Saturday, October 26, 2013

Santa Fe, New Mexico 2013

 Our Adventures in Santa Fe, New Mexico, October 26 thru November 1, 2013
Saturday, October 26, 2013
Uneventful travel day.  TYJ.  Our flight was right on time.  It’s only an hour flight from Phoenix to Albuquerque.  The shuttle to the rental-car-row was waiting at the curb.  We had reserved an Ford Explorer.  Paul is going to be in the market for a new SUV soon so he wanted to check it out.  Mr. Budget Counter Man said “we have a Nissan Pathfinder for you”.  :disappointed:.  He said he’d check to see of one of their partners had an Explorer because they share the inventory.  Sure enough Avis had one so made the change.  He also gave us a few flyers for restaurants that when you present the flyer they give you a “surprise” (either an appetizer or a dessert - their choice).  Paul hadn’t eaten and I had a half of PB&J before we left the house so we decided to have lunch in Albuquerque before heading to Santa Fe.  Mr. Budget recommended El Pinto and said it was only about 5 minutes off the freeway.  We were wondering thru the area which was very old and run down.  Broken down homes with lots of weeds and little old houses that had been converted to restaurants, beauty salons, insurance offices, etc.  Half of them were out of business.  When we turned into the parking lot for El Pinto it was like a little jewel in the run down area.  The entry was beautiful and the restaurant was huge.  It’s been there for 50 years and very well maintained.
Our surprise was an appetizer – El Pinto Chile Con Queso, hot cheese dip with green chills served with chips and salsa.  It was really good.  They don’t have a lunch menu on weekends so all the entrees were dinner size with rice and beans.  I ordered two tacos from their side dish menu and Paul had an enchilada platter.  Food, service and ambiance were very nice. 
Back on the road and north bound to Santa Fe.  The directions to the resort were spot on.  We went into the lobby of Villas de Santa Fe and Maria was on duty.  She was the very incredibly helpful lady I spoke with on the phone who took my request for a balcony unit.  We have a timeshare and they had blocked the week but hadn’t released our name.  They couldn’t take a request until our name was attached.  The management company sends that information anywhere from two weeks to three days prior to arrival.  I had been calling for two weeks because we really must have/need/want a balcony.  Maria finally spoke with the assistant manager and manager and they determined the hold must be ours so she took the request.  Yeah!  She asked me if we had any other requests besides the balcony.  I had been reading reviews and several people recommended requesting an upper unit in the newly renovated section of the resort.  I told her my wish list would be an upper unit in the newly renovated section with a balcony but the most important part was the balcony regardless of the location.  When we first walked up and I gave our last name to the registration clerk, Maria came out of the side room and said “Patti?”  I said “Maria?”  Then she said we got everything we wanted.  We are on the third floor (top), newly renovated, balcony unit.  Thank you Maria!  We schlepped our luggage to the room which is nice, the balcony is small but who cares.  We only need space for two chairs. After we unpacked we went to Sprouts for coffee and Baileys plus bananas and water for me, beer and ice cream for Paul and a few other snacks.  We came back and unpacked. 
I spent way too much time with internet issues.  They charge for wifi here.  They have two computers in the lobby that are free to use but that doesn’t work for me.  I don’t want to wait while someone else is using them and I don’t want someone hanging over my shoulder while I’m using one.  Besides I enjoy sitting on the balcony, drinking my morning coffee and updating my TravelBlog.  Anyhow, back to wifi, I got a Verizon card from work and it was reactivated so I could use it.  I downloaded Verizon Access Manager at the airport but when I tried to connect it said the device was not found.  I switched the gadget to another port and it still said device not found.  I tried again when we got settled into our room.  Same message.  I called technical support and after automated message run-a-round it said to call Monday thru Friday. I tried mobile hot spot on my cell.  I downloaded the “FREE” app and after it downloaded it gave me a message that it’s $29.99. I guess the download is free but if you want to use it you have to pay. What? Since mobile hot spot sucks the life out of your cell phone I went down to the lobby and got the info on how to connect to AT&T paid service, which BTW is $29.99.  It works like a charm.  If I paid myself by the hour, I've already spent more than 30 bucks of my time. 
We ventured down to the Plaza (main square in Santa Fe).  There was a concert on the state. 
