Cafe Pascual’s

we consulted this guide for santa fe to figure out where to go for lunch. somewhere new for all of us since my aunt and uncle had both been to the area a couple of times before. luckily, they were open to exploring, so we ended up at cafe pascual’s.

my eyes flitted all about the cozy eatery as soon as we walked through the door. colorful tiles adorned the walls (appears to be a south western design style), colorful chairs at each table, and above, hanging art made of recycled materials. this restaurant received a James Beard Award in 1999 and “are dedicated to using fresh, seasonal, organic and naturally raised foods.”

(above L: spicy squash soup with pepitas; above R: plato prima (housemade chile relleno, tamal del dia, refried pinto beans and cilantro rice with slices of jicama &  orange))

(above: 2 chicken mole enchiladas (rosie’s free-range organic chicken wrapped in white corn tortillas served with cilantro rice and sliced jicama & orange))

the winner of this meal was definitely the spicy squash soup with pepitas. mmm a perfect comfort food especially on a chilly day.

Santa Fe

one of our stops while in new mexico was the old town plaza in santa fe. it was part of a day trip that included a couple of hours hike (and climbing up to alcove house) at bandalier national monument early that day. it was a beautiful, scenic drive from albuquerque! the terrain changed every few minutes, and i was lucky to be the passenger on this road trip instead of the driver. i even got to steal a nap or two.

here are some shots from our afternoon there:

Il Vicino

back to new mexico: il vicino was our first stop after landing in albuquerque. we’re always wary of chain restaurants but il vicino showed promise – they use fresh ingredients. our order of the bianca (spicy oil, mozzarella, capocollo ham, portabello mushrooms, caramelized onions, goat cheese, gorgonzola, tomatoes and fresh rosemary) got us hopeful.

the pizzas arrived on fiesta ware and we mmm’d at the first bite. the crust had just enough air to make it light and fluffy, but also had that crunch for extra texture. it was a good reminder that some chain restaurants do strive to offer the best to their customers.

International Balloon Fiesta

the passing of labor day weekend usually means the end of the travel season for me. but this year brought a nice change: cheeks and i flew out to albuquerque, new mexico to visit my aunt and uncle, and also to check out the international balloon fiesta!

the fiesta was from 10/2-10/10, and my aunt was emailing me pictures of different-shaped balloons that drifted over their neighborhood. we didn’t know what to expect before our flight out, except that the day set aside for the fiesta, we were going to leave the house at 430am to catch the dawn patrol and morning ascension. not really an ideal vacation, but later on we agreed, it was worth it!

it was a breathtaking experience seeing balloons inflate and rise up in the air all around us. i could not stop taking photos and was giddy seeing all the cute balloon shapes. if you are planning to attend the fiesta, make the morning ascension a must. but make sure to bundle up!

check out more of our photos from the fiesta here.