Restaurants in Silver City

Like most small towns, Silver City has a pretty consistent restaurant scene where a few rock steady restaurants thrive and new places have a hard time getting a toe hold. This visit I was pleased to see a couple new places had moved onto Bullard Street and were also thriving.

Tre Rosat Cafe

Tre Rosat Cafe was once a tiny lunch space connected to Cienega Spa. They’ve now taken over their own space downtown and they offer lunch and dinner. Their food tastes super fresh with generous portions, I had the southwest cob salad above and ate it for two different meals. I especially liked the heirloom tomatoes in the cobb salad and their creamy potato salad with green onions, bacon and blue cheese was an incredible combination that I went home and duplicated.

I have trouble describing Tre Rosat’s food vision given the wide range of ethnic influences on a menu that includes a Korean bulgogi hoagie, shrimp po boy and tempura vegetables. However, I find this kind of range in most restaurants in Silver City. I suspect it’s easier for restaurants to offer a little bit of everything rather than narrow their focus to one type of cuisine. In any case, Tre Rosat offers well cooked tasty food so I think that no matter what you order, you’ll enjoy it.

Little Toad Creek

I last visited Little Toad Creek three years ago when they opened out in the Mimbres as an Inn and Tavern. This new iteration of Little Toad is a brewery and distillery on Bullard Street in the corner space formerly occupied by Isaac’s.

Little Toad’s creative pub food menu is a bit of a conundrum. A sampling of their menu includes potato chip nachos, roasted beet hummus and a southwest reuben – above – with green chilies, plus a Chinese chicken salad, chicken and waffles and smoked salmon with cream cheese and rye toast. Where is that all going? I don’t know. They also only offer beer brewed in New Mexico and liquor brewed by their distillery. That’s both a lot of choice and a distinct lack of choice, all in the same restaurant. Very curious.

Here’s the thing: I liked the sandwich. I thought the green chilies worked surprisingly well with the sauerkraut and pastrami. I also tried the stout, which I thought was ok, and their porter, which I really liked. And I love their corner restaurant space because it’s big and roomy and cozy and popular. There’s so much possibility here that I want Little Toad to stay open! However, I look at that menu and I don’t know what’s happening. Clearly I’m not a restaurateur but  I wish upon them a food editor to create a cohesive menu with some regular pub options – like chickpea hummus and nachos with corn chips – and perhaps some creative sandwiches and entrees? A theme, that’s all I’m asking, Little Toad. Let’s see what happens the next time I’m in town.

Curious Kumquat

On the complete other side of the spectrum, Curious Kumquat is an even better restaurant than the last time I was here. The Kumquat is where I met Virginia and I’ve eaten here several times but this last visit showed a cuisine leaps and bounds more interesting than my last visit.

I eat a lot of tasting menus and most of them blur into a happy haze of good food. I love the ones that stand out because of the ingredients or the cooking techniques. The Kumquat offers a unique tasting menu unlike anything else in the Southwest because Chef Rob forages in the hills and lakes around Silver City for edible nuts, seeds and wild plants. He designs his menu around the historic Apache diet using foraged food cooked in a modern fashion and I can tell you that it’s all fascinating and full of things I’ve never eaten. That alone is saying something since I live my life eating in restaurants.

My favorite dinner moments included the cattail salad – above – served with a crisp bitter vinaigrette and the acorn flour muffin bite, which was dense, nutty and sweet. I also had incredible tender rabbit entree, slow cooked until it fell off the bone and topped with a drizzle of tart prickly pear sauce. Kumquat’s tasting menus have surprisingly large entrees so you will not go away hungry. The only misstep for the entire dinner was the dessert, but that’s a common event in tasting menus. I rarely eat a tasting menu dessert that equals or even compliments the quality of the dinner courses.

I applaud Chef Rob for the foraged food direction he’s taking the Kumquat. There’s nothing quite like it anywhere. And that’s a good thing.

Silver City Yoga

Lotus Center

Silver City has a new yoga studio and it’s so pretty! This city deserves a quality yoga studio and I’m so pleased it’s finally happened.