There were quite a few people gathered but I made my way to the front of the crowd for the photo.  We mowsied around the stores.  Half of them were already closed for the night.  Neither one of us were very hungry so we wondered the streets, bobbing in and out of stores and reading menus along the way. 
These are wood carving pillars in a parking garage:
 These are painted columns down a side street:
 We ending up going to an Italian restaurant, il piatto.  Very charming.  I decided I’d have an appetizer and dessert.  Our server brought warm bread and balsamic vinegar and herbed oil for dipping.  Del-lish.  I had a lemon cocktail with basil, God only knows what was in it but it was perfect. Getting my fruits and veggies (and herbs)!
I ordered soup instead of an entree.  River Valley Oyster Mushroom Bisque with Basil Pesto.  It was really good.  Paul had the duck special.  We split a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with a Swirl of Strawberry Glaze and fresh berries on the side.
It was a starry-starry night.
Overall this a very good Day 1.
Oh – Fitbit says 12,751 Steps for the day.  Apparently I got a little exercise too!

Sunday October 27, 2013
I’m on my patio and it’s 35°. Brrrrr. I put on my UGGS and my hoodie and ventured into the cold.  My fingertips are frozen and my coffee got cold in minutes, but I still love it! It's supposed to be 58°today.   
We haven’t made a plan for today yet.  We talked about just checking out Santa Fe before venturing out of the area.  I’ll let you know.

Monday October 28, 2013
Monday morning and another beautiful albeit chilly morning my mi-patio`. 
Yesterday morning we didn’t leave the resort until 10:30.  We walked over to a little French Restaurant/Bakery that got great reviews on TripAdvisor.  They aren’t open on Sundays.  We’ll try again during the week.  Down the road and across the street was the New York Deli so we figured what the heck.  When in New Mexico you might as well go to a restaurant that wants you to feel like your are in New York!  I had my favorite, bagel with lox and cream cheese.  It was pretty good.
Paul had an omelet.  We left there and walked to the plaza. 
I think it’s about a mile or so from where we are staying.  I found my ass:
So are Japas like Tapas only Japanese? 
I walked thru a few stores while Paul read the historical monuments in the Plaza.  There were a bunch of street vendors out so I browsed thru there.  I read somewhere in my pre-trip research that if you want to support the local artists you should buy from the street vendors because the stores carry merchandise that is not necessary made by natives.  In fact some if it is made in China, Japan, etc. Nothing against Asian goods but when in Rome...  
I liked a really beautiful turquoise and pearl necklace (strand) but I didn’t buy it.  It was pretty pricy and I really haven’t shopped around much.  The lady called me "Lady in Red" and pointed out that her signature mark on her work is one tiny red bead on the strand. I think she was trying to say it was meant to be.  I'm sure she'll be there again before we leave if I decide I really want it. We went to the Museum of New Mexico.  The exhibit on display is Cowboys Real and Imagined. 

The place is ginormous.  We went thru a large section and then we walked across to another part of the museum called Palace of the Governors.  

We walked thru that entire display and then back over to the Cowboy exhibit and did the downstairs displays.  Just when I thought we were done, nope, there an upstairs section too.  Like I said, ginormous!  When we finished there (maybe 3:00-ish) I was in desperate need of a beverage.  We saw a place on the second story of a corner building of the Plaza that had a nice veranda.  The Thunderbird Bar & Grill.  The veranda had a waiting list and the hostess was kind of rude about it so we decided to sit at the bar because Football was on. Go Cardinals.  I had water and it arrived with a Prickly Pear Margarita.  Imagine that! 

It had Esponon Blanc (pure agave tequila), triple sec, prickly pear puree, fresh lime and agave nectar.  It was pretty darn tasty.
Disclaimer: I rarely drink when we’re at home but on vacation I like a toddy or two! No guilt. Don't judge!
Paul had a couple of Porters.  We walked back to the resort for a little R&R.
We decided to go to Coyote Café (as seen on TV’s Chuck Eats the Street).  We got a little lost finding the place (there are two Water Streets in town and of course we were on the wrong one, don’t ask).  Reviews said food was excellent but service was poor.  I agree.  Using TripAdvisor and Urban Spoon’s ratings of 5 stars is best, I would give the food a 5, the bus boy a 5 and the server a 2.  I had lobster and it was amazing. 

