Friday, December 31, 2010

Powder Days at the Santa Fe Ski Basin!

While Santa Fe did not get a white Christmas this year, abundant snows are here for the new year and the skiing is fabulous!  Guests of Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn will want to plan a day or two of skiing at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, which has received 17 inches of snow in the past two days and is expecting major snowfall tonight and tomorrow.  As of today, 83% of the mountain is open, with 62 runs in operation.  Santa Fe is a particularly good terrain for families and beginner/intermediate level skiers.  Those who are at the more advanced levels will be happier making the 1 1/2 hour drive to Taos, one of the two most difficult mountains in the United States.

Half day (9am-12:30pm or 12:30-4pm) passes at the Santa Fe Ski Basin are $45, or $60 for a full day.  If you have any children under 46" in height, they ski for free.  In addition, if you are over 72, you get to ski for free!  Multi-day passes are also available, as well as rental equipment and group or private lessons.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Year's Eve in Santa Fe!

Santa Fe is not known for its wild nightlife, but there is plenty going on for New Year's Eve to keep you entertained.  Being a foodie town, guests at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn can rest assured that you will have plenty of delicious dining options.  Here are just a few, ranging from a couple of more affordable options to a couple of the pricier choices.  The town is packed to the rafters over the holidays so you will want to make reservations right away.

Should you wish to get a bit wild and crazy after dinner, you may want to hang out at one of Santa Fe's two favorite watering holes.  On upper Canyon Road is El Farol, and just off the Plaza is the newly re-opened Dragon Room.

Ze French Bistro
311 Old Santa Fe Trail

5 courses for just $49
$89 includes wine

Amuses-bouches du chef
Tune & salmon tartar or escargots
Mussels marinieres or Ahi tguna
Seared duck breast or beef tenderloin
Crepes 'flambees" with Grand Marnier or
   Chocolate fondant or Creme Brulee

The Shed
113 1/2 Palace Avenue

Regular menu of Northern New Mexico specialties, all priced very reasonably.
The Shed does an especially good red chile.

Some of my favorites:
Guacamole, Salsa and Tortilla Chips
Southwest Grilled Shrimp
Veggie Quesadilla

Enchilada Plate - Two rolled blue corn tortillas stuffed with cheddar cheese & onions, smothered in red chile.
Blue Corn Burritos - Two blue corn tortillas filled with pinto beans, cheddar cheese and onions and baked in a red chile sauce (vegetarian).
Fish Tacos - Two flour tortillas filled with sauteed fish, cabbage, pico de gallo, onion, jalapeno, ciliantro & lime.
Chicken Enchilada Verde - Roasted chicken, cheddar cheese and onion, rolled in blue corn tortillas and baked with green chile.

Save room for dessert!  Their Hot Fudge Sundae, Apple Pie and Zabaglione are fabulous!

The Compound
653 Canyon Road

This is one of my favorite elegant restaurants in Santa Fe.  You will not find a wild party scene here, but some very fine dining.  A great way, in my opinion, to bring in the new year.

Two Seatings:
6pm - 3 course prix-fixe menu for $105
8pm - 4 course prix-fixe menu for $140
(children's menu $40)

Menu Highlights:
First Course
Crispy Cornmeal Fried Oysters
Tuna Tartare
Wagyu Carpaccio

Second Course
Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Salad

Grilled Beef Tenderloin
Grilled Swordfish
Cast Iron Seared Veal Chop Piccata

Chocolate Blackout Cake
Creme Brulee
Gelato and Sorbets

Restaurant Martin
526 Galisteo Street

Simple and beautiful surroundings along with innovative and refined dishes make Restaurant Martin the new favorite dining establishment of Santa Fe.

