The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

New Mexico 2010: Restaurants New to Us

Sometimes on vacation, a favorite restaurant will have closed. Or we will feel as if we don’t have enough favorites in a given location. And that’s an opportunity to explore! Here are the new-to-us restaurants we visited during our 2010 New Mexico vacation.


The Artichoke Cafe was expensive but otherwise wonderful. Our server was especially noteworthy, in that she wasn’t just standing there reciting to us, but she actually talked to us about the food on more than a surface level. The food was excellent, too, and the desserts superb. The chef seemed to really understand how to match flavors and textures. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what I had, because it was one of the specials and this meal was early in the trip. But I remember almost swooning over it because it was such a well-cooked and well-presented meal.

Santa Fe

Il Piatto had great service, too, as well as the option of a fixed price menu. Yes, you can get Italian food anywhere, but this restaurant is special. I had the duck papardelle, which was delightful. Il Piatto makes its own pasta, which is always appreciated. The tiramisu was addictive, and the restaurant was packed with locals — always a good sign. This would have been a reasonably priced meal but for the fact that we ordered wine by the glass instead of getting a bottle.


Sadly, Joseph’s Table went under, and El Meze had a fire, so we had to find new Taos restaurants. Happily, we did quite well, thanks to our B&B hosts. Our first night in town, we went downscale, to Pizza Out Back (a name describing the fact that you can’t find this place unless someone tells you how to get there). The pizzas here are huge! Order a slice and a salad, and you’ll still find yourself unable to finish. What a fun, funky place! I had the small house salad and a slice of Vinnie’s Special, both of which were yummy.

One day for lunch, we wandered into Graham’s Grill, which I’m hoping to visit again someday. Service was a bit slow, but the decor was bright without being a shock to the system, and the food was good enough that I’d like to consider it for dinner. I had the mac-and-cheese appetizer, which was delicious and filling enough for lunch without spoiling dinner.

The best meal in Taos, however, was at Lambert’s, which was absolutely glorious. Dave and I go to an awful lot of restaurants, so it isn’t easy to make an impression on us. But Lambert’s did. I began dinner with the wild mushroom risotto, which I would have happily made into an entire meal. My entree was the duck, which was beautifully prepared. And the chocolate mousse we shared for dessert proved that not all chocolate mousses are alike — some are better than others.

Restaurants in Small Towns — Datil, Pecos, and Cimmaron

Driving around New Mexico led us to find three very different restaurants, each of which will get a return visit if we’re ever back in the area. First was Mary Mac’s in Datil, NM, along Route 60. There’s a whole story about how we ended up here, and that story will be in another post, but suffice it to say that we were wandering. You may notice that I have no links for Mary Mac’s? That’s because there are none, except for 4 comments by 3 people on some forum. I can’t even get an address for the place, but if you’re near Datil on Route 60 in New Mexico, you will see it. And if you are hungry, you should go there. Mary Mac’s is a cafe/sandwich shop with good food and large portions. The knotty pine decor sold me on the place the minute we walked in, and the service is small-town chatty. I had a burger and Dave had a salad, and we were both pleased.

We were also wandering when we found ourselves at Frankie’s, in the small town of Pecos, near Santa Fe. Again, no website for the place, but it’s wonderful! Laid-back, Old West decor and atmosphere and good, hearty New Mexican food. I had a chicken enchilada that reminded me of why I love New Mexican food. This is a place to check out whenever you’re in the area. Or, as I described it to friends last night, it’s the kind of place we all fantasize about when we imagine a Western saloon with great food. Go there!

The last small town restaurant I’m recommending is at the St. James Hotel in Cimarron. The hotel is allegedly haunted, but if there is any kind of mischief going on in the kitchen, it only relates to the overly large portions. I had a delicious but enormous chicken enchilada that I couldn’t do justice to at all.

Next up: Birds


November 4, 2010 - Posted by | Albuquerque, food, New Mexico, restaurants, Santa Fe, Taos, travel | , , , , , , ,


  1. OMG woman, you have me drooling all over my keyboard! I don’t know if I want to try Lamberts or Il Piatto first, but I am HUNGRY!!

    Comment by KarenRambo | November 7, 2010 | Reply

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    Comment by Johne4 | July 19, 2014 | Reply

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