2012 USA Roadtrip: Our Long Term Accommodations in Santa Fe

We found our long term accommodation in Santa Fe on our first day of looking. Dimitri had done Internet searches for 2 bedroom, 2 bath accommodations and we had three different areas to look at on our search day. We started at Pueblo Encantado and were under-whelmed. While the homes themselves were fine, the amenities of the area were almost non-existent. There were dirt (unpaved) roads and one small pool in a small walled-in area. Yuck!

The second area we looked at was Quail Run (www.quailrunsantafe.com) and we had the choice of three different condos (the third area we looked at really isn't worth mentioning--Ft. Marcy Hotel). It was hard to decide between the different condos at Quail Run--they were all good and had their unique advantages. The amenities of Quail Run are many. It is a locked, gated, guarded community on a 9-hole golf course. There is a real estate/rental agency on the premises (Suzanne Blas, Qualifying Broker, Quail Run Realty Co., LLC, Direct: 505-795-7210, Office: 505-795-7211,Fax: 505-986-2291, e-mail: sblas@qrsf.com). It is staffed with lovely people (Suzanne, Martin and Rodney) who are quite helpful. There is a grill room where we had a very good soup and 1/2 Croque-Monsieu sandwich lunch at an affordable price on the day we were looking at units. There is a large lap pool (65'), 2 Jacuzzis and a hydrotherapy pool. There is a gym with step, threadmills and bikes. There is a separate weight room and another room with Cybex machines.  And more. 

We chose the condo, #106, on the first floor that had a patio because the owner, Gerry Strong, made us a very good deal (approximately $123 per day) and we liked the décor. Click here to see her VRBO listing. Our condo was air conditioned and it has 2 very separate bedrooms--they are on each end of the unit--each with its own bathroom. The kitchen was large and well equipped. We liked the dining room table and living room furniture in Gerry's unit too. On the walls is art that is signed by Gerry Strong we liked it very much! The décor was generally southwestern, with the iconic vigas in the ceilings. The only thing it was missing was a desk (or actually two desks because we travel with 2 laptops). Dimitri bought a wobbly table at Goodwill for $5. We decided to use the large patio table for one of computers (we brought it into the bedroom) and portable printer because it was sturdy. There was plenty of room for everything and us too (the storage was superb).

After we moved into Quail Run we had a wonderful Vietnamese lunch at Lan's Vietnamese Cuisine (2430 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-986-1636). It is on Cerrillos at Lujan (near Camino Carlos Rey) in a strip mall with a Smiths, in the back near Curves and very hard to find. 
We went because of a good review on Yelp and we wanted to have Vietnamese. It is a pleasant space and the walls are filled with large, artistic photographs of Vietnamese women cooking street food. The menu is truly interesting. We decided to share one Vegetarian entrée. It was #19 served, at room temperature. It was “Bun Chay ”BBQ marinated organic tofu, soy protein with lemongrass, limeleaf, shallots, cucumbers, green papaya, organic carrots, cilantro, garlic, green onion, peanuts, lettuce + mint on vermicelli rice noodles or jasmine rice” ($10). It was tasty and delicious and only just enough for the two of us. The owner’s husband came to talk to us and to tell us that the photographs were ones he took. It was a delightful find, reasonably priced and we’ll return. (The menu is reproduced on urban spoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/cities/279-santa-fe/restaurants/1226297-lan-s-vietnamese-cuisine/menu)

After lunch, Audre and Dimitri went to Haircuts and More because we were in desperate need of having our locks shorn. It was convenient (across the street from Lan's where we ate) and cheap (each haircut was $9.75 including tax). Dimitri got a good haircut. Audre encountered the Butcher of Santa Fe who must of taken an instant hate to her. The front was pretty bad but the back was a disaster. The back of Audre's neck was shaved up to her ears and it looked weird--all that white, never been tanned, skin showing.

After breakfast, on our first full day living at Quail Run we took our bikes out for our introductory Santa Fe City Ride.
In our usual way, we checked out 3 possible locations for our longer term stay. We found a lovely 2-bedroom apartment at Quail Run Do you see that we are playing our own music from our laptop on the TV?
 It was the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and we decided it would be quiet enough to ride into the center of Santa Fe and explore Santa Fe Plaza and the surroundings. We had a wonderful 10-mile round trip ride. It was a gorgeous day and the traffic was indeed light.

