Thursday, March 19, 2009

Afternoon Tasting at Los Mayas, Santa Fe

The turquoise entry door at Los Mayas Restaurante greeted us warmly. So did the staff, particularly current executive chef and owner, Fernando Trillo, who clearly relishes his role as host. Natural light and bright colors continued throughout the old adobe restaurant and onto each plate.

Our tasting menu included nopales - pads from the prickly pear cactus - topped with Ranchera sauce, a tortilla-wrapped plantain smothered in a sweet mole sauce, and the first agave wine I had ever tasted. This rare wine is the 'mother' of tequila and the only variety served with lime.

Fernando's mother started Los Mayas, and recipes from the family's home Mexican state of Puebla are something of a rarity in Santa Fe. The restaurant also offers northern New Mexican dishes such as tri-color enchiladas and enchilada chicken mole and tamale pork red chile.

But the most exquisite part of our visit came when Fernando sat near the head of the table as he played his guitar and sang for us. By the time he ushered us out with kisses and hugs, we felt as if we had dined in a private home.

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