Mesquite Grilled Maine Lobster Tails with Handmade Pappardelle Pasta, Organic Spring Onions, Spicy Creamy Chili Sauce. The spring onions were in the pasta and not overwhelming. Paul had a filet which is not on their on-line menu so I can’t give the mouth-watering description but it was on a bed of roasted fingerling potatoes and squash and drizzled with some delicious sauce.  I gave him one of my tails and he gave me a piece of his steak and it was truly melt-in-mouth tender and completely delicious.  For dessert we split a Banana Cream Pie. I thought of my sister with every bite! (It's her favorite.)  Caramelized Bananas, Italian Meringue and Cappuccino Ice Cream.  It was in a tart crust.  We both agreed the Ice Cream (which was a mini scoop) really didn’t seem to belong but it was still delicious. Paul ordered a Port and the manager brought it with a “complimentary Orange Muscat”.  The server later confessed that he poured the Muscat by mistake so they gave it us to enjoy.  I’m not sure how that man got a job in this upscale restaurant.  Must be a relative of the owner! 
We don’t really have a plan for today yet.  We talked about maybe venturing up to Taos.  
Talk to you manana. 
Tuesday October 29, 2013
What time is it? Time for morning coffee and blog updating on the patio.  :bliss:
Taos it was.  We decided to skip breakfast and eat in Taos.  I had a banana to hold me over.  We took a little detour (wrong way again).  The maps are not very detailed and the road signs are not great either. 
Anyhow, we meandered our way to the visitor center and picked up a street map of Taos.  Our first choice of restaurant was out of business.  Sign of the times?  We went to the Gorge Bar & Grill and had a burger.  It was okay, a little overcooked.  It was huge.  I cut it in half and couldn’t even finish that.  We checked out the La Fonda Hotel just for the heck of it.  Nice rooms.  Paul thought maybe we should pack an overnight bag and go up there and spend the night.  That would have been a good thing to do today but I don’t think we’ll go back this trip.  We zoomed though a few stores then walked over to the Kit Carson Museum. On the way I saw some wall art that reminded me of Connie.  She has beautiful alley art in her neighborhood.
The Kit Carson Museum doesn’t look very well maintained in comparison to the other Museums.  I like the courtyard but landscaping leaves a lot to be desired. 
Then we went to Bent Road (Bent as in the former Governor’s name, not the angle of the street).  We went into the lobby area of the Bent Museum and the man working there gave a veryyyyyyyyyy longggggggggg history lesson about Governor Bent. I didn’t think he was going to let us leave.  After weaving in and out of a few more stores we went back to the car and found our way to the Taos Pueblo.  The map showed a hotel on each side of the street about an inch apart on the map which would be about half a block, with a street to hair-pin-turn on between them.  In reality the hotels are directly across the street from each other and the road to hair-pin-turn on is about a block north of the hotels, no touristy signs telling you where to turn. Anyhow, this is a great place to visit if you are ever in the area. It’s in the oldest working pueblo in the United Stated (as in people still live there like they did hundreds of years ago with no utilities).  They had a tour starting in 15 minutes so we waited for that to start.  I wondered into the Church.  So beautiful.
A couple of ladies were making a Horno (oven).
We had a nice tour from a young man who was raised on the Pueblo.  I have a lot of pictures from the Pueblo but I'll throw them into a Smilebox when we get home and post it at the end of this blog. Time to head back after a few wrong turns.  Ei-Yi-Yi, we need to hire a tour guide to find our way around these towns!  
~above - not my photo, snatched it from the web but I think we will see this sometime during our trip.
We stopped at the Fruit Basket, a road side stand.
They had mostly baskets of apples and lots of dried peppers and various jams and pickled things. I could have bought some of the jams and pickled veggies if it was local but I don’t like to deal with packing those for the flight home. I bought a little bag of dried apricots and dried peaches.  So de-lish. 
We went back to the resort and watched a little football.  Then we ventured down the street to the Santa Fe Bar & Grill.  The food was good, the service – not so much.  My water arrived with a cocktail again ;~}  Raspberry Margarita.  Light on the raspberry, heavy on the tequila. 
Today I think we might take the open trolley that goes around the Plaza and surrounding area pointing out more history.  I also want to go to the church with the mysterious staircase.  More on that after the visit.
BTW Fitbit says over 10,000 steps and walking about 5 miles every day.

