The Colors of Santa Fe

Santa FeSanta Fe in the fall is a brisk and breezy place, yellow leaves crunching underfoot and the sweet scent of wood-burning fires filling the air. I ran across the street this morning to get a scone at a little cafe, and my jaw almost dropped at the scene: leather chairs with polished wood frames, a bright white fireplace taking up an entire wall, flames softly blazing, walls adorned with Native designs. Definitely going back there tomorrow.

In even just the little bit of time I spent in New Mexico before this trip, I was already astounded by the colors. The Albuquerque airport is a sea of coral and turquoise, with even the interstate overpasses echoing that beautiful palette. Santa Fe is a rich tapestry of color all its own. Here are a few of the little swatches I’ve gathered. This mural is painted outside La Fonda, Santa Fe’s oldest hotel, and once part of the great Harvey railway hotel chain. I love the warm shades of earth and sky here. And I love the shapes and lines of the adobes. I had to run to Target today, and even it had an adobe structure!

Santa FeLook at this. Oh my goodness. I know they will never fit in my suitcase, but don’t you think I need every single one of these?

Santa FeAnd these too. Those calla lilies are to die for.

Santa FeAnd I haven’t even gotten to the chiles yet. These strung beauties are called ristras, and I am already contemplating whether I can bring one home with me without crushing it to smithereens.

Santa FeMaybe the two most important colors in New Mexico are red and green: they’re the two types of chile that you can have served on just about anything. The green chile is made from peppers that haven’t fully matured yet, and the red is from the fresh form of the ristra chiles above. The question at every meal is red or green, but you can also order Christmas, which is both. I am a green chile girl, but I had some red chile tonight that might change my mind. In any case, this is green chile posole with a sopapilla, the greatest puffy fried bread invention ever. Drizzled with New Mexican honey, it is warm and gooey heaven between your fingertips.

Santa FeThe restaurant where I ate had this sign prominently displayed, and I sort of thought it was a joke, but then I saw the same sign in other places as well. So, be warned: get your tastebuds in optimal shape before your visit!

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