The Flavors of Fall

Fall brings us the harvest bounty, a feast of foods grown all summer long

The Autumn equinox arrives this Saturday and, just like that, we fall into a new season. The days become shorter, the nights grow colder, and nature gives us a final show of her year's brilliance with the peak of fall foliage. From the glittering golden aspens to the yellow cottonwoods, the crimson gambel oak and the multi-hued fruit trees, this splendid time of year provides a feast for the eyes.

Fall also brings us the harvest bounty, a feast of foods grown all summer long on farms and in backyard and kitchen gardens. There's comfort in knowing that before winter sets in, we celebrate the season with red and green chile, beans, beets, potatoes, pumpkins, turnips, apples and so much more, including the famous trio of beans, corn and squash—called The Three Sisters by Native Americans because,w hen grown together, they nourish and support each other.

You'll find these fresh, seasonal ingredients, and others, in innovative dishes bearing the flavors of fall in acclaimed restaurants across the city, Here are a few suggestions to tempt your tastebuds.

At Eloisa, revered chef John Sedlar honors the season with enticing dishes such as pulled pork and acorn squash tamal, a small plate with the big flavors of pork shoulder, Socorro red chile sauce and goat cheese. For entrees, the angus filet with black truffle gnocchi, calabacitas and mushroom demi is an autumnal choice, along with ravioli made with local buffalo, squash, mushrooms and kale with a cream cheese poblano sauce. If you're searching for seafood, try the pan-seared ruby trout with cous-cous, crema, Southwestern succotash and green chile butter. For dessert, chocolate mole ice cream is in season any time of the year.

Plenty of fall flavors are on the menu at Trattoria a Mano, known for its fresh pasta made in-house daily. Start with the crispy fontina-stuffed arancini risotto al pesto or the antipasto rustico with a selection of cured meat and cheese, pickled vegetable giardiniera, olives and crostini. Next up, the hearty spaghetti Bolognese with a beef and veal ragu and shaved Parmigiano and spinach pappardelle, consisting of duck ragu and pecorino sardo. Hearty entrees include prime New York steak with spinach and crushed potato and veal demi glace and grilled branzino with Sicilian-style cauliflower and salsa verde.

Santa Fe's fall weather is gorgeous, so you can still enjoy dining outdoors this time of year. At The Teahouse, take a seat on the patio, surrounded by trees in their full fall glory. Start your day with breakfast, maybe Paleo Eggs Benedict with braised brisket, poached eggs and hollandaise atop slices of roasted eggplant. Or stop by for lunch and indulge in the mushroom and fontina panini with balsamic onion marmalade, or panini with brie, apple and Black Forest ham with mostarda. For dinner, savor the Italian chicken pot pie with polenta and Parmesan topping or Polenta Catalan with roasted veggies and Romesco sauce. Leave room for apple pear crisp, pistachio almond cake topped with whipped cream or Earl Grey crème brûlée.

Chef Sean Sinclair has been tempting tastebuds ever since he recently arrived at the Inn & Spa at Loretto's Luminaria, which offers one of Santa Fe's most romantic patios. Get a table there and begin your fall feast with an order of chicken-fried forest mushrooms with Parmesan and house buttermilk dip. Next up, Prime Ribeye Calabacitas, with local squash, corn, crisp potatoes, charred onion and roasted garlic. Or try the fontina tortellini, a mouth-watering melange of yellow squash puree, shishito peppers, maitake mushroom, shallot confit and caramelized corn.

The salad-centric menu at Vinaigrette's includes a salute to fall—the Apple-Cheddar Chop, a flavorful combo of grilled pork tenderloin, baby arugula, julienned green apples, pickled fennel and sharp cheddar, tossed in a ruby port vinaigrette. You'll find other autumnal offerings, including a vegan miso-based mushroom stew with porcini, forest and button mushrooms and a hot turkey sandwich, a composition of house-roasted cumin-rubbed turkey breast, griddled red onion and tomato, fresh sliced avocado, mayo and provolone, all piled on toasted sourdough.

Out at Arroyo Vino, toast the arrival of fall with a glass of world-class wine and the delectable cheese plate, a selection of four artisan cheeses served with honey comb, preserved fruit and candied nuts. Then move on to mains such as potato gnocchi with corn crema, roasted eggplant, arugula and goat Gouda or Moroccan-spiced Mary's Chicken, with farro, cauliflower, spicy harissa, olives, almonds and mint yogurt. Save room for a slice almond-olive oil polenta cake, served with lavender ice cream and brulèed orange or panna cotta with fresh Colorado peaches and Marcona almonds.

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