Lotus Center

I took the Align and Refine Vinyasa class with Melissa and we worked through some complicated poses like Eagle and Upward Bow by starting with less complicated stuff and transitioning into the complications. This kind of work is incredibly helpful for me as a relatively unpracticed yoga practitioner because I rarely know what I’m doing. In any class. Ever. But Melissa broke down the complicated poses into components so we could work on our alignment in the simpler poses and when we transitioned into the full poses, they made so much more sense.

My yoga lesson of the day: How you get somewhere is as important as where you go.

Funny how all my recent yoga lessons are about slowing down and paying attention to the particulars, my intent, my breath, the method in which I do things… This particular lesson has a much wider application than just yoga. It’s like that saying “how you do anything is how you do everything.” The How matters. Deeply. Relationships, jobs, politics, yoga poses… they’re all built on small uncomplicated transitional choices and if the choices aren’t solid, the end result falls apart too.

Focus and going back to the basics, right? Good practices for yoga and for life.

If you’re in Silver City, visit the Lotus Center. The interior is a gorgeously appointed oasis of calm and beauty fully stocked with mats, blocks, straps, scented eye pillows and anything else students might want or need. There are no additional fees for equipment. It all comes with the cost of the class, which makes it so easy to stop in. There are yoga classes every day of the week as well as meditation, qigong, tai chi and even some Buddhism basics. Lots of options, lots of times and a beautiful space.

So go forth and do yoga. Namaste.

Spring in New Mexico

Silver City

Because I don’t live anywhere in particular, I adopt the places of people I love. Silver City is such a place, (see also Bellingham and Chicago). While I might be conflicted in my relationship with Arizona, I have few mixed feelings about New Mexico, especially in the spring.

Silver City

Hard to argue with a sky this big and blue, either real or painted.

Southwest Ouroboros

I particularly love the colorful way New Mexicans decorate to reflect the natural colors of their surroundings.

Blooming cactus

Yellow cactus fruit

Silver City doors

Brightly painted doors

Fruit tree

Blooming trees

Downtown Silver City

Painted buildings

Red flowers

Exclamation Points

Bushes and exclamation points. So much color! This is the perfect season to visit the Southwest.

Last time I was here at this exact same season and it snowed while we were waiting  for the birth of this little one

Kate Marie

She’s so big now! (and that’s glitter pencil on her face :)

3 years goes quick.

Goodbye and Hello

Goodbye to great breakfasts

Silver City

cute babies who endure mardi gras photo shoots

Kate Marie White

And their older sisters who enjoy it a little more

Silver City, NM

To domesticity

Silver City, NM

Silver City, NM

Silver City, NM

To Mad Hatter bridal showers

Silver City, NM

That migrate to the Buffalo Bar

Silver City, NM

Goodbye to all that and the lovely people of Silver City. It’s been an amazing month and I can’t wait to come back!

Until then,

Hello, Roatan.

Roatan, Honduras

It’s gonna be all diving and islands and adventure for the next 5 months. Stay tuned!

For the love of taco trucks

I didn’t have a real appreciation of taco trucks until I moved to Tucson. There I discovered that some of the best Mexican food in town was served in parking lots under makeshift umbrellas and out of dusty trailers that looked like they’d driven all the way from Argentina. Three words: Sonoran Hot Dog.

In New Mexico, it’s hard to find true Mexican food because New Mexican food is its own cuisine. Most Mexican restaurants in Silver City serve New Mexican dishes that all come with green chilies and lots of smothering sauces.

Except at the taco truck

Silver City, NM

Chip’s taco truck is an unassuming little trailer

 

Silver City, NM

set up in a former autobody shop with a shady overhang and little picnic tables for dining alfresco

Silver City, NM

Jen swears by the #1 combination with brisket and carne asada tacos but I’m partial to the #4 with queso quemado veggie tacos.

Silver City, NM

Queso quemado is cheese slapped on the grill until it’s browned and melting and then plunked on corn tortillas and topped with sauteed green peppers and onions.

And lots of salsa.

