A culinary pilgrimage in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
In the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains north of Santa Fe, the village of Chimayó has become famous for its adobe church, "El Santuario," whose side chapel's dirt floor is reputed to have healing powers. Every Good Friday, tens of thousands of pilgrims make their way to this "Lourdes of the Southwest."
Others descend upon this valley for more temporal reasons. Just down the road from the Santuario is the century-old adobe home that houses the "Rancho de Chimayó," a New Mexico institution. Owned by the Jaramillo family, this restaurant is known for its carne adovada--pork that has been stewed to tenderness in red chile. You may or may not believe in the power of the dirt in the Santuario's floor, but the taste of this valley's chile will have you convinced that the terroir--the taste of place--deserves its venerable reputation. Get the "combinación picante" so that you can sample a tamal, rolled cheese enchilada, beans and posole along with the carne adovada. And don't use all of your sopaipilla (the steaming square of puffy frybread) to soak up the chile; save a corner so you can douse it with local honey as a dessert...
Chimayó is an easy forty-minute-drive from Santa Fe, on "the high road to Taos." Across the road from the restaurant is a B&B, run by the same family as well.
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New Mexican cuisine on the High Road to Taos
A pleasant, friendly place to stop en route to Taos. Located in a converted century-old adobe, the charming Rancho de Chimayó (from the Tewá Indian language meaning superior red flaking stone) is family owned and operated by the Jaramillos family.
Don't miss the well-priced sumptuous chiles rellenos, carne adovada or the stuffed sopapilla smothered in the famous Chimayo red chile sauce and sip (slowly) one of the potent margaritas, sangria or prickly pear lemonade. Pick up a cookbook on the way out and try your hand at making chile.