By Teresa Dovalpage
When people ask me what I miss about Taos, I could name many things.
The landscape, of course, that majestic view of Taos Mountain from Overland Ranch. The people. The warm, quirky, Taos folks.
And food. Taos cuisine has the best of all worlds: Mexican and New Mexican, Native American, Latin American, North American, European and even Asian. Taos flavors are multilayered and have a little bit of everything.
To be honest, food is what I miss the most. Because I can always look at pictures of Taos. I can Skype with my Taoseño friends. But I can’t eat a virtual enchilada or enjoy a Facebook burrito. They haven’t been invented. Yet.
The following is a personal restaurant roundup: the best places for breakfast, lunch, tapas and dinner in Taos, plus a special category for dessert, because as every foodie knows, desserts are a category on their own. You can’t choose just one.
Starting the day
Breakfast, or more often brunch, at Gutiz was a tradition for the Florimbamba Social Club, as a group of friends used to call ourselves. Florimbamba is a combination of “flor” and “bamba,” flower and music.
The florimbamberas would meet on Saturdays at Gutiz to enjoy Parisian crepes, those delicious pockets of goodness filled with ham, brie and cheddar cheese, onions and mushrooms, everything covered on a Béchamel sauce that provided the perfect background for all the other ingredients. The crepes have a touch of chile, too, and come with a fresh salad. A perfect example of the Latin-French fusion style that puts a Taos spin on world-known dishes.
Lunch at The Farmhouse Café and Bakery. Two words: shepherd’s pie. They offer a vegetarian kind, with mushrooms, very tasty, but I am partial to the traditional one made with lamb. The mashed potato crust is soft and delectable. Small pieces of corn and carrots pop in every bite, and the meat is so tender that it dissolves in the mouth.
Tapas at Parcht Bottleshop + Bites: One of the few places in Taos where you can have the true Spanish experience of tapas (small bites) with beer or wine.
The “bites” include Castelvetrano olives, heirloom tomato and basil, and a sweet and savory combination of chocolate, fruit and nuts. I usually ordered a board with a selection of cheese (Campo de Montalban and Manchego and charcuterie (serrano ham, prosciutto — oh my!) Boards are beautifully presented with crostini, mustard and the miniature French pickles known as cornichons. Among the wines you can find Gruet Blanc de Noir from New Mexico, Nicolas Feuillatte Brut, Chateu la Coustarelle Cahors from France and many others.
Ending the day
Dinner at Orlando’s. The blue corn green chile shrimp enchiladas was the only dish I ever ordered there. Enchiladas come with pozole, beans and a small fresh salad.
Everything was so consistently good that I didn’t want to try anything else though I am usually quite adventurous in food matters. The service, by the way, is consistently good (and fast) as well.
It’s impossible to choose only one, so here is a sample of the best:
Orlando’s flan: so light and fluffy, with a dollop of whipped cream. Flan de angeles, a flan for angels, a devout friend calls it.
Mini chimichangas at Antonio’s: they are, as their name indicates, small chimichangas stuffed with mango and cream cheese that are served warm with ice cream. Maybe it’s the combination of hot and cold, but the mix of ice cream and fried dough is totally decadent.
Mazamorra morada at Quechua: a typical Peruvian dish that you won’t find anywhere else in Taos: pudding made with purple corn, spiced with cinnamon.
Mondo Italiano’s tiramisu: classic and excellent. Creamy and light, it tastes even better accompanied with a cappuccino.
Bon appétit and enjoy the many culinary adventures available to you.