A New Mexico Anniversary

In a previous post I shared with you my anniversary morning out at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge.  Now let me tell you what else we did that day (don’t worry, I’ll keep this PG).

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comWe decided that we’d like to take in a little hike, so I found a four-miler that appeared to promise a trail along the rim of the Rio Grande Gorge.  Should you elect, at some point, to go on the Petaca Point Trail in the Orilla Verde section of the Rio Grande be aware that, while beautiful in its own way, it does NOT traverse the rim of the gorge.  You do get to a point where you are exposed to some amazing views of the gorge, but the bulk of the hike is just…sagebrush.

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comNow, a word about that:  sagebrush can be beautiful.  We were taken with the sweeping views.  When in the Taos area you are in this massive valley.  And you can see for miles and miles and miles.  At the same time, you are surrounded by mountains.  All of that combined makes for a breathtaking setting.

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comWe hiked (is it called hiking if it’s pretty much flat and only a few miles?) out to a viewpoint at the rim of the canyon and looked down.  Way down in the bottom was what looked to be a park.  And a bridge.  And the river.  We decided that we should drive down and headed back to the car.

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comI feel that it’s time to introduce you to the gerbil-mobile.  This was our rental vehicle for the weekend:

Gerbil Mobile, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comYes, that’s a Kia Soul.  When making the car reservations I did not request a Kia Soul.  I think I reserved a compact.  When we arrived at the rental place they didn’t have any compacts available, so they offered us the Soul at no additional charge.  Okay.  It’s the gerbil-mobile.  Bright red.  Now, I must tell you that the gerbil-mobile got good gas mileage, road nice and had some get-up-and-go.  But, the dancing gerbils would make it impossible for me to ever consider purchasing one.

Petaca Point, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comThe nice thing about the bright red gerbil-mobile is that, in the sagebrush of New Mexico, we could spot it from great distances.  It was a beacon.  So, almost immediately after turning around (and, remember, we were a couple of miles from the car) we could see the car.  No getting lost that day.

Rio Grande, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comAfter returning to the car we headed down a somewhat sketchy gravel road to the floor of the gorge.  There was, indeed, a park down there.  In fact, there was a little campground.  There were a number of people fishing off the riverbank.  We wandered around a bit, trying to figure out which views were more impressive…at the rim of the gorge looking down, or at the floor of the gorge looking up.  Let’s just say both are beautiful.

Rio Grande River, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comWhen we headed down into the gorge we had thought that we would return the way we came.  However, there was an information board in the park and the map showed that if we continued along the river (the road was paved once we reached the floor of the gorge) for about ten miles the road would dump us out on the main road back to Taos.  So, we took the scenic route.  And how scenic it was.

Rio Grande, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comOnce we got back to town we decided to check out Taos Ski Valley, a short 15 miles from the house we stayed in.  The husband used to live in North Idaho.  He was a snowboarding junkie.  Now, living in Western Washington, he has few opportunities to snowboard.  It also doesn’t help that he married an Oregon coastal chick who doesn’t like the cold and who is…intimidated?  terrified? by snow/ice covered roads.

Taos Ski Valley, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.comThere’s not much to see at Taos Ski Valley this time of year.  Everything is closed down and they actually just started on a major renovation project on the main part of the villa.  I was simply impressed by the elevation.  Taos sits at 6976 feet.  That’s high.  For reference, Paradise, a very popular are of Mt. Rainier National Park, is 5400 feet.  The husband and I live very near the Sound.  No wonder it didn’t take much to make me breathe a little deeper while in NM.  Taos Ski Valley, 20 miles from Taos, sits at 9207 feet, though higher parts of the complex sit at 13,000 feet.  That’s really high.

After dropping back down we had a little time to relax before heading off to our couple’s massage, which was a very nice way to spend an hour of our time.  We returned to the house, cleaned up and drove into town for dinner at Lambert’s.

Lambert’s.  Where do I start?  One of the best meals that I’ve had in a very, very long time.  Impeccable service.  Great company.  We started with cocktails.  I had a scratch sage margarita, the husband a long island iced tea.  We had been contemplating a bottle of wine, but the bartender at Lambert’s does not skimp on the booze.  We agreed, halfway through the cocktails, that a glass of wine each with dinner would be sufficient.  The meal started with homemade bread.  A very generous portion of homemade bread.  Served with butter and roasted garlic.  Warm, soft, buttery roasted garlic.  We decided to share an appetizer, a soup trio that consisted of small cups of potato leek soup, New Mexican green chile stew and madeira onion soup.  The potato was creamy, the green chile zippy and the onion decadent.

Lambert's, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

I was surprised that, on a Sunday evening in the off-season, they would offer so many specials (4).  The Executive Chef is Sophia Vigil.  I would like to be her friend.  So she would cook for me.  I selected one of the specials, the mixed grill.  This delightful plate consisted of an elk tenderloin with demi-glace, large prawns prepared in an herby, garlicky marinade and a small piece of lamb served with a corn salsa.  Alongside the meats:  asparagus and cauliflower.  The preparation on the cauliflower was amazing.  I think it was deep fried.  I don’t know what they coated it with, but I ate every bite.  The elk was tender, the prawns perfectly cooked.  Not a huge lamb fan (I can’t quite get past baby animal), but it was good, too.  The husband enjoyed beef stroganoff, the meat tender, the sauce rich and buttery (a far cry from a can of cream o’ soup and a vat of sour cream).

Lambert's, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Lambert's, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Then we turned our eyes to dessert.  Again, low season, but the Pastry Chef, Michelle Myers (who I really want to be friends with!) had 5 specials in addition to what was offered on the menu.  I settled on the strawberry rhubarb cobbler topped with house made vanilla ice cream and (because that’s apparently not enough) whipped cream.  It was amazing.  The cobbler tender, the rhubarb wonderfully tart against the sweetness of the berries.  The husband had a jamocha brownie sundae:  house made coffee ice cream topped with chocolate fudge sauce topped with house made toffee topped with whipped cream.  Enough?  No!  Surrounded, on two sides, by warm brownies.  Yes, really!!  Do I need to tell you that we rolllled out of Lambert’s?

Lambert's, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

Lambert's, cookdrinkhike.wordpress.com

We returned to the house to enjoy the rest of our evening.  A glass of wine, some time in the hot tub staring up in the stars…a fitting end to another amazing anniversary.  I do so love that man of mine.

One thought on “A New Mexico Anniversary

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