Splendor in the Grass
How to Picnic in Santa Fe
Picnic season is upon us and there's no better place than Santa Fe for enjoying a meal in the great outdoors You can hike to a mountaintop with panoramic views or bike to a city garden, abloom in a riot of color. Bring a picnic lunch to the Plaza for a Santa Fe Bandstand concert or the Shidoni sculpture garden in Tesuque, Explore mountains and mesas on horseback, taking a break in the high country for plein air dining. Considering the wide array of options, the sky's the limit for inspiring picnic locales in Santa Fe.
And what better way to assemble a picnic basket of goodies than to have a pro do it for you? You could visit one of the places included below on my Memorable Meals for Picnicking list and get all of your food in one location. Or, you could go from place to place, choosing different dishes that appeal to your tastebuds and creating a custom-tailored meal for you and your dining partner(s). Whatever foods you choose and places you visit, be sure to pack up any leftovers and leave no traces of waste behind so the next visitors can enjoy the place as much as you did.
Vinaigrette is known for its scrumptious salads, and you can order any of them to go. My favorite for summer picnics include the Cherry Tart, brimming with dried cherries, feta, Swiss chard, baby arugula and toasted pecans, all tossed in champagne vinaigrette; The Asian Chopped Salad is a refreshing meal, made with Napa cabbage, rice noodles, red bell peppers, scallions, shredded carrots, cilantro, peanuts, miso ginger vinaigrette and crispy noodles. Or try the hearty Cuban Torta sandwich, piled high with mustard-roasted pork shoulder and green chile ham, red onions and Swiss cheese, served with avocado, mayo chipotle and sweet relish.
BBQ is easy to take on a picnic when you order it to go from The Ranch House, a favorite Santa Fe BBQ joint. Try the Red Chile Honey Glazed Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Half Chicken or Green Chile Brisket—no matter what you order here, everything is finger-licking delicious.. Each dish comes with some of the best sides this side of the Mississippi—from green chile cornbread, and Ranch House beans to green chile slaw, mac'n'cheese and more.
Savor a sandwich in its namesake location by ordering the Cathedral Club—turkey, ham, bacon, tomatoes and Swiss— at the brand new Bobbitos, then walk across the Plaza for a picnic in shady Cathedral Park. How often does that happen? Add in the Reuben Deluxe or the Philly Cheesesteak with a green chile kick. If you're seeking spice, the Santa Fe Turkey with caramelized onions and ghost peppers will do the trick.
For a moveable feast, try the paninis from The Teahouse. They're easy to eat and available in tempting offerings—bacon, roasted pear and brie; mushroom and fontina; brie, apple and roasted ham and more. The Cauliflower Caesar Wrap features kale, mixed greens, basil, tomato, roasted cauliflower and vegan Caesar dressing. Other gourmet options include Italian style meatloaf with house-made tomato sauce and polenta, Italian chicken pot pie with polenta and Parmigiano topping; and the Burrata BLT.
For a California beach shack vibe, picnic right on the premises of Shake Foundation, “dedicated to the preservation of the original green chile cheeseburger.” Feast on juicy green chile cheeseburgers with Jack cheese and hand-cut shoestring fries. For a taste of summer, try the fried oyster sandwiches with red chile mayo or the spicy fried chicken sandwich with green chile mayo and house-brined pickles. The portobello burger—stuffed with Muenster cheese, breaded and deep fried—will satisfy any vegetarian.
Joe's Dining is great place to pick up picnic fixings, including the satisfying steak sandwich, featuring a flat iron steak cooked to order and served with Joe's herb butter on a toasted sub. The Turkey Club Classic, a triple decker, comes with hickory smoked bacon, sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato and mayo on toasted sourdough. Grab a side of cole slaw and your meal is complete.
For more picnic provision places, vist SantaFe.com's Dining section.