Santa Fe, New Mexico

When a person from Podunk gets invited to Santa Fe, New Mexico in February, all that Podunk hears is Santa and Mexico and yes! seems like the only reasonable response. It turns out that Santa Fe, New Mexico resides at 7,000 feet so visions of balmy weather were quickly ruined by snow flurries… but after 3 months of traveling with hockey teams, I really could not have cared less. I had my own hotel room that did not reek of the cat piss aroma seeping out of hockey gear bags (given the fact that we don’t own a cat, this stench is even more disturbing).

Everyone knows I love my family, and our travels together will certainly provide me with an old agehood of fond memories. But choosing a restaurant without group consensus is one of the divine pleasures of life, as is sleeping in a king-sized bed diagonally.

Santa Fe is a charming city –the architecture, the people, the art.

The town tried to tempt me with a variety of $2500 cowboy boots, but I’m more of a sneaker gal, so the real temptation was the ubiquitous Frito Pie. I resisted 2 whole days before dodging into the Atomic Cafe. When I laid eyes on the Atomic Pie (homemade green chile sauce, black beans, tomatoes, onions and jack cheese atop a mountain of Fritos), I knew the time for resistance was over.

I selected Atomic based on its predominant Santa Fe Brewing Company signage. Santa Fe Brewing’s tasting rooms were outside my walking tour radius (and for those of you who are thinking if I’m going to snack on Atomic Pie perhaps I should increase my walking tour radius, you can shut the hell up), so Atomic presented a welcome passport to local brew experimentation.

Keep in mind, this was a fallback position. Plan A had been La Boca, a Spanish tapas/wine joint near La Plaza (Spanish for a square lined with cowboy boot shops), my temporary home base. We’d recently had a tapas experience of sorts at the Piggyback Barbeque in Whitefish, Montana (Flathead Here We Come), if you consider fried dill pickles and hog wings to be tapas — which we do — so I was anxious to continue the tradition. But when I reached La Boca and looked in the window, there was a little too much white table cloth for my liking and I believe I found where at least some of the $2500 cowboy boots were going.

The Atomic did not have white linen on their tables but they did have artist Grant Kosh’s black and white oil painting portraiture gracing each table top with the likes of Jimi Hendrix, MLK Jr, Pablo Picasso, and Marilyn Monroe. I sat with Marilyn and had a Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout, without a doubt the best beer in a can I’ve ever tasted.

The Atomic Pie did not disappoint, but let’s say that after my stop at the Atomic Cafe I’m going to have to get serious about enlarging my walking tour radius.

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