I just returned from a few days in New Mexico and have the following suggestions!
Santa Fe: Mariscos La Playa, with two locations--537 Cordova Road and 2875 Cerrillos Road. I have no idea which one I ate at; I was with a friend who lives in Santa Fe and this was his pick on where to take me. It's a small place filled with what appeared to be locals. I had the fish tacos, which were wonderful. They were served with french fries, which was a bit odd, but the fries were good anyway! My friend at the seafood ceviche, of which I had a taste. I had lunch envy! It was delicious and loaded with all sorts of stuff--shrimp, scallops, oysters, calamari and heavy with fragrant lime. His wife had shrimp sauteed with garlic, which smelled wonderful. A nice little lunch!
I didn't get to eat in Albuquerque, unfortunately, as I needed to make my way down to Silver City to meet another friend. One night, we ate at El Paisano, a local family Mexican restaurant. So local, in fact, we had to stop at the Taco Bell to ask for directions! HA. The kid at the drive thru window asked, "You must want authenticated mexican food!" Anyway, the stuffed sopapillas were great and we both agreed that the stuffed chiles rellenos were fabulous. We got one of each--stuffed with chicken and beef--and agreed that the chicken won out. We also ordered some tamales, which were good and finished up with sopapillas with honey (which we were too full to eat, so had for breakfast the next morning). With each of us having a margarita, the bill came to about $20!
The next night, we made reservations at the Buckhorn Saloon in Pinos Altos. It's on Route 15 on the way to the amazing and not to be missed Gila Cliff Dwellings. The saloon part of the restaurant is straight out of the old west, complete with a stuffed drunken indian at the end of the bar. Unfortunately, I didn't bring my camera to any of our meals, so I have no photos of our food. But, I did snap a shot of the exterior:
I had surf and turf--petite filet and shrimp scampi, with a baked potato. Very good. My friend had the house speciality which is a NY strip steak covered in green chile and cheese sauce, which was yummy.
After dinner, we caught the "melodrama" theatre at the Opera House next door:
Well worth it! Cheesy and fun. It's the old, "I can't pay the rent." "You must pay the rent." "I can't pay the rent." "You must pay the rent." "I'll pay the rent." "My hero!" kind of show where you are handed a bucket of popcorn with your ticket. The popcorn isn't to eat, but rather to throw at the villian during the show! A hoot and a half!
Oh, and on the way to Silver City, we pulled off the highway in Truth or Consequences ("T or C" to the locals!) and had a surprisingly good meal at La Cocina Restaurant:
The green chile sauce there was quite tasty and the red chile sauce had a bit of a smokey flavor to it. We liked 'em both!
In downtown Silver City, we also had lunch at a little cafe called Vicki's. We ate out on a very cozy patio and we both had the Mediterranean salad plates, which were filled with fresh greens, feta cheese, olives, artichokes, marinated mushrooms and rice-stuffed dolmas. It came with some homemade hummus on the side and fresh pitas. A perfect lunch after our art gallery hopping in Silver City!
So, there you have it. There are so many other places I wanted to visit and I never got the chicken fried steak I was craving, but all the more reason to go back!