We went Santacafé (231 Washington Ave., Santa Fe, NM 87501, tel. 505-984-1788, web: www.santacafe.com) because we wanted to have lunch near the center during our 10 mile bike ride. It is an important Santa Fe restaurant and we wanted to try it.There is a lovely courtyard and an historic house with many small rooms that have been made into dining rooms. We decided to sit inside because it was windy and cool out. Our server was Henry and he was pompous and not terribly well informed about the food preparation. We were brought bread (a regular bread, a dry-ish brioche with chilies in it as well as a lavache kind of cracker that was also dry). From the Sunday Brunch menu we started with “Shitake Mushroom and Cactus Spring Roll, with Southwestern Ponzu” ($11). It was a big order and the spring rolls were crispy and filled with tasty morsels. Audre wanted to have a sandwich and Dimitri wanted to have the baby arugula salad. Since we share everything, Dimitri agreed to share the “Grilled Chicken Tenders Sandwich on Housemade Ciabatta with Roasted Bell Peppers, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Asadero Cheese, Chipolte Aïole and Parsley Fries” ($12) We thought the thin, crisp fries were outstanding. The sandwich ingredients got lost in the bread (which we didn’t like—too dry and too thick for the sandwich). We didn’t have anything to drink (we were biking) and there wasn’t a dessert we wanted. The total was $24.90 plus tip.

On our second day at Quail Run drove to the area near St. John's College to park and do the famous hike on the AtalayaTrail. It was wonderful (but crowded on Memorial Day), with fantastic views of Santa Fe. It was a 4 hour hike, approximately 7 miles, and had an 1800' elevation gain. We saw wildflowers that were familiar from our Colorado hikes, like Indian paintbrush, and cactus-y ones that were new, like yucca. We brought our lunch and made a day of it. After both excursions we used the Jacuzzi at Quail Run and liked it (at 103 degrees F) even though it's indoors.

That night we had a lovely dinner at Mu Du Noodles (Mu Du Noodles, 1494 Cerrillos Rd., Santa Fe, NM 87505, tel. 505-983-1411, web: http://www.mudunoodles.com/). There was a lot of good chatter about this restaurant on the Internet. We were delighted with our dinner (it’s not open for lunch). We didn’t make a reservation and had to wait a few minutes (although we could have eaten outside in the back garden but the chairs were uncomfortable and it was windy). Our server was good and the owner (who said she was from Canton) was delightfully charming. We shared everything, as usual, but didn’t have the kitchen spit anything (because there is an extra $4 charge and Audre can’t eat half). We had a pot of green tea with rice ($4) and it was good. We started with "ORGANIC LAMB MARTABAK, Indonesian crispy dumplings filled with minced organic lamb, scallions, garlic and Middles Eastern spices , served with a mint-cilantro dipping sauce" ($10, I  think). There were 5 and they were crispy and tasty, as was the sauce. For our main we had the “Hanoi fish on rice,” accompanied by a sweet chili sauce and peanuts ($22, I think). It was delicious. Dimitri heard a soft shell crab appetizer special being described by the owner and decided to have that next ($8?). There was one deep-fried, crisp soft shell crab sitting on top of a tasty salad. A very nice dish.

Even though the restaurant was very busy, the owner had time to stop to chat. We remembered how to say that the food was good in Cantonese (something like “ho ho sec”) and she responded happily. All of a sudden we were brought a lemony, delicious, creamy pot of dessert. We had been wondering about a table of 4 in our eyesight. There were two women in our age range with two young men. We thought at first that they were couples but no, that didn't look right. Then we speculated that they were relatives. That didn't look right either. As we were leaving we asked the owner if she knew their relationship. "Yes, she said. "The women are a couple and the men are a couple." Boy did we feel old, out of date, and prosaic. We had a very nice meal at MuDu Noodles and learned a thing or two. We spent $44.36 plus tip.

On our third day we had scheduled a car service for our Subaru so it was a day of chores. Audre got to do a jog around Quail Run and use the lap pool. Nice.

We are eating well in Santa Fe and we'll do a separate post of our restaurant reviews as usual.

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