Wednesday October 30, 2013
Yesterday morning we walked over and had breakfast at Clafoutis, the French Restaurant/Bakery that I had read several good reviews of.  It was excellent.  Paul had French Toast like I’ve never seen before.  It was stuffed with all kinds of fresh fruit: bananas, berries, grapes, melon. 
I had a Croque-Madame (grilled ham and cheese with béchamel sauce topped with an egg). 
I highly recommend it.  We will definitely go back again this week.  Paul said he could eat there every day!  Next time he’ll try a crepe.  We walked down to the Plaza but along the way we found the cooking school I’m going to Thursday.  I had Paul snap my picture since he won’t be with me Thursday.
We took the Loretto Open Trolley tour which I highly recommend.  It starts at the Loretto Chapel.  That’s the place with the miraculous staircase (I’ll get back to that later in our day).  It covers an eight mile area including a lot of historic areas like the Capital Building, Museum Hill and Canyon Road.  Canyon Road is the artsy area with more than 100 galleries.  Our tour guide was born and raised in Santa Fe so she added some personal stories too as well as pointing out the haunted spots.  After the tour we went into the Loretto Chapel.  So here’s the story of the mysterious staircase.  
It was the late 1800’s when the Chapel was built.  The contractors put a ladder to the loft for the choir.  The nuns didn’t want to climb the ladder due to their heavy garments so they asked the contractor for a staircase.  The contractor said they could put in a staircase but it would cut down on the prayer space.  The Sisters didn’t want to give up prayer space.  Legend has it the Sisters made a Novena (nine days of prayer) to St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of Carpenters.  On the ninth day a man appeared with a toolbox and said he would build the staircase but he had to work alone.  They gave him his privacy and when the staircase was completed the carpenter disappeared without being paid.  The Sisters wanted to do right by the man so after they looked for the carpenter to no avail they decided at least they could pay for the wood.  They went to all the lumber yards in the area but no trace of a purchase of the wood.  The Sisters came to the conclusion that their prayers had been answered and the staircase was built by none other than St. Joseph himself.  
It is very impressive looking. The staircase has no center or ‘visible’ means of support.  It was built without nails, just wooden pegs. 
We went into several other churches.  I dabbed a lot of Holy Water, lit a few candles and said a lot of prayers.  Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis Assisi (commonly known as St. Francis Cathedral) had another interesting story.  Here’s the short version (ha) of their funding.  
The pastor borrowed money from the Jews to build the Cathedral.  He ran out of money and couldn’t repay the loan.  He went back asked for more money to finish the Cathedral.  When it came time to repay the loan he still had no funds.  He went back to the Jews and explained the situation.  The Jews gifted the loan.  In honor of their generosity there is a triangle in the arch with a Chai (Jewish symbol for life).  
My Jewish husband says they must have gotten a tax credit for the gifted money!  Bada-Bing! 
BTW the Cathedral still is not finished to this day. The funding story was told to us by our tour guide who was baptized in that church.  The man at the donation box said they had funding from several sources and admitted the Jewish Merchants in the area donated as well.
That's probably enough history for the day but I have more! After that we wondered around until we found a shuttle stop to go back to Canyon Road. We walked around the galleries for a while and checked out the menus of a couple of restaurants the tour guide had recommended.  They have the most amazing wind sculptures.  Image these all spinning at the same time.  It was mystical. If we go back I'll take a video and see if I can figure out how to post it because the still shots do not do them justice. (We didn't go back.) So you think I can get one in my carry-on bag?
We caught the shuttle back to the Plaza and had dinner at the Bull Ring.  Fabulous.  We split a Porter House and still had leftovers.  We took a nice walk back to the resort.  The weather has been perfect.  60's during the day and 50-ish in the evening.  Right now it’s 39° as I’m enjoying my morning coffee on the balcony (UGGS on and hoodie zipped!).
My Fitbit went bonkers with over 15,000 steps and over 6 miles. I wonder if it thinks I let someone else borrow it for the week. ;~} I received a text from Fitbit with some kind of award but since it doesn’t involve money or a trophy I didn’t pay attention.
I also received a text from my dog watcher last night. My munchkins are doing great and she's in love with my Romeo.
No idea what the day will bring but we still have plenty of territory to explore. 

Thursday October 31, 2013
Wishing you a Spooky Halloween.
