever changing lanes.

  8. AMW says:

    They could use some lessons in basic courtesy while driving, however. Everyone seems to be on a mission to keep each other from ever changing lanes.

    When I lived there, a teacher told us that NM had more DWI’s per year than any state, and he claimed that was raw figures, not per capita. Probably that’s an urban legend, but DWI’s truly are a problem there. And even when sober New Mexicans aren’t so hot behind the wheel, possibly because of the ridiculously lax drivers license laws. I was able to get my license at 15, and the driving test consisted of something like six right-hand turns and (maybe) parking in a well-marked space in a parking lot. Less than six months after getting my license I flipped my dad’s Jeep Cherokee through a cinder-block wall. Last time I was in town you could still see that the section I hit was a different color due to the re-build.

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