Illuminating flavor at the Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
By Hope S. Philbrick
Dinner was at 5:30 p.m. on the evening of our visit, when my husband’s and my itinerary included a sunset spa appointment at 7 p.m. The timing worked and it was a lovely evening, but I’ll forever regret the need to rush through dinner at Luminaria Restaurant & Patio at the Inn and Spa at Loretto in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The meal warranted lingering over.
The food was that good and the chef, who hurried out to greet us and promised to keep us on schedule, was that nice.
Guess I need to return!
Contemporary New Mexican fare is flavorful, delicious, inspired and (fair warning) addictive. Here it hits all those notes while elevating the cuisine to an art form that stimulates the senses with its intoxicating presentations, aromas, textures and flavors.
Dig into the menu and try anything, because it’s not like you can go wrong here.
Chef Marc Quiñones, who’s been at the helm in the kitchen for just over a year now, features fresh ingredients. With a focus on local and organic, his fruits, vegetables and spices are purchased from local farmers and prime grades of meat from regional ranchers. His goal is sustainability.
Quiñones was born and raised in New York’s South Bronx. After working in several Manhattan kitchens, he made his way to Scottsdale, Ariz., to attend Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts then honed his skills in Hawaii, Arizona and California before moving to New Mexico.
You’d never guess he’s not a native: His approach to New Mexican ingredients and dishes illuminates their quality and realizes their potential.
Don’t pass up the bread basket. A word to the wise: grab those pumpkin-spice-flavored biscotti-textured crackers before your dining companions catch on.
Start with the pineapple gazpacho ($11), garnished with avocado and local sprouts. The sum is greater than the whole of its parts. Plain pineapple will seem very plain indeed after a spoonful of this heavenly concoction.
Berkshire pork belly ($13) with Anasazi bean ragout, yellow corn, harissa and sherry is a showy hint at what’s to come.
If there’s anything better to put into your mouth than the 36-hour sous vide buffalo short ribs ($39) served with Anson Mills grits, Santa Fe Farmers Market vegetables and a buffalo glace de viande, I don’t know what it is.
…Except maybe the foraged mushroom papperdelle ($28) with organic spinach, black balsamic, heriloom tomato and gruyere. If they serve pasta in heaven I sure hope it’s this.
Finish with a tequila lime tart or chambord crème brulee with raspberry couilis and biscochito—the official state cookie—by Pastry Chef Mirna Rodriguez.
Next time I visit Santa Fe, Luminaria is on my To-Do Again list. And, knowing that dinner will be the highlight of my evening if not the trip, I plan to stay for hours.
At the age of three I had a palate that craved things such as Hungarian Goulash so it’s no surprise to my family that I left the Bronx to pursue a culinary education and career.
—Executive Chef Marc Quiñones
Luminaria Restaurant & Patio
Inn and Spa at Loretto
211 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
– Photo Credits: Chef Marc Quiñones courtesy Inn and Spa at Loretto; remainder © HSP Media LLC
Featured products, services and/or travel arrangements may have been complimentary in part or in full; this affords the research opportunity but does not sway opinion.