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New Mexico Foods- A Santa Fe Visitors Guide (#2 in series)

compliments of Pueblo Bonito bed breakfast inn

breakfast tamales

Chile, beans, and corn are definitely “basic ingredients” to New Mexico cooking. All can be locally grown, with chile being New Mexico’s largest agricultural crop. New Mexico chile, especially when harvested as green chile, is perhaps the defining ingredient of New Mexican food compared to neighboring styles. Other distinctive elements of traditional New Mexico cooking include:  blue  corn, stacked enchiladas, and sopapillas. Visitors to New Mexico find green chile to be a popular ingredient served in a wide range of foods including: enchiladas and burritos, cheeseburgers, french fries, bagels, eggs and piazzas. Santa Fe Restaurateurs do not limit themselves to simply these categories, but are always creating innovative and tantalizing new culinary creations within the kitchens of this historic and enchanting city of “different”!

That being said, foods and dishes common to New Mexico to aid our Santa Fe visitors: 

  • Breakfast burrito: a smaller-sized breakfast version of a burrito, typically including scraqmbled eggs, potatoes (papas), red or green chile, cheese, and sometimes meat (bacon, sausage, carne adovada).
  • Calabacitas: Green summer squash with onions, garlic, and other vegetables, fried.
  • Caldillo: a thin, green chile stew (or soup) of meat (usually beef, often pork or a mixture), potatoes, and green chiles.
  • Carne adovada: Cubes of pork, marinated and cooked in red chile, garlic and oregano. Often spicy.
  • Carne asada: roasted or broiled meat (often flank steak), marinated.
  • Chalupaa corn tortilla, fried into a bowl shape and filled with shredded chicken or other meat, and/or beans, and usually topped with guacamole and salsa.
  • Chicharrones: small pieces of pork rind with a thin layer of meat that are deep-fried.
  •  Chile or chile sauce: A sauce made from red or green chiles and served hot over many New Mexican dish (referred to a “smothered“).  The term “Christmas” is commonly used in New Mexico when ordering both red and green chile in one dish.
  • Chile con queso: chile and melted cheese mixed together into a dip.
  • Chile rellenos: whole green chiles stuffed, dipped in an egg batter, and fried.
  • Chimichanga: a small, deep-fried meat and (usually) bean burrito, containing (or smothered with) chile sauce and cheese. Popularized by the Allsup’s convenience store! A series of humorous commercials in the 1980s featured people attempting to pronounce the name correctly.
  • Chorizo: spicy pork sausage, seasoned with garlic and red chile. Used in ground or finely chopped form as a breakfast side dish or often as an alternative to ground beef or shredded chicken in other dishes.
  • Churro: fried-dough pastry snack. Churros are typically fried until they become crunchy, and may be sprinkled with sugar.
  • Empanada:  pasty or turnover filled with minced meat, spices and nuts or sweet fruit.
  • Enchiladas: corn tortillas filled with chicken meat, and/or cheese. Served either rolled, or stacked, and covered with chile sauce and cheese and optionally topped with a fried egg. Stacked enchiladas made with blue corn tortillas are a particularly New Mexican variation.
  • Flan: a caramel custard.
  • Flauta: small, tightly rolled, fried enchilada.
  • Frijoles: beans, pinto beans (along with chile, one of the official state vegetables).
  • Green chile cheeseburger: widely considered the New Mexican variety of hamburger! Regular hamburger topped with melted cheese and whole or chopped green chile. Distinctively New Mexican!
  • Green chile stew: thick soup with green chile, meat (usually beef, often pork or a mixture), potatoes, garlic and onion.
  • Guacamole: mashed, seasoned avocado, with chopped onion, tomatoes, garlic, lime and chile- often served with chips- but is not limited!
  • Huevos rancheros: traditionally was eggs poached in chile, however the modern version typically has fried eggs (sunny-side up/ over easy) covered with cheese, chili on a corn tortilla and served with pinto beans (frijoles).
  • Mole sauce: Spices, almonds, red chile, tomatoes, and chocolate, often served with chicken. Café Pasqual is famous for this dish and is a close walk from Pueblo Bonito bed breakfast inn!
  • Navajo Taco:  Native American fry bread served with ground beef, smothered in chile sauce, refried beans, sprinkled with shredded cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes and sour cream.  One of Amy’s favorite treats from street vendor on the plaza during Fiesta celebrations!