Yesterday started off with a slow and lazy morning.  Paul woke up and wasn’t all that energetic and we didn’t have any plans for the day so no rush.  We left around 11 and walked to the Plaza.  The La Fonda has a buffet brunch in their bar so we decided to try it.  The Albondigas Soup was really good.  I could have just had that instead of the buffet if I had known.  The buffet was nice and also reasonably priced.  The server brought us each a sugar cookie with the bill.  Being the sugar whore I am ~ that was a very nice touch!  We walked over to the San Miguel Church which is the oldest Church in the United States.
"It is said that the bell, cast from the gold and silver jewelry and household items of Spain’s devout Catholics, had the sweetest peal in all Christendom. Test it for yourself! There’s a mallet provided for just that purpose. But be forewarned: legend says that anyone who rings San Miguel’s bell will always return to Santa Fe”. 
I rang the bell. Truth be told I didn't know that was the legend until after I rang it. 
 Guess I’ll be going back to Santa Fe someday.  After we were finished there we saw a sign for a Visitor’s Center.  First one we had seen in Santa Fe all week!  We went in and gathered some propaganda.  I was pretty tired.  I never sleep well but the night before was pretty bad.  I told Paul I wanted to go back to the resort and take a nap.  On the way back we stopped and looked at the models at a condo complex we’ve been walking by every day.  Every time we go on vacation Paul wants to move there (with the exception of Virginia Beach, Virginia last year, he is not a fan of that destination, too crowded).  Anyhow, in typical fashion he’d like to retire near Santa Fe (which has nothing to do with me ringing the bell!).  We wouldn’t get a condo but we still wanted to look at them.  They were very nice but not regular condos, more like an elaborate timeshare that you can stay at whenever there is availability but not more than 30 days at a time.  They are pretty expensive and the HOA fees are crazy expensive. The salesman said a lot of doctors from Texas buy them to get out of the heat in July and August and enjoy the New Mexico Christmas weather.  I think it would be cheaper to rent a place for a month or two.  We got back to the room around 2-ish and Paul headed out to the patio (cigar and beer time) while I hit the pillow.  When I woke up he had fallen asleep on the sofa with my laptop on his chest.  I went down to the lobby and got a double espresso. Love their 24 hour self serve coffee bar. Shortly thereafter it started raining.  Not bad, just a light drizzle.  We decided to stay in and eat leftovers.  Not because of the rain (we could have driven or take the resort shuttle) but because neither one of us were really hungry enough to go out.  That being said yesterday was an R&R day, which is what vacation is supposed to be all about, right?  Later in the evening I bundled up and went back to the lobby to get some chamomile tea (thank you for the indirect suggestion Anna).  The lobby is in the building across from the building we are in.  Have I mentioned their complementary beverage machines?  They have a juice machine with orange, apple and lemonade and a hot beverage machine that makes espresso, coffee, hot chocolate or tea on demand.  They have about eight choices of teas. 
Today is my cooking class. I’m really looking forward to it.  I’ll walk there and then met Paul down at the Plaza after the class.  When I made the reservations several people asked me what Paul was going to do.  I found this Husband Daycare  bar sign on the internet:
He’s actually going to go back to the Museum of New Mexico and go thru the Cowboys Real and Imagined exhibit again to see what he missed.  We’ll meet after my class at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.  At least that’s the plan.
Speaking of Georgia O'Keeffe, tomorrow (our last full day here) we plan on going to Abiquiu.  That’s where Georgia O’Keeffe’s house and studio is but the Visitor Center lady said you have to make reservations MONTHS in advance because they only take up small groups.  She said to check to see if they had any cancellations or no-shows when we arrive.  She also said they close around October/November so she’s not sure if it’s even still open.  It would be nice to see but I won’t be disappointed if we can’t take the tour.  There is also a Ghost Ranch a little north of there so that’s on the to-do list.  BTW the Ghost Ranch has a Georgia O'Keeffe Landscape Tour.  I'm not sure what that's all about since there are 14 miles between the two locations. 
Friday November 1, 2013
Greetings from the sofa this morning.  A tad too chilly for me on the balcony today.
