Eating and drinking in Albuquerque, Bernalillo and Santa Fe

So, we do do other things in New Mexico besides eat and drink. There’s a fantastic zoo, botanic garden, biopark, aquarium and children’s garden, and there are a thousand places to hike. For a visitor- and family-friendly excursion, ride the Sandia Peak tram, or if you’re up for a challenge, hike the La Luz trail.* If you really hate yourself, hike UP it. And if you really, REALLY hate yourself, the 52nd Annual La Luz Trail Race is August 6. If you’re willing to drive a little, head west to Acoma Pueblo or north to Jemez Springs. But this post is just about eating and drinking.

I didn’t take photos of everything I ate because…yeah, obnoxious. Here are the ones I remembered to photograph. Beware: You can’t order an alcoholic drink before 11 a.m. on Sundays in New Mexico. (And no packaged liquor before noon.) I know, it’s really stupid.

La Cumbre Elevated IPALa Cumbre means “the top.” Get it? This was at my parents’ place outside of Albuquerque, near Bernalillo. We were treated to a brilliant sunset which was unfortunately, courtesy of several wildfires burning in Arizona and elsewhere. 😦

Important side note: we rode the train to Santa so we stayed near the hotel, but if you have transportation (or don’t mind springing for a Lyft) there are a lot of great places that are farther from the Plaza and less touristy/pricey.

Burgers and beers at Santa Fe Bite. Another Elevated IPA. It’s good. I drank a lot of it. This place is casual and affordable** and served up THE best green chile cheese burger I have ever had in my life. We ate on the patio mid-afternoon on a Thursday so there was no wait.

Margaritas on the rooftop Bell Tower at the La Fonda Hotel. (Which I can’t say without thinking of Napoleon Dynamite.) (Disclosure: My parents bought us a night at this hotel as a gift…AND KEPT THE KIDS FOR US WOOOO! It’s not a place we could otherwise afford but if you’re interested in staying there and are similarly not wealthy, look at non-peak seasons and check for discounts online. I cannot say enough good things about the hotel.) This was a pretty freaking good margarita, but honestly I’m accustomed to having the 27-ounce mind erasers (at half the price) at our local Mexican joint so I drained this one in about five minutes. Happy hour is from 12-3 and guests receive a $2 coupon at check-in. Discounted, I think the drink was 8 or 9 bucks. 

Beer and nachos on the patio at Del Charrrrro. After the monster burgers we had at lunch, neither of us had much of an appetite, so we split a plate of nachos and I had a Double White from Albuquerque’s Marble Brewery. (The husband’s NM staple is the Santa Fe pale ale.) This place is casual and affordable.**

Vodka tonics at Evangelo’s. Great local hangout for live music and not touristy or overpriced. We heard a great classic rock/blues band in the bar upstairs. The kids start playing metal downstairs around 10 p.m. CASH ONLY.

Bloody Mary and Huevos Oaxacas (pronounced “weh-vohs wah-hah-cahs”) at La Plazuela at La Fonda. Again, pretty pricey, but if you’re looking for really fancy-ass shit in Santa Fe, this is the place to go. I had my heart set on a Bloody Mary and this was the only place within walking distance that served them at 9 a.m. And holy shit, the food was was good. Note: the Bloody Mary wasn’t on their breakfast menu but the bar was open so we asked, and we received.Right before we got on the train back to Bernalillo, we stopped into Second Street Brewery at the Santa Fe Railyard and I quickly drained a Red and Yellow Armadillo IPA (9.2% ABV) and brought a half-growler of the Diploid IPA with me. MOAR HUEVOS at The Range Cafe in Bernalillo. This place is casual but kinda pricey. BUT, the portions are enormous so you could easily share. The kids’ breakfast came with four pancakes, and they split it.

We also ate at Old Town Pizza Parlor (sorry no pics!) after our zoo excursion, and we had a fantastic Kitchen Sink pizza complete with green chile. They also have a kid-friendly buffet.

We also met some friends at the Kactus Brewery in Bernalillo. It’s a small kid-friendly joint with a rustic patio, live music and chickens out back. I had the cream stout and the IPA and both were good. I didn’t eat anything but the food looked fantastic.

That’s it!

*Just a warning, the restaurant at Sandia Peak is closed (actually completely gone) so there’s currently nowhere to eat or drink at the summit– a picnic or snacks and definitely water is recommended. For an incredibly detailed and comprehensive guide to Sandia hiking, check out my friend Mike’s book, Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide. A new edition with updated maps is coming soon!

And please be careful!

**For Santa Fe, “affordable” is like a few bucks more than I’d consider affordable anywhere else. Gentrification + tourism is a son of a bitch.

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