Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pizza for Lunch—Part II

The day finds us back in the Plaza area of Santa Fe for some aimless wandering (I am very good at aimless wondering), followed by lunch at Rooftop Pizza.

After visiting a few galleries and admiring the Native American pottery and some magnificent turned wooden bowls with turquoise inlay by Eric Lima, we stopped in Andrea Fisher Fine Pottery. There on the shelves were some small pots by Santa Clara Pueblo potter, Kevin Naranjo, who creates finely etched sgraffito pottery. We had seen his work a number of years ago and had coveted a piece ever since. Today our resistance failed and we purchased a pot with a wolf image. While talking with the gallery staff we learned that Mr. Naranjo is a very large man (a reference to "fingers like sausages" was made), who creates his delicate designs with a pen knife.

Spending money is tiring, and we paused on a bench on the Plaza. There we saw it. The Plaza Café. The site of an amazing breakfast on an earlier trip to Santa Fe.

Well, we can have pizza another day.

“The Plaza Café, Santa Fe’s oldest restaurant, has been serving highly acclaimed, authentic traditional dishes since 1918. In 1947, Dionysi Razatos, a Greek immigrant with an American dream, took over the Plaza Café and his family has been feeding Santa Fe ever since.... The Razatos family kept the traditional cooking methods and flavor combinations of New Mexico and added some recipes from Greece, all the while keeping with the classic American diner experience.” (From the café’s web site.)

The décor is Southwest diner. Seating is at the counter or at booths and tables. The wall behind the counter is stainless steel with a black and white random mosaic along the top.

There are tiny tiles on the floor and stamped tin on the ceiling with frosted lights.

The eclectic menu includes such New Mexico dishes as: the Burrito—traditional flour tortilla filled with a choice of calabacitas, chicken, pork, chopped steak, or fresh sliced Prime Rib and smothered with red or green chile and cheese; the Anchiote Pork Plate browned pork seasoned with Yucatecan spices topped with green or red chile and grilled onions and served with Spanish rice, beans, and calabacitas (squash); Pollo Adobo – a chicken breast stewed in adobado sauce that is topped with guacamole and cured onions and served with white rice and pinto beans; and Crispy Fish Tacos—fried cod fish served on yellow corn tortillas and topped with chipotle ranch dressing, cabbage, diced tomatoes, slices of avocado, and three salsas.

Greek selections included: Greek Spaghetti—Perciatelli pasta covered with a lamb ragu and topped with feta cheese and parsley; the Ground Meat and Eggplant pie topped with béchamel sauce and served with a Greek salad and pita bread; and Souvlaki (Lamb Kebabs). American diner choices were: Turkey Basil Burger—ground turkey breast mixed with herbs: the Plaza burger with ham, avocado, jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and red onion; the Tortilla Burger served on a flour tortilla, red or green chile, and cheddar cheese; a BLT; a Pulled Pork Sandwich topped with guacamole mayo, pickled onions, and refried beans; a BLT with avocado and a Portobello sandwich with avocado.

I went New Mexican and ordered the Cashew Mole Chicken Enchiladas with (yes, again) rice and beans. The corn tortillas were paper thin and among the best I’ve tasted. This made for a lighter plate of enchiladas than is served at most restaurants. The chicken was a mix of white and dark and was moister than most chicken I’ve had in either tacos or enchiladas. And the mole, while less intensely chocolate than the mole at Barrio Café in Phoenix, had a real red pepper kick. The beans were average (I am REALLY tired of beans) and the Spanish rice was dry (by this I mean non-sticky, and dry is what I want) and contained peas and corn. A very good rice.

We have been searching for a good gyro and Chuck chose the Gyro Platter which came with battered fries. The pita was stuffed with slices of the traditional seasoned lamb and beef blend, onions, grated feta cheese, and a cucumber sauce that was different from the traditional tzatziki sauce. And there wasn’t much of it. We didn’t find that really good gyro and will keep looking, but we have come to more fully appreciate the wonderful gyro served at the Hot Spot, a small Greek diner in Doylestown, PA.

My meal came with a sopaipilla, which, of course, I shared. Las Tres Campanas (just south of Santa Fe) has spoiled us forever with their wonderful light and puffy sopaipillas, and the Plaza Café’s paled by comparison.

Well, no pizza, but a very good 4.0 Addie lunch.

No comments: