Posted Sat May 9, 2009, 9:30am Subject: Has Santa Fe gotten any better?
We're headed to Santa Fe in a couple of weeks for a visit with my brother and his wife. The very few Santa Fe mentions I've found here don't sound very encouraging. Everybody mentions Downtown Subscription, but it seems as if they're they only game in town (or were in 2005, which is the most recent Santa Fe recommendation post my search found). Anything new there worth checking out? Or should I just pack up my Caravel and a hand grinder (not that this is a bad thing, and I'll probably do it anyway since we're driving out)?
Posted Sun May 31, 2009, 5:58am Subject: Re: Has Santa Fe gotten any better?
Just as a follow-up. Had a lovely week in Santa Fe, but it's not a great coffee town. Downtown Subscription with their La San Marco Leva is definitely the best of the bunch, with Ecco running second. Every other espresso I tried was mediocre to actively bad. I was disappointed by Las Chivas Roasters, who are right near my brother's place, but who sold me two pounds of stale coffee. One of these, their Sumatran, is supposedly one of their big movers, so there's no excuse for it being too old.
One the pie front, it's a 4.5 hour drive to Pie Town, NM, but the pie at Pie-O-Neer was worth the trip as we drove back along US 60 past the Very Large Array radiotelescope and through the Salt River Canyon.
In any event: Better Day serves Very Good Espresso. Their "double" is 1.5 oz from what I'd guess was a healthy dose of Stumptown's Hairbender. The decor is minimalist* and the baristas haven't been to Friendly Barista Make Eye Contact Make Nice school, but the coffee stands head and shoulders above other Santa Fe offerings.
Holy Spirit Espresso on San Francisco street claims to offer a little bit of Italy in Santa Fe. That may be the case: I've never been to Italy. But based on my tastes, not in the same league.
Someone online offered a good word for Collected Works Bookstore and Cafe. Again, this may be taste-specific, but . . . not what I look for in a demi-tasse.
And the "espresso" at Chocolate Maven? It's a chocolate shop and bakery. They do those things marvelously. One shouldn't quibble about the espresso (or order it).
So, there does appear to be one coffee shop in Santa Fe who's riding that Pacific Northwest wave; and from my perspective, shooting the curl. (Sorry. complex surfing analogy. And I don't surf.)
The entire place looked unfinished. Which is an aesthetic I've seen elsewhere, most recently at Grassroots Coffee here in San Antonio; who serve Intelliegentsia coffees (and make very good espresso, too). It implies the dollars have gone other than into decor, which is an implication I can buy into. But I wonder if it's after all just a choice.
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