I completely lost track of time yesterday morning and all of a sudden looked at the clock and had to hustle.  I had planned on stopping at Clafoutis for a croissant but grabbed a banana and ate it while I walked down the street and around the corner to the Santa Fe Cooking School.  I actually got there with a half hour to kill so I would have had time but I wasn’t sure how long it was going to take me to get there.  I mowsied around the store while waiting and picked out some cooking pottery.  The class was New Mexico Traditional III.  The menu was: New Mexican Green Chile Stew, Blue Corn and Green Chile Muffins, Pinon* Butter, Quesadillas, Salsa Fresca and Natillas.  It was Halloween so anything is possible.
The class was fabulous!  We lucked out and our chef/teacher was James Beard Award Winner and Cookbook author Lois Ellen Frank.  She only teaches there once a month.
Her side kick was Rafael.  They did a great job.  I sat at a table with a really nice couple from St. Louis.  Chef Lois started off with a little history lesson of herself and the local cuisine. The Green Chili Stew was amazing.  She improvised on the muffin recipe because she was doubling and Rafael had misread the recipe and tripled the milk.  She added more dry ingredients but didn’t alter the eggs or butter ratio.  Someone asked if these were her recipes and she said “no, my recipes work.  That’s why I won the James Beard Award”.  She was being funny not snooty.  She subbed pecans* for the pinons in the butter since pinons are out of season.  The quesadillas had chicken, cheese and chilies with the Salsa Fresca on top with some sour cream.  She altered the recipe by adding onions (sautéed and then tossed with the chicken and spices).  There was red cabbage for garnish which she altered by adding some salt, apple cider vinegar and lime juice (like a slaw).  We thought the cabbage could have used a pinch or two of sugar but everything was amazingly delicious. 
The natilla was good.  It’s like a pudding.  She added some Santa Fe Sweet Spice and garnished with a couple of thin apple slices.  If/when we return to Santa Fe I would definitely take another cooking class. I bought two pieces of clay pottery.  A 6 quart soup pot and square baking dish.  I also bought some blue corn flour to make the muffins.  I’m going to have a Santa Fe Dinner Party in a couple of weeks and I’ll be using this menu (except probably not the natilla). I’ll do something else for dessert.  I liked the natilla but that’s more work than I want take on (for pudding).  And of course, I will post the recipes and pictures on my Food Porn Blog after I make them. ETA: Done.  Also, ETA: I don't love the clay pottery.
Lois gave us a good tip.  She's not a fan of aluminum (cookware or foil) due to research of it's connection to Alzheimer Disease.   She said anything you can cook in foil you can cook in nature's alternative: wet corn husk. 
Okay, class was over, oh look, there’s Paul, shipping order placed and on our way.  He had been at the New Mexico Museum and still wasn’t finished exploring.  He said as soon as he got there a tour was starting so he joined the tour and wanted to go back and finish the other areas.  He really wasn’t interested in going to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum and I was finished with the New Mexico Museum so he went back to finish the Cowboy exhibit and I went to Georgia O’Keeffe by myself.  It was 1:20 so we decided to meet at the plaza square at 3.  That worked out great because I must say I was really disappointed in the Georgia O’K Museum.  When I walked in there weren't any employees at the desk or the lobby area so I walked into the exhibit area and into the room immediately off the lobby where the video of Georgia’s life story was playing.  This was the best part of the museum (IMO). All of a sudden I saw a security guard look into the room and walk down the hall.  A few minutes later I saw the security guard and a lady look into the room and then down the hall.  I was sure they were looking for 'someone' and I was sitting there thinking “I’m going to get arrested for not paying and will have no way to let Paul know that I won’t be meeting him because I’m in jail”.  It's not like I snuck in, there was nobody there.  As soon as the video was over I went back to the front desk where the money-taking-lady had returned and paid the admission fee.  Woooo, that was a close call!  She said you can take pictures in areas 1 to 3 but not in areas 4 thru 9.  So I walked thru one area into another area and as I took a picture another security man said “no photos ma’am”. I said “oh, the lady up front said..” he cut me off and said “you can take photos in areas 1 to 3.  You are in area 5".  Who knew? 
