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Inn Of The Governors

Santa Fe Local’s View: Santa Fe Restaurant Week

Picture this – your strolling under the cool, clear night sky with a friend, a loved one, or just your sense of culinary adventure – the stars looking down as you approach one of the many eateries featured in Santa Fe’s Restaurant Week. The doors open, greeting you with warm air peppered with smells of chile, locally raised meats seasoned from herbs and spices raised on family farms – lamb, pork, chicken – cilantro, garlic, onions, basil, mint – all combined with the Chef’s signature styles. New Mexican Fusion or Continental or French Provincial or Italian, almost any food you can think of wrapped in the intimate settings of Santa Fe’s eclectic architecture and styles. You’ll experience old adobe homes, modern and austere urban settings, and the hidden gems sandwiched between generic retail shops in out of the way places. Regardless, the boutique, specialty approach of each restaurant will provide a memorable, distinct meal indicative of the City Different’s overall culture.

Photo Credit: Kate Russell

Photo Credit: Kate Russell

The event celebrates its 6th year February 21 – 28 with discounted multi-course meals (for $25 for two or $20, $30, or $40 per person) and fun daytime events that will expand your cooking repertoire. Visit www.santafe.nmrestaurantweek.com. It’s a great opportunity to try our world-class cuisine during a time of year that affords lower rates for lodging as well. Our weather is, well, a reflection of Mother Nature’s whims so you may question your calendar when you feel late Spring air on your skin, or you may need to cuddle together as you skirt back to your toasty room-maybe with a crackling fireplace.

The restaurant list is extensive, but a few notables include L’Olivier, Il Piatto, Dinner for Two, Joseph’s Culinary Pub, and Restaurant Martin, all of whom have been featured in the Inn of the Governors’ restaurant blog.

We hope to see you and hear your reviews of this growing Santa Fe tradition.  Bon Appetit!  SamG of the IOG


Santa Fe Local’s View: Snowshoeing and Hiking in Santa Fe

“Snow provokes responses that reach right back to childhood.”  Andy Goldsworthy.

I love this quote!  It embodies how I feel when I am getting ready to head up to the mountain after a fresh powder of snow. My energy level rises and I am a bit euphoric at the mere thought of getting my snow boots and mittens on.  Do you remember when you were a little kid and you would get all bundled up to go outside and just couldn’t wait for the final scarf and hat to be pulled on? The anticipation was just too much.  Well, I am thrust back to that very special time when I get ready for snowshoeing in the Santa Fe National Forest.

Snow shoeing and “hiking in the snow” are one of the easiest and most fun activities that can be done in Santa Fe’s backyard.  If you are visiting and need to rent a pair of snowshoes, Aspen Sports is nearby and is where I rented my first pair over 10 years ago. The Santa Fe National Forest offers many trails that are easily accessible by car and just a short swoosh through the snow brings you to a quietude that makes you feel extremely present in the moment.

Before I start to share these blissful moments with you, please remember that anytime we venture into the wilderness we must be prepared.  Be sure to have adequate clothing, water and snacks, a first aid kit and if at all possible; snowshoe or hike with a buddy.

2015-12-23 12.52.23This past Christmas I had family visiting from Florida and it was my nephew’s birthday, as well.  He had never been snowshoeing and was very excited to be able to spend his day up on the mountain and to experience this new adventure with his aunt.  No one else cared to venture up with us as it was overcast and a bit windy, but we were well prepared, stocked with goodies and fine to go it alone.  What an amazing day!  After renting snowshoes and poles (highly recommend having poles) for him, we were ready for the 20-30 minute ride to our starting point.  We parked at Aspen Vista and readied ourselves for the journey up to where we could see the Quad Ski Lift.  This trail is immediately to the left – inside of the gate and is called the Alamos Vista trail.  It had recently snowed and the powder was perfect.  We stayed on trail for the most part, but ventured to the edge of the mountain a few times to get the perfect photo. At Carl’s meadow we plopped into the snow and made snow angels.  Try getting back up when the powder is 6-8 inches thick!  It can be quite the endeavor. It took us about an hour and a half to get to the very top and we could see the skiers getting off of the quad lift and heading down to Ski Santa Fe.  Our time frame included stopping and catching our breath and of course, taking beautiful photos.  And, since it is always easier coming back down; it only took us about an hour.  So, for a little less than 3 hours on the mountain, we got an excellent work out and breathtaking photographs to share with everyone.  All in all, it was an amazing 19th birthday for my nephew and a wonderful experience for me to share with him.

Selfie Tesuque Campground Trail HeadThere are numerous trails, with varying difficulty, for hiking in the snow, snowshoeing and Nordic skiing in Santa Fe.  When you visit the Inn of the Governors, we have the Day Hikes in the Santa Fe Area books at our front desk that you are welcome to borrow.  I am always available for questions on snowshoeing or hiking in Santa Fe and look forward to meeting you on your next visit and sharing some of my favorite spots. I also recommend Outspire Hiking and Snowshoeing for a guided tour through our beautiful back country. Please let Scott know that we sent you. Not only will you have a great adventure, but Scott is very knowledgeable about the history and geography of the area, too.

Travel safely, Deb Swanson


Santa Fe Local’s View: Santa Fe’s Best Restaurants – Dinner for Two

When I landed in Santa Fe 13 years ago, I was given multiple Santa Fe “must dos.”  Indian Market, Bandelier Monument, Shidoni Sculpture Garden, Ski Santa Fe to name a few…and of course, restaurants.  On the top of the list was the newly opened Dinner for Two.


