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Ore House Martini.
Ore House Martini
Mike D'Arco

Martini Mike’s Hangover Report

Downtown Santa Fe Edition

June 17, 2010, 12:00 am
By Martini Mike
Hola Santa Fe! It is always a pleasure to visit, or “mini-vacation” in, one the world’s top tourist destinations. And I live here! (In New Mexico) I am a native and grew up visiting Santa Fe regularly. My skateboard graced many a sidewalk. I have always loved you and I miss our walks along the acequias.

I love how you twinkle at sunset as I gaze toward St. Francis Cathedral from a balcony such as my favorite room at La Fonda. But we have grown distant lately it seems. Well baby… I’m back. And you are just as sexy as ever. You don’t look a day over 300 years old. ;)

Just a hop, skip, and a jump… or 45 minute drive in my turbo driven love machine, will get you from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. Many people I know or meet tell the same story of working in Santa Fe, a daily commute, but never checking out the nightlife! “What a shame”, I say every time. I know first hand how unique and vibrant the “Santa” nightlife can be. Well being freshly single again I thought it was time we got reacquainted with one another. The names have not been changed, and all suspects are considered innocent until proven guilty.

First stop, as always, was The Ore House located right smack on the plaza. I was not disapointed to find the regular helping of live guitar on the balcony. I was disapointed to find that the Red Chile Pesto Steak was gone from their menu. However, the Coffee Crusted NY Strip topped with Guajillo Chile-Bourbon Sauce was just as exquisite. Top that off with a wide variety of Tequila or a perfect Tito’s Martini made by Greg or Eileen and… folks we have a winner.

Next stop on the Enchantment Express is Catamount. This is often a nice quiet place to grab a beer. This night was no different with just a few locals hanging out with Chip the bartender. Chip was wearing a Yankees shirt… fight amongst yourselves. There is billiards on the upper level and a few more people at that time. I am told to try the Rum Punch; 2 kinds of Rum, Pineapple Juice, and Grenadine. I stuck with a post-dinner pint.

Alas, it is nearly the stroke of nine and time to get jumpin’. Word on the wire (Facebook) is Corazon is the place to be. Off I stroll into the pale moonlight. I quickly join a small crowd of turistas and locals as they converge on this unassuming hot spot. Albuquerque and Santa Fe favorite “Felonious Groove Foundation” is playing. I think I paid a small cover charge. I’ll blame my memory loss on the altitude! Cool looking place with the candles and the Japanese lanterns and what not. But seriously- no cocktail glasses?! And someone pissed in the bartender’s cheerios. And don’t ask for a Sidecar. $10 minimum on credit cards. It remains empty well past 10:30 and I am gone with the wind. Off night?

Where does this proverbial wind take me? Back and forth by foot and carriage (well, Santa Fe Pedicabs) is where it takes me. I finally settle upon “The Matador”. It is full of people and they’re having fun! A great eclectic mix of friendly people from far and wide… but mostly locals is tripping the light fantastic. Warm, crowded, and cash only I was still drawn to this place. It is hip and “rock” and the service was great. It took me back to a time in the 80’s, somewhere in Hollywood, where classic bars such as The Frolic Room, or Zatar’s were where you felt at home. Thanks Francisco and Caesar… I’ll be back.

As an added bonus I ran into some friends here such as world famous local artist Bryon Archuleta. The party is on! We climb up the stairs onto “party corner” and head over to The Tin Star Saloon. Another live band is playing at this venue. Tonight is popular Santa Fe rockers The Jakes, featuring Gary Gorence and Ben Lucero from the ageless Candyman Music shop. Yes, they rock out and yes, we close the place down. I’m sure I had a good time as we hung out inside and spilled later onto the street with the band. I recall sharing a cab with some friends… then it was morning.

Sometime Saturday afternoon I managed to make it to Hangover Heaven… Cowgirl BBQ.  Sharon Gilchrist’s Bluegrass Jam 1-4 every Saturday will do the trick along with a great Bloody Mary. I enjoyed chatting it up with some locals and turistas alike as I waited for my Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich with a Spicy Chipotle Sauce. The patio was packed while the indoors was not so much. Everything was delicious and served up speedily by cowboy hat wearing staffers. I opted for Sweet Potato Fries at an extra $1.50 if I recall. Good times.

Next stop… suite for a nap? No. La Fonda for a famous Vita-Tini concocted and mixed by their house Mixologist Kelly. Blueberry Vodka, Acai Berry, Pama, Cointreau, Cranberry Juice. That and a handful of vitamins, plus aspirin, got me going again. I always enjoy a stop at La Fonda, be it after Zozobra or my regular stay which is usually at the lovely La Fonda Hotel. Next time I hit the rooftop patio bar!

Thinking ahead today I grab my usual pizza from Upper Crust. A magnificent Chorizo and Pinon (“Pine Nuts” for you out-of-staters!) pizza to go is making my mouth water. I will stash this in my lonely fridge until approximately 3 am. Beside it sits a bottle of water from La Fonda and a snifter of Don Julio 1942. I have misplaced my cigar.

OK, time to change and drop off the car. I have missed the show at my favorite gallery- Pop Art. My friends are MIA. I cab it back to The Ore House for a Blue Crab Cake and their famous Sunset Margarita. Mmmmm. What next? I wander past the plaza, lit up like Christmas, with musicians and lovers scattered throughout.

Tonight there is no line, yet, to Milagro 139. There is a $5 cover, but not for Martini Mike.  Shon the bartender shortly earned himself the coveted “Martini Mike Approved” bumper sticker for his prowess in creating my Martini; Chopin, dirty, extra dry. I am quickly embraced by the friendly staff. John Alvarado- Manager, Fernando Ruiz-Executive Chef, and Shon Johnson-Head Bartender make my stay a pleasant one. Tony Fiorina wants in on the action and offers his services for the next cocktail. Decal for Tony! Much mingling and revelry keeps me here for some time. They are closing early due to a smaller crowd than expected. I am shocked but kiss them all goodbye.

Is that The Matador I spy across the street? Time to make up for last night’s lack of photography. I saunter down the stairs to the thick crowd. Again it is an eclectic mix of people like the gentleman we watched dent the bumper on his classic Mercedes trying to K-Park on the narrow streets. There are tattoos aplenty and no lack of T-Shirts. There are also nicely dressed adventurers present. Beam and Diet Coke will be my drink of choice as they are quite busy and intimidating with their rockabilly street fighting thing going on. Hehe. I somehow manage to close this place down tonight. Time flies when you’re having fun! I chat with the bartenders at cleanup time. “I’ll be back”, as Arnold would say.

As I stated before… my intentions are noble. I have only the deepest affection for you my love. The night brings out your sexy side. The starlight and Bourbon make you glow like a princess. I hope we can continue to be dear friends. Until next time – Adios Santa Fe. 

All photos by Mike D'Arco

 

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