Author Archives: zora

Shaffer Hotel

This place in Mountainair has changed hands, and the rooms have gotten pretty sketchy. I wouldn’t recommend pre-booking here–take a room only if you can inspect it beforehand.

The cafe seems to be open regularly, though, for late breakfast and lunch every day but Tuesday.

I also noticed Alpine Alley, just north of Mountainair’s main intersection–this looks like good coffee and light food.

North of Santa Fe

O Eating House, in Pojoaque, is now a fairly upscale Italian restaurant (but it has the same name). It looks good, if completely different!

The stock at Chimayo Trading Post has dwindled significantly. The owner (his partner passed away) is quite old and doesn’t seem to be restocking the place. Still, if you’ve never been, it’s worth a stop–there are still some treasures here.

In Chimayo, the separate Santo Nino de Atocha chapel has been spruced up and is open all the time now–it’s a bit more modern, but sweet. Take a peek inside, especially in the side chapel.

Santa Fe changes

As I noted before, the NM history museum is now open. Signage is not quite as detailed as I’d like, but otherwise it’s a nice introduction. The exhibits in the Palace of the Governors (now accessible via the history museum) are the same, fortunately–I find these more interesting.

Walking tours run by the museum go from mid-April to mid-October (not just in summer, like the book says). They last about two hours, and the route depends on who’s leading it, but it covers a couple of miles.

Linda Durham Gallery has moved away from Canyon Road, over to 1800 2nd Street.

Collected Works books has moved to the corner of Galisteo and Water, and now has a coffeeshop inside–lovely.

Adelante Casitas is back to being called Chapelle Street Casitas. Its online booking system is buggy–better to call.

Hotel St. Francis has been redone by the Heritage Hotels & Resorts group–it looks quite chic, but the rates have of course gone up. (The same group has redone the Hotel Plaza Real as well, which is great because that used to be a wasted dump.)

Willee’s bar is shut–it’s now called Corazon and books a lot of hipper live music.

Chispa! bar closes at 11pm now.

Green Palace teahouse is shut.

Carlos’ Gosp’l Cafe is shut. The space in the Design Center now sells NYC-style pizza by the slice–it looks good!

El Tesoro in Sanbusco Center is no longer particularly Salvadoran–the menu is more standard Mex-New-Mex, but everything looks good.

The Treehouse cafe moved to 1600 Lena Street (and unfortunately didn’t bring the nursery with it!).

The Blue Heron restaurant is shut.

Miscellaneous Taos changes

Fernandez de Taos bookstore has moved around the corner, onto Paseo del Pueblo Norte just next World Cup coffee.

The road running along the Rio Grande gorge on the west side has been paved, so you can head down this way and then jog over to Ojo Caliente and on south to Santa Fe–another scenic route, with potential for a hot-springs break! Look for the turn off US 64, about a mile west of the gorge.

Taos restaurants

Joseph’s Table is shut! Sad. Sabor de Antonio, a Mexican-style seafood and steak place, is now in the space–which is funny, because this is the second time Antonio has taken over Joseph’s Table’s old space.

Dragonfly Cafe is no longer open for breakfast, except for Sunday brunch. Now it does lunch and dinner (and is closed Tues).

Guadalupe Cafe and the Sustaining Cultures bookstore is shut.

Maverick County Food Co. is shut–it’s now a Japanese place.

Apple Tree is shut.

Byzantium is substantially cheaper than it used to be.

Antonio’s has reopened next to where Guadalupe Cafe used to be, with his good Mexican menu–roast lamb, cochinita pibil.

Taos lodging

The Laughing Horse Inn is no longer particularly cheap, which is odd. I now think the Taos Inn has one of the better deals for solo travelers.

The Paragon Inn has changed names and is embroiled in a bit of a local scandal, and I can’t really bring myself to recommend the place.

Mountain Light no longer functions as a B&B, just a longer-term retreat center.

Shuttle Service to Taos

Taos is jumping on the successful Rail Runner link between ABQ and Santa Fe: Starting June 4, Taos Express will run a shuttle bus will between Taos and the Santa Fe Rail Runner depot, timed with the train’s arrival, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Round-trip price is $10, and you can transfer to the Taos Chile Line town bus for free.

2nd edition is here! (plus transport updates)

The second edition of Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque is available now!

Fortunately, no obvious corrections to be made yet. But I’m sure a few will appear shortly.

The big news in the area is twofold:

1) The RailRunner commuter train now connects Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Schedules are here.

Note that, as a side effect, as far as I can tell, there is no longer a regular city bus linking the ABQ airport to downtown–there is now a free shuttle. Which would be nice, except it runs less frequently and is timed to coordinate with the RailRunner’s departures to Santa Fe. Still, if the times work in your favor, you could easily enjoy a car-free visit to Santa Fe (and Albuquerque).

