The tastiest week of the year is almost here! New Mexico Restaurant Week, now in its sixth year, kicks off in Santa Fe on February 22 and continues in mid-March in Albuquerque and Taos. Participating restaurants from each city will put their best dishes forward during this annual culinary celebration, offering prix fixe menus at delicious prices—so start loosening your belts, planning your dining destinations and looking forward to the foodie adventure that awaits you!
That adventure is better than ever this year in the Land of Enchantment. Restaurant Week, which originated in New York City in 1992, has become a nationwide event that encourages people to dine out during what would normally be a slow time of year with the impetus of prices that are well below normal—but it’s much more than that here in New Mexico. “In each of our Restaurant Weeks, we encourage chefs and bartenders to share their expertise and give diners another way to experience the restaurants,” says organizer Michele Ostrove. “I’m not aware of other Restaurant Weeks that feature daytime classes, demos and tastings like ours.” For locals and visitors alike, this means the chance to meet and learn from the highly talented chefs who have put Northern New Mexico on the culinary map; it’s an opportunity to get a real insider’s look at our renowned culinary scene. “This year,” says Ostrove, “diners can learn everything from how to make their own cheeses to how to savor sake.” Bottoms up!
The question becomes how to take advantage of all of this year’s delicious options. My advice? Don’t limit yourself to just one meal or event a day. In addition to prix fixe dinner menus, many restaurants are offering lunch options and, for the first time, some are even dishing up breakfast. So grab a morning meal at that restaurant you’ve been meaning to visit and then head over to an afternoon class to learn something new (but remember to book those special events early because they’re very popular and are sure to sell out fast). Visit nmrestaurantweek.com for a complete listing of events and participating restaurants—their menus and prices are conveniently listed as well so you can plan your schedule by both budget and taste—and start preparing for your foodie fun!
And don’t forget: the aim of Restaurant Week is to expand your culinary horizons. Try new restaurants, learn new tricks from your favorite chefs and, perhaps most importantly, take this opportunity to visit your neighboring cities. This year, there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the annual culinary celebration in all three. “For the first time,” Ostrove says, “there is a twoweek gap between the end of Santa Fe Restaurant Week [February 22 through March 1] and the start of Albuquerque Restaurant Week [March 15 through 22], to give diners a real chance to recover from the eating frenzy before moving on to the next one! Taos Restaurant Week follows Albuquerque’s, but it’s still ski season, so people can head up there and have the best of all worlds.” Cheers to that!
For more information, visit nmrestaurantweek.com.
Story by Lily Carbone