That's my contraband. Not one of her better vagina flowers (hi Julie).  I better get out of this place before they kick me out.  So, the reason I wasn’t impressed with the museum was there weren’t many of her famous pieces on display.  There was a lot of photography including a nude of Georgia that her husband (a photographer) had taken.  Kind of racy for the times. At lot of the art on display was photography. Now, if you have been to this museum before and loved the exhibits it was probably different (or we don't have the same taste in art).  They rotate the exhibits and actually the tour lady said that in February they will be bringing in an Andy Warhol exhibit for about five or six months.  Anyhow, I left there and mowsied thru some stores and looked at the street merchant’s goods until it was time to meet Paul.  Check out this cool dude and I'm pretty sure it wasn't his Halloween costume.  Opps, he gave me the side eye.
We went back to the Thunderbird Bar & Grill for a cocktail.  I had the Halloween special cocktail called a candied apple.  It was basically a White Russian with Apple Liquor.  Not bad.  We walked back to the resort for a while before taking the resort shuttle to dinner. They offer a free ‘on-demand’ shuttle service.  We went to Osteria d’Assasi.  Our server:
We split a Caesar Salad.  I ordered Veal and Mushroom Ravioli and Paul had Osso Bucco.  Both were very good.  We split a piece of Lemon Meringue Pie that could win any pie contest imaginable.  *Oh*So*Good*.  I called the resort and Maria picked us up in a matter of minutes.  When we got back to the resort I went into the lobby to grab a cup of tea.  My pick-of-the-night was Enchanting Moments, herbal tea with chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon and orange blossoms.  Yummmmm.
Today we are changing the plan.  We’ll have breakfast at Clafoutis and then head north but instead of the Ghost Town we’re going to some monument with nature trails.  We wanted to get an early start but Sleeping Beauty is still snoozing...

Saturday November 2, 2013
Welcome to our last day in New Mexico and my last entry from Santa Fe.
Yesterday we had breakfast at Clafoutis which was fabulous again. I wish I could have brought home some of their beautiful pastries.  I had L’assiette Francaise (French Plate).  This is my kind of breakfast.  Ham, prosciutto, salami, cheeses, salad and a chunk of bread.  M-M-Good.
Paul had a more traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs with a croissant.  Then we ventured to the Bandelier National Monument. 
It’s a hike through various archeological sites along a main trail.  There are petroglyphs and dwellings carved into the rock cliffs.  The red circles are people on the trail.  Oy!
If there is a ladder you can climb up and peek in.   
Not the most flattering photo of me but how can you climb all the way up there and not check out the dwellings? Some of the stairs in the cliff are narrow and windy and one spot was actually steep and a little scary but we survived! And yes, my quads are screaming this morning.  We left there and went to Jemez Springs and went through the Ancient Ruins of Gisewatowa Pueblo at the Jemez State Monument.  Check out the remains of this church (actually some of it has been reconstructed):
And me peeking out a window from inside the remains of a home.
Back to the resort for an hour or two and then off to our last meal in Santa Fe at Dinner For Two.  This was recommended by the man working the front desk (Maria has the day off).  It’s also in the flyer we received from the Budget Rental Car dude.  I checked my usual*trusty*source TripAdvisor and it had several great reviews and only a couple of curmudgeons. Sometimes I think the stinker reviews are their competitors and the raving reviews are the owners so I toss out the best and the worst and take in the rest.  We took the resort shuttle there.  The place has no curb appeal but inside is a hidden gem and everything was fabulous.  Our “surprise” from the Budget Rental Car flyer was a complementary Crab Cake appetizer.  So de-lish.  They also bake their own bread daily which was a warm onion loaf with soft butter. Paul ordered French Onion Soup.  I had a couple of bites and it was very flavorful.  I had King Clip which is a fish I have never heard of. The server said it’s a mild firm white fish similar to sea bass.  It was served with Pumpkin Risotto and a Cranberry Compote.  The server said it was the most flavorful paring on the menu.  I don’t normally order fish in a town that’s landlocked but this place prides itself on serving only the freshest ingredients and the fish option changes constantly.  Besides, sea bass always reminds me of fishing with my Dear Ole Dad.  It was excellent.  Isn't it pretty?
Paul had Veal Picatta which he enjoyed.  We split a Bananas Foster (prepared tableside). Don't try this at home! 