2) Allegedly, daily direct flights to Santa Fe will be starting June 11. They’ll be operated by American Eagle (American Airlines) out of Dallas-Ft. Worth.

This has been on the table before, and very close to starting, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

Rail Runner service to Santa Fe has started!

The Rail Runner commuter-rail service between Albuquerque and Santa Fe has officially started. This is just about the coolest thing to happen in New Mexico in decades!

For visitors, this means you could take the dedicated shuttle from the ABQ airport to the Rail Runner, and hop on the train direct to Santa Fe. No rental car, no hassle–ideal especially for a weekend getaway.

I say “could” and not “can” because a lot depends on the train schedule–it doesn’t run super-frequently (about once an hour during rush hours, with only a train or two in between). The last train to SF departs the ABQ Sunport stop at 6:09pm.

But the trip takes a little less than an hour, and you arrive in style in central Santa Fe–suave! Roundtrip is $8.

For schedules and other info, see the Rail Runner website: www.nmrailrunner.com.

ABQ Bike Paths, Madrid Toilets

This doesn’t refer to anything specific in the book–I just thought it was a big step forward: You can now bike all the way to the Balloon Fiesta grounds (thanks, Duke City Fix).

Balloon Fiesta traffic is the single biggest mental deterrent for going, I’d say. The park-and-ride bus system works, but if you can get there under your own power–so much cooler! And a pre-dawn bike ride would be great.

In other news, there’s now an actual flushing public toilet in Madrid! (Previously, porta-potties were all that was available.)

Jemez Corrections

On p. 176, I describe the Jemez State Monument as being south of Jemez Springs. In fact, it’s just north of the town. Also, the parking area for Spence Springs is more like 1.6 miles north of Battleship Rock.

This isn’t news, obviously–it’s just plain wrong. I have no idea how it happened, and I’m embarrassed it took me so long to realize it. Apologies!

Albuquerque Transit

Just FYI, ABQ’s transit system is now called ABQ Ride, not SunTran (p. 181). The Downtown-Old Town Trolley (p. 181) doesn’t run anymore, though. There is a free bus, called the Downtown Get-Around, that makes a big loop around downtown, between Lomas and Silver on 3rd and 5th streets.

Albuquerque Restaurants

Chef du Jour (p. 161) has expanded, and chef Jennifer James (formerly of Graze) is now cooking here. The dinner menu (yes, there’s dinner now too) changes monthly, and is a great deal.

Ambrozia (p. 163) is closed. The chef now runs the new Nob Hill Bar & Grill, where Gulp/Graze used to be.

I reported earlier that Blue Dragon (p. 164) had closed. It has now reopened.

The Frontier (p. 165) is no longer open 24 hours–tragedy! It’s open 21 hours: 8am to 5am.

The Miner’s Chuckwagon in Madrid (p. 175) has moved–it’s midway through town, part of a larger Pit-BBQ operation. It wasn’t actually operating when I passed–it looks like it will rev up when summer gets underway.

Albuquerque Shopping

Nizhoni Moses (p. 153) no longer exists. There are now two Nizhoni galleries, with jewelry and RC Gorman work—one’s on Church St., one block behind the church.

Martha’s Body Bueno (p. 154) is closed. Martha’s products will be available at an upscale lingerie shop called Seventh Goddess, on Central a couple of blocks east of Carlisle (“upper Nob Hill,” as it’s being called these days).

Hey Jhonny Home (p. 154) is shut—but the original shop is still there.

Albuquerque Entertainment

The radio station 104.1 (p. 149) is no longer “Latino and proud” format. I was enjoying 105.9 this time, though, which was a lot of contemporary Mexican pop and rock.

Gulp (p. 149) is closed. The whole Gulp/Graze compound is now the Nob Hill Bar & Grill, run by the chef from Ambrozia.

Gorilla Tango (p. 151) theatre is closed. As a consolation, keep your eyes peeled for the Pajama Men—I hear they are an excellent improve duo, splitting their time between Chicago and ABQ.

Albuquerque Hotels

Hiway House (p. 159) has redone its rooms—not so retro, but the carpeting is fresher. Ownership is a little cagey about prices, however, which can be annoying. Feel free to bargain.

La Posada (p. 161) will be reopening as Andaluz—not sure when yet, however.

Taos Restaurants

Gypsy 360 (p. 120) is now the Maverick County Café—totally different menu, but very good. Open only for long lunch (11am–4pm or so).

El Pueblo (p. 121) is not open till midnight in the winters—my mistake. It closes at 10pm.

Antonio’s (p. 121) is closed; fortunately, you can still get his chiles en nogada at the much smaller Rellenos Café, on Paseo del Pueblo Sur at the corner of Quesnel.

The Burrito Wagon (p. 122) is gone. (I saw it parked in someone’s yard a few blocks away—so sad!)

