Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Coyote Cafe, Santa Fe

This restaurant is notable, not only for its vibrant cuisine, it is also the source of the Southwest style of cooking.  In 1987, Chef Mark Miller created the Modern Southwest Cooking style here; a fusion of flavours and recipes that was popular with cowboys, Native Americans, Spanish colonial settlers and Mexicans throughout the 16th century.  

The cafe's ambience is very warm and, due to the style of the cuisine, the adobe architecture is quite prevalent.  Throughout, the guests are enveloped in a cozy orange light.  Its ceiling is very high and has a series of glass rectangles hanging in various colours by thin wires.  Each one is rippled, seeming to represent birds flying overhead.  Above the open kitchen area, a video of fireplace flames is projected on the wall, adding not only to the warmth of the room, but in some cases, the heat of the food.

Which is, as always, most distinct.  We started with an organic baby lettuce salad with pears and pecan brickle in a cider vinaigrette.  A tasty twist on a classic.  We also sampled a fabulous rare ahi with foie gras.  The first main course resonated with some of that "heat," a fiery white shrimp and rice cake with basil aioli.  The second was a mesquite grilled lobster tail.  Don't think Chappy would have barbecued that on the back of the chuck wagon.  Round 'em up, boys!

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