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Whirlwind of Cocktails and Dining in Sante Fe

Just wanted to post a few comments about some fun places in Sante Fe. Was there for a business meeting but brought my lovely wife to join me on a quickfire trek through some interesting restaurants and bars. I'll go chronologically for no other reason than it will be easier to recollect. First nite some apps and wine at Epazote. A slow Monday night afforded me the chance to taste a number of complementary creations from the kitchen. Jalapeno/Crema Salsa was complex and elegant with tortilla chips. A selection of dark mole, white chocolate mole with beets and a vegan mole were served as well to inspire the palate. After meeting the chef he also brought a sample of his soup of Poblano Pepper, Blue Crab, Amaretto Foam and a dusting of cinnamon. Really incredible. They are proud of their work here for sure. I passed on the dish with grasshoppers and selected the unique cuitlacoche offering and the tuna tartare off the menu. Both flavor profiles were ethereal. Wanted to hit a variety of places so wandered across town to La Boca for Tapas. Nice deal on bottled wines, 50% off a bottle over 50 bucks..grabbed a Priorat for about 30 bucks. It went very well with a bruschetta of poached egg, mushroom and truffle oil, topped with Romano I think. Really rich and sinful. The lamb keftas were so-so, overdone. I also had the boquerones with olive oil and nice bread. Sit at the bar in back for faster service rather than waiting for a seat in the cramped dining room. Place was on a 75 minute wait on a Monday Night.
Had a bizarre drink at the Anasazi Inn with Geniver style Gin, Luxardo and Absinthe..Ive been on a Negroni kick and this seemed like a very distant cousin..was fun but Absinthe really overwhelmed the unique dutch style gin. A Pear Martini cocktail at Amavi was fun, with St Germain, and my cocktail had muddled tarragon infused into Bombay Sapphire. Intimate little bar and the bartender was training a newbie so I picked up some hints on the whole shaken vs stirred debate. Finally made it to Restaurant Martin and it was the hilight for sure. Pork Belly was perfectly glazed and tender, while the sea scallops were so sweet the carmelization was almost like candy. Yukon mashed with wild mushrooms were perfect accompaniments. My wife's salmon with cavatelli and root puree was expertly prepared and flaked away layer by layer. My Trimback Pinot Blanc suited both the scallops and the salmon nicely. All in all we really enjoyed our few days and limited time in Sante Fe. We grazed alot but got to see alot of places.

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La Boca
72 West Marcy Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Amavi Restaurant
221 Shelby Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Restaurant Martin
526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Apr 22, 2011
fcremo in Southwest

dinner in santa fe

Eyelean, I just got back and was prepared to post a message on a number of places I hit in Sante Fe. Epazote was a quirky treat. We wandered in very early, around 530 pm, on a Monday nite and it was obviously quite slow, but filled up while we were there. Max's and Restaurant Martin were closed. We had just landed from Tampa and we just wanted a glass of wine and maybe an appetizer. We were seated in a small intimate wine bar(no liquor) and enjoyed a nice Malbec as well as a Tempranillo. Solid list. The server brought out a complementary selection of three moles as each evening the chef creates a menu around these wonderful sauces. The restaurant is connected to an eclectic gallery that makes for a nice counterpoint to the dining experience. The chef came out and was quite engaging. Im a CIA grad and quizzed him on a number of the menu items and enjoyed the rapport. He insisted on bring out a soup with blue crab, poblano crema, amaretto foam and a dusting of cinnamon. Truly unique and a surprising harmony. We ordered the cuitlacoche(mexican truffle) dish, which was outstanding. Also really liked the tuna tartare app with the right amount of heat. I'd have no hesitation to recommend it for your party. The dining room could accommodate about that many but Im not certain if they have additional banquet space.. We headed out to Boca for dinner afterwards which was great but probably way too small. I hope it works out ! I forgot that they also brought out a complementary Jalapeno Reduction Salsa with a touch of cream that was perfectly balanced and delicious with fresh tortillas. I was amazed at the hospitality and pride at Epazote. Truly felt I was a guest while there.

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Restaurant Martin
526 Galisteo, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Apr 22, 2011
fcremo in Southwest

My 72 Hours of Austin(long version), dinners, bars and brunches

And this was a guy who did not appear to be afraid of anything! ..at any rate we walked back to our hotel from there and I snagged some dried ancho chiles from a little shop along the way. Passed a few interesting looking places Ill try to get to on next visit..