Santa Fe Restaurants

Coyote Café (p. 60) is no longer owned by Mark Miller, and has been taken over by the same restaurateur who owns Geronimo. I enjoyed my meal there, but the menu is completely different and the cooking—while ambitious on the surface—is actually pretty standard stuff. It’s certainly the place to schmooze in Santa Fe right now.

Kasasoba (p. 61) is shut. It’s now another high-end Asian place.

Tiny’s (p. 62) is incorrectly placed on the map. It’s actually off the east side of St. Francis Dr., south of Cerrillos—Pen Rd. here is not really a street, but a big parking lot.

Horseman’s Haven (p. 62) has remodeled, and locals say it’s not so good anymore.

Mariscos La Playa (p. 63) no longer has its Cerrillos Road outpost—that’s now a different seafood place, which people also say is good.

Guadalajara Grill (p. 63) is shut.

La Diligencia (p. 63) is now called Jalapeno’s—not quite the same cool ranchero style.

The Churro cart (p. 63) seems to be gone, as is Lucky Barbeque (p. 63).

Dave’s Not Here (p. 63) is shut.

Blue Heron (p. 64) has a new chef, and the food isn’t nearly so Asian. It’s very delicious, though—worth a drive out.

O Eating House (p. 70) is open only for lunch and dinner now—no more doughnuts.

Blue Window Bistro (p. 73) changed hands, but it’s still good. The menu is a bit different now, though—none of the chile relleno crepes.

Santa Fe Hotels

Budget Host (p. 53) is now a Red Roof Inn.

El Rey Inn (p. 54) is incorrectly placed on the map—it’s actually about midway between Llano St and 2nd St, so closer to the plaza than on the map.

Chapelle Street Casitas (p. 54) has changed its name to Adelante Casitas.

La Tienda and Duran House (p. 54) is now part of the larger Las Palomas property across the street. Physically everything’s the same, but there are reports of service suffering. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough info to judge.

And I didn’t include the Santa Fe Sage Inn (www.santafesageinn.com) in this book, but it has since gotten a complete overhaul and is now excellent value—free wi-fi, pool, big breakfast, really comfortable beds and clean rooms. It’s only a little farther out of the center than Santa Fe Motel & Inn.

I’m hearing terrible reports from La Posada de Santa Fe (p. 56), and it did seem exceptionally scattershot when I visited. At least I’ll have to retract that ‘top pick’ status.

Santa Fe Shopping

Addison Arts (p. 46) is shut.

Meyer-Munson Gallery (p. 46) is now called Meyer East. Little has changed, though.

Chuck Jones (p. 46) has moved up to Palace Ave, downstairs from Fusion (ex-Swig).

Maya (p. 47) is open only till 6pm, at least this time of year. That 9pm closing must be only for summer high season—sorry about that.

Sybele’s (p. 47) is shut.

Santa Fe Entertainment and Bars

Rooney’s (p. 41) changed into LeMoyne’s Landing (reported earlier), but it’s now a French café called Clafoutis, serving breakfast and lunch till 4pm. Tasty and fresh, and good pastries.

Rodeo Nites (p. 41) is shut.

Jean Cocteau cinema (p. 42) is now the Film Museum—more of an organization, and not-very-frequent screenings.

Santa Fe Sights and Activities

The Awakening Museum (p. 35) is shut.

Sun Mountain Bike Co. (p. 51), now better known as Mellow Velo, has moved to 638 Old Santa Fe Trail—that’s just a couple of blocks south of Paseo de Peralta. It’s also phasing in a new phone number: 505/995-VELO.

More roads have been paved en route to Diablo Canyon (p. 51, driving directions on p. 52), so you have to look out for the dirt road 4.6 miles in—it heads uphill and bears slightly right, while the main paved road turns left. If you miss the turn, you’ll find yourself on a giant subdivision loop, soon heading south and then back east toward the city.

Poeh Museum (p. 70) now has its permanent display open. Its not quite as multimedia-crazy as planned, but it’s a neat series of dioramas, plus room for temporary exhibits. Hey, it’s free.

Moon New Mexico on the horizon…

If Moon Santa Fe, Taos & Albuquerque isn’t enough for you, get ready for Moon New Mexico, with many pages devoted to the farthest corners of the state. It comes out September 28. And there’s an update page set up for the book, just waiting for news!

I talk (and talk and talk) about New Mexico on this fun podcast, the Amateur Traveler. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of discussion of New Mexican food, and a very rambling outline of all the various places you can visit in the state, including Pie Town and Truth or Consequences.

You can download the podcast at the Amateur Traveler website, or go via iTunes–I definitely recommend the iTunes-enhanced version, which includes some great photos.

Many of those photos happen to be mine–I just uploaded a bunch of the pics I used for the book to my Flickr stream. Easiest to see them in the New Mexico set.