Friday, November 28, 2008

La Choza

After an exhilarating afternoon of hiking in Frijoles Canyon, we returned to our little casita in Santa Fe and enjoyed a twilight by the outdoor fireplace accompanied by a bottle of Gruet Chardonnay (the chardonnay, we decided, was pleasant but not as good as the sparkling wine. It did go down very easily, though). By 7 our appetites had caught up with us and since this was our "casual" evening in Santa Fe, we decided to head for some authentic and low-key New Mexican fare at La Choza.

It was a short drive and parking was easy. There were quite a few other patrons waiting so we put our names in and I headed over to the bar to pick up a couple of pints of Santa Fe Pale Ale (quite tasty). We sat for about 15 minutes in the unadorned waiting area before our name was called and we were shown to a modest table in this bustling barn of a restaurant.

Michael ordered a cup of green chile stew to see if it was an improvement over the one at Tesuque Village Market. Answer: yes, although there was certainly nothing wrong with either one. I made do with chips and some delicious salsa, dark red and complex-tasting with all of the goodness of real New Mexican chiles. We both commented that it would be impossible to go back to generic, overly sweet salsa out of the bottle after having the real thing in Santa Fe.

For our main courses, Michael had the chiles rellenos about which he is still raving two weeks later. Meanwhile I opted for the carne adovado burrito which is reported to be a specialty of the house, topped with red chile sauce. It built on the theme of the salsa and added a meaty filling to the complex, spicy, and rich flavors. Just delicious.

Service was a little confused, but the prices were extremely reasonable -- under $10 for most entrees. The kind of meal you remember weeks later with your mouth watering and the kind of place you head back for time and again when opportunity presents itself.

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