Nov 24, 2010
fcremo in Austin

My 72 Hours of Austin(long version), dinners, bars and brunches

Ill be upfront..this was my first visit to Austin so in no way is this intended to be comprehensive. I will say that I did my best to combine internet research with reliable recommendations and then mixed in a bit of wanderlust to build what I found to be a great weekend for those who put gastronomy ahead of any other pursuit when in a new town..
Stared with a business meeting Thursday Night..7pp, of which I only had met 2 before..didnt want the typical expense account steakhouse,so I settled on Lamberts Downtown Barbeque (2nd and Guadalupe)..great vibe, and the smoky aroma outside the front door told me I was in the right place..Prices were fair for entrees, mid teens for the que, mid 20s for other entrees. You can see it all online..staff was young, friendly and attentive..nice local beer selection and the courtyard seating would be fun for a casual group. Serious thumbs up on the coriander scented ribs, and the beef brisket was moist , tender and went great with the mustard sauce on the table. Was really a perfect place to showcase some Austin BBQ for guests,..they handled the large group well..
Met my wife for drinks later at the Four Seasons..I know..overpriced hotel lobby bar lacking any character... but I worked for them after graduating from CIA so I had to check it out..no cucumber to muddle in my Hendricks(wah), but the piano man playing a lush 20 minute medley of Pink Floyd amonst the chattering glitterati was amusing for us both. Bmy Bride selected froma lenghlty listy of Mojito variants and was pleased.
Had Friday meetings but was free by 4pm..had a drink at a place called the Speakeasy on Congress so expected a classic cocktail scene..they didnt know what Campari was and never heard of a Negroni, settled for a Shiner Bock....oh well..
Found our way to Parkside on 6th for dinner..snagged a place at at the bar with my wife for 3 hours.. what a treasure among the party bars in this area..quality up and down the menu..feasted on oysters from RI and BC(and a crisp sauvignon blanc), had the hand rolled gnocchi with arugula pesto, the ceviche, and finally could not resist the marrow bones served with grilled toast, wilted flat leaf parsley and sea salt..everything executed flawlessy..nice wines by the glass as well..almost went back again but needed to see more of Austin..had a drink at Max's Wine Dive..cool place for a casual home style meal and a great glass of wine from the large list..think their rule is that they will open any bottle if you commit to two glasses..fun.
For the adventurous..we moved a bit outside of downtown to find a bar called The Good Knight..was still looking for the hand crafted cockail place and found it in the most unlikley place..cabbie was concerned for our safety as it was known as the hood years ago and frankly had not a fare there in years either..he gave me his card and asked if I wanted him eto stay close by..Wife had an Aviator Gin cocktail with Violet Liquer, I found my bitter Negroni with Hendricks and a slab of toasted orange rind..Even had a jukebox so selected some Miles Davis, Joe Strummer, Edith Piaf and Rolling Stones..the setting was cozy, dark, sultry and eclectic in so many ways..cheese plate and pork rillette nibbles were fine, not outstanding, but was perfect for an hour of substance, reflections and conversation.
A few other places that we mixed in were Cain and Abels up near the campus..had an amazingly difficult time finding a bar along Guadalupe up there and finally asked for directions for something to drink..anywhere..they had about 40 Taps and 5 IPs, so I was hoppy(sarry!). Also had a beer at The Tavern in the Lamar area, did some shopping at West Elm, the cool record store called Waterloo and grabbed the new Keith Richards tome at Book People..cant always be eating right?
Final place to review..best for last..Went to Winks for dinner..where to start?? Greeted by name at the door by the host, greeted by name by the server, possibly greeted by name by the back waiter as well. A friend had provided a comp bottle of Roederers as we were seated so we were in good frame of mind. I enjoy a lively dining room so be warned.. its tight, loud and buzzing. Completely appropriate to converse with you dining neighbors 18 inches away about their next menu selection..We saw the tables turn twice while there as we grazed our way thru the entire appetizer list..our server split them when appropriate..the stars of the night in order..mussels, fois gras, tartare, lobster agnolotti, and we also enjoyed the antelope steak with berry zin reduction. Server made some great wine pairings for us that either complemented or contrasted with each dish..this is a kitchen at top of game, with service to match..an adjacent wine bar next door handles the overflow..make a point to remember the hosts/GM name, Im not so good at that(Mike/Mark??) and he caught on at the end of nite and gently chided me for it..well deserved I suppose and given the dining experience..its all good..
Went back to Lamberts for Sunday Bruch before flying out and was impressed again..28 a head, but reserve early and make sure you request a table along the wall and not right next to the buffet line..also, oder your Bloody Mary regular before asking boldly for the spicy..forgot where I was..
So there you go,,hope it helps, I get alot of advice off this board and jsut trying to contribute where I can..enjoy

