Ringing in the Holidays with Festive Fare

Lynn Cline - December 13, 2017

Many Santa Fe restaurants serve dinner on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Ready or not, the holidays are here and it's time to ring them in with good cheer. The first night of Hanukkah was observed at sundown yesterday (Tuesday, Dec. 12) with the lighting of the first of eight candles. The Jewish celebration, also known as the Festival of Lights, ends Wednesday, Dec. 20. The very next day, the Winter Solstice ushers in the first day of winter and the longest night of the year, making it the perfect time to light candles against the dark. Then, it's the weekend before Christmas, the biggest holiday of the year for many of us who gather with family and friends to share presents and dine on delicious fare.

Which brings us to the perennial question: What's for dinner? Especially now, when there's too much to do and we don't have time for cooking. The answer is simple: make reservations. Many Santa Fe restaurants serve dinner on Christmas Eve and even on Christmas Day. Don't take too long to book your table, though, as places tend to fill up fast.

Below, you'll find a few suggestions for holiday fare and you can view more in the SantaFe.com Dining section. Wherever you choose to celebrate, may your feast be merry and bright.

At Bouche Bistro on Christmas Eve, you can savor a Festive French Menu offering three or five courses. Starters include Oysters and Pearls and a warm goat cheese salad with beets, palm fritters and 12-year balsamic. Entrees include grilled lobster tail with celery root, black truffle and brown butter spinach and duck breast à l'orange with glazed turnips, wild rice and a scallion pancake. Don't miss the classic French dessert, La Bûche de Noël, made by Clafoutis. But you also will enjoy The Grand Dessert, a medley of Bouche's signature chocolate profiterole in a mini size, along with a pecan tartlet and mango sorbet.

Amaya at Hotel Santa Fe also offers a Christmas Eve dinner with a contemporary menu from Chef Walter Dominguez reflecting the longtime culinary traditions of local pueblos and northern New Mexico. The prix fixe options include winter beet salad with blood oranges, avocado, candied hazelnut and sherry vinaigrette as an appetizer and a grilled cowboy steak with creamy mashed potato, grilled asparagus, roasted tomato and black veal reduction. The delectable dessert brings together black cherries and cranberries in a polenta crisp.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas night, the Coyote Cafe serves an elegant three-course prix fixe dinner. For starters, the Christmas Salad is a must-try, a visual feast of spinach, red endive, goat cheese, toasted almonds and red beet dressing. Other app options include lobster pot pie, a rich combo house-made pastry wrapped over lobster meat, local vegetables and Pernod cream. The array of main dish offerings includes the famous Telicherry Elk Tenderloin with its acclaimed fixings—,potato nest, garlic mashed, smoked bacon, morel mushrooms, snap peas and white truffle demi glaze. Not to be outdone, the Kyzer Tomahawk Pork Chop comes with green chile mashed potatoes, a yucca fritter, apple salad and black pepper hollandaise. Seafood lovers can order Patagonian sea bass with spinach ravioli, roasted vegetables and ruby grapefruit butter. What better way to end this holiday feast than with red velvet cake, creamy caramel mousse, Burgundy-poached pear and eggnog ice cream?

The Detour Kitchen may be off the beaten path, but it's a detour that's worth seeking out. On Christmas Day, this relatively new restaurant offers a festive multi-course meal from 11 am to 8 pm, so you can stop by whenever hunger strikes. The holiday menu includes a choice of butternut squash soup and a salad of mixed greens with balsamic vinaigrette as appetizers, followed by a main course selection of turkey, prime rib, salmon, ham and vegetarian lasagna. You can pair those options with such sides as cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans and garlic mashed potatoes. Finish your feast with a slice of traditional holiday pies—pumpkin or pecan.

When you need a time out from all the holiday foods, head over to Sweetwater Harvest Kitchen for an array of delicious fare. Highlights from the menu include yucca root flatbread pizza, kimchi fried rice, Indonesian chicken curry, East Indian Daal and other international delights. You'll also find a tempting offering of sweet treats, from carrot cake and chai spice flan to banana cream pie and raspberry linzer bars.