After the hard work in Albuquerque, we spent a couple of days in Taos, working just a little bit less hard. Taos is loaded with art galleries, many of them excellent. My favorite we discovered inside a dark adobe doorway, which led to a cool, shady, and inviting courtyard, where we found the Total Arts Gallery. The owner, Teruko, has a great eye for art, and particularly, strong style, and her gallery holds a rich diversity of styles, including her own. In addition, Toruko is a gracious host, and we talked art for a long time.
I have to admit that wide and wild diversity of Taos’ adobe architecture absolutely fascinated me. Yes, I understand that a great deal of it is simulated, superposing adobe simulation over modern architecture, but at the same time there is a huge amount of ancient adobe work. I think what turns me on the most is the almost non-existence of standard shapes and conventional architectural lines, as if you’d given gifted children buckets of modeling clay, and told them to build a fort.
As for lunch, we’d been told about Bent Street Deli & Cafe, a pleasant sunny cafe at the entrance to one of the open-air shop-lined patios that decorate downtown Taos, the John Dunn House. When we entered the cafe, the hostess was otherwise involved, so Christy, one of the waitresses, guided us to our table, coincidentally also one of her tables.
Since Pat is not notably fireproof when it comes to spicy food, and because this is New Mexico, after all, we needed to discuss the thermal power of the green chiles in one of the lunch specials, a sausage-tomato-and-green chile quiche. Christy was friendly, funny, and helpful with our selections, and we ended up ordering that quiche (which was delicious, and not too hot for Pat) and a Reuben sandwich (also delicious, but we added some fire to it with a side of horseradish), all of which we split between us. We washed all this down with a nice local (pretty much) milk stout. When it came time to think about dessert, Christy stopped by to describe the available dishes in lingering, mouth-watering detail.
Normally, if we have dessert, Pat picks the most chocolate-containing dish, and then I split it with her. The first dessert item was a Mexican chocolate ice cream, and I figured I’d read Pat’s mind, but however strong the appeal of chocolate, she’s not big on ice cream. One down.
For the second dessert, Christy began a litany of fresh strawberries, vanilla custard, and whipped cream, all on some sort of extremely rich crepe. I could tell by the look in Pat’s eyes that she was sold. We never even heard about dessert number three.
In fairness to my wife’s judgement, the strawberry custard crepe was delicious, and I’ve never before tasted a crepe with that extreme-butter richness. If you’re ever in Taos, New Mexico, you need to visit the Bent Street Deli & Cafe and ask for Christy. Great fun and excellent food.
Happy and full of good food, we wandered further down the patio, and into a most amazing and interesting little shop, Seconds, which specializes in found art, recycled wonders, and unlikely re-utilizations. If you’ve never imagined that pop can pulltop tabs could be converted to high fashion, you’ll be delighted; if you’ve never kept your fruit in a bowl of bicycle chain, this could be your first; If you’ve never though of printed circuit boards as art, Seconds may change your mind.
Moby Dickens, also in the John Dunn House patio-mall turned out to be a wonderfully comfortable book store, and a lot larger on the inside than on the outside. Their book selection was marvelous in both depth and breadth, and the two store cats will make you feel welcome.