Prix-Fixe Menu - $90

Menu Highlights:
Maple Lacquered Semi-Boneless Quail
Pumpkin Risotto
Organic Beet Salad
Elk Osso Bucco

Maine Diver Sea Scallops
Big Eye Tuna
New York Strip Loin
Colorado Lamb Loin

Caramel Golden Gala Apple
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Tart
Toasted Coconut Creme Caramel

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magical Christmas Farolito Walk in Santa Fe

Christmas in Santa Fe is all the more memorable for those who are fortunate enough to stroll up Canyon Road on Christmas Eve for the annual Farolito Walk.  Every year the residents and businesses of the area make thousands upon thousands of farolitos - small brown bags filled with sand and a votive candles - which line the walkways, roofs and walls of historic Canyon Road and neighboring streets. 

The farolitos are lit by hand at dusk, which signals the beginning of this holiday tradition.  Walkers are encouraged to warm themselves by the many luminarios (small bonfires) while singing Christmas carols and visiting with friends and fellow walkers. Some homes and galleries will also be serving warm drinks to passers-by. 

As there are close to 30,000 visitors who participate in this traditional holiday event, I recommend that our guests at Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn and The Madeleine Bed & Breakfast choose to stroll in the latter part of the evening, when the crowds have died down.  This is the time when you can enjoy a peaceful hush while walking amongst the flickering farolitos.  It is so very magical, especially when we are blessed with a blanket of snow, making everything that much softer.  It feels like a real fairyland.

Then again, many people actually prefer going at the height of the event, which is a very merry affair.  Should you go at this time of night, be sure to head off the beaten path to some of the smaller streets where the noise will dissipate and you can savor a bit of peace and quiet.  One of our favorite off-the-beaten-track places to go is Plaza Fatima, where you can see a model train set in operation, in amongst the farolitos.

Canyon Road, East Alameda Street, Acequia Madre and all other roads in the area will close to traffic starting at 5:30.  Traffic in the area if very restricted, so you will want to have your car out of the area by 5pm.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Dinner in Santa Fe

Christmas in Santa Fe is a magical place indeed.   The farolito walk on Canyon Road that occurs on Christmas Eve is a favorite for visitors and locals alike, and this year should be a most enjoyable walk, now that we have just had a big snow and the temperature is not too chilly.  This event, along with the nearby Pueblo dances and the festive lights of the Plaza create a unique holiday experience for guests of the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast

Because Santa Fe is exceedingly busy over the Christmas holidays, you will want to book your holiday meals in advance.  Here are some of my picks for delicious holiday meals at some of Santa Fe's best restaurants:

Fuego (at La Posada, just one block from Hacienda Nicholas)
Christmas Eve - 5:30-9pm
Christmas Day - 4-8:30pm
$95/person  (children's menu available)

Menu Highlights:
First Course:
Petite Warm Brie, Cranberry with Pecan Chutney and Arugula
Grilled Rock Lobster with Red Pepper Nage, Creamy Polenta and Snap Peas

Second Course:
Herts of Romaine lettuce, White Anchovies and Rye Crisps, Kalamata Olive Dressing
Roasted Carrot and Cumin Bisque, Sun Dried Tomato Crostinis

Raspberry Sorbet with Chambord Syrup

Third Course:
Colorado Lamb with Pumpkin and Pecan Flan, Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta with Cider Jus
Pan Seared Chilean Sea Bass with Basmati Rice, Baby Bok Choy and Lemongrass Broth
Oven Roasted Prime Rib of Beef, Herbed Potato Souffle with Haricot Verts, Carmelized Onions

German Chocolate Terrine with Coconut Panna Cotta
Pecan Chocolate Tart with Chocolate Creme Chantilly and Hazelnut Creme-Anglaise

The Compound Restaurant (on Canyon Road - the perfect place to be on Christmas Eve)

Christmas Eve - Serving from 4:30pm
Christmas Day - Serving from 5pm

Christmas Eve is a 3 course prix-fixe menu
$125/person (children's menu $40)

Christmas Dinner is an a la carte menu featuring
Compound Classics and Christmas Specials
Restaurant Martin
Christmas Eve - Serving from 5:30pm
Christmas Day - Serving from 3pm
A la carte menu

Menu Highlights:

Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque with Lobster-Parmesan Flan
Big Eye Tuna and Hamachi Tasting
Organic Beet Salad with Point Reyes Cheese, Grapefruit Brulee, Fennel Sponge, Candy Almonds....