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Lamberts Downtown Barbeque
401 West 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701

Parkside Austin
301 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701

Cain and Abel's
2313 Rio Grande St, Austin, TX 78705

Max's Wine Dive
207 San Jacinto, Austin, TX 78701

Wink Restaurant
1014 N Lamar Blvd Ste E, Austin, TX 78703

Nov 22, 2010
fcremo in Austin

Ixtapa and Zihua Food and Fun

Just linked back to this thread..I know its been awhile but curious as to how things went in zihua? did you get the cask tequila at beer planet? Also hope you got to the tides..

Apr 28, 2010
fcremo in Mexico

Ixtapa and Zihua Food and Fun

My first post, but I got so much help from this board I felt obligated to join and reciprocate ! Went back to Ixtapa with two other couples last week. We had all honeymooned there years ago and decided to return to celebrate the 50th birthday of one of our friends. Had a great week, although the heat in July was intense, and Im from Florida! We stayed at Las Brisas, which we like because it is fairly secluded on its own cove, with no other high rises withing view. We selected Beach Club units as they included breakfast and a limited Happy Hour each day. Well worth the price upgrade..One dish that just floored me was poached eggs in a poblano pepper infused stock..Ill be looking to recreate this in my kitchen shortly..dining options at Las Brisas were OK, a bit pricey and a bit dated(ie tableside flamed desserts etc) , Lobster and Shrimp risotto in Portofino was excellent, and the Solarium by the pool had great small chicken and fish tacos. We travelled to Rubens Hamburgers in Ixtapa one day and they were as good as advertised, although the ice cold cervezas were the hit of the day as it felt like 110 that day..found a little beer dive right near Rubens called Beer Planet where the beers were 13 pesos, vs 60-75 in the hotels..Negro Modela, Indio, and Pacifico were the favs for the day. You need to make sure and ask for a taste of the cask preserved tequila..an odd flourish of exotica for such a small open air bar..
One day I took a trip into Zihua on my own to explore the Tamales at "Any"s..well worth it. I had the chicken tamales in Mole sauce, as well as one with squash blossoms. Both were well seasoned and accompanied by nice salsas, verde and traditional. Very inexpensive but was fun to get out of the hotel zone and into the city. Tried to get to a place called lety's but virtually no one knows of it, other than what Ive read on boards. Finally saw it on my last day there but did not have time to stop.
The find of the week was The Tides..beautiful place,and we had gone to try and find Tentaciones for dinner, but it was closed, So I asked cab driver to bring us to the Tides for a drink. We stayed for dinner and shared everything among the six of us. Hilites were the corn chowder with scallops, the homemade tortillas pressed right in front of us, the coconut shrimp, the tamales, even the roast chicken was one of a kind. We had grilled langoustines which were fantastic dipped in garlic butter..Nice touch was the selection of berries, shaved ginger etc to add to the water..nice wine list that had good deals from Chile, Spain and Local Whites. Was too full for dessert..so we went back a second day and paid a guest rate to use the facility. Id encourage anyone to pay the 25US. You get full use of pools, restrooms and they set up a table for dining out on the beach for you..Was incredible service all day long. They kept the beers cold, made an outstanding sangrita to accompany the reposado tequilas, and their coco loco served in the shell was great, they even carved up the liquor infused meat of the cocnut for us to nibble on. We enjoyed the in pool bar for awhile..very relaxing..
If you stay at Las Brisas, ask for Polo at the bar, he took care of the 6 of us all week. hes been there 25 years and was just the best. Hope this is helpful, thanks to all who posted on Ixtapa and Zihua that helped with this trip

Jul 30, 2009
fcremo in Mexico