Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Drive and a Dive ~ A Restaurant Review

What a great day for a drive! Heading North to Santa Fe to drop off husband Micheal's artwork for his solo show at Metallo Gallery (more about that tomorrow) we passed miles of fields full of bright yellow desert flowers. We have had good rainfall this summer so even the foothills were a showy green.
 I love this "blue" highway. We can travel for hours without passing another car.

Shot through the car window...but you get the idea! We were excited to be here for Michael's show, anticipating meeting friends and enjoying all that Santa Fe has to offer. First on our agenda was this tiny café just north of Madrid, New Mexico.

San Marcos Feed Store and Café ~ A Review

The café restaurant at the San Marco Feed Store on Hwy 14 in Santa Fe, New Mexico has been on my foodie wish list for a year now. Open only for breakfast and lunch, our Albuquerque friends have given this quirky, off-road eatery sterling reviews. So, after dropping off husband Michael's artwork at the Metallo Gallery in Madrid, it was a straight shot up Highway 14 for a much anticipated lunch.

The restaurant is quirky indeed, just off this "blue highway" with a rustic, old-timey mining shack facade and live peacocks and turkeys visible from the dinning room windows and traversing the grounds.

It was recommended we make a reservation (really?) which we did, but it was not necessary as there were plenty of open tables. This actually concerned me. Not a good sign for a restaurant that is historically impossibly full. Often an over-rated reputation will be the undoing of a genuinely good restaurant and I believe this to be the case with the San Marco Feed Store and Café, and our experience bore this out.

Michael ordered the green chili stew. This is a staple here in the Southwest. A good green chili stew has a lot to live up to. The dish came with a side of guacamole and tortilla chips...four to be exact. How a person can be expected to eat a mound of guacamole with four chips I just don't know. This didn't make any sense. So we asked for more chips, and received...four more. Unbelievable. To their credit, the stew was good. Although, not a particularly generous portion. On a scale of one to ten, with the most amazingly delicious green chili stew made from Hatch green chilies, chock full of meat and potatoes being a ten, this was pretty high on the list, coming in at an eight. The presentation was nice as well but Michael walked away hungry. The portion was just too small to be considered a main meal.

I ordered the special, chili rellenos plate, red, with a side of calabacitas and the aforementioned guacamole and four chips. The meal came with a side of garlic bread, which we did not eat because it also did not make sense with the meal. The chili rellenos were quite good, although I have had better red enchilada sauce...at the Shed, for example. The calabacitas were flavorful and fresh, with yellow squash, corn and chili. Overall, my main dish was pleasant, clean and fresh-tasting with traditional flavors and well executed rellenos.

I spent the drive up reading rave reviews about their coffee (it is a café!), so we were terribly disappointed when Michael's coffee arrived bitter, tasteless and cold! Yes, cold. When he asked for a new cup the waitperson offered to "nuke" it. Needless to say, the wait staff did not make our "greatest hits" list. I also made the mistake of ordering the hot chai tea, which was the worst I have ever had. It too was cold and tasted like a spice-less black tea smothered in evaporated milk, yuck.

Wait staff, Drinks and chip deprivation aside, our meals were tasty and we did enjoy watching the peacocks do their thing. If you had children along, it might be fun for the family as a novelty.

Would we return? Not likely. There are so many wonderful restaurants in Santa Fe. Places we can spend $40 or less for lunch and come out raving about the food and the service. Sorry San Marcos Feed Store and Café, you're off my list. But the drive is on my forever list...divine!

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