Dave Winter2013

IT’S ONE OF THE UNIVERSE’S little godsends that our wedding anniversary coincides with Restaurant Week in Santa Fe. Just when I’m fixing to splurge on a meal that needs to be all sky-rockets-in-flight, chefs and restaurateurs are competing for patronage by offering special menus and deep discounts.

Last year I approached the selection process like
a hungry handicapper poring over the racing form. I studied menus online, compared offerings and price points, asked four-time James Beard Award winner Cheryl Alters Jamison for advice. I finally made a reservation at a suitably handsome restaurant that was offering its full menu—not a stripped-down fish-chicken-pasta version—at a high-value prix fixe. I must’ve chosen wisely, because during dinner the chef made the rounds of the dining room, doling out samples of an uncommon fish he was proud to have procured. Almost a year later, we still talk about that meal as the best we’ve had in Santa Fe. Mission accomplished! (I’d gladly share the name of the restaurant, but that chef has recently pulled up stakes.)

With that experience in mind, we assigned Aaron Gulley to do a similar kind of scouting in the three participating cities—Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos—for a consumer guide called How to Win Restaurant Week. Because of our lead time, most of the chefs hadn’t yet composed their menus, but Gulley’s report will set you in the right direction.

To round out our restaurant recommendations, we conducted a survey of readers throughout the state (and beyond!) whom we reached through social media and our newsletters. They came back with lots of great peer-to-peer advice and local knowledge that will come in handy as you travel around the state. Candace Walsh unpacks the results.

If you’d like to participate in future readers’ polls, let us know at eepurl.com/bMENAL. And be sure to join our generous Facebook community of nearly 100,000 folks who know and love New Mexico just as you do.



Dave Herndon