Santa Fe Field Trip

I don't have a car, and Rick has the bigass truck all day, most days, for work, so I don't get out much. I do my own so-called work here at home, and I cook a lot, so I'm busy enough, all things considered. The trouble is, I'm always at home. This is not good for a gypsy's state of mind. I've begun to daydream about going to school... in New York, or Paris, or Milan. I imagine where I would go each morning, if I had a car... grocery shopping maybe... in Denver... or Mexico. I look at the bike that's a fairly permanent fixture in the studio, and imagine how far I could get if the blasted wind would ever stop blowing. I am a wanderer in chains, and I am not happy about it.

Recognizing the deranged look in my eyes, Rick took the day off yesterday, and we went on a little field trip to Santa Fe. We did some shopping, and had plans to have a nice lunch at the Tree House. We wanted a Food Adventure, in a restaurant we'd never been to. I had seen this place mentioned in VegNews magazine, and was really excited to give it a try. Even though it's not really a "vegan" restaurant, the menu looked much more veg-friendly than we're used to in these parts. Not only do we live in the Land of Enchantment, we live in the Land of Meat-Eaters, where plant based meals are rarely found outside of one's own kitchen.

So I grabbed the address from the Tree House website, and off we went. But... my enthusiasm got in the way of my reading skills, and I sort of overlooked the part where they mention being closed on Sundays and Mondays. I should have known. A lot of places are closed on Sundays in this part of the country. After pressing my nose against the window and making a little whimpering noise, we got back in the bigass truck and just sat there in the empty parking lot. We didn't want to go to any of our regular lunch spots, all of which have had really limited menus for us since our grand vegan return to New Mexico. Finally I suggested we go to Whole Foods and check out the cafe. I knew we wouldn't get margaritas there, but at least we'd have some good food choices. Dining in a grocery store isn't exactly my idea of a fun date with my sweetie, but we were hungry. And I have to admit, we had a really delicious meal.

After cruising the cold deli, hot bar, salad bar, and sandwich/pizza counter, we decided on some cold salads from the deli, which they happily put on plates so we could "dine in." I had quinoa salad and a beautiful green kale salad. Rick had the same, and added some coleslaw with black sesame seeds, and a little bit of broccoli salad. It seemed like all of them had more or less the same dressing, sort of a light vinaigrette, but because the other ingredients were all so different, it tasted different from dish to dish.

I don't have actual recipes for these, but I did poke around on my plate quite a bit, and made some notes. I think you can figure it out from here. The quinoa salad had: red quinoa, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, and parsley. The kale salad had: chopped kale, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, edamame, sunflower seeds, cashews, and... blueberries. Yes, blueberries. To be honest, I didn't think that part worked. There weren't a lot of them in there, but enough to know it wasn't a mistake. Still, every time I got a blueberry bite I just thought it was more weird than innovative. Not bad, but not worth doing, in my humble opinion.  Anyway, we really did enjoy our lunch. The food was great, the ambience was... casual... and the price made me feel like a real cheap date. In a good way.

After clearing our own table, we got in line once more for a couple of excellent rice milk lattes, which we sipped on our way back home. The Rio Grande was beautiful, lined with sprouting green things all the way up through the canyon. We stopped for a few minutes at our favorite spot along the river, stalling just a little bit longer before going home. I waded in with two little girls who were there with their parents, and who warned me not to get my flip flops wet. I ignored the warning, and admired their Sunday clothes and pretty hair styles. That's what gypsies do; break the rules and look for the beauty. Standing there in the cool water, knowing it was on its way to Mexico, even if I wasn't, I felt more like myself than I have in weeks. I'm still in here somewhere, and I know I won't be stuck forever.


  1. I am stuck in another way ...

    Would some cranberries have added a better zing than the blueberries?

  2. Hmmm. Maybe. I didn't think it needed anything sweet, but if I did, I might use some little bits of apple.

  3. It may be the sinister Spring Wanderlust bug. I've been reading David Lebovitz's blogs and I wanna go to Paris. Waaaaaaah. Norine

  4. I understand the chains. My chains have me 2000 miles away from the place where my soul want to reside and it seriously stifles any ability to be artist in any way. Poo. Apple sounds like a good addition.

  5. You would be a great Vegan food critic for a local paper or publication. With your restaurant experience and knowledge of the vegan world, I'll bet there are many in the area who would love your feedback. I'm not telling you that you "should" do this, just that you'd be good at it. :o) Monica Bouwens

  6. Thanks Monica. I'd love to do that... with a nice expense account too!... but I doubt there would be much interest in NM. I think I'd have to travel the world. Yeah, that's it!

  7. I've had that Quinoa salad from our Whole Foods here in Fort Collins, and I love it! I make my own now, but it's actually mint, not parsley, with lemon juice and a bit of rice vinegar. I eat mine with a side of cubed avocado. If you buy from the deli, the bottom of the container has the ingredients, so this helps put you in the right direction.

    Here's one of my favorite desserts made with quinoa...
    Vanilla Quinoa Pudding
    3 cups soy or nut milk (I use almond milk, my favorite!)
    1 vanilla bean (split, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
    1/4 C. maple syrup (the real stuff...not the fake syrup)
    pinch of salt
    1 C. quinoa
    Rinse the quinoa (I know you already know to do this). Mix milk, vanilla, maple syrup and salt in a saucepan, and set on simmer. Add quinoa and cook for 30 minutes, stirring frequently (but not constantly). Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool. Serve warm, or refrigerate. Top with berries, dried fruit, nutmeg, brown sugar, or anything else that suits your fancy!

  8. Oh YUM! I have to try that. Thanks!


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