His salsa bar is outstanding

Silver City, NM

With pickled onions, fresh cabbage and salsas ranging from red and green “greasies” to mango salsa and spicy pico de gallo

Chip's Taco Truck, Silver City

There’s nothing glamorous about a taco truck, but sometimes really good food needs to be eaten with your fingers outside while the sun beats off the blacktop and grease drips down your hand.

When that’s the case, go visit Chip.

Silver City, NM

Please Welcome, Kate Marie White

Dear Kate Marie,

We’ve been waiting for you all week. Your Gigi and Papaw came all the way from Nashville to be here for your birth and I came from Tucson.

It snowed on Sunday and I was sure you were going to be born. But you weren’t ready.

April 2012

Your mom was very tired of being pregnant by this point. For the past week, I’ve told her good night every night by pressing on her belly and saying “Baby, come out!”

Your mom had contractions on and off for several days but you weren’t ready to be born. This made her cranky. She made muffins on Sunday and then she threw them when they burned.

In other news, your older sister Ruby also throws things when she’s angry. We don’t know where she gets it.

Easter 2012

Today, I was writing about Michelle Shocked when I got a call from your Gigi saying “You better come.” So I did.

Your dad came home and your mom was in labor.

April 2012

Everything got really intense around 11am and your mom said “I can’t do this!” a lot but we all knew she could.

At 12:30 your Gigi sent your Papaw out for tacos because everyone was hungry. I didn’t go because I didn’t want to miss anything. Your Papaw walked in the door at 1:10 with 4 boxes of tacos and we said “Hurry!” He got there just in time to watch you come out.

Your shoulders got a little stuck but your midwife, Shauna, reached in and pulled you out. Your Gigi nearly fainted.

At 1:11 on April 16, 2012, you were born.

April 16. 2012

You were very purple and we were all a little scared but Shauna breathed into your lungs so you could breathe and you started crying and we knew you’d be ok.

We talked about you all day. Then your sister, Ruby, came home to meet you and tried to feed you a carrot. She thinks you’re pretty great until you cry.

April 2012

We’re all so happy you’re finally here.

April 2012

April 2012

Welcome to the world, little girl.

April 2012

It’s a pretty crazy place but I think you’ll like it here.

Love,
Auntie Kaitlyn

April 2012

Meet Virginia

I met Virginia last summer in Silver City, New Mexico.

I had gone to The Curious Kumquat for dinner by myself, intending to write about it and sell the article to the New Mexico Magazine.  So, I sat alone and ordered the chef’s tasting menu.

The first course came out; the waitress described it to me and left. 10 seconds later I saw her bring that same course to someone whose table was in the next room and describe it to them.

The waitress delivered the second course to me and I had a few questions that she didn’t know how to answer. She delivered the second course to the other person and then came back to me and asked if I could do a better job describing it than she did. So I poked my head around the partition and described the course to lovely Virginia sitting by herself at a table in the next room. When the third course arrived, Virginia and I were trying to compare notes about the food while sitting at two different tables in two different rooms so I asked if she wanted to have dinner with me and she said yes.

We finally left 4 hours later after a long conversation covering every topic imaginable. Both of us are writers, both of us are working on our first books, neither of us live in Silver City and we both love food. With those topics alone, we could have talked for 4 weeks but we didn’t have that much time. As it was, we stayed for so long that we left a big tip and felt that even that wasn’t enough. So Virginia drew a picture of me:

And I wrote a thank you extravaganza about her and we left them for the chefs of the Curious Kumquat who subsequently posted them on their blog.

In the year since then, Virginia and I have kept in touch and shared our writing back and forth. This summer, almost exactly a year from when we first met, we’re both unexpectedly back in the Southwest for the month of July to focus on our writing. Virginia drove through Tucson on her way to Silver City and we had dinner tonight. It was such fun to have dinner  and know that we’ll be geographically close for the next month and be able to follow each other’s writing path.

Sometimes fate throws people into my life. Virginia is one such person for me. Greta is another. I love meeting people by accident. I love even more when those people are doing interesting things. It’s so fun to watch the evolution of creative projects and creative careers. It inspires me in my own projects and makes me feel very fortunate.

As I said before, keep an eye on Virginia and remember her name. You’ll see it in print soon enough.