After all that food we decided to walk back to the resort instead of calling for the shuttle.  I went into the office to get my hot tea and tip the shuttle driver.  I thought we were going to take the shuttle back so I hadn’t tipped him when he dropped us off.  He was out shuttling other guests.  We went upstairs and I kept checking the parking area for him to return (we can see the lobby from our balcony).  Just as I was about to give up and put on my PJs he pulled back in so I went back down.  He was all “oh, you don’t have to do that.  Are you sure?” "Yes, I’m sure."  Tipping should be customary for shuttling people around for free, don’tchathink?  We chit chatted for about 30 minutes.  He wanted to know what we thought of the restaurant and what we ordered.  Then he asked me if there was anything during our stay that could have used improvement.  I told him everything was great, the only thing was our unit smelled like someone had cooked Indian Food in it the entire week before we arrived.  He said I should have let them know, they could have put in an ozone bomb.  I told him I only notice it when we first walk in but after a little bit of time we get used to it so it wasn't a big deal.  He made a note of it so they will ozone bomb it after we leave.  The entire staff here has been really nice and I would not hesitate to recommend the place or to stay here again. 
This morning we have to check out at 10.  We’re going to load up the car and walk down to the plaza (parking there sucks) to see if the little jewelry lady is on the plaza today that had the necklace I liked.  I haven’t seen anything like it in all our travels.  Then we’ll come back for the car and head to Albuquerque.  We’ll have lunch there and mowsie around Old Town Albuquerque until it’s time to head to the airport. 
Now it’s time to SF&P (shower, fluff and puff) and then start packing.  Blah.  I strongly dislike packing but I’m looking forward to being at home and seeing my sister and my dogs. 
Sunday November 3, 2013
And good morning from Phoenix, Arizona.  Home Sweet Home.
Yesterday morning after we packed and loaded the car we went down to the Plaza and the jewelry lady wasn’t there.  Paul felt bad but I told him not big deal.  He said we were going to take a detour to Albuquerque and go thru the Turquoise Trail.  There are some trading posts and shopping areas along the way.  We stopped at the Cerrillos Ghost Town.  The yellow plaque on the wall says “The Palace Hotel”.

There was a really cool Trading Post with a petting zoo. 
I bought a mixture of herbs called “Pat’s Best Soup Mix”.  Soup is on so we shall see. [ETA: Meh] We drove around the small quiet town and then we found the Town of Madrid.  It’s a hoppin’ little area with lots of shops.  I didn’t buy anything here but I thought it was cute and typical of the style of stores in the town.
We went to a store where I found a beautiful necklace in the antique case.  The owner said it was a really old piece.  She said she’s a turquoise snob and only buys and sells authentic pieces. (Sales pitch or truth? Dunno)  Paul bought it for me.  I love it. 
We had lunch at the Mine Shaft.  Paul got a big ole burger and I was debating between a buffalo burger or a cobb salad.  I decided on the salad which was nice and fresh and really good. We left there and went to Old Town Albuquerque to kill some time before heading to the airport.  We went into the San Felipe De Neri Church, built in 1706.  An elderly lady in a wheel chair was coming in as we were going out.  She smiled, pointed at my necklace and then put her had over hear heart and said “Santa Domingo”.  Interesting.  We went into another store where I found some little turquoise studs I liked.  When I went to pay for them the sales lady said “that’s a beautiful necklace.  Santa Domingo”.  I said “emmm, I don’t know”.  She said “yes, that’s turquoise from the Santa Domingo Pueblo, very old and very fine.”  I guess it must be Santa Domingo!  Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, its back to the airport we go. 
The airport was very quiet.  There was only one person in front of us checking baggage.  There was nobody in front of us going through security.  Our flight left about 15 minutes late.  By the time we walked thru the airport and got our bags my sister had been waiting for about 30 minutes.  Sorry Sissy.
Overall I rate this trip high on the vacay scale.  The traffic wasn’t bad, we only went through one small section of road construction; our accommodations were great; the food was delicious and not overpriced as you would except in such a touristy area and there was plenty to do.  That being said *there’s no place like home*.
As I said before I’ll put more pictures into a Smilebox sometime this week.  I know -  who wants to look at someone else’s vacation photos.  I promise there are many beautiful churches and pueblos and ruins and even a tarantula!

BTW I was shocked to see the scale this morning.  Maintenance Baby!  All that food and alcohol must have been balanced out by the 90,000 steps and million miles we walked (okay closer to 40 miles but it felt like a million).  Actually of all the food, I ate about half of all my meals.  Except for dessert.  I always finish the dessert!  At least we split them so there’s that. 

Until next time...