    Native American Taco

    Native American Taco

  • Pico de gallo (“rooster’s beak”): A cold salsa with thick-chopped fresh chiles, tomatoes, onions and cilantro- no tomato paste and never vinegar!
  • Pinones: piñon (or pine) nuts, a traditional food of Native Americans in New Mexico. Harvested from the pinon pine tree.
  •  Posole: thick stew made with hominy corn, simmered with pork, chile, onions and garlic. Both red and green chile versions exist.
  • Frijoles refritos: refried beans. 
  • Salsa: uncooked chiles/peppers, tomatoes, onions mixture- frequently blended or mixed with tomato paste to produce a more sauce-like texture.
  • Sopaipilla (“little pillows”): a puffed,fried bread, eaten split or with a corner bitten off and filled with honey (as accompaniment in place of tortillas). Can be stuffed with meat, beans, cheese and chile sauce if an served as an entrée.
    Sopapilla "little pillows"- served as bread with honey

    Sopapilla “little pillows”- served as bread with honey

    Rancho de Chimayo is a known for thier sopaipilla’s and is a short day trip to Chimayo from Pueblo Bonito bed breakfast.

  • Taco: corn tortilla fried into a trough shape, filled with meats, cheese, or beans. Topped with chopped lettuce, onions, tomatoes and cheese. Also served using a soft, rolled flour tortilla.
  • Tamale: meat rolled in cornmeal dough, wrapped traditionally in corn husks and steamed. Served most often with red chile sauce. New Mexican style tamales typically vary from others in that red chile powder is usually blended into the masa. A traditional food served at family gatherings, holidays and festivals. A New Mexican “soul” food and featured in Pueblo Bonito Inn’s breakfast buffet!
  • Taquito: tightly rolled, deep-fried variant of the taco.
  • Tortilla: flatbread made of unbleached flour.
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Pueblo Bonito Inn
138 W. Manhattan Ave Santa FeNM87501 USA 
 • 505-984-8001

Santa Fe New Mexico Food & Drink

Suggested Bistros / Cafes by Pueblo Bonito Bed and Breakfast (#2 of series):

The Shed Restaurant- Santa Fe, NMA few Santa Fe “Cafes and Bistros” to choose from- Close to Pueblo Bonito Inn- Santa Fe, NM

Museum Hill Café: “Bursting with Flavor” is how Museum Hill Café  describes itself. Serving visitors to Santa Fe as well as locals great tasting foods prepared fresh with quality ingredients. A glorious view of the Sangre de Cristos provides a great atmosphere along with friendly service and affordable prices- the perfect compliment to world renown museum hopping! The Folk Art Museum, Indian Cultural Museum, Wheelwright Museum and Spanish Colonial Museum are all nestled conveniently together on this hill – less than 1 mile from Pueblo Bonito Inn- Santa Fe. Summer  months host the Santa Fe Music Collective Cafe Series

Galisteo Bistro: Owned & operated by chefs Robert & Marge Chickering, Galisteo Bistro features eclectic, innovative international cuisine known for its open kitchen, quality menu offerings, and attentive service in a casual, comfortable downtown setting.

Café Pasquals:  For thirty-one years Cafe Pasqual’s has been serving emphatically flavored cuisine inspired by the culinary traditions of New Mexico, Old Mexico, the Mediterranean and Asia.  Dedicated to using fresh, seasonal, organic and naturally raised foods.

Blue Corn Café & Brewery- Downtown Location:  A local and visitor favorite for over 20 years, featuring casual New Mexican cuisine, Pubfare and Award Winning, Hand-Crafted Beer.

Roof Top Pizzeria:  From the first bite of the thin crust gourmet pizza you will be one step closer in your quest for pizza perfection! The contemporary dining bistro reminiscent of San Francisco or New York has a patio providing wonderful views to watch street life on Water Street, a gentle rain on the Sangre de Christos Mountains, or spectacular Santa Fe sunset. Just north of Pueblo Bonito Inn- Santa Fe a few blocks.

Patries from Sage Bakery Cafe- Santa Fe Foods

Patries from Sage Bakery Cafe- Santa Fe Foods

Sage Bakery & Café:  Tantalizing breads, pastries and other assorted fresh baked delectable’s provide a treat on every visit to this close by bakery/café! Just around the corner of Paseo de Peralta from Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn the Santa Fe Baking Company hosts KSFR’s daily talk show! Featuring local people and others you’d might like to know! Community-spirited, smart talk: From Presidential candidates, nationally known experts to local Santa Fe artists, authors, healers, and minor miscreants. Sage Bakery & Café touts “It’s where all Santa Fe talks”

Vinaigrettes:  Chic and green, this Santa Fe bistro raises the “salad bar” with bold and delicious entrée salads. Innovative flavor combinations and options can be added to provide savory protein accompaniments (I.e. diver scallops, lemon-herb chicken, grilled hanger steak). Hearty yet healthy lunch or dinner creations allow Pueblo Bonito Inn’s guests guiltless and delicious eating at the same time.

Café Café: Traditional Italian Cuisine fare with hints of Southwestern influences. A warm and comfortable environment where friends and family can meet to enjoy the comforts of life for lunch or dinner. Conveniently located to Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn, enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights as well as an outdoor dining patio during warmer months.

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Our Location

138 W. Manhattan
Santa Fe, NM 87501


Located in Santa Fe's historic downtown district. A 5-minute walk to the plaza!

(800) 461-4599
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Suites: $115 - $230

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