Family owned and operated, Dinner for Two (D42 as the local concierge endearingly call it), exemplifies a community oriented, sustainable restaurant.  Chef Andy Barnes works side by side with his dad, Gregory (who bakes his grandmother’s bread recipe daily), and his mom, Pam, who manages the daily business minutiae and bakes the cookies.  When asked about the “hierarchy,” Chef Andy sums it up in a direct, yet humble way: “we work as a family, we all do what is needed.”  His pride is apparent in his quick answer to my questions, but his humility sets the tone of the entire place.  Naturally, I asked Chef Andy about their signature dishes, which he listed as the table side presentation of the Chateaubriand, Banana’s Foster, and our Caesar Salad.

Dinner for Two melds a fine dining menu and experience with a non-pretentious “every-man” setting making it perfect for the young married couple treating themselves to a hard earned anniversary meal or the affluent traveler wishing to indulge their palate in its entirety.  The walls are adorned with his dad’s own art, or the art of a family friend.

food D42

Another aspect that makes Dinner for Two unique in particular is their deep commitment to “farm to table” practices.   The Barnes family has a 40-acre farm named Blue Rose, where they raise their chickens, many of the herbs, and some of the restaurant’s produce.  If they don’t raise it, they partner with local farms, some of who grow product exclusively for the restaurant.  Additionally, they feed all edible waste to the “Blue Rose” chickens, re-purpose the fryer oil as biofuel with their neighbor, and recycle the cardboard boxes and glass bottles.   In fact, Chef Andy is an active member of the Farm to Restaurant Project.



Never resting on their laurels, the Barnes’ recently welcomed renowned Sommelier Mark Johnson to their family to maintain the extensive, yet focused quality wine list.  That’s not to dismiss that Chef Andy and Gregory have both been awarded Wine Spectators “ Award for Excellence” for the past ten years.  Chef Andy graduated from the Santa Fe Community College Culinary program, and then the Culinary Institute of America in New York.  He also participates in the annual Food Depot’s “Souper Bowl,” (January 30th is the date for 2016’s event) which helps to raise funds for the local food bank and the homeless- in fact; he won the event in 2015.

On a final note, Dinner for Two is named for its intimate setting that allows for a perfect couples night, but is by no way limited to reservations of two.  They are capable of seating groups up to 20 people, with advance notice.  They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 4pm-9pm; closed Monday and Tuesday.  You may make reservations directly at 505-820-2075 or on Open Table.

In Health and Prosperity.  SamG of the IOG


Santa Fe Local’s View: A Santa Fe Christmas

As the countdown to Christmas nears, our hearts look forward to the traditional food and events of Christmas in New Mexico. Christmas day is all about family, but for many of us in Santa Fe – Christmas Eve is all about being out and about seeing friends, both new and old.

If you grew up in the City Different, there are many memories of filling your tummies full of spicy Posole, pouring your to-go cups full of hot chocolate or cider, and bundling up for a very special night. Posole is a soup or stew made with hominy corn, chile and flavorful seasonings and is a Christmas tradition in many of our homes. Whether you make it at home or enjoy it at one of the many restaurants that serve this New Mexico favorite, like our very own, Del Charro, it is the perfect food to warm your soul for the cold winter night.

 Once you are full of good food (and definitely good cheer) you dress in your warmest duds and head to the one place in town where you are sure to bump into someone you know. Friends from high school that you haven’t seen in years to new friends made in the magic of the season; there is always a friend and a joyful smile around every corner. Just after dusk, the lanterns made of brown paper bags, a votive candle and sand, light up with a lovely glow. There is some debate about the name of these little bags of light, to some they are “luminarias” but to Santa Fe, New Mexicans they are “farolitos”. No matter what you call them, they are a lovely sight when lined up along the street and adorning the tops of the houses and galleries along Canyon Road. You stroll along with your loved ones, singing carols and enjoying the kinship of those you know or meet along the way. If you are staying with us this year, stop by the front desk to pick up some hot chocolate, hot cider and biscochitos for the evening’s festivities.

For the very adventurous souls, looking for something culturally unique to New Mexico on December 24th and 25th, it is truly worth the hour and a half drive to the Taos Pueblo for their very special Procession of the Virgin Mary and the Christmas Day Traditional Dance. Taos Pueblo is the only living Native American community designated as a National Historic Landmark. The pueblo offers a door to the past with multi-storied adobe buildings that have been continuously inhabited for over 1000 years and have a spectacular view of the mountains. Share in the experience of this beautiful tradition and please be respectful of the pueblo’s rules of etiquette so that many can continue to enjoy these holiday events for years to come.

Merry Christmas from Inn of the Governors. We wish you and yours a peaceful New Year and look forward to seeing you in 2016! Safe travels, Deb Swanson

Note: This post was originally published on December 23, 2013 and has been updated for current events.


Santa Fe Local’s View: 50th Anniversary and Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families

The Inn of the Governors is excited to announce that we have been able to raise, with the help of our guests, $30,000 for local non-profits this year.  Our 50th anniversary package has surpassed any of our hopes and we would like to thank everyone who stayed with us!  Your donations have truly been appreciated and have helped those in our community.

officeWe couldn’t be more pleased that our final quarter raised $8,150 for Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families. We met with Marsie Silvestro (Director) and Shelly Koffler (Board Chair) to share the good news.

For over 38 years, Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families has been providing domestic abuse support services to greater Santa Fe, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.   Being first line responders, they offer a 24 Hour Hotline (505-474-5536) and emergency shelter for women, children and men who are in imminent danger.  Esperanza’s support center provides counseling and educational therapeutic groups to survivors, offenders and children. They work with all members of the family, not for reunification, but for each member to move on in their life.

We want to thank Marsie and her team for all they do and they have advised us that this money will go directly to the community they serve for counseling and items that are needed.  We wish everyone a safe and peaceful holiday season.

Deb Swanson


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