Maine Diver Sea Scallops with Potato-Shallot Puree, Mushroom-Butternut Squash Duxelle...
White Black Sea Bass with Red Pepper Marmalade, Celery Root Puree.....
Prime Beef Tenderloin with Caramelized Onion-Potato Croquettes

Golden Pineapple Caramel Vacherin, Freeze-Dried Coconut Crunch, Almond Sponge....
Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake with Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Caramelized Bananas, Dulce de Leche
Trio of Creme Brulee

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Fe Desert Chorale Delights with Carols and Lullabies

For the 28th year, the illustrious Santa Fe Desert Chorale will be performing their holiday concert, Carols and Lullabies, to anyone fortunate enough to be in the know.  We highly recommend this event to our guests at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, as well as to locals and visitors at any Santa Fe lodging.  The program includes Renaissance melodies, Baroque motets for double choir and traditional holiday tunes.  Carols range from the well-known American favorites such as "Deck the Halls", "First Noel" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" to carols from France, Germany and Scandinavia.  The concert closes with the beautiful "Silent Night". 

The performance can be enjoyed from December 17-21, with ticket prices ranging from $20-$55.  I highly recommend purchasing your tickets in advance, as these shows do tend to sell out.  Tickets may be purchased by calling the Lensic Performing Arts Ticket Office at 505.988.1234 or online.

Concert Locations and Times are as follows:
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis | 213 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe | December 17 (8pm)
  • Immanuel Presbyterian Church | 114 Carlisle Blvd SE, Albuquerque | December 19 (4pm)
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis | 213 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe | December 20 (8pm)
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis | 213 Cathedral Place, Santa Fe | December 21 (8pm)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

18th Annual Art of Devotion Exhibit at Peyton Wright Gallery

The Peyton Wright Gallery, an easy two-block walk for our guests at The Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn, has recently opened its 18th Annual Art of Devotion exhibit.  Attendees can marvel at museum-quality sculptures, silver-work, furniture, devotional objects and paintings from the Spanish Colonial period (1520-1820).  This was a time of intense cultural and social conflict, and naturally the stresses of the time influenced the creation of art.  An underlying theme of this spectacular show is the struggle between sophisticated civilizations and traditional belief systems.

This collection of art from the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies (New Mexico, Mexico, Guatamala, Ecuador, Argentine, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and the Philippines) is perhaps the largest and most significant collection of its kind in the world.   Interest in Historic Art of the Americas is peaking, with institutions, museums, private collections, scholars, and auction houses, paying a great deal of attention to what used to be a neglected body of works.

Make sure to pay a visit to this neighborhood gallery so you too can marvel at these magnificent pieces.

The show opened on December 3 and will be up until April of 2011.
Peyton Wright Gallery
237 East Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, NM

Friday, December 3, 2010

Madrid's 28th Annual Christmas Open House

Guests of the Hacienda Nicholas Bed & Breakfast Inn may want to experience the 28th Annual Madrid Christmas Open House, happening this Saturday, December 4th.  Festivities begin at The Mineshaft Tavern at 2pm with gift giving by Santa to all tots.  This is followed by the Madrid Christmas Parade at 4pm, along with other holiday activities and festive decorations.  The entire town will be decorated with Christmas lights, a tradition that began when Madrid was a flourishing mining town.  From the 1920's through the 1950's, this company town would show off its wealth of electrical power and illuminate the town with 100,000 lights, a very lavish display in that era.   The light show became so famous that airlines even altered their routes so passengers could enjoy the spectacle. 

Madrid became a ghost town once the mines closed in 1954, but people began moving into the ghost town in the 1970's.  These early 'settlers' soon revived the tradition of the Christmas lights of Madrid for visitors to enjoy.

The more than 40 stores and galleries of Madrid will be open late, selling fine art, crafts, jewelry, pottery, clothing and more.  For unique and artistic gifts, this is a perfect opportunity to get in some Christmas shopping.  Many merchants will be welcoming shoppers with hot chocolate, apple cider and holiday cookies.