Monday, 27 August 2012

City Review: Santa Fe

Hello there! 

Now for the next city in my City Review segment... Santa Fe!

Once again, I had no idea what to expect of Santa Fe. I didn't know a lot about New Mexico at all. I never have really, apart from the fact that Gabriella from High School Musical was from Albuquerque which is New Mexico's largest city. Does New Mexico have anything to do with actual Mexico? Would I find myself smack-bang in the middle of a US version of Latin America? Would everyone be speaking Spanish and wearing sombreros and dancing to mariachi music? I was soon to find out...

Upon arriving to Santa Fe, I thought I was in hell. Seriously, the camp-site was one of THE WORST on our trip. The ground was neither flat nor smooth and it was rock solid too so it was really very hard to put our tent pegs in. Then the nearest rest-room didn't have plumbing so there was a very basic hole-in-the-ground style toilet which reeked of faeces. There were two big huge dogs roaming around, the type that maul babies. Literally, they were all over the place, trying to eat our food, sniffing our nether regions, slobbering away. Plus, this was one of THE MOST bug infested camp-sites we had experienced so I got bitten a lot. I wasn't happy at all, especially as this was one of the only camp-sites where we were to spend two nights rather than one. However, we decided to make the best of a bad situation and play a handful of drinking games.

The next morning I decided to give Santa Fe a chance... perhaps there would be tons of things I would be interested in seeing... 

The above photo is one of the only tourist type photos I took in Santa Fe because there was literally nothing in that city which I would enjoy doing. I was quite eager to find a farmers' market which I'd spotted on my map. However, it seemed that because it was a Sunday afternoon, the farmers' market wasn't running. There went my hope for grabbing some fresh fruit.

Santa Fe is home to North America's oldest church and oldest house. Apparently. I wouldn't know because I just figured, the UK has super-duper old churches and houses which were built hundreds of years before the USA was even born, so I didn't think it was important or interesting. I know that might make me seem really closed minded, but I was tired, hacked off about the campsite where I'd endured a terrible night's sleep and was sure to endure another AND I was starving hungry! So instead, I popped into this church to say a prayer and light a candle for my mom's parents because it reminded me of Dominican churches (my mom is from the Dominican Republic and my grandparents were religious). This church was beautiful, and reminded me a lot of Latin American Catholicism...

The church was beautiful and I actually started feeling quite emotional. I didn't know that Santa Fe is so well known for its Catholic community and as a Catholic myself (although not practising) I found it to be quite a friendly town which took me back to the things I used to enjoy about going to church. Having said that, Santa Fe also reminded me of some of the things I hate about Catholicism. I spotted some ladies with clipboards in the town and people were being very rude to them. All they were asking was, 'Are you pro gay rights?' I even heard one man hiss, 'No, you make me sick' as he stalked into the church. How can someone who is part of a religion which is all about loving your neighbour be so rude to someone just because of who they do and don't choose to love. I was disgusted with his reaction so went and chatted to the ladies for a little while. They told me that Santa Fe is one of the biggest anti-gay cities in North America.

After chatting with these ladies, I decided it was time for lunch, so headed to a creperie that I'd spotted earlier in the day...

My crepe had cheese, chorizo, chicken and spinache in it and to be honest I didn't enjoy it at all. I'm not sure if this was purely due to the fact that I had been drinking the night before (although having said that I've never had a hangover before and don't think what I felt would constitute one...) but the crepe totally over-faced me and was so creamy that I began to feel slightly queasy. Not that that stopped me from ordering a Nutella one for dessert though...

This crepe made me MUCH happier and really hit the spot. I actually wanted to order another, but I was watching my pennies in this city so I left it... 

I really felt like I'd seen the best of Santa Fe. I know that sounds bad because I almost didn't give the city a chance, but it was too hot, not really my kind of place, occupied mostly by elderly people with different interests to me, so I headed to the library for a little while. Funnily enough, I found my Norton Anthology of English Literature in the library which was my university degree coursebook! What a small world eh? 

A couple of my friends wanted to head to do Bikram Yoga but I didn't want to because exercising in a sauna sounds like my idea of hell. Instead, me and another of the girls took a nap in the van. We really were exhausted! 

Dinner was probably my favourite part of Santa Fe because we headed to this restaurant called the Cowgirl Hall of Fame where there was a couple of live performers along with lovely food and delicious margaritas. 

After my pig out at lunch, I decided to order something from the kid's menu. I was happy actually because the main menu was mostly full of burgers and ribs and hot dogs (most of which I'd eaten at least three times already each in the States by this point) whereas the kiddie menu had barbecued fish on it which I ended up choosing.

The waiter looked at me very oddly when I politely said, 'Can I please have a children's menu and a margarita cocktail?' He asked me for my ID and everything. Haha, weirdo.   

Here is my delicious barbecued fish with asparagus and mashed potato on the side. The fish was mildly spicy with tabasco sauce (which I LOVE) so I sprinkled a little more sauce over the top to add to the effect. It was so good! Also, I love how the American's make their mashed potato with garlic, onion AND the skin of the potato. Makes it so much yummier. I might try making my mash like this from now on... 

The best thing about Santa Fe was the slightly Latin America vibe which meant I spotted elements which reminded me of my mom's country all over the place. The best thing was seeing 'Dulce Tres Leches' on the dessert menu. This is one of my favourite types of cake... It is a sponge which is the soaked in evaporated milk, condensed milk and pouring cream. It is the fluffiest, moistest, sweetest cake ever. The Santa Fe version was not a patch on a genuine Dominican version. However, I thoroughly enjoyed it, as did the friends which I recommended it to. Nom gobble. This cake is definitely on my 'To Cook' list at the moment.

Santa Fe is a great city to grab some lunch in and stroll around for an hour or two. Everything is so calm and relaxed there as many American's retire to this city. It was refreshing in comparison to LA, Vegas and New York. That said, although I thought Santa Fe was a nice enough city, it definitely isn't one of my highlights. 

Have you ever been to Santa Fe? How would you imagine it being? Do you have any desserts which remind you of a certain place?

Love and kisses

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