I had to travel to New Mexico to sample my first sopaipilla! Actually, I understand that I could have found these in Texas, but I've never seen them.
Sopaipillas are flaky puffs of fried dough that can be used to sop juices off your plate or as a dessert drizzled with honey or cinnamon and sugar.
That first bite was telling...I knew I would have to seek these little treasures out wherever they would be. My sopaipilla was with honey, but anyway they come I'm willing and anxious to try them again.
When you're traveling to the southwest, search for these tasty treats!
The winter holidays in Santa Fe represent so much of the culture of the region. Yes, there are traditional Christmas lights with lots of colors, but there are other lights more unique to the region. If you know of luminarias, you may think of them as those lunch bags that glow .... technically you would be correct as that is what the name has come to mean. In Santa Fe, those same little lights are called farolitos. Santa Fe is unique in that they consider the bonfires luminarias (which is historically correct)... During the holiday season you can see them all!
On Christmas eve in particular ...... Santa Fe closes Canyon Road to vehicles, the art galleries and shops stay open late, and the folks of the city different and surrounding areas come out to play! You'll find so called normal folks, folks in costumes, pets in costumes, carolers, hot chocolate stands, and lights galore! It's simply magical ......
On the 7th of September every year is the fiestas. If you want to see locals and the true Santa Fe Culture check out this event. It has been tradition for decades and the town is probably at its hieght for excitment. The locals will be out, the bars will be crazy and the people will be out of control. If you want to see true Santa Fe come for the 3 days of fiestas.
Chiles can be bought everywhere throughout Santa Fe for use in cooking or for decorative use. Santa Feans order either red or green chile. Red chile is dried; green chile is fresh. The red chile reputedly has more "fire," but I personally prefer the green. If you can't make up your mind, order your entree "Chrismas" style, with BOTH red & green chile!
Santa Feans love green chile on everything. No, Chile isnt a pot of spicy beans and meat, it comes in red and green, although the green is really only common in New Mexico. Make sure you try it, it is much better than any other chile you've had! Another combination is "christmas" which is a combination of both red and green. Try it on enchiladas, pizza...i've even seen it on Ice Cream. Be sure to bring some home too, you'll miss it.
At the end of May, the prickly pear cactus was in bloom. It produces a beautiful tissue-like flower. The flowers I saw were yellow, but I've also seen red flowers as well.
Prickly pear is a common ingredient in Southwestern dishes. There's no limit to the types of dishes this cactus will end up in. You can find prickly pear cheesecake, cookies, jelly, salads, salad dressings, shrimp and beef dishes, breads, candy, salsa, or you can coat them with cornmeal and fry the s**t out of them. (Remove the spines before cooking.)
I wondered if the prickly pear flowers were edible as well, so I went to the internet, the most reliable source for everything you want to know. I found this statement by an "expert":
Now as far as I know just me and some other guy are the only people who have eaten these flowers. The other guy is dead. So this is more a query than a recommendation. I like prickly pear flowers. Do you? E-mail me at www.humannatures.com and let me know. They have the texture and mouth of yucca flowers. I've heard there is a lost tribe that imbibes almost totally on these blooms. But I have no substantive material on their safety and edibility. So unless you are a fool like me I cannot recommend this flower. All fools please e-mail me your comment.
In my experience, tourists in Santa Fe are so often swept away by the ambience (narrow streets, casual attitude, wonderful scenery, fascinating locals, too many Margaritas, etc.) that they wander around without taking the usual pedestrian precautions.
Please, folks: for your own safety and the locals' peace of mind, don't step into the street without looking, and don't stroll down the middle of the street! This is NOT a joke -- we've had some dreadful accidents (even a death recently) where pedestrian carelessness was a major factor. Don't let it happen to you!
Santa Fe locals pride themselves on their Spanish Heritage. Be aware that although folks often think of the Western USA as 'Cowboys and Indians' -- the Spanish had a much greater impact in their time (1500's) than the whites. When you visit, come with respect for the American Indians, but also for the Spanish. There is a rich (whether pleasant or not I won't go into) history here, for any looking to know it. If you get in an off-the-tourist-path place, notice how much Spanish and 'spanglish' (a combo of English and Spanish) is spoken. Much of our local community speaks Spanish as a first language.
The most common mistake made by travelers is forgetting that people do live in Santa Fe and do depend on the tourist dollar for their paycheck. There is a certain tension between those who live and work there and those who play there. When visiting Santa Fe, treat it like you would the home of any esteemed host who is gracious enough to extend their open arms of welcoming to you. And remember- things don't move as fast in Santa Fe. They don't need to, and you're on vacation, so you don't need them to either. Relax, enjoy and let the warm welcome take you in. Oh- and eat a lot of green chili. yummmmm.
Rich in Hispanic and Native American culture and history. There are also a multitude of art galleries with openings - mostly on friday nights. Walking Canyon Road and gallery hopping on a Friday evening will provide you with a wide variety of art experiences.
Two words of advice: Be Patient. Santa Fe is characterized by a lax attitude about, well, just about everything. There are pros and cons to this. Despite its popularity as a tourist attraction, customer service is not so hot across the board. Neither is the driving. If you're used to a more urban atmosphere, take a deep breath and enjoy the scenery, because that's what everybody else is doing.
Lots of Native Americans, many of whom are sidewalk vendors. I've entitled this picture 'Too much firewater.'
All along the plaza you will find Native Americans selling beautiful hand made jewlery. They just lay is out for you to see. There is also many little shops on the plaza for all you cultural needs.