Even though we saw a comment online trashing us for our non-exhaustive list of Santa Fe Happy Hours from last week—which was funny because we were pretty clear that it was abridged—we dusted ourself off, picked up our shit and are getting back into the swing of things with a helpful little missive for folks driving through Trinidad, Colorado.
“But, The Fork,” you’re likely screaming through your gaping maw, “I don’t live there, I’m not gonna go there, why do we need this information?”
Well, dear reader, for a couple reasons. First off, for those who don’t know, if you’re heading to Denver from Santa Fe (or, like, Pueblo or Springs or even Monument, being the creepiest town into which we’ve ever set foot), you’re likely gonna pass through Trinidad. It’s right on the other side of the NM/Colorado border, and in the old days, before weed was legal here in Nuevo Mexico, that’s where folks went. It was also the home of Dr. Stanley Biber, a man who made life so much easier for trans people through his tireless work performing transitional surgeries at a time when things were even worse than they are now (and they’re pretty bad now). He died in 2006, but the former coal mining town of Trinidad still exists, and that is where we found ourself last weekend following a harrowing journey to Colorado for top secret business.
Starved and scared and kind of creeped out by the Stephen King-ness of it all, your old pal Le Fork and our driver/friend/business associate wandered the streets in search of a meal, but we were striking out due to the holiday weekend. Just when all hope seemed lost, we stumbled upon Sita’s Kitchen, a vegan joint with definite hippie leanings and a wide array of happy plants in the window.
“We’re not gonna do better,” our bud said.
“Make it so,” we replied.
Setting aside the tedium that comes from basically all vegan restaurants oozing with hippie culture, the stop was well worth it thanks to what was literally and unequivocally the best falafel sandwich we’ve eaten in our lives. The falafel itself was crisp and flavorful, and the included vegan pesto and cashew-based sour “cream” added textures and flavors that only enhanced that satisfying little crunch nugget. (Side note: Feel free to call your partner or lover a “satisfying little crunch nugget.” You’re welcome.) Even better, Sita’s somehow made one of the finest cups of coffee we’ve ever quaffed, and the house-made nut milk we used in place of 1/3 and 1/3 and 1/3 (a proprietary blend of things we use in our coffee at home) only upped its deliciousness. Never in our lives has coffee made a sandwich taste better, yet here we were, living it—laughing and high-fiving and shrieking with joy.
The very nice man running the joint told us they make everything there—the falafel, the pesto, the sour “cream.” He explained plant-based intestine concerns to us, which we didn’t really ask for but didn’t mind because the sandwich was so good. We left sated and pleased with a plan to start eating at Santa Fe’s Cleopatra more often. We love that place. We love falafel.
So if you’re ever in Trinidad, pop by Sita’s Kitchen. Tell ‘em The Fork sent you. They won’t know what the hell you’re talking about, but we just think people should know we exist.
Honestly, have you ever read a food newsletter that brings you more awesome jamz?
-Not explicitly food related, but the Santa Fe Farmers Market will host a blood drive this Saturday, Sept. 10 due to the critical need for blood out there in hospitals and stuff. Seems like supporting farmers and giving blood means you wouldn’t have to do anything nice for anyone for the entire following week! The whole thing goes down through nonprofit blood nerds Vitalant, and you can sign up to donate riiiiiiiight here.
-Speaking of that dang Famers Market, we hear you’ll find chile roasting there from all kindsa different vendors. We know you’ve all been looking for chile roasters, so there’s a bunch of them.
-A reader named Patrick M. reached out about the Happy Hour at Tesuque Casino. A cursory bit of research shows us that the casino dubbed it “Social Hour,” which is cool. If’n you’re looking for such a thing, it goes down 4-6 pm every ding-dong day and has all kinds of specials and half-off drinks and such.
-Ohhhhhhhhhh, daaaaaaaang, the New Mexico State Fair opens today at Albuquerque’s Expo New Mexico, and for people who want huge turkey legs or limeaids or deep fried fucking everything, your ship has come in. One time a friend of ours had deep fried Oreos there. And funnel cake. He’s dead now. To us, we mean. He’s alive, we just couldn’t go on with the friendship. Anyway, you’ll find tons of New Mexico-focused food and drinks and if you take photos, send us some, huh? The Fair runs Sept. 8-18.
-Speaking of fests and gatherings, here’s another reminder that the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta kicks off Sept. 21. We’re just trying to help you remember stuff. What do they do at the fest? Wine and chile. They do wine and chile. Do you like wine? Chile? You’ll like this.
-Also, if you like wine, chances are you’ll be glad to know about the Vineyard Restoration Fund, a bit of dosh thrown together by the state Legislature to help out New Mexico wineries affected by COVID-19. The fund will provide $950,000 to wineries and vineyards for specific things, such as rootstock vines, lost vines and future plantings. If you’d like to know more, follow this link.
-Over at celebrated salad spot Vinaigrette, things are changing once again. You might recall that the restaurant ditched tips for servers during the pandemic as a way to try and ensure their workers could pay rent and stuff (at least that was the official party line). Now, though, things are changing to a hybrid wages+tips model, according to the restaurant. “We’ve adjusted menu prices and created a model of server compensation…that we feel is best for everyone.” We’ve seen people not down with that online, but we think that if you want good quality food brought to you by other humans, you suck it up and pay the money.
-Lastly in local food news this week, the city has opened up the application process for Plaza pushcart vendors, and there are only six available! We’re hopeful for something really unexpected this year, and we hope people with a cool pushcart food idea get on it. To learn more and/or apply, read the FAQs here and download the application here. Interested parties have until Sept. 30 at 4 pm to apply.
The way they rhyme “red, red wine,” with “feel so fine,” and “all of the time” is truly wild.
-Now that cannabis is becoming legal in more places, including New Mexico, folks might wanna learn how to better cook and create with the miracle plant. Monica Lo’s The Weed Gummies Cookbook is a good place to start. Legend has it that Lo, facing consistent pain, learned to wield the power of pot to not only craft delicious edible items, but to feel and sleep and live and laugh and love better. You can thank Ulysses Press for putting the book out and you can learn a little more right here.
-Dunkin’ (being the business formerly known as Prince—er, Dunkin’ Donuts, we mean) has joined forces with a brewery called Harpoon for a new line of Dunkin’ beers made with the donut chain’s Coffee Rolls donut. Honestly, worst things have happened in the world.
-A slightly older bit of news is that those free school lunches that popped up during you-know-what have come to an end, and that we live in a country wherein kids don’t just get fed is appalling. Parents are scared and rightly so. Learn more about that here.
-The fine folks at Eater-dot-com have broken down their favorite cookbooks of 2022 so far, and some of them look pretty great. There are options for Persian food and Puerto Rican food and soul food and so much more, and given that there are still a few months in the year, who even knows what’ll pop up next? Catch up here, people who cook at home.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork’s Correspondence
No specific food coverage this week, but did you catch the glorious cover image for the story about the comedy festival? Faaaaaaaantastic.
Number of Letters Received
*Some of you are the type of people to whom we could give a gold bar only to find you complaining it was too heavy.
Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“Whoever thought you were cool is wrong. I do read every week, though.”
Actually Helpful Tip(s)
“Our favorite Happy Hour is right here resting our fat asses on the back porch with a couple hand-mixed cocktails.”
*Fork regular Albo F. reminding us that it’s the little things.
Greetings from Trinidad in the past,