CHEF GRAHAM DODDS is waxing poetic about squash. “It’s called Autumn Frost, and it’s spectacular. A butternut and kabocha cross.” Even the veggie’s origins sound romantic—it’s grown in La Puebla by a duo called the Vagabond Farmers. “I just fell in love with it,” he sighs over the phone.
Autumn Frost is the fleeting star of the executive chef’s ever-changing menu at NOSA Restaurant & Inn, a dreamy new getaway located off a dirt road under the rosy cliffs south of Ojo Caliente. On this particular day, Dodds rounds out the squash with sweetbreads, arancini, and some porcini he put up last summer in a Sicilian recipe that involves a vinegar bath and scraping out the mushrooms’ gills.
“Then I submerged them under olive oil with green chile and garlic, and they’re just phenomenal,” he says with awe, moving from the squash to a new object of affection. “The textures are incredible.”
A hallowed hush tends to accompany the five-course meals Dodds serves each weekend, all by reservation only, in the resort’s high-ceilinged dining room. The chef earned his reputation at Dallas restaurants such as Bolsa, Wayward Sons, and Central 214, introducing locally focused eating to a city stuck on steak and potatoes. After a pandemic-induced break to work on a farm, Dodds found the former Rancho de San Juan resort for sale.
Surrounded by the songbirds and sunsets of the Río Ojo Caliente valley, he has realized a seemingly impossible dream—to own and run his own luxury retreat, working solo in the kitchen to tailor his weekly menus according to what’s freshest. That commitment includes a wine list focused on natural wines and New Mexico vintners, as well as the restaurant’s many partnerships with local purveyors. Several ingredients come from the Ojo Farm, located down US 285 at Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. (Guests at NOSA’s four minimalist suites usually cap an indulgent weekend with a soak at the spa.)
At NOSA—which stands for “north of Santa Fe”—the enchantment doesn’t end with the food. Upon request, Dodds leads Sunday-afternoon lunchers on a hike to the property’s hidden wonder: artist Ra Paulette’s stunning Windows of the Earth cave sculpture. There, guests are allowed to sit inside the dramatic natural shrine, taking a moment to commune with the earth after enjoying its fruits.
Read more: Renee Gutierrez has spent more than 30 years dishing out hospitality at the iconic Tucumcari restaurant.