Friday, November 22, 2019

Santa Fe: Hub of Southwest Style And Culture

"Emergence" by Michael A. Naranjo at New Mexico State CapitolSanta Fe is the oldest capital city in North America. Its historic charm, cultural attractions, and Southwestern style makes it one of America’s top destinations

Article and Photos by Dave Nershi, CSW

Publisher, Vino-Sphere

The City Different

Dancing Ground of the Sun was the name for Santa Fe by early Native American inhabitants. Frontiersmen at the turn of the 20th century referred to it as “The City Different.” No matter what you call it, the New Mexico city’s abundant restaurants, vibrant art scene, and a mosaic of cultures make it a premier tourist destination.

Never Miss A Beat – Follow Vino-Sphere On Facebook

The historic Plaza is the central point for downtown Santa Fe, surrounded by shops, galleries, restaurants, and historic landmarks. The buildings are in the Spanish Pueblo Revival style, giving the community a unique and timeless look. Steps away is La Fonda on the Plaza. Like many sites in Santa Fe, it is burnished with rich history.

The hotel sits on the site of the city’s first hotel, established in 1607 when the city was founded by Spaniards. Over the years the hotel became the preferred lodging for trappers, soldiers, gold seekers, gamblers and politicians. The current structure was built in 1922 and the historic charm is evident in the hand-carved beams, terracotta tiles, and hammered tin chandeliers. Each guest room features a hand-painted headboard.

The Miraculous Stairway at Loretto ChapelA Miraculous Stairway

Visitors can enjoy world-class museums, attractions, and dining all within a short stroll from the city center. The city's full name as founded is La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís ("The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi"). A block from the Plaza is St. Francis Cathedral. The cathedral is a Roman Catholic basilica built of yellow limestone in the Romanesque Revival style.

Keep up with the latest. Follow us on Instagram!

The Loretto Chapel is a former house of worship that features the Miraculous Stairway, a helix-shaped spiral staircase. The stairway has no central support and was built without any nails. The project is a seeming answer to prayer after uncompleted construction left the nuns with no way to reach their choir loft. The work was done by a mysterious stranger who worked in seclusion and disappeared without revealing his identity.

San Miguel Chapel is a Spanish colonial mission church and is the oldest known church in the continental United States. It was built between 1610 and 1626. The church is surrounded by history. It is adjacent to the oldest house in Santa Fe, a low-ceilinged structure with dirt floors and thick adobe walls.

Chile ristra, Santa Fe School of Cooking and Café Pasqual's Food And Fire

Across the street is a centuries-old adobe building that houses the Pink Adobe restaurant. Try their Enchilada Pink Adobe with earthy red Chimayo chile or green Hatch chile with onions served on blue corn tortillas with cheese, beans, rice and posole. The restaurant’s famed Steak Dunigan is another great choice.

Katherine Kagal is chef owner and driving force behind Café Pasqual’s, which serves up fare from New Mexico, Mexico, and Asia with aplomb. The restaurant has a warm and friendly fiesta vibe with a community table, painted tiles, colorful paper decorations and strings of red chile ristras.

While soaking in the joyful atmosphere, enjoy an appetizer of crispy Salvadoran Plantain chips with avocado and jalapeno sour cream salsa. For an entree, we recommend digging into Cohinita Pibil Yucatan Style, which is organic pork slow-cooked in achiote and orange wrapped in a banana leaf, with calabacitas, cilantro rice, habanero-marinated onions, and tostones with crema.

Fine dining establishments abound, such as Coyote and Geronimo. For a casual bite, check out the famous Plaza Café. Open since 1905, it is Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant. The restaurant features a mix of cuisine from New Mexico and Greece in a classic American diner setting. Try a stack of Blue Corn Piñon pancakes for a delicious start to your morning.

To take your culinary exploration one step further, plan a visit to the internationally acclaimed Santa Fe School of Cooking. The school offers hands-on cooking classes, demonstration classes, and an intensive three-day Southwest Culinary Boot Camp. According to SFSC Chef Jen Doughty, New Mexican cooking is about keeping true to traditions. That means plenty of peppers, including the famous Hatch chiles, and grilling. “We love food and fire,” she said.

Art, History and… Meow Wolf

Santa Fe can also satisfy your hunger for world-class museums. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum honors one of the most significant and intriguing artists of the twentieth century, known internationally for her bold and innovative art. The museum has more than 3,000 works in its collection. A docent tour provides a captivating look into the artist and her work, including include abstractions, large-scale depictions of flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, bones and other natural forms, New York cityscapes and paintings of the unusual shapes and colors of architectural and landscape forms of northern New Mexico.

Meow Wolf and IAIA Musuem of Contemporary Native ArtsThe IAIA (Institute of American Indian Art) Museum of Contemporary Native Arts is the country’s only museum for exhibiting, collecting and interpreting the most progressive work of contemporary Native artists. The works were all created in 1962 or later. Currently on display (through January 2020) is the powerful Reconciliation exhibit, featuring collaborative visions of Hispano and Pueblo artists, characterized by their notions of reconciliation, healing, and transformation.

The New Mexico Museum of Art and the New Mexico History Museum are also great choices for museum-goers in downtown Santa Fe. The New Mexico Museum of History recalls 500 years of history and is the state’s newest museum.

While Santa Fe is wrapped with centuries of multicultural history, it also is a trendsetter in the art world. Meow Wolf is an immersive art experience and museum that almost defies description. Created by art collective and 400 employees, its first permanent installation is the House of Eternal Return. Guests wander a multi-level mystery house with secret passages, portals to parallel worlds, and a mysterious narrative amidst surreal, maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits.

It was launched in March 2016 with support from Game of Thrones creator, George R.R. Martin. Additional Meow Wolf locations are planned for Las Vegas (2020) and Denver (2021).

Whatever your interests, Santa Fe continues to entice as it has since the 17th century. Make some history of your own